Thursday, February 16, 2017

Longest bake ever for the Bread Baking Babes this month!

And it has been nine years now that we first started baking together. And for this anniversary I picked a 'strange' bread. This recipe was stuck in my head for a while. I guess the 12 hour baking time did that. Then I wondered is this a bread? No yeast, but baking powder?! No yeast can still make real bread, think flatbread, wraps and so on. But baking powder is linked to pastry in my brain. Things like banana bread (with baking powder/soda) is called a bread in English, but for me that's a loafcake and absolutely not a bread. So I let it sink in for a while to decide if it was bread worthy or not. It is not sweet, not eaten with sweet things, even if it is a breakfast item. And it's function is a bread... I can see it like that, and so it is, and that's what we're baking.

The bread is from Yemenite Jewish origin. Clever thought out to be able to eat fresh warm bread on the Sabbath, but without having to prepare it or having to turn the oven on (as work and lighting fires is not allowed). It is quite a rich dish, so a little keeps you going a long time.

Traditionally served with hardboiled eggs (those are boiled in the bread pot), grated tomato and Zhug, a spicy hot saus.

It is still eaten in Israel, though not many people make it from scratch anymore. The fat used can be oil or margarine, which make the bread 'parve' which is important to Jews who keep the foodlaws, so it's easier to combine with meat or milkproducts (not both).
For us it's probably more important to know that the oil gives it a less fatty feel (you can use that thinner than smeared butter) and the jachnun will feel 'drier', but butter wil give an extra flavour of course.

The recipe calls for white flour, you can make them with whole wheat too (or half/half), but it will be harder to get the dough really thin.  Maybe this would work better when the fibers in the whole wheat are cut smaller. But it's up to you what fat and flour to use.
And then the overnight bake... you could if you wanted to, eat them for dinner and schedule the making early in the morning and bake during the day, but to have a 12 hour bake, means getting up quite early. I found that it is very easy to bake them whenever you have time and just reheat them in the oven before you want to eat them (makes them a bit crispier too!).
And then about the eggs, they are boiled in the pot for 12 hours, I will place 1 in the pot, just to see how they turn out, but boil the rest the next morning, because I really, really find boiled egg with green coloured rims around the yolks very unappetizing. And indeed that egg was very "well done" and we didn't eat it. TIP: boil the eggs just before you're going to eat the jachnun.

You can easily make the dough the day before, to split up the workload, leave it in the fridge, but let it come to room temperature, otherwise it will tear even more. My dough was a little cold, so I had holes in it, but in the end it really doesn't really matter, by rolling them into a  little log, all holes are gone.

I placed a layer of stale bread on the bottom of the pan, in which I baked the Jachnun. I had some stale shop bought bread, otherwise I wouldn't have used it. I saw that in some video's. It'll be nice to find out how it turns out without the bread, just using parchment paper.

After 12 hours, the bread still looked... well sort of dead somehow. I let it bake for about 3 hours more (maybe my oven wasn't warm enough). I added one egg on top, just to see how that turned out, I took it out after 12 hours.... and it was cooked, slightly green edge around the yolk, not my kind of boiled egg.
So after 15 hours I took the pan with the rolls out of the oven. I peeled off the lid and paper, and it looked very unappetizing, greasy and pale. Not at all like the picture in the book with a crispy golden top. So I place the pan bak in the oven without the lid and baked it for about 20 minutes on 200ºC in a fan oven. Well that improved a lot, the top was now golden and flaky.

We ate them for dinner, with boiled eggs, tomato, Z'hug (with less peppers and without the seeds). And some vegetable soup. I took the rolls out of the pan, the bottom ones were of course still very pale. So I took them apart and let them bake on a baking sheet in a fan oven until sort of crisp. The bread was -as expected- very heavy. A teenage boy can help to get them cleared, but in all honesty I would have preferred freshly baked naan, any flatbread or any bread really. And even if it was a nice thing to do, but I don't think these will be baked again here. Of course we have no problem putting our oven on any time of any day, so we don't have to bake our bread like this. I guess if you have been brought up with this tradition, you can probably appreciate it better.

It is an adventure bake. Wanna give it a go, be Brave and become our Bread Baking Buddy. Shape, bake, sleep, taste, take a picture, tell us about it and sent it to the Kitchen of the month (that's me this time: notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com) subject: BBBread february. And I'll send you the Bread Baking Buddy Badge in return, to add to your post if you like ánd I'll add you to the BBB Round-up, which will be on around March first. Deadline 29th of this month. Have fun baking!

(makes 6)
(PRINT recipe)
500 g bread flour (you can use whole wheat or half/half, but the dough will be harder to                                                 stretch without tearing)
25 g date syrup (or sugar/honey)
20 g honey
pinch of baking powder
12 g fine salt
± 300 g water (or more to make a springy dough)
60 ml oil (or 100 g margarine or butter)
To add later:
6 eggs
1 large tomato (or 2 smaller ones)
zhug (* recipe below)
Mix the flour, honey, date syrup, baking powder, salt and water together to form a sticky wet  dough and knead for a few minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes to let the gluten relax.

To develop gluten you now start to knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place it in a lightly greased bowl and give it a stretch and fold like this: Lift up the side of the dough and fold it over, turn the bowl and repeat this for about 7 or 8 times. Check by making a window (stretch a piece of dough between your fingers as thin as possible, if it doesn’t tear the gluten have developed as they shoot, otherwise knead or fold some more)
Cover with plastic and leave to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. (you can also leave your dough overnight, it might give more elasticity, but you have to let it come back to room temperature, otherwise it will be hard to stretch it out without too many tears)
prepare the pan and oven
You can use a (ovenproof) cooking pan or springform (about 20 cm in diameter). It’s optional to place some slices of stale bread on the bottom of the pan, this can prevent the jachnun from burning and absorb access fat. You also can place the parchment on the bottom as it is. I used the bread. Fold a long piece of parchment paper lengthwise and place it in the pan, so the ends hang over the rim of the pot.
Preheat the oven to 105ºC/225ºF and place a rack in the lowest position in your oven.
Divide the dough in 6 more or less equal pieces, shape them into a ball and leave to rest 10 minutes before the stretching begins.
To shape these rolls you have to stretch them using butter, oil or margarine.
Grease your work surface, place one piece of dough on it, grease the top and start working to make it the thinnest possible, while greasing it constantly. It is best to do this by hand, other methods (rolling pin) do not give the thinness.
When the dough is very thin (preferably like filo or strudel dough) fold 1/3 of one side over onto the dough, repeat with the other side (like a business letter). You now have a long strip, keep buttering/greasing the top, while you roll – starting at the narrow edge- the dough in a tight cilinder.
This video will show you how:

Prepare for the oven
Place three rolled logs next to each other, crosswise over the strip on the bottom of the pan. Place the other three crosswise on top of the first layer.
Grease/butter a double layer of parchment paper on one side and place on top, greased side down.
Now you can place the (raw, uncooked & unpeeled) eggs on top of the parchment paper. (you can also cook the eggs the next morning, to avoid green rims along the yolk, which I really detest)
Take a double layer of aluminum foil, cover the pot, securing the edges of the pan. Use a lid or a sheet pan to place on top of the foil. (or use a lid if available to keep it tight).
Place it on the rack in the oven and bake for 12 hours. (mine took 3 hours longer)
To crisp up the top, take lid and parchment paper off and bake in a fan oven for 20 minutes (200ºC) or until golden.
The next morning you take out the pan, place the jachnuns on a plate and serve it with the peeled eggs around them. Serve with grated tomato and Zhug (hot, spicy and garlicy dipping sauce) for breakfast.
So you now understand you have to plan this… or get up in the middle of the night. You can also bake when you like and just take the rolls out and preheat them on a baking sheet with fan oven (to crisp them up a little too).
*Zhug (traditional accompaniment; a dipping sauce with garlic, pepper and herbs)
3 dried red chili peppers, or 1 fresh red chili pepper (or 1 tsp chili flakes)
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander, ground
4 medium garlic cloves
Pinch of cardamom, ground
Pinch of cloves, ground
½ tsp salt
30 g coriander leaves (or parsley if you dislike coriander)
Olive oil, enough to make a sauce-like consistency
Place all ingredients in a bowl and crush it to a sauce in a blender or with a stick blender.
Place the Zhug in a clean jar, tighten the lid and keep in the fridge until use.
(Fridge shelf life about 2 weeks, with a small layer of oil on top)
(inspired/adapted by/from: “Breaking breads” – Uri Scheft and “Cafe Liz” (


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Only friends can bake like this and disagree;-) Gorn is already begging me to bake these again. Considering how scared I was thinking about all the thinness and stretching and now thinking how, can I say it, how easily this all came together, this will be coming out of our oven again soon.
This to my mind was a perfect anniversary bread!

Karen said...

It's definitely an adventure bake! Thanks for hosting. Happy anniversary!

Elizabeth said...

It was indeed an adventure! While I wasn't looking forward to it at all, I'm really glad I tried it. I do wish that my jachnun were the same beautiful gold that yours were though.

Many thanks, Lien, an happy anniversary!

hobby baker Kelly said...

I think the color on yours is beautiful! And I am in total awe of those gorgeous crispy tops.

Katie Zeller said...

An interesting challenge, yes... and even more interesting read with all the Babes. BTW, sweet 'breads', like my cranberry bread, is considered a cake here in France (bp and soda) BUT their own gingerbread is called 'Pan d'Epice or spice bread, also just bp and soda.No logic at all ;-)

Cathy (Bread Experience) said...

Thank you for hosting the Babes this month. I'm so glad you chose a bread that got us out of the box even if we didn't want to. I love the color of your Jachnun! Happy Anniversary Lien!