what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the tag “haroutunian”

Almond gingerbread – ginger cake if you don’t like treacle

On the blog I wrote about pitta bread I linked across to The Yoghurt Book by Arto Haroutunian, which is a book I’ve had for a long time, and found useful for a range of dishes that use yoghurt. It includes a few recipes for breads and cakes, alongside main courses and desserts. One that I haven’t made for donkey’s years is the almond gingerbread recipe. The book has been reprinted so I shouldn’t give you the recipe, but this could give you a flavour for the kind of straightforward recipes included and I haven’t found it anywhere else on the tinterweb so here goes.

Oven set to 160C and you need a 7 inch square tin or 61/2 inch round tin, or any other size or shape you have. Grease and line, I use cake liners because I’m lazy.

Weigh out and sift together the dry goods – 8oz plain flour, pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda. Add 2oz ground almonds. Melt together 4oz margarine (or butter), 4oz golden syrup, 4oz soft brown sugar. Add to the dry goods with a pot of yoghurt and a beaten egg. Mix up nicely and then put in the tin and top off with 2oz of flaked almonds. Bake for about 55 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before taking out and leaving to cool.

The result is a fairly close and generally quite moist cake, that can be used as a pudding with some custard when it’s warm if you’re that way inclined.

I’m not a fan of treacle which finds its way into too many recipes that need brownness and stickiness and it is a taste I don’t particularly like. This is a great store-cupboard recipe which can be made quite quickly, and if you don’t have fresh ginger or lemon or any of the other things that seem to find their way into ginger cakes these days.

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Paul Hollywood’s pitta bread

Still working my way through his TV series recipes. This one is over here.

Pittas are often the first bread that people try to make at home because they are essentially easy and don’t require much effort. I remember making them back in the dark ages, as a student in the late 1980s I can even remember making the pancakes that go with Peking Duck, although I’m not sure I ever did the duck to go with them. Back then I used the pitta recipe in Arto der Haroutunian’s Yoghurt book. Back in those days yogurt had an ‘h’ in the middle of it and the book had no pictures. If you can get one second hand on under the Penguin imprint I commend it to you. I never thought much about the author back then, but the book reads like he knows what he’s talking about from personal first hand experience. It also contains a fantastic banana gateau recipe which I may try again sometime soon. Checking out his website today you’ll see he’s been dead a while but as he was born in Syria of Armenian parents under difficult circumstances, he’d probably not be happy about what’s going on in Syria today.

Nothing particularly tricky in there, nigella seeds can be got from the supermarket, but note that there’s quite a lot, so if you take to them you’ll be spending about 75p per batch just on seeds if you get the Bart ones from a supermarket (like I did – idiot!) I’ll be getting some Kalonji seeds from an Indian grocer or the ethnic bit of the supermarket they have them, not spending another £1.69 or whatever it was in Waitrose for 45g of Bart’s seeds. I’m not entirely sure why they are in the pittas when they normally turn up in naan breads.

There’s quite a lot of yeast for a small amount of flour and also the salt is high at 1 tsp for 250g of flour. Other recipes may vary, like Dan ‘ over here, so let’s see how it turns out. I’m still fascinated by the idea that ‘professional’ bakers can give such different recipes for essentially the same thing.

OK – pictures below. Nothing particular to complain about there. We ate some with some curried chicken leftovers, mango chutney and yoghurt, in deference to the almost naan bread flavouring the nigella seeds give them.

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