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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Man'ouché Lebanese Bread with Sumac

I felt unusually inspired today.
While gazing distantly at my Saha cookbook, p 232 and 246.
I felt slightly saddened not to have any pita or Lebanese bread to eat with my hummus and falafels.
The answer was staring at me in the face with eloquent words and delicious descriptions… Man'ouché. A quick inventory of my pantry and yes, I have all the necessary ingredients!
(little did I know I would end up peeling chickpeas for almost 3 hours..)
These work best cooked in a stone oven.  The closest thing you can get to recreating a stone oven is with a pizza stone at the top rack of the oven at the highest temperature.  I suppose this would work on a cast iron skillet, but I have not tried so I cannot attest to the results.
Makes 12
12 oz (355g) flour (I used a mix of white and wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
7 oz (200 mL) warm water
3/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp EVOO
well oiled bowl
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp sumac
1.  Stir the sugar into the water and add the yeast.  Let sit for at least 5 minutes.  The mixture should foam.
2.  Meanwhile sift the flour and salt together.
3.  Pour the water mixture into the flour and knead.
4.  As it starts coming together, add 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Knead for at least a good 10 minutes until the ball is nice, firm and elastic.
5.  Place the ball in a well oiled bowl, cover, and let rise at least 2 hours.  I let mine rise for much much longer.
6.  Punch down the dough and separate into 12 equal pieces.  Mine were about 45g each.  Lightly flour the balls and cover with a towel.  Let rest again another 10 minutes (while you preheat the oven).
7.  Roll out each piece to a 15cm diameter circle.  My circles are never perfectly round.. but you get the idea.  Brush with a mixture of olive oil and sumac.  I was supposed to have some zahatar in the mix, but I ran out while making my falafels.
8.  Place on the pizza stone and cook for approximately 2 minutes.  It should puff up a bit, but not harden.

Serve with hummus or baba ganoush or whatever you want, but the combination pictured below was simply divine.
Hummus, cucumbers, halved yellow cherry tomatoes, falafels with tahini yogurt sauce.
This time I made my falafels without adding bread crumbs or flour.  They were just simply the most perfect falafels I've ever imagined.. and they materialized.
Maybe it was the hours of labor peeling each individual chickpea with cramped hand muscles and raisin fingers.
Maybe it was just the love….
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