Falling into the Italian bread hole

Happy new year everybody!

After the break, we’re back with a lot of curiosity and interest in perfecting our cooking.

May this be the year in which you master anything that has been bugging you, or maybe the year in which you learn something new that you did not even know existed and it brings you lots of pleasure!

Which in my case seems to be Italian flour and breads. Brace yourselves…

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The quest for the perfect fogassa d’Ontinyent

Four bowls with ingredients for a fogassa, before mixing

As I said in my Fogassa d’Ontinyent post, I have been trying to locate the “proper” recipe for this for a few years already.

I think I started searching for a recipe in 2018, as November approached and I desperately wanted to eat a fogassa but could not visit Spain for multiple reasons. And I thought: Well, it is “only” a sweet bun, so it can’t be that hard to find a recipe for it, right?

Well, turns out that it can!

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Spooky things to bake around Halloween

Skull and crossbones streamer made out of newspaper

I love skeletons and skulls and spooky things in general (think Scooby Doo and Victorian horror novels level of scariness), so I always get very excited about the idea of baking things in that theme.

The more I learn about this, the more I realise there are a lot of traditional goods that were also baked in commemoration of the loved (but dead) people. All of these things look very interesting to me but I have no time to tackle all of them at the same time.

So I decided to make a list! Maybe it gives you ideas. Show me your pictures!

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Sourdough pitta bread

Two pitta breads with charred bits, slightly puffed up, on a plate

Now that summer is officially under way and it (sometimes) gets hot, I tend to avoid turning the oven on, as our flat gets very hot and we don’t need any extra heat. It’s time for salads, gazpachos and things that can be eaten cold(ish).

However… sometimes the pull of making something with flour is still strong. And that’s when I reach for these very easy to make pitta breads, which are dry-fried in a pan rather than baked in the oven.

It will still be hot in the kitchen for a bit, but then you’re done and ready to eat your little freshly baked wonders. And it’s so exciting to see them puff up! One of my favourite parts.

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Za’atar bread

Za'atar bread loaf, sliced

We bought a really big pack of Za’atar a couple of weeks ago, and the first thought I had (apart from cooking more cauliflower fritters) was that it would somehow make its way into bread.

First we made some sourdough manakish: a sort of flatbread topped with a paste made of za’atar and olive oil. That was very good!

Then I had an idea: what about making a hybrid between manakish and a ‘classic’ loaf?

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