Pascale's Kitchen: Upper-crust dough

Most dough recipes call for ingredients we all keep at home. There’s something magical about vigorously kneading dough, then letting it rise, shaping it and putting it in the oven to bake.

INCREDIBLE SOURDOUGH BREAD (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
INCREDIBLE SOURDOUGH BREAD
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Making new and interesting breads is one of my favorite pastimes, and wouldn’t you know? Corona has made it trendy.
Most dough recipes call for ingredients we all keep at home. There’s something magical about vigorously kneading dough, then letting it rise, shaping it and putting it in the oven to bake.
And if you want to try something different, you can play around with different types of flour or interesting toppings, and then cover the dough with flour, olive oil or egg wash. Serve the breads with one of your favorite spreads.
Learn more about Pascale's Kitchen here>>
There’s really nothing else like fresh bread that you bake at home. The aroma that wafts through the entire house is so full of love and warmth. Homemade bread is so easy to make and so fun to eat. You can also take a simple recipe and upgrade it with interesting additions.
This week, I chose to share with you three interesting bread recipes. The first one is for sourdough bread that really makes an impression. People might even ask you which artisanal bakery you bought it at. The recipe might look difficult at first, but it’s actually incredibly simple. There is a lot of waiting time between steps, so you do need to be patient. Also, you need to get your hands on 2-3 tablespoons of sourdough starter (ask around among your friends to see if anyone has some). Alternatively, if you don’t have access to sourdough starter, you can use ¼ teaspoon of yeast instead. The rest of the recipe is the same.
The second recipe is for sourdough fougasse, which is based on the same dough recipe, and hails from Provence in southern France. Both of these two recipes require a bit of patience.
The third recipe is for harissa pita bread, which does not require any waiting period, yeast or starter. Instead of baking in the oven, pita bread is made on a pan griddle. I like to serve pita with chermoula spread. If you want the pita to be spicier, just add a little more harissa. If you like having dark lines on the pita bread, you can leave it on the griddle a little longer.
INCREDIBLE SOURDOUGH BREAD
You need to begin preparing the sourdough starter for this bread two days in advance. Put 2 tablespoons of starter in a bowl with ¼ cup (50 g.) flour and ¼ cup (50 ml.) water and mix well. Let it sit on the countertop overnight. If you don’t have sourdough starter, mix ½ cup of water with ½ cup of flour and ¼ tsp. of yeast and let it sit out on the countertop.
Makes 1 medium loaf.
450 g. white flour, sifted
50 g. whole rye flour, sifted
350-400 g. water
100 g. starter
10 g. salt
Add the white flour, rye flour and water to a bowl and mix well. Set aside for 1 hour.
Add the starter you prepared a day ahead and knead dough. Add the salt and knead well. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Fold the dough over a few times, taking the dough from the edge and folding in towards the middle. Do this at least two times. (The more you fold it over, the more interesting the texture of the bread will be.)
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and fold it some more toward the center. Form the dough into a ball and flour it well all over. Place a thin cotton cloth over a basket or colander (so the dough will be able to breathe) and sprinkle with flour. Then place the dough on the cloth and cover with the cloth. Place in the fridge overnight.
The next day, heat your oven to 250°. Take the dough out of the fridge and place it on a floured work surface. Form it into the desired shape and then let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Heat an iron pot with a lid in the oven for 30 minutes. Take the hot pot out of the oven carefully. Lift up the lid and sprinkle flour inside. Score the dough with a sharp knife, or with a bread lame, making whatever design you desire.
Carefully place the dough in the pot and close the lid. Put the pot in the oven and lower the temperature to 230° and bake for 30 minutes.
Take the lid off the pot, lower the temperature to 190° and continue baking for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the bread from the pot and let cool on a wire rack.
Level of difficulty: Easy/Medium.
Time: 3 days (including making starter).
Status: Pareve.
SOURDOUGH FOUGASSE BREAD
To prepare sourdough fougasse bread, you use the same dough that’s described in the above sourdough recipe. Fougasse is a flat bread that hails from Provence in the south of France. You can also use whole wheat or spelt flour to make fougasse. This recipe also uses sourdough starter that was prepared a day ahead of time.
I recommend adding 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 cup of chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, zaatar, oregano and basil. You can also add toppings, such as olive, nuts and raisins.
If you’d rather not use olive oil, then add the same amount of water to the recipe. Split the dough into two parts. Flour the dough balls well on both sides and then stretch them out with your hands and then place on baking paper. Take a dough cutter and make slits in the dough to form whatever shape you desire.
Place a baking dish in the oven and let it heat up. Transfer the fougasse dough on the baking paper to the hot pot and place in the oven. Place a tray with a cup of water on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until it turns golden brown.
Level of difficulty: Easy/Medium.
Time: 2 days (including making starter).
Status: Pareve.

PITA WITH HARISSA AND CHERMOULA SAUCE

Makes 6-8 small or 5 large pita pocket breads.
200 g. flour, sifted (can use spelt flour)
200 ml. 3% natural yogurt (without any fruit or flavoring)
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. harissa (if you want it spicier, add more – but don’t forget this affects color of bread)
Chermoula spread:
2 Tbsp. harissa
½ cup cilantro, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3-4 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the flour and yogurt to a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the baking powder, salt and harissa. Mix well.
Flour your work surface and then split the dough into 6-8 sections. Let them rest for 10 minutes.
Take one piece of dough and form it into a ball. Then roll it out on your floured surface into the size you want. Do the same with all the other balls of dough. Heat a griddle pan and place the dough on the pan until dark lines appear. Cook the other pieces in the same fashion.
In a separate bowl, mix all the chermoula spread ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve on the side or spread on each pita before serving. You can store pita bread (without the spread) in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
You can serve pita with any spread you like: chimichurri, pesto, za’atar, etc.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 30 minutes.
Status: Dairy.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.