Saturday, March 8, 2014

Soft French-Style Bread - Especially for Dana Marie

                            This recipe makes ONE loaf.  Double for the two loaves pictured above.

This is an easy and delicious recipe.  Shape it free-form on a baking sheet.


1 cup warm water (no more than 110°F)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 package yeast (or 2-1/3 teaspoon if you buy in bulk)

2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon oil

3 cups flour - bread flour or winter wheat is best as it is softer and makes nicer bread

Oil for greasing the baking sheet
1 Tablespoon polenta, coarse cornmeal or grits for the baking sheet
1 egg, beaten for the top of the loaf


Pour warm water into medium sized bowl.  Add sugar and stir together.  Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand 5 minutes.

Once yeast is dissolved add salt, oil and one cup of the flour.  Mix well with a spoon.  Add another cup of flour and continue mixing.

Put one cup of flour on the counter or a board and scrape the contents of the bowl directly onto it. 
Begin kneading the dough, adding bits of flour if you find that it is too sticky.  After about 5-7 minutes you should feel the dough begin to change and it will become smooth. 

Do not add too much flour - this is a fairly soft dough but not sticky. 

Oil a medium-sized bowl and place the dough inside.  Cover lightly with a tea-towel or cling wrap.
Let rise in a warm room for abut an hour to an hour and a half.  The dough should be about double in size.

To prepare baking pan:

I prefer to use baking paper as it helps to eliminate a lot of the clean up.  If you have baking paper, cut a piece to fit a cookie sheet.  Oil it lightly and then sprinkle with Polenta, coarse cornmeal or grits.  This gives the bottom crust a nice crunch.

Remove dough from bowl and on a very lightly-floured counter knead the dough until it is back to the size it was before the first rise.  Begin shaping a long roll - it should be 8-10" long.  Place the roll on the prepared baking sheet and allow to rise in a warm room for 45 minutes. 

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F - Place rack in the centre of the oven

Beat one egg in a bowl and then gently brush the entire unbaked loaf with the egg.  Use a pastry brush or even your hands.

Cut slices about 1/4" deep, diagonally in raised loaf. (See photo of finished loaves above)

Place baking sheet in oven on the middle rack and bake for about 25 minutes.  To check to see if your bread is baked, open the oven and tap the top of the loaf.  If it sounds a bit hollow then it is done.  The colour should also be brown and shiny.

Cool on rack for a minimum of 10 minutes.

K (P)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

This past Shabbat we had falafel with Tzatziki sauce.  They were delicious when warm and also excellent the next day when cold.  You can use dried chick peas - rinse well, soak and cook overnight in crockpot or in a pot on the stove until tender.  I most often used canned garbanzo beans for ours.

*This can be served for pesach (Passover) if you eat Kitniyot. Use potato starch to bind together instead of flour.  During Pesach, use lettuce leaves instead of bread.  It is really delicious.  Many Vietnamese foods are wrapped in lettuce leaves when eaten and the fresh crunch is very nice.

    Ingredients For Falafel:  

    2 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

    1 onion, chopped

    1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

    1/2 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped

    2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced/pressed

    1 Tbsp ground cumin

    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 dash pepper

    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Juice of one lemon

    3/4 cup wheat flour or fine matzah meal.  Potato starch or chickpea flour can also be substituted.

    2 eggs

    Oil for frying

Do you have a food processor?  Oh, you lucky people!  If so, now is the time to use it.  If you do not own one, don't worry.  People have been making falafel for centuries by mashing and chopping.  If you will be making without a food processor, warm the drained garbanzo beans and they will mash easier. 


Drain the garbanzo beans and put into your food processor.  Then add the remaining ingredients (Except for the eggs and the oil) and process until fairly smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning BEFORE you add the egg.

Once the falafel dough tastes right, add the beaten eggs and process again.
It should be about the consistency of play-doh or peanut butter cookie dough.  If too dry, add more lemon juice or a bit of water. 

Use a 1/8 cup measuring cup or a 2 Tbsp scoop to make individual balls of falafel mix.  Press them slightly between your hands
so they are more flat than round - they will fit into the bread easier.

Place on lined baking tray and refrigerate until ready to cook.


Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in fry pan until hot - 350ºF/175ºC if you have a thermometer

Carefully add falafel balls to hot oil and fry until the bottom side is brown.  Using a thin spatula, fork or chopsticks, flip the falafel balls over to fry the other side until brown.  Remove from oil when cooked and place on absorbent paper to drain.

Continue frying until all are cooked.

We like to eat our falafel with flat bread, avocado, cucumber, tomato, sliced red onion and lemon slices.
Homemade tzatziki sauce is very easy to make. If you will be having the dairy sauce with these, crumbled feta is also excellent with falafel. 

If you do not want dairy, serve with lots of lemon slices. 

K (D) with tzatziki sauce or (P) with lemon slices 
*Kosher for Pesach (Passover) with adjustments at top of recipe

Tzatziki Sauce

Home made Tzatziki is quick and easy to make.  Some add mint and some add dill.  Either is good.  It is excellent with falafel and also makes a nice dip.

    For Sauce:
    16 oz plain yoghurt (non-fat may be used) We find Greek-Style is best as it is thicker

    1 cucumbers - peeled and finely chopped

    1 teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped (or mint, if that is your choice)
    Juice of one lemon

    1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

    salt and pepper to taste


    Mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasoning. 
    Let stand, covered, in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Kosher for Pesach (Passover)

K (D)