Quote du jour: "Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature" Michael Pollan
Do visit the website of my esteemed friend Roberto Gonzalez, a very inspiring and trailblazing Chicano visual and performance artist, composer, and musician:
On the prep station: Pan de Comino
In my experience, garbanzos (chickpeas) as an ingredient used in Mexican cooking has never been mentioned. It’s never been brought up among my co-workers from Mexico. I’ve only very recently come across a few authentic recipes in books. Zarela Martinez’s “The Food and Life of Oaxaca” includes 3 soups using chickpeas. There is a ”Beef Soup with Vegetables”(“Molito de Res), “Cabbage Soup” (“Cocina de Coles”), and a “Toasted Chickpea Soup” (“Molito de Garbanzo”)” In the latter soup, chickpeas are baked and ground to add flavor and thickening. She also includes recipes for sweet or savory chickpea fritters (“Bocadillos de Garbanzo”). It immediately reminded me of falafels. In Marilyn Tausand’s book “La Cocina Mexicana”, there is a recipe for “Cream of Garbanzo Soup”(“Crema de Garbanzo”) and “Gorditas de Garbanzo Dulce”( “Sweet Garbanzo Gorditas”) also a fritter. Diana Kennedy in “From My Mexican Kitchen” mentions that chickpeas when very young are sold as a street snack, still in their husk and accompanied with a very picante sauce. She also includes a couple of molitos in her most recent book, ”Oaxaca al Gusto-An Infinite Gastronomy”. Chickpeas seem to be more prevalent in Oaxaca. I wonder how that came to be. I’ve always thought chickpeas stood by well with Mexican flavors. Hummus often includes cumin, chile pepper, and garlic in the ingredients. My recipe goes all out with typical ”Tex-Mex” flavors. I use canned garbanzos for its convenience and to encourage readers to try this easy recipe. For an update, I’ll have to include a version where the raw garbanzos are soaked overnight and then boiled to soften. I think the garbanzo flavor would come out more when using the fresh product.
A few notes: Store bought chile powder can be substituted for the home-ground guajiillo pepper but the amount may differ according to your own taste. Freshly toasted and ground whole cumin is also an option.
The 1 pound 13 ounce can was the standard weight for all three brands I found, “Goya”, “Mid-East”, and “Eden”. There is also a smaller size available.
For about 2 1/2 cups of dip-
One can garbanzos (chickpeas), 1 pound 13 ounce size
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground dried guajillo pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large garlic clove chopped fine
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt to taste (about a generous 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon Serrano pepper minced (optional)
Water to thin out dip , several tablespoons
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
If you using guajillo peppers and not substituting with chile powder: Heat a heavy skillet to medium. Slit open 2 large dried guajillo peppers and remove the seeds. With tongs or a metal spatula, press one against the hot skillet. Toast for a few seconds, being careful not to burn. Turn over to toast the other side. Repeat with the second pepper. Finely grind them in a spice grinder. Measure out for the recipe. Use the rest to garnish or use in another preparation.
Drain the can of garbanzo beans of the liquid. You may save the liquid and use some to thin out the dip. I prefer to use water. Put the garbanzos in a food processer along with the rest of the ingredients except the salt and begin to puree. Add water as needed to reach a smooth consistency. You want it soft enough to allow to dip with tortilla chips, but not too soft or mushy. Test as you go. Add the salt to taste. Remove the dip to a serving bowl and mix in the cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips or crudité.
This is an easy and flavorful alternative to bean dip or hummus. Yes, go ahead and call it a Tex-Mex variation of hummus.
These flavorful and colorful tortillas are an easy adaptation from the regular flour variety. The tomato paste adds a beautiful deep “rustic” color and subtle flavor while ground chiles contribute some flavor, spice and lots of character. Ground New Mexican chile pepper gave a more intense flavor while the McCormick brand chile powder gave a somewhat milder tasting tortilla. This particular product listed chile pepper, spices, salt, silicon dioxide (to make free flowing), and garlic for its ingredients. I used freshly toasted and ground dried guajillo chiles for this recipe. These were a bit milder in spiciness but gave a brighter flavor and color to the tortilla. There may be a variety of dried chiles to choose from in the “Latin-American” section of your supermarket. Different chiles will vary in flavor, color, and heat level. Try experimenting with your own blends.
This recipe yields 10 to 12 tortillas:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons ground red chile pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces vegetable shortening (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
about 1/2 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons warm water
Warning! This dough will stain your cutting board and rolling pin. It will take some work to remove the orange-reddish stain so don’t use your heirloom or favorite tools!
If you are grinding your own dried pepper: Heat a heavy or iron skillet to medium. Cut open the dried chiles and remove the seeds. You don’t have to remove every last one. One by one, press them flat on the skillet with tongs or a metal spatula, turning them over until slightly toasted on both sides. Make sure not to burn them as it only takes a few seconds. Let them cool down, crumble them, and grind a few a time in your spice grinder. Ten guajillo peppers rendered about 8-9 tablespoons of ground chile. Store the extra pepper to use for other recipes.
In a small bowl, dissolve the tomato paste in the warm water and set aside. Mix together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Incorporate the vegetable shortening into the mixture by rubbing it in until it is well dispersed. Now add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup water mixture to form a workable dough gradually adding the extra tablespoons of water if required. Knead about 5 minutes adjusting with more flour or water if needed until it is smooth. The dough should be neither dry nor wet. Divide into 10-12 portions, roll into balls, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 1 hour.
Heat up your iron skillet or comal to medium while you begin to roll out the tortillas. Be sure to roll them out thin. Take your time with them to shape into rounds. Put one on the skillet and cook for about 30-45 seconds. You should see some bubbles form. Be sure to pop the large ones so that the tortilla cooks evenly. Flip it to cook the other side for about 30 to 45 seconds. Put them in a kitchen towel as they come off your skillet to keep warm. To store them, wrap in a kitchen towel, then put in a ziplock bag. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Reheat to bring back their pliability.
A tricky part in making tortillas is getting the right amount of water in the dough. Different flours have different absorbing qualities so it may take a few attempts before you get it. A dry dough will result in a slightly brittle tortilla while a very wet one will give you tortillas with moist patches. The 1/2 cup plus a couple tablespoons water is just a guide.
You may also try adding fresh cilantro or oregano, fresh or dried, to the recipe.
I’m interested in reading about your tortilla making experiences or some memories eating them.
A note on the photos-I think it’s worth mentioning that the color of the tortillas and dough in the top photos is close to the real thing. They really are a striking and beautiful looking tortilla. The color of the tortillas in the bottom photo are washed out a bit because I took the photo at a later time of day and in different conditions. Getting a proper understanding of photography is an ongoing experience for me.
As part of my ” Accompaniments” category, I’m including salsas, the flavorful, spicy condiment that is considered a must for what seems like most Mexican meals. I’ve never seen my co-worker buddies eat without it, whether it be a quickly made fresh jalapeno-tomato salsa, a dried chile type brought to work from home, or the store bought bottled vinegary variety. If all else fails, a raw jalapeno or Serrano pepper will do the trick. Hot spice can liven up the meal and add another dimension of flavor.
In this simple traditional salsa, tomatillos provide a tang, while the chile de arbol gives it a kick. The garlic contributes a little depth with subtle sweetness. The very popular chile de arbol is very spicy and care must be given that you don’t overdo it. This chile can be found dried in the ”Latin-American” section of supermarkets. More grocery stores seem to be carrying a wider variety of dried chiles. Many people choose this particular one because of its very hot qualities, resulting in a fiery salsa. I enjoy hot like anybody else, but I also want to be able to enjoy the flavors of the other ingredients and the food it’s being served with, so I tone down the heat a little. The flavor of this chile doesn’t seem as pronounced as others like the guajillo, chipotle, or Ancho pepper. I think because of their heat factor, less of the chile de arbol is used, so less of the flavor is incorporated. However, roasting them on a skillet helps evoke more flavor.
If you can’t find chile de arbol, you can substitute with other chiles, but the quantity used will not be the same, nor will you get the same flavor. I’ll be posting other salsa recipes using other kinds of chiles in the future.
Special equipment you’ll need are a blender, a heavy skillet, and a metal spatula.
This recipe makes almost 3 cups of salsa:
2 pounds tomatillos
6 chiles de arbol (or more if you prefer it hotter)
2 large garlic cloves unpeeled
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Set your oven to hi broil. Remove the stems and husks from the tomatillos. Wash the tomatillos to remove any soil and dry them. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet. Even if you use a non-stick pan, you may have a very sticky mess on your hands if you don’t take the precaution. Put them in the broiler on the top or second rack. Let them become somewhat black and blotchy and then turn them over to complete the roasting. When they have once again begun to blacken a bit, remove them to cool. They will probably have exuded some of their juice. The tomatillos should be softened by now, but not disintegrated. It should take about 10-12 minutes depending on how hi the broil is. You can choose to use the low setting for a longer broil. Just make sure the tomatillos are not overcooked.
While the tomatillos are broiling, heat your skillet on the stovetop to medium. Remove the stems from the chiles. Break the chiles in half and shake out the seeds. I try to remove them all since the chile packs some serious heat. Place some of the chiles on the skillet to toast. Press down on them with the metal spatula to insure even toasting. Be careful not to burn them or they will become bitter tasting. Turn them over to roast the other side. The chiles will turn a darker color and emit an almost intoxicating aroma. Remove from the skillet to cool. Repeat with the rest of the chiles.
Place the unpeeled garlic on the skillet to pan roast them. Turn them over to thoroughly roast. It’s ok to let them develop some dark spots. The garlic should soften. Peel the garlic when cool enough to handle.
Put the tomatillos in the blender along with the chiles and garlic. Puree to a fairly smooth texture. Add enough tomatillo juice if needed to get to the desired consistency . Add water if needed though I’ve never had to. Add the sugar and mix. To cut back more of the tanginess, add a little more sugar. Now season with salt. Serve with tortilla chips or along your favorite tacos, chalupas, gorditas or tortas. Like most salsas, this is a versatile condiment.
This delicious and pleasantly “fiery” bread has become my current favorite. The kitchen fills with the very distinctive warm smoky, aroma of the chipotle and bread as it bakes. It is a very simple addition to a basic sourdough. I encourage you to try adding canned chipotle peppers to your own recipe. As in my pumpkin seed sourdough, this bread is based on Chad Robertson’s “Basic Country Bread”. This time I used the same amount of hydration as he does, substituted whole wheat flour for some of the bread flour, and added the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce as my variation. Instead of using a Dutch oven, I simply use a baking stone and mist the oven with water during the first few minutes of baking.
Chipotle peppers are jalapeno peppers that have been ripened, dried, and smoked. They have become much easier to find recently. Canned chipotle peppers, which are used in this recipe, have been widely available for a while. The peppers are canned with an adobo, a sauce made of vinegar highly flavored with a variety of flavors including but not always spices, herbs, tomato and other ingredients.
This recipe makes 2 loaves. As I have highly recommended before, get “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson for the original source to this basic sourdough bread method.
1 1/2 teaspoons active starter
50 grams whole wheat flour
50 grams bread flour
100 grams water at 80 degrees
700 grams water at 80 degrees
800 grams bread flour
200 grams whole wheat flour
20 grams salt
50 grams water
3 tablespoons canned chipotle pepper (include some of the adobo sauce) chopped
For the leaven: The night before you plan to bake, disperse the starter in the 50 grams water and add the 50 grams bread flour and 50 grams whole wheat flour. The starter I used had been refreshed about 8-9 hours before and had reached the stage where it had begun to collapse. It had a slightly tangy aroma. Cover the leaven with plastic or a kitchen cloth and let it ferment overnight. Mine took about 12 hours in a 72 degree room to ferment to a desired stage. Chad Robertson advises to test the leaven by dropping a spoonful in moderate temperature water. It is ready when the leaven floats.
For the final dough: (On the baking day)
1. Put the 700 grams water into a fairly large mixing bowl and add the leaven to disperse. Next add the flours and mix very well until there are no dry bits of flour. Let the dough rest for about 25- 40 minutes.
2. The dough will feel and look more cohesive after the rest period. Add the salt and 50 grams water by squeezing it into the dough. Fold the dough on top of itself and place it in a plastic container that will serve for it’s bulk fermenting period. The ambient temperature was between 72 and 76 degrees.
3. This bread is not kneaded, but instead given “turns”. A turn consists of reaching the underside of the dough and folding it over the top. Do this 3 times for each turn to make sure it is evenly folded. Do a turn every 30 minutes for 3 hours. During the third hour, be more gentle so as to maintain the aeration that is developing. The dough should increase in volume by 20 to 30 per cent and feel softer. Bubbles should be forming along the side of the container. I use a clear plastic one so I can see how the dough is coming along. Extend the fermentation period with more turns if needed.
4. Remove the dough from the container with a dough spatula onto an unfloured surface. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and then cut it in half with a pastry scraper. Seal the flour on the surface of the dough by folding the cut side of each piece onto itself. Use flour on your hands so that the dough does not stick to you. It is a wet dough that is difficult to handle. Using a pastry scraper and one hand, form each dough into a round shape as you build tension on the surface. This tautness on the outer surface helps with the oven spring you are going for as the dough begins to bake.
5. Let both rounds rest for about 30 minutes. They will both spread out into a thick pancake-like shape. The edges should be round and fat, not flattened out too much. If it appears like they are tapering too much, shape them again into rounds. This is like giving them another turn.
6. For the final shaping, lightly flour the top of the rounds and flip them over carefully with your pastry scraper. Try to maintain the round shape. The floured side is now against your work surface. Work each round one at a time. Grab the third of the dough nearest to you and fold it over the middle third. Next, stretch the third of the dough horizontally to your right and fold it over the middle. Do the same with the left third of the dough. Now grab the third farthest from you and fold it over the middle as well. Hold the part of the dough nearest you and wrap it up and over, meanwhile flipping the dough over so that the smooth side is now on top. Repeat the shaping with the other round.
7. Line 2 bannetons or medium size bowls with lightly floured kitchen towels. This helps keep the dough from sticking to the towels. Chad Robertson suggest using a 50/50 mixture of rice flour and wheat flour. Using your pastry scraper, carefully transfer the rounds to the baskets or bowls. The smooth side is face down while the seam side should be on top. They should proof from 2-4 hours in a 75 to 80 degree temperature environment. A 2 hour rise will result in a milder flavored loaf. You can also delay the process by putting them overnight in a refrigerator. An 8 to 12 hour rise will produce more complex and slightly more acidic results.
8. About 30 minutes before you begin baking, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees. Place your baking stone if using one. If you don’t have one, try using 2 layers of heavy baking sheets. Robertson uses a method of baking the loaves each in a Dutch oven which he says simulates the action of steam injected professional ovens. When ready to bake, invert one of bannetons or bowl onto parchment paper, remove the bowl and towel carefully to expose the round. Lightly flour the surface of the round and score. Using a peel, slide it along with the parchment paper in the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. My oven is too small to accommodate both so I refrigerate the 2nd dough for about 15 minutes while the other is baking. I don’t think refrigerating is particularly necessary, since a 30 minute wait at this point won’t make too much difference. I use a garden mister to create a steam environment in the oven. I mist 3 or 4 times for the first 10 to 12 minutes. The bread should be ready in about 25 minutes. I check with thermometer when I feel it is close to done. The internal temp of the loaf should be 200 degrees. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
This bread will add great flavor and kick to a sandwich, say one of queso fresco, roasted tomato slices, avocado, and mixed greens. It would also make very flavorful garlic croutons for soups or salads.
With the fire and flavor of the roasted Poblano pepper and the generous amount of sharp cheddar cheese, this bread made with a pre-ferment makes a very hearty snack by itself.
This recipe starts the day before baking with a biga, a saltless pre-ferment that helps boost flavor from the flour.
Biga (made the day or night before)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cups plus about 3-4 tablespoons moderate temperature water
All the biga
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup water
5 medium size Poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeds removed, and diced
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, preferably at least medium sharp, 1/4″ to 1/2 ” dice
For the biga, stir together the flour and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add most of the 3/4 cup water and mix together with a spoon to form a coarse ball of dough. With the hook attachment, begin kneading on low using the mixer. Slowly add more water as needed to begin forming a smooth dough. Continue kneading for about 5-6 minutes until the dough is soft and pliable. It should be “tacky but not sticky”. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl making sure that the top of the dough is also oiled to prevent a crust from forming. Let it ferment until it is almost double in size. It will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on the temperature of the room. When ready, take the dough out of the bowl to a work surface and lightly degass it. Place it back in the bowl, cover with plastic and then place the bowl in your refrigerator. It will be good for three days.
For the Poblano peppers, you can fire-roast them directly on your stove top. Hold them with fire proof tongs, rotating them to char the pepper all around. As you remove them from the flame, put them in a container covered with plastic so the peel more easily separates from the pepper. You can also roast them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Turn them over half way through so that they roast evenly. Peel them once they are cool enough to handle. Cut them open to remove the seeds and dice to about 1/2″. Be careful when handling so that your fingers don’t burn. Peppers are not consistent in the amount of heat and flavor they hold. These Poblanos were unusually weaker in moisture, flavor, and heat even though they did not appear to be drier. You may need to cut back on the amount you use for the recipe if you come across more potent peppers.
Take the biga out of the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to start mixing to take the chill off.
1. Put all the biga, the bread flour, whole wheat flour, instant yeast, olive oil, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer to stir together. Add most of the water and mix together to form a coarse ball of dough. Begin kneading using the dough hook attachment of your mixer. Add more water as needed so that it begins to come together more smoothly. Continue kneading for about 5-6 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. It should have good gluten development by now.
2 Gradually add the diced Poblano pepper while the mixer is running on low. If your peppers are moist, you may need to add more flour as they incorporate into the dough. (You may also mix in the peppers by hand instead of using the mixer). Remove the dough to a work surface and add the diced cheese. It seems like a lot of cheese, but there is enough dough to hold it. Be careful not to handle the dough roughly. I believe the cheese cubes cut the gluten strands as they are mixed in. It should be more of a folding than kneading.
3. Form the dough into a ball and put it in a lightly oiled bowl. Make sure the top surface of the dough is also lightly oiled. Cover with plastic and ferment until it is almost double in size.
4. Take the dough out of the bowl and lightly degass it. Divide it into 2 and form the portions into rounds. Roll them on the work surface such that tension is formed on the outer surface of the dough. Put them each on parchment paper, and loosely cover with plastic. Let them proof until nearly double in size. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven (with your baking stone in place if using) to 500 degrees. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can place a heavy duty baking sheet in the oven as a substitute.
5. When the dough is ready, score them and transfer along with the parchment paper to the baking stone or baking sheet. I mist the oven with a garden spray at least 3 times in the first 10 to 12 minutes. The bread is ready in about 20 minutes. The internal temperature should read 200 degrees. Put them on a wire rack to completely cool.
I am not aware of a present day sourdough bread tradition in Mexico or from the descendants of Mexicans in the United States. It’s not something our family grew up with. The only kind of non-sweet bread we ate was the store bought white sandwich bread or raisin bread, with the occasional “whole wheat” variety. Commercially made yeast has only been around since the 1800′s, a very short while compared to the approximately 6000 years that bread in some form or other has been made. The Spaniards introduced bread making centuries ago to Mexico so natural yeast leavened bread has been around for awhile. Maybe it couldn’t compete with the practicality of the corn tortilla. Wild yeast has a way of bringing out more depth of flavor and qualities from flour. Commercial yeast is much more convenient but also more appropriate for most types of bread. To be sure, the different kinds of yeast bring their own set of qualities with them.
I recall as a child eating toasted and salted squash or pumpkin seeds in Mexico. They were sold in small paper or plastic bags with no descriptive brand name. It is sold more like a street food snack from vendors. Pumpkin seeds are also an ingredient in pipian sauces for chicken or pork dishes. I love the nuttiness it brings to bread. The flavor and crunch blends in well with the complex flavors of a sourdough bread.
This recipe is adapted from Chad Robertson’s “Basic Country Bread” in his “Tartine Bread”, a very highly recommended book with beautiful photos and personal anecdotes. For a much more elaborately explained procedure, get his book. There are many photos to guide the way through and the why’s behind the techniques are clearly explained. I am merely paraphrasing his instructions for the essential steps. Whether you are new to sourdough baking, or want to learn another method or technique, “Tartine Bread” is a must have. I add pumpkin seeds as a variation to his basic recipe. I also used a little less water than he calls for. Having made it several times, I decided on making that minor change since the loaves tended to bake a little flatter than I wanted. As I get more used to the hydration level, I’ll increase the amount of water. If you notice in the top photo, there is a slight tear and bulge in the top loaf. When I took the dough out of the bannetons, they began to flatten. They both continued to flatten as they sat on the baking stone and bumped into each other, resulting in one sticking to some of the parchment paper.
Leaven: 1 1/2 teaspoons starter that has been refreshed about 8 hours before 100 grams water at 78 degrees
50 grams bread flour
50 grams whole wheat flour
630 grams water at 80 degrees
All the leaven
900 grams bread flour
100 grams whole wheat flour
20 grams salt
50 grams warm water
1 1/4 cups toasted pumpkin seeds
1. Make the leaven the night before baking. Mix the starter into the water, then add the flours to blend very well. Cover with a kitchen towel and let ferment in a 65 degree room overnight. Fermenting in warmer areas will hurry the process, but careful it doesn’t ferment too fast. Chad Robertson instructs that the leaven is ready when a spoonful of leaven floats in a bowl of moderate temperature water.
2. Put the 630 grams of water in a large mixing bowl. Add the leaven and stir well so that it disperses. Add the flours and mix well until it is all moistened. Let the mass of dough rest for from 25 to 40 minutes.
3. After the rest, add the salt and 50 grams of warm water to the dough and incorporate by squeezing the dough with your fingers. Fold the dough over itself several times and put it in a clear plastic container. The transparent container is suggested so that you can see the development of the dough as it ferments. The author ferments the dough between 78 and 82 degrees. The dough will develop according to the temperature in your kitchen.
4. Dough development is done by giving it “turns”. This is done by dipping your hand in water (to prevent the dough from sticking to you), grabbing the underside of the dough, stretching it up, and folding it back over the rest of the dough. Repeat this 2 or 3 times so that it is evenly developed. This action is considered one turn. For the first 2 hours, give the dough a turn every half hour. The dough begins to get soft and aerated. During the 2nd turn, add the toasted pumpkin seeds. I removed the dough to a work station and carefully incorporated them in. During the third hour, continue to give turns every half hour but be careful not to press the gas out of the dough. At the end of the third hour, it will be more cohesive, will release from the sides of the container more easily, and will have increased by 20 to 30 per cent in volume. Air bubbles are starting to form along the sides. If the dough hasn’t reached this stage, continue developing.
5. Using a rounded pastry scraper, carefully remove the dough from the container onto an unfloured work surface. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and then cut into 2 pieces. Flip the 2 pieces so that the floured surface is now on the bottom in contact with the work surface. Fold the cut part of the dough onto itself so that the flour on the surface is sealed on the outside of the loaf. This helps prevent flour from working into the dough. Form the two pieces into rounds. I did this much as I would form a roll except I used the pastry cutter to help with rolling. I was also careful not to tear them because the idea is to form tension on the surface. Lightly flour them and cover with plastic or kitchen towel. Let them rest for about 20-30 minutes. If the doughs begin to flatten out, give them another round shaping.
6. For final shaping, lightly flour the rounds and very carefully flip them over with your pastry scraper. The floured side is now on the work surface. Each of the doughs will go through a series of folds as follows. Fold the third of the dough closest to you and fold it over the middle third of the dough. Stretch out the dough horizontally to your right and fold that third over the center. Do the same with the left third, folding over the previous folds. Now stretch the third farthest from you and fold it over all folds. Finally grab the part of the dough nearest you, wrapping it up and over, while gently turning it over away from you to so that the smooth underside is now on top. Once again create tension , this time by cupping the ball of dough with your hands and working it against the work surface.
7. I used 2 bannetons to hold the dough for proofing. I generously dusted them and placed the doughs in them with the seam side up. You might notice one of my loaves is oblong in shape. Because I only have 1 round banneton I shaped one of them into a batard. You can also use an appropriately sized bowl to do the proofing. Line them each with a kitchen towel and lightly dust them with flour. This helps dough from sticking to the towels. This dough proofed for 4 hours in a 72 degree area. They grew to almost twice in volume.
8. If you are using a baking stone, place it in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Chad Robertson uses a Dutch oven to bake his loaves. This technique duplicates the effect of a professional steam injected oven. I opt for using a garden water spritzer to provide “steam”. When the dough is ready, very gently remove each of them to parchment paper and then on to your baking sheet if not using a baking stone. I then lightly misted them with water and sprinkled raw pumpkin seeds on them. Finally I scored them with a razor and put them in the oven. Lower the oven to 420. The dough immediately began to flatten out when being transferred from banneton to parchment paper. Be sure the size of your baking stone or baking sheet will accommodate this.
9. The bread should be ready in about 20-25 minutes. I make sure by temping it to 200 degrees.
Even though the 2 raw loaves lost their round form and flattened out when I prepared to bake them, the oven spring was dramatic and brought them back to shape. The flavor and texture of this hearty, delicious bread makes for great sandwiches.
This recipe could be a variation of a previous post, ”Whole wheat flour tortillas”, but I think this version deserves a write-up of its own. White whole wheat flour makes an excellent substitute for regular whole wheat flour in tortillas. Or maybe I should say whole wheat flour makes a good substitute for white whole wheat. The tortillas have a lighter and slightly sweeter flavor. I much more favor the white whole wheat flour variety now that I’ve tested it out. The tortillas are very delicious and compliment Mexican food very well. The flour is milled from hard white spring wheat rather than red wheat. It has the same kind of nutritional benefits but because it lacks the tannin and phenolic acid, it is less bitter in taste. Because I also use all-purpose flour, my recipe may not be healthy enough for die-hard whole wheat flour users, but you can certainly try increasing the level of white whole wheat flour and substitute something suitable for the vegetable shortening.
This makes 10 5 to 6 inch diameter tortillas
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon salt
1.7 oz vegetable shortening (about 1/4 cup)
about 3/4 cup warm water
Mix together the flours, baking powder, and salt in mixing bowl. Rub in the vegetable shortening until it is well dispersed in the flour mixture. Add most of the water and bring together to a coarse ball. Slowly add more water as you begin to knead, adding just enough so that it forms a soft dough after 5 minutes of kneading. From my rounds of testing, the dough never became completely smooth like it would with all-purpose flour. The dough should be neither sticky nor dry, but perhaps feel like the sticky side of a post-it. Trying out the process a couple of times will help you get the knack. Divide the dough into 10 portions. Shape them into rounds and cover with plastic. Let them rest about 1 hour. Heat your iron skillet or comal over medium heat and begin rolling out to about 5 1/2 to 6 inches in diameter. Be sure to take the time to roll them out thin. Lay them on the hot skillet and cook each side about 30 to 45 seconds. If big bubbles form pop them to insure the tortilla is evenly cooked. I store tortillas in the refrigerator by wrapping them in a kitchen cloth and putting them in a plastic bag.
Getting into specifics about the differences between the flours is subject for another post. For now, maybe your curiosity about white whole wheat flour tortillas has been sparked.