Sarah’s brother the Bread Smith is here. He has a name, but nothing feels relevant next to fresh bread unless it’s a condiment.
In any case, Bread Smith is an expert craftsman, and he has very kindly agreed to an interview in order to share his wisdom with us all.
Me: “So, Bread Smith, in this apartment we attribute much of human evolution to the existence of bread. Without it, we would have no desire to continue the species.”
Bread Smith: “I toast to that.”
Me: “Me as well. So, before we begin, for the audience’s benefit, would you explain your credentials?”
Bread Smith: “Well, if I could name one thing, I suppose my most salient quality would simply be how much I loaf bread. As a youngster, I would often wander about under the light of the croissant moon and ask myself what really mattered in life. ‘Rye?’ I would say. ‘Rye am I here?’”
Me: “And your answer was…”
Bread Smith: “I found many, of course, but naan so important as bread. Other things were matzo important.”
Me: “Yes… yes, I see. And, uh, in making bread, do you have a particular philosophy, or some advice for any amateur bread smiths?”
Bread Smith: “Over the years, I’ve come to dough many things about the art. I do feel that there’s some natural talent involved – almost as if I’ve been bread for it – but genetics are really the yeast important of the factors. Going out to wheat other amateurs and exchange ideas is vital, and confidence also makes a big difference: you must learn to crust in your hands, and leaven your worries behind will naturally follow. Only then can you rise to success. As far as advice goes, I would caution that you never make more than you knead.”
Me: “That sounds… reasonable. Last question: when you’re not thinking about or making bread, what do you like to do?”
Bread Smith: “Organic chemistry.”
Roasted Veggie Flatbread w/ Maple Sage Pumpkin Spread
This combination of flavors is perfect for the fall season. All the leaves may as well change color after your first bite.
And, thankfully, Bread Smith recognizes that we are all amateurs in comparison, so he’s given us a simple, easy-to-follow recipe. If you’ve never made bread before, flatbread might be a good place to start.
(This recipe makes 8-10 servings, so, if you’re like us, it might feed two or three really hungry people.)
Ingredients for the Bread:
- 3 cups of white flour
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. of active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cup of warm water
How to Put This in Your Mouth:
Assuming that you’re not going to hand-grind your flour like this mad man:
You can skip to Step #1:
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. The dough at this point will be sticky.
- On a floured surface, knead until well-incorporated. By the end of the kneading process, the dough should stick to itself (not very much to your hands), and it should still be fairly stretchy:
If your dough is too hard or cracks, add water in 1 tbsp increments until smooth. If it’s too sticky, add flour in 1tbsp increments.
- Next, form the dough into a ball, place in a covered container, and let sit for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature until about doubled in size.
- Briefly re-knead the flatbread.
- To cook it, simply tear off pieces about the size of your fist, roll into a flat disk, and cook on medium-low heat in an oiled pan. (Of course, I suggest you do this last, since bread is always better when it’s hot.)
Now on to the roasted veggies…
- 1 Butternut squash, cubed
- 1 package (8 oz.) of whole mushrooms
- 2 cups of brussel sprouts, halved
- 1 apple with skin, cubed
- 3 to 1,000,000 whole garlic cloves, depending on your preference
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1/2 tbsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp. rosemary
To make it:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine all ingredients in a large oven-safe baking pan or glass container and toss to coat evenly
- Roast for 45 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender
And last but not least! The maple-sage pumpkin spread:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp. salt
- 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp. sage
- 1 tsp. black pepper
Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
…And now all that’s left is to build your flatbread how you like it! Enjoy!