The Bretzel is a traditional Alsatian biscuits. Its origin seems to come from a ancient cult of the sun. Then, they were shaped like a cross surrounded by a circle. As this design was to fragile the shape of the bretzel gradually changed to its actual shape: a wide knot.

They are made of a dough that is precooked in boiling water (poached) then sprinkled with sea salt and cumin (caraway) seed and dried in the oven.
In Alsace, the bretzel is the traditional accompaniment of beers.

Recipe for 10 bretzels:
  • 500g Stronghold flour
  • 10g Salt
  • 50g Yeast
  • 50g Butter
  • 20cl Milk
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • Some Sea salt and cumin seeds (caraway seeds)

Mix well the flour and the salt and separately mix the milk and the yeast. Form a dough with the flour, melted butter and the yeast flour mixture.

Knead on a floured board for 10 to 15 minutes. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth and let proof for 1 hour.

Knead the risen dough for another 5 minutes. Take some of the dough and form a cylinder about 12 inches long. Tie a knot to give the bretzel its traditional shape (see picture). Repeat until all the dough has been used.

The next step is to poach them in simmering salted water for 2 minutes. Place them to dry on a clean kitchen cloth. It is not the easiest part of the job!

Place your bretzel on tray, brush with some egg wash. Set aside to rest for an another hour.

Sprinkle with the sea salt and cumin seeds and bake at 200 degrees Centigrade for 15 minutes. Let cool down on a pastry rack.

Finally I would like to put a stop to the whole Bretzel VS Pretzel war that is going on. The only difference between these two is: a letter. They are the same thing. But, as I am a firm believer of the respect of the original definition of a traditional recipes I have to say that I am a little bit irritated with the Pretzel. But hey! Everybody is entitled to his/ her own opinion!

"How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?"

Charles De Gaulle

Nut free


Soda Cackers

Recipe for 100 crackers:

  • 3 cups Stronghold flour
  • 1/2 ts Salt
  • 2 ts Baking powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Melted butter

Into a medium bowl measure the flour, salt and baking powder. In a small bowl, emulsify with a fork, the water and melted butter. Combine the liquid and dry ingredients well with a fork, then let the dough rest to absorb moisture.
Lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a 22- by 14-inch rectangle, about 1/16-inch thick. Using a fork, prick the dough all over to release trapped air and keep the dough flat. With a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the dough into 2-inch squares or other shapes, or cut shapes with a 2-inch cookie cutter.
Using a spatula, transfer the crackers to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the crackers are light brown and firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes, switching the positions of the sheets halfway through the baking time. When the first two sheets are finished, remove them, and bake the third one as directed. Cool completely.

"I don't think America will have really made it until we have our own salad dressing. Until then we're stuck behind the French, Italians, Russians and Caesarians."

Pat McNelis

Make it gluten free with quinoa flour, Vegetarian, Nut free


English Muffin

The English muffin were originally eaten by the "downstairs" servants in England's Victorian society, the English muffin surfaced and rose to prominence in Great Britain when members of all classes of society became aware of its goodness. The family baker made English muffins from leftover bread and biscuit dough scraps and mashed potatoes. He fried the batter on a hot griddle, creating light, crusty muffins for the servants. Once members of the "upstairs" family tasted these rich muffins, they began to request them for themselves - especially during teatime.
As a result of the English muffin becoming the "most fancied" bread on the isle, English muffin factories sprang up all over England. Muffin men could be heard in the streets selling their muffins from wooden trays slung around their necks. For teatime in private homes and clubs, the English muffins would be split and toasted over an open fire and served in a covered sterling dish alongside tea. The prominence of the muffin men in English society was evident when "Oh, do you know the muffin man" became a popular children's nursery rhyme. The popularity of the English muffin reached its zenith in Great Britain during the years preceding World War I.
(Extract from an article at the Kitchen

Recipe for 12 muffins:

  • 450 grams (3 cups) Untreated Bread Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Dry active Yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Natural bread Improver (not necessary)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 350 milliliters warm water

Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add any flavourings, then most of the warm water. Mix thoroughly taking great care not to make the dough too wet. To speed up the rising and ensure that the dough is not too moist you can scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a well floured board and knead for approximately 30 seconds, but it is not necessary. When fully mixed cover the dough with cling film and place the bowl somewhere warm to proof, until it double in size.

Tip the dough out onto a floured board and shape until smooth. Divide the dough evenly into 12 pieces and shape each into smooth round balls. Flatten the balls of dough to about 3/4" thick, set aside on a lightly floured surface to proof until it doubles in size (usually about 15-20 mins).

Heat a frying pan or a griddle to a medium heat and lightly oil. Cook each muffin for 5-6 minutes each side, longer if very fat.

Note: muffins taste less floury if you brush off the flour, and dust with semolina before cooking. Vary the ingredients to make sweet and flavoured muffins.

"I like my coffee like I like my women.In a plastic cup."

Eddie izzard

Nut free, Dairy free, Vegetarian, Vegan


Naan Bread

Naan is a staple accompaniment to hot meals in Central and South Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, India, Tadjikistan and the surrounding region. In Turkic language (such as Uzbek and Uyghur) the bread is known as nan. In Burmese, naan is known as nan bya. The first recorded history of Naan can be found in the notes of Amir Kushrau (1300 AD) as naan-e-tunuk (light bread) and naan-e-tanuri (cooked in a tandoor oven) at the imperial court in Delhi. Naan was in Mughal times a popular breakfast food, accompanied by qeema or kabab, of the royals. Naan bread is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava. Naan bread comes into a lot of different flavours, Keema naan is stuffed with a minced meat mixture (usually lamb or mutton); peshwari naan and Kashmiri naan are filled with a mixture of nuts and raisins; aloo naan is stuffed with potatoes. Possible seasonings in the dough include cumin and nigella.
  • 1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk (works well with soya milk too)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet."
Fran Lebowitz
Vegetarian and vegan if use soya milk, Nut free, replace the flour with quinoa flour to make it gluten free.



  • 1/4 cup teff flour
  • 3/4 cup stronghold flour
  • 1 cup water
  • a pinch of salt
  • peanut or vegetable oil
First of all a small speech about teff:

Teff, ergragostis in Latin, is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC. This grain has been widely cultivated and used in Ethiopia, India and Australia. Teff is grown primarily as a cereal crop in Ethiopia where it is ground into flour, fermented for three days then made into enjera. It is also used in porridge and used as an ingredient in home-brewed alcoholic drinks. The grass is grown as forage for cattle and is also used as a component in adobe construction in Ethiopia.

The word teff is thought to have been derived from the Amharic word teffa which means "lost," due to its small size it is easily is lost if dropped. It is the smallest grain in the world, measuring only about 1/32 of an inch in diameter. It takes 150 grains of teff to make the weight of a grain of wheat. The common English names for teff are teff, lovegrass, and annual bunch grass. Teff is free of gluten.

Now the recipe:

Put the teff flour in bowl and sift in the stronghold flour and the salt.
Slowly add the water, stirring to avoid lumps.
Heat a nonstick pan or lightly oiled cast-iron skillet until a water drop dances on the surface. Make sure the surface of the pan is smooth: Otherwise, your injera might fall apart when you try to remove it.
Coat the pan with a thin layer of batter. Injera should be thicker than a crêpe, but not as thick as a pancake. It will rise slightly when it heats.Cook until holes appear on the surface of the bread. Once the surface is dry, remove the bread from the pan and let it cool.

"An empty belly is the best cook."

Estonian Proverb

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy free


Egyptian Pita Breads

There are 3 traditioanl Egyptian recipe for pita bread.

Recipe for Egyptian "Aesh Baladi", serves 8:

  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast.
  • 1 cup warm water.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 3 cups flour.

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup warm water. Sift together the flour and salt and mix the yeast and water. Work the mixture into a dough and knead for several minutes.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it proof in a warm place for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and roll into balls. With either your hand or a rolling pin, pat and press each ball of dough into a 5-inch circle about 1/2-inch thick. Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper and bake for 10 minutes, or until the pita are light golden brown.

The next two pita bread recipe are made in a same way, the only difference is in the composition. So, follow the recipe below for both.

Aash Baladi bread

  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour.
  • 7 oz. water.
  • 1/2 tsp. salt.
  • 1/4 oz. Dry Yeast.

Aash Makamar

  • 4 C bread flour
  • 1 Tb active dry yeast
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2 C of warm water

Mix the yeast and the water. Mix the dry ingredients and water using by hand or a kitchen mixer for 7 minutes to develop the gluten matrice in the dough. When it is finished it should be the same texture than a pizza dough. Cut the dough to small pieces , flatten them by hand or rolling pin. Cover .and let it proof for 15 minutes Pre-heat your oven to 500 F

Bake in the middle rack on a plate one at the time. Cook until it puffs up and reach a nice golden brown color.

"Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don't eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on."

George Bernard Shaw

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy free, Nut free.



There is a recipe for the Egyptian traditonal bread: the Baladi. It used as a pocket bread for various types of sandwiches, kebabs, etc.

Recipe for 6 to 8 baladis:
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 7 oz. water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt.
  • 1/4 oz. Dry Yeast.

Put flour and salt in an over sized bowl. Mix the dry yeast with the water. Slowly add water in the flour-salt mix and work this mix until you get a dough. Then, knead the dough for 20 minutes.

Spread some flour on a clean, flat surface. Divide the dough into small balls. Form balls into flat round shapes or triangles. Cover with a cloth and proof for one to two hours.
Bake the bread on a greaseproof paper for 30 minutes at 350 Degrees Centigrade.

"If you're going to America, bring your own food."

Fran Lebowitz

Vegetarin, Vegan, Dairy Free, Nut Free


Pizza Dough

This recipe is for two pizza bases:

  • 500gr Flour Type 00
  • 325gr water
  • 20gr salt
  • 3gr active dry yeast or 10gr of baker's yeast
  • 10 cl Extra virgin olive oil

Mix the yeast with the water. Using a stand mixer, put the flour, salt and olive oil, set it on slow and add the water-yeast mix gradually and let it work for two minutes. Then set the mixer on fast for 5 minutes, and slow again for another 2 minutes.
Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until it doubles in size. Punch it down and knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Form a ball, then cut it into 4-5 equal pieces.

Gently roll your dough into a small flat disc. Dust your pizza balls with flour, and store them under a damp towel, in a proofing tray, or under plastic wrap. This will prevent the outside of the ball from drying out and creating a crust, and becoming difficult to work with. The top of the pizza disc should be soft and silky.
Your pizza balls will need to rest for about an hour to become soft and elastic, so that they can be easily stretched into a thin crust pizza.
If you don't need your dough for more than an hour, refrigerate it until you are ready to start.

Rice is born in water and must die in wine.

Italian Proverb

Vegetarian, Vegan, Nut free, Dairy free



This is a basic recipe for focaccia bread from the ligure region. In Italy, this flatbread comes in various kind of flavours and shapes. In Florence, it is a close cousin of the pizza, pizzaiolos will bake a thick pizza base "topless" or with a couple of slices of tomatoes, in tuscani if you ask for it in a bakery you be given a schiacciata which is a thin loaf of bread tempered with some olive oil or just flavoured with some rosemary or sage: the focaccia salvia.

So this is how it goes:

  • 7 1/2 cups (750 g) unbleached stronghold flour
  • 2 ounces (50 g) active yeast
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, both finely and coarsely ground

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Make a mound of flour on your work surface, scoop a well into the middle of it, and pour in the yeast mixture together with 5 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 healthy pinches of fine salt.

Knead the mixture, adding small amounts of warm water as necessary, until you obtain a fairly firm, homogeneous dough. Put it in a bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise for 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).

Grease a baking sheet and dust it well with finely ground salt. Take the risen dough, flatten it out, and spread it enough to completely cover the baking sheet, dimpling the surface by pressing down on it with a spoon. Take the remaining oil and beat it lightly with a little water to make an emulsion; brush this emulsion over the focaccia and sprinkle it with coarse sea salt. Bake the focaccia until it is a lively golden brown, then remove it and let it cool. Don't let it over brown.

A couple of tips: Put a bowl of water in the oven with the focaccia, to keep it from drying out too much as it bakes.

"We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink..."

Vegetarian, Vegan, Nut free, Daity free



To Bake 6 loaves:

  • 1 tablespoon Dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups Warm water
  • 3 cups Whole wheat flour (sifted)
  • 1 cup Strong white flour
  • 4 tablespoons Sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • cooking and peanut oil, as needed

Naan-e Sangak or Noon-e Sangak is a favourite Iranian bread, usually made in bakeries using hot gravel stones (sang means stone). You may bake the bread without using any stones if you wish, although the special flavor and shape of the bread does come from using stones.
Mix the yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes and then add salt and 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Let this stand for 10 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the warm water, and flour while mixing until it becomes smooth and consistent. Use a new bowl that has been lined with 2 tablespoons of regular cooking oil. Put the dough in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm, dark place overnight. The dough will have a chance to rise in this manner.
Warm the baking stone in the lower level of the oven at 500° F for approximately 15 minutes. Knead the dough with well-oiled hands for 15 minutes. Use an oiled surface to divide the dough into 6 pieces. Flatten the pieces to be 1/2 an inch thick. Sprinkle some flour on the baker's peel and place the dough on one end of the peel. Using wet fingers, perforate the top of the loaf and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. You may also use poppy or nigella seeds or a mixture of all three kinds of seeds to taste.
Brush the oven rack with some peanut oil. Transfer the loaf onto the hot stone and return the rack to the oven. Bake for 1 minute and then press down the dough with the baker's peel. Bake for an additional 3 minutes, turn over and bake for 2 minutes. Using the baker's peel, remove the bread from the stone. Cover the bread to keep it warm. Repeat this procedure for all remaining loaves. Sangak bread is best served hot. You may keep the Sangak hot in the oven on a low temperature. You can also use clean towels to wrap before serving, and you may freeze the Sangak bread and reuse when needed.

Recipe thanks to: The Persian Mirror Magazine.

"When you cook it should be an act of love.To put a frozen bag in the microwave for your child is an act of hate."
Raymond Blanc

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy free, Contains Peanuts oil



Flour Tortilla

  • 2 cups un-sifted Bread Flour or wholemeal flour or quinoa flour*
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Lard, chilled
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water

Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add the lard and mix in with your fingers until you have completely crumbled it in. Slowly add the warm water and mix with a large spoon. Take the ball out and put on a "floured" board and knead 3-5 minutes-until elastic. Store in a warm place inside an oiled, plastic bag for 1 hour.

Pinch off pieces of dough about the size of a golf ball (1 inch) and let rest 15 minutes. Roll the balls into circles approximately 7 inches in size. Cook on a HOT (450-degrees) griddle turning only once. Remove to a basket lined with a cloth towel or put between a towel until cool. After the tortillas have cooled completely, store them in a plastic bag.

TIP: tortillas are best eaten hot right off the griddle (comal). You can refrigerate and freeze them as well. To freeze tortillas: wrap tightly in a plastic wrap and place inside a ziplock bag. When ready to use: thaw at room temperature, remove plastic wrap, rewrap in foil with a moist paper towel inserted, place in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Corn Tortilla

We are all familiar with both the corn and flour tortillas, but the original ones were of the native corn only, and except in Northern Mexico, corn tortillas remain the staple.

  • 4 cups masa harina (Corn Flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 21/2 cups hot but not boiling water

Place the masa harina and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and mix with your hands to make a dough that comes together in a soft ball. Continue mixing and kneading until the dough is elastic enough to hold together without cracking, about 3 minutes. If using right away, divide the dough into 18 equal portions and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. If making ahead for later use, wrap the whole ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day and then divide.

To form the tortillas, place a portion of dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Press with a tortilla press or roll out with a rolling pin into a circle 6 or 7 inches in diameter. Use your fingers to smooth any raggedy edges. Continue with the remaining portions until the dough is used up.

To cook the tortillas, heat a heavy skillet, griddle or comal over high heat until it begins to smoke. Peel the plastic wrap off a tortilla and place the tortilla in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 30 seconds. Turn and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Turn again, and cook until the tortilla puffs a bit but is still pliable, not crisp, about 30 seconds more. Remove and continue until all the tortillas are cooked.

Serve right away as this is when they are the best.

* Quinoa tortilla recipe:

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes."

Oscar Wilde

Nut free, Dairy free, Second recipe only Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free


Puri or Golegappa

For 10 to 12 Puri breads:

  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • A pinch of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • Luke warm water
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Wooden fork or chopsticks for turning gol-gappas over

Measure all ingredients for the dough, and make a medium firm dough by hand or in a food processor, adding water a little at the time.

Cover the dough with a wet cloth (J cloth) and rest for 30 minutes.

Break off pieces of the dough and roll between palms to make smooth, 2-3 inch in diameter balls.

Keep covered with a moist, thin muslin cloth (or J cloth).

On a floured or greased board, roll out each ball thinly, 2 millimetres thick approximately.

Cut into a 3-4 cm. circles using a small biscuit or pastry cutter. Each round should be a single mouthful size because it is eaten as a whole, without breaking.

Cover the circles with a moist cloth until you are ready to fry them. It is important that each batch is covered with a moist cloth for a while before frying, to allow them to 'prove'. This helps them to puff up. I roll out 2 batches of 8-10, to start with, and then roll a fresh batch out while the last one is frying. If you are a beginner, it might be worth rolling out all golegappas first, but do remember that they must be kept covered with a moist cloth, until you are ready to fry or they will dry out. Get someone to help you, if you can. It is easier for two people to make them.

Fry in low-medium hot oil by turning them gently with a wooden chop stick. This helps to puff them up. In India, the Chaat-wallas use twigs from trees instead of chopsticks. Keep turning a few times, until light brown on all sides and crisp. If the oil is too hot and they are cooked too quickly, they will become soft and soggy.

Take out using a slotted spatula onto a kitchen paper or on a newspaper and allow them to cool. When completely cold, they can be stored in air tight boxes for a few weeks.

He who eats alone chokes alone.

Dairy free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nut free



For 10 to 12 Paratha bread:

  • 185 g Atta flour
  • 185 g roti flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee at room temperature
  • 250 ml Water
  • 185 ml Melted and cooled ghee

Sift both kinds of flour with the salt into a large bowl and rub in the tablespoon of ghee.
Add water and knead for at least 10 minutes.
Form into a smooth ball, cover with cling film and let it rest for at least 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 10 to 12 equal portions and roll each into a smooth ball without any surface cracks.
Roll out on a lightly floured board to a circle the size of a plate.
Spread 2 teaspoons of the melted ghee, taking it right to the edges.
It is best to spread this with the hand, as a brush would just soak up the ghee.
With a knife, cut a straight line from the center of the circle to the edge.
Starting at the cut edge, roll the circle of dough very closely into a cone shape.
Pick it up and with the base of the cone sitting on one palm, press the apex down towards the base and flatten slightly.
Now roll out this ball of dough again on a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, but this time roll very gently and not as thinly as before- the aim is not to let the air out at the edges - rather like making shortcrust.
Try to keep the parathas as round as possible.
Repeat with the rest of the dough and when all are rolled for the second time, start cooking.
Heat a heavy griddle or frying pan and spread about 2 teaspoons of melted ghee on it.
Put the paratha on the hot pan and while the first side is cooking, spread another teaspoonful of ghee on the top side.
Serve warm, or cool completely before wrapping in foil for freezing.

The rich would have to eat money if the poor did not provide food

Russian proverb

Vegetarian, Vegan, Nut free



For 4 to 6 phulkas:

  • 2 cups Atta (Whole wheat flour)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • ¾ Cup Warm water (near 100ºF)
  • Melted Ghee for basting
  • Some Flour for dusting and rolling

Mix salt and flour. Make a mound with a well in the center. Add warm water and start mixing dough and knead. If the dough is too sticky, add about 1 Table spoon of flour. If the dough is too hard, add up to one Tablespoon of water (one teaspoon at a time) to get the right consistency.
Gather dough in to a ball. Cover with damp kitchen towel or a plastic film. Let it rest 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.

Roll the dough out to form a 6" diameter disc about the thickness of a Nickel (5¢ coin) for Roti or Chapati. For Phulka, you need to roll the dough out to form a 5" diameter disc about the thickness of a Dime (10¢ coin). The way you roll the dough will also determine whether the bread will puff up evenly or not.
Pinch dough to make one bread and form it into a ball. Now flatten it to form a patty about 2" to 3" round. This will guide you in maintaining the round shape when using the rolling pin. Always apply the rolling pin from the middle of the patty towards the edge. It takes practice to roll out a round disc. If you are a novice, use a lid of a tin of coffee and a sharp knife to form the round disc.
Always use the rolling pin on one side of the dough. Do NOT turn the dough over and roll again, it is called re-rolling. Avoid re-rolling. If you look at the cross-section of a finished puffed flat bread, you will notice one side is thicker than the other side. The thinner side corresponds to the side which was in contact with the rolling pin. We will call it the skin surface.

Heat the griddle (Tawa). Put a test bread about the thickness of a Dime (10¢ coin) on the Tawa. If the bread sticks to griddle, you need to increase the heat. If the bread gets brown spots too quickly, it is too hot. It should develop brown spots on the underside in 30 seconds. The bread is cooked in three steps.
Put the rolled bread on the griddle with skin surface down. Cook for 45 seconds. Use a palet knife to lift a corner to see that the underside has a few brown spots.

Turn it over and let it cook for a minute this time. You will notice a steam bubble trapped in the dough. Again using a pallet knife to lift a corner to see that the underside has a brown spots.

Turn it over. Press with a clean dry kitchen cloth as the steam bubble will get larger and larger to encircle the whole area.

Brush the the skin surface with melted Ghee

The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.

Chinese Proverb

Vegetarian, Nut free



  • 375 g Atta flour or roti flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee or oil
  • 250 ml / 1 cup Lukewarm water

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, setting aside about half a cup for rolling down the chapatis.
Stir the salt through the flour, then add the ghee or oil and rub with your fingertips, like for shortcrust pastry.
Add the measured water all at once, moisten all the flour and mix to a firm dough.
Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Since there is no leavening agent in these breads, kneading is used to develop lightness.
Gather the dough into a ball, put into a small bowl and cover tightly with some cling film.
Leave for 1 hour or longer. This resting period is also vital to obtain a light and tender bread.
Divide the dough into balls of even size, about the size of a walnut. Roll out on a lightly floured board, lightly dusting the board and rolling pin with the reserved flour and keeping the shape as round as possible.

Start cooking those which were rolled first, since the short rest between rolling and cooking makes the chapatis lighter.
Heat a tawa, griddle or heavy frying pan, put the first chapati on the hot pan and leave for 1 minute on medium heat.
Turn it over.
After another minute of cooking, press lightly around the edges of the chapati with a folded tea towel to encourage the disc of bread to puff up and bubble. Do not overcook them or the chapatis will become crisp and dry instead of pliable and tender.

Wrap the cooked chapatis in a tea towel.

Serve warm with butter, curry or other dishes.


Tibetan Barley Bread

For 8 to 10 Tibetan flatbreads:

  • 2 cup Tsampa, tibetan roast barley Flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Millet or roasted Sunflower Seeds or roasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 tablespoons sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable Oil
  • 3 1/2 cups boiling Water

Mix flour with salt. Add oil, rubbing flour between hands until oily. Add boiling water, using spoon to mix till dough begins to form then mixing with hands keeping hands cool by dipping in bowl of cold water. Mix till ear lobe consistency. Knead until smooth.
Place in oiled pans. Cut tops lengthwise. Leave at least 2 hours.
Bake at 500 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes on middle shelf or at 450 deg. - 40 minutes on top shelf. They should have a tough crust but stay tender inside.
It may not work 1st time, so try to bake at 350 deg. for 1 1/2 hours



For 6 to 8 Bannocks

  • 4 oz (125g) medium oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons melted lard or olive oil for the vegetarian and vegans
  • 2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 tablespoons hot water
  • Additional oatmeal for kneading

Mix the oatmeal, salt and bicarbonate and pour in the melted fat into the centre of the mixture. Stir well, using a porridge stick if you have one and add enough water to make into a stiff paste. Cover a surface in oatmeal and turn the mixture onto this. Work quickly as the paste is difficult to work if it cools.

Divide into two and roll one half into a ball and knead with hands covered in oatmeal to stop it sticking. Roll out to around quarter inch thick. Put a plate which is slightly smaller than the size of your pan over the flattened mixture and cut round to leave a circular oatcake. Cut into quarters (also called farls) and place in a heated pan which has been lightly greased. Cook for about 3 minutes until the edges curl slightly, turn, and cook the other side. Get ready with another oatcake while the first is being cooked.

An alternative method of cooking is to bake them in an oven at Gas5/375F/190C for about 30 minutes or until brown at the edges. The quantities above will be enough for two bannocks about the size of a dessert plate. If you want more, do them in batches rather than making larger quantities of mixture. Store in a tin and reheat in a moderate oven when required.



For 10 to 12 lefse:

  • 2 lb of floury potatoes
  • salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • 2 -3 Table spoon of whipped cream
  • 2 Table spoon of butter
  • 2 cups of plain flour

Step 1:

Peel and cut potatoes in half and then quartered. Put them into large pot of salted water and boil until fork tender. You should be able to pierce potatoes with a fork easily. If you're looking to make a nice small batch of lefse 1.5lb to 2lb of potatoes will give you approx 4 cups mashed potatoes.

Step 2:

When potatoes are done boiling, drain into a large colander. Be sure they are well drained. Scoop potatoes while they are still piping hot into your food mill and mash them into your empty pot you used for boiling or a large bowl. I only do that to save washing more dishes. Rice all your potatoes and then measure out 4 cups into another large bowl. Ideally the mash potatoes should be warm for the next step.
Step 3:

To your 4 cups add 1/4 cup butter in pats so it melts in nice and evenly. Stir a few times to get the butter mixed in well. At this point I just let the potatoes sit until they reach room temperature.

Step 4:

Once potatoes are at room temperature, add the whipped cream, salt, sugar and flour. Stir until all the flour is mixed in evenly. When everything is mixed your dough should have a lumpy texture . Try not to over mix it.

Step 5:

Make some small patties. About 1/3 cup lightly packed will make a ten inch round and should give you about 12 sheets. . I do suggest using a measuring cup so that you get fairly consistent size sheets. To prevent cracking on the edges of your sheet when rolling, be sure that the edges on your patties are smooth. Line up your patties on a sheet of greaseproof paper.

Step 6:

Turn your griddle on, at 500 degrees Centigrade. Roll down your patties on a clean cloth sprinkled with some flour. Work your patty from the center towards the edges. Lefse doesn't need to be perfectly round.

Step 7:

Transfer the "pancake"from the pastry cloth to the griddle. When transferring lefse to the grill be sure to move quickly to allow them to cook evenly.

Step 8:

Cook them for 30 seconds on each side. Your sheet should bubble up and have nice golden brown color.Set them aside to cool. Dust off your griddle after cooking each sheet to avoid burnt flour on your next sheet.


Carta di musica

For 12 parchment breads:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine semolina flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • about 1 1/4 cups water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F at least 40 minutes before baking.
In a large bowl combine flours and salt and mix ingredients thoroughly. Slowly add water, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft dough (you many not need to add all the water.) With your hands, work the dough into a ball. Place on a clean, floured work surface and knead for about a minute. The dough should be firm and pliable, not sticky.

Divide the dough evenly into 12 balls. Place the balls on a lightly floured surface. Flatten each ball into a thick 4-inch pancake. Generously flour the work surface and with with a heavy-duty rolling pin roll each portion of the dough as thin as possible into an 8" to 9" round. These breads are meant to be roughly shaped. Thinness is more important than the shape. The dough should be thin enough to see your hand through it.

Place several rounds of dough on an ungreased baking sheet and place in the oven or place on a baking stone with a baker's peel. Bake until the top of the bread is firm and lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Baking time will vary and will also depend on the number of breads placed in the oven. With tongs or your fingers, turn the bread over and bake until the other side is slightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes more. (The bread should be rather bumpy, puffy, and irregular, with occasional pockets full of air.) Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining rounds of dough.
The bread cools quickly and can be served immediately.



For 8 large breads:
  • 1 pkg. yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 1/2 cup stronghold flour (t55)
  • 1 tablespooon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Coat a large bowl with oil. Set aside. In a measuring cup, combine yeast, water and sugar. Mix until yeast is dissolved. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast water mixture and form a dough.
Knead the dough by hand for 10 -15 minutes or 5-8 minutes if using a knead hook on a mixer. Once the dough is kneaded, place ball of dough in oiled bowl. Roll the dough around the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover and let to rise for 1 -1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubles in size.
Once the dough has doubled, punch down to release the Co2. Continue to knead for about 5 minutes. Divide into 8 separate balls. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Once risen, roll down to thin discs, about 12"x10" for large or 8"x6" for small flatbreads. They should be as thin as pizza dough.
Prick with a fork. Brush dough with water and sprinkle some sesame seeds. Bake on baking parchment for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.



1 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted matzo meal
5 eggs
The matzoh batter is made in a similar way than the choux pastry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil water, margarine and salt in a heavy bottomed pan. Remove from the heat and add the matzo meal stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, like in choux pastry.
Grease a non-stick 12 cup muffin pan. Fill each cup with about 1/4 cup batter. Bake 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Let it cool down on a rack.


Flat breads of the World

Flat breads where the original breads. They are sill a major source of nourishment in many countries throughout the world. They, generally, are cooked very quickly (as little as 2 minutes) over a very hot surface. They can cooked on a pan, griddle, hot pebbles. A lot of flat breads do not require any leavening agent. The puffing effect is due to the rapid vaporization of the water contained in the dough. Since flat breads do not require strong gluten , they can be made by a great variety of grains. Its a very interesting source of bread recipe for coeliacs as gluten free flours can be used to make most type of flat breads.
So, there a short list of flat breads from all over the World and a link to their recipes.

Unleavened breads

  • Matzoh: Comes from Israel. It's a very thin bread with a cracker-like texture.
  • Lavash: Traditional bread from Armenia. It's paper thin and often dried. Then, it has to be re-hydrated before use.
  • Carta di musica: Sardinian bread made with semolina flour. Can also be found under nam of parchment bread or pane carasau. It has a poppadom-like consistency.
  • Lefse: Norwegian flat bread made of potato and flour, often butter and cream are added to the dough.
  • Bannocks: Scottish flat bread made of oatmeal. It has a texture in between a muffin and cracker.
  • Barley Bread: Traditional bread from Tibet made from roasted barley flour: the Tsampa. Shaobing: It is a baked, layered Chinese flat bread usually topped with sesame seeds. They can be either sweet or savoury. They are usually made of flour, water and lard folded and rolled. Sorry no recipe yet!
  • Baobing: Another traditional Chinese flat bread often used as a wrapper. They consist of hot water dough which are rolled into very thin pancakes. Sorry no recipe yet!
  • Chapati or chapatti: Traditional whole wheat Indian bread which is dry-roasted on a pan.It is also known under name of roti.
  • Phulka: This Indian flat bread is very similar to the chapati. Its is also, made of atta (whole wheat flour) and baked on a griddle (tawa). The difference is that the phulka is puffed up directly on hot coal or the fire.
  • Paratha: This is an Indian flat bread which is folded with ghee, rolled and layered.
  • Puri or golegappa: This a traditional Indian deep-fried, puffed bread used as a shell to be filled with sweet or hot and spicy savoury fillings. It is one of the most popular Indian street food.
  • Tortilla: Traditional Mexican flat bread made of maize or wheat flour and cooked on a griddle the comal . It is mainly used as a wrap.
  • Injera: Traditional, staple Ethiopian bread made with teff flour. It is similar to a pancake or a crumpet. It is used as a wrapper.
  • Potato farl: Traditional Irish flat bread, also known as fadge which is made with some mashed potato with some flour and enriched with some milk. It is serve for breakfast.
  • Soda crackers: Traditional American thin, crispy flat bread made of wheat flour dried in the oven.
Leavened flat breads
  • Sangak: Traditional and staple flat bread from Iran made of whole wheat flour and baked on hot pebbles.
  • Focaccia: Traditional Italian bread, this cousin of the pizza can take various flavours and shapes such as the focaccia salvia, schiacciata in Tuscani. Each region of Italy will have its own local recipe.
  • Pizza: Traditional Italian thin bread cooked in a very hot stone oven (to 900 degrees F/ 450 degrees C). It is traditionally topped with tomato sauce, olives and mozzarella cheese.
  • Balady: Traditional Egyptian pita bread. It is Either made with wheat flour (Aesh Baladi and Aash Makamar) or whole wheat flour (Aash Baladi ). It is a pocket bread that has various use such as kebab wrap, sandwich bread or as a spoon, etc.
  • Naan: Traditional Indian flat bread, enriched with yogurt baked in the traditional Indian oven: the tandoor. It is the usual accompaniment of hot food and is staple food in most of India. There are various variation of the naan such as the Peshwari naan (filled with nuts and raisins), Kema naan (stuffed with minced meat)or kashmiri naan, etc. Recipe:
  • English muffin: Traditional English flat bread consisting of a small, thick disc of dough that is pan fried. It can be savoury or sweet and is the people's favourite at tea time.
  • Bretzel: Also known as Pretzel in the U.S. It is a knot shaped leavened bread originated from Alsace in the east of France which is proofed then blanched in an alkaline solution (salted water) and dried in the oven. It is the traditional accompaniment of beer in the east of France and Germany.

Note that all these flatbreads can be made into gluten free breads by just replacing the wheat or gluten reach flours used in all the recipes linked to this post by any gluten free flours, such as teff flour, quinoa flour, buckwheatflour, etc.

To be continued

With an online degree in
cultural anthropology you can learn more about the foods of the world.
Become an expert on flat bread and more.


Chocolate Cools the Mouth!

Maybe you might have noticed yourself, but well-made chocolate leaves a refreshing sensation in your mouth. It is a quite unusual characteristic for such a rich food: as it melts it cools the mouth. This has been explained by the fact that the stable fat crystals contained in chocolate, melt in a very narrow temperature range, and just below body temperature. The phase change from solid to liquid absorbs much of the mouth's heat energy and leaves little to raise the temperature of the chocolate, which therefore feels persistently cool.


Dough and Batter part II

In dough and batter part one, I tried to describe the most common ingredients found in baked and pastry products and how they interact with each other. In part 2 I short listed some common dough and batter recipes and summarized their representative compositions.

This is how it works. The numbers shown will indicate the relative weight of ingredients in doughs and batters with the weight of flour constant at 100. This description is purely based on wheat flour, though other grains and seeds can also be used, most familiar baked goods and pastries are made from wheat. Also, I would like you to keep in mind that it is only a general representation of the proportion of ingredients used in common baked foods; individual recipes vary widely.


  • Bread = Flour: 100; Total water: 65; Fat or oil: 3; Milk solids: 3; Eggs: 0; Sugar: 5; Salt: 2.
  • Biscuits = Flour: 100; Total water: 70; Fat or oil: 15; Milk solids: 6; Eggs: 0; Sugar 1; Salt: 2.
  • Pastry = Flour: 100; Total water: 30; Fat or oil: 65; Milk solids: 0; Eggs: 0; Sugar 1; Salt: 1.
  • Cookie = Flour: 100; Total water: 20; Fat or oil: 40; Milk solids: 6; Eggs: 6; Sugar 45; Salt: 1.
  • Pasta = Flour: 100; Total water: 25; Fat or oil: 0; Milk solids: 0; Eggs: 5; Sugar: 0; Salt: 1.
  • Brioche = Flour: 100; Total water: 60; Fat or oil: 45; Milk solids: 2; Eggs: 75; Sugar: 3; Salt: 1.
  • Panettone = Flour: 100; Total water: 40; Fat or oil: 27; Milk solids: 1; Eggs: 15*; Sugar: 28; Salt: 1.


  • Pancake, waffle = Flour: 100; Total water: 150-200; Fat or oil: 20; Milk solids: 10; Eggs: 60; Sugar: 10; Salt: 2.
  • Crepes, popover** = Flour: 100; Total water: 230; Fat or oil: 0; Milk solids: 15; Eggs: 60; Sugar: 0; Salt: 2.
  • Choux = Flour: 100; Total water: 200; Fat or oil: 100; Milk solids: -; Eggs: 130; Sugar: 1; Salt: 2.
  • Sponge cake = Flour: 100; Total water: 75; Fat or oil: 0; Milk solids: 0; Eggs: 100; Sugar: 100; Salt: 1.
  • Pound cake = Flour: 100; Total water: 80; Fat or oil: 50; Milk solids: 4; Eggs: 50; Sugar: 100; Salt: 2.
  • Layer cake = Flour: 100; Total water: 130; Fat or oil: 40; Milk solids: 7; Eggs: 50; Sugar: 130; Salt: 3.
  • Chiffon cake = Flour: 100; Total water: 150; Fat or oil: 40; Milk solids: 0; Eggs: 140; Sugar: 130; Salt: 2.
  • Angel cake = Flour: 100; Total water: 220; fat or oil: 0; Milk solids: 0; Eggs: 250***; Sugar: 45; Salt: 3.

*Yolks only; ** Known as Yorkshire pudding on this side of the Atlantic; *** Whites only.


Dough and Batter part I

I admit it now, but the discussion that will follow might be a bit too technical and boring for some. But I think it is important to know how ingredients in a dough or batter interact with each other and contribute to the final result. So, there is a list of the most common pastry ingredients and their components, and how they contribute to the structure of a dough or a batter.

  • Glutenin: this is a type of protein that forms the interconnected gluten network and makes the dough elastic.

  • Gliadin: this is another kind of protein component of the flour that bonds weakly to the glutenin network to make the dough plastic.

  • Starch: It is a form of complex carbohydrate that will fill the gaps in the gluten network and absorb water during cooking. This will have for effect to tenderize the dough and set its structure during cooking.


  • It will allow the the gluten network to form and dilute it. Depending on its quantity the final product will be more or less tender.

Yeast and Leavening Agents

  • Composed of live cells in the case of the yeasts or purified chemicals in the case of the baking powder, these ingredients have the role of producing carbon dioxide gas (CO2) in the dough or batter. This has for effect to lighten and tenderize the final products.

The Salt

  • It is a purified mineral that has for effect to tighten the gluten network, thus bringing stability to the dough or batter. It make the dough more elastic.

Fats, Oils, Shortenings

  • These ingredients are mainly made of lipids. They weaken the gluten network, tenderizing the final products.


  • Sugar is purely made of carbohydrates. They will have for effect to weaken the gluten network and absorb moisture, making the final products tender and moist.


  • The egg is essentially made of proteins, fats, natural emulsifiers (like the lecithin) and water. These various components of the egg will have very different, but complementary effects on the dough or batter. The first one, comes from the proteins. As the dough or batter cooks they coagulate and supplement the gluten structure with tender protein coagulum. The fats and emulsifiers weaken the gluten network, tenderizing the final products and slowing down the staling process. The other role taken by the natural emulsifier agents that are contained by the egg yolk, is to stabilize the bubbles of CO2 and the starch during the cooking process.

Milk and Buttermilk

  • Essentially made of proteins, fats, natural emulsifiers and hydrogen based molecules (acids) milk or buttermilk weakens the gluten network and stabilizes the Co2 bubbles. The final products will, in effect, be tenderized and stale at slower rate.

To finish this little explanation, I would like to precise what I meant when I used the words plastic and elastic in relation to a dough.

Elastic, or elasticity and plastic, or plasticity are two qualities that are brought to a dough through the presence of gluten in the flour. It is characterized by the capacity of a dough to change shape under pressure, but still resist it and move back towards its original shape when the pressure is removed. This is why kneading bread by hand is not an easy job. I think everybody will agree with me on this! Thanks to this combination of properties, wheat dough can expand to incorporate the carbon dioxide gas produced by yeast or leavening agent, and yet resists enough that its bubble wall will not thin to the breaking point.

If you are interested in the elastic and plastic properties of wheat dough, I recommend you this study made by Dr Salme Taagepera, Lecturer and Academic Coordinator at the
Department of Developmental and Cell Biology at the University of California, Irvine, US. (Copy and paste this link in your browser)


What is the healthier way to cook meat?

Nowadays, eating healthily has become a very important issue. Meat has taken a very important part in our diet, but as well as being a great source of proteins and minerals it is also, rich in saturated fat.A common idea is that boiled meat contains less fat than grilled or roasted ones. But is it true?
In fact, it is a wrong idea. This is why.
While cooking, a cut of meat is exposed to different heat intensity depending on the way it is cooked: roasted, boiled, grilled, steamed, etc.
Kitchen scientists have measured the minimum heat level needed to melt the fat away from the meat. It takes a temperature of 150 degrees Centigrade to melt fat in red meats and 240 degrees Centigrade for white meats.
The maximum temperature reached while boiling meat is 100 degrees Centigrade, the boiling point of the liquid the meat is plunged into.
Now you can see where the problem is. The temperature of boiling water is not high enough to melt the fat hidden in meat. You could argue with me that in a stew for example, the meat is cooked for a longer period of time than a pan fried one, thus the fat will have more time to leave the cut. Unfortunately, this is not a matter of time but a matter of temperature.
Another bad point for the boiling method is that through osmosis, the meat looses some of its proteins, and most of its aromatic compounds and minerals to the liquid surrounding it. This will not happen with the other cooking methods which are classified by chefs as a way of cooking by concentration.
In conclusion, it is healthier to roast, grill or pan fry a cut of meat, as soon as the fat that as melted away from it, is kept aside or if you take the excess fat surrounding the meat away with a bit of kitchen paper at the end of the cooking process. And it will be tastier too!


Le Salon du Chocolat de Paris

On the 19th of October, starts the 13th Paris international chocolate show. It will open its world of chocolate wonders at the hall 5/2 & 5/3 of the Paris expo grounds, Porte de Versaille for three days only.
You will find everything imaginable about chocolate. From the cocoa bean production to the chocolate making, chocolate sculptures, even a fashion show with designer clothe made of chocolate and of course chocolate tasting. This year, over 130 chocolate maker from all over the World will be present at the show as well as 400 participants. It will be open every day from 10h until 19h and late night Friday and Saturday, when it will be open until 20h.
You will be able to find :
  • Live cooking classes entertained by some of the best pastry chefs and "chocolatiers" in the World.
  • Exhibitions about the chocolate through history and cultures, chocolate and ethics and a display of photos on Jorge Amado by Italian photographers Luca Renaldini and Catia Zuchetti.
  • The chocolate awards in the "espace cacao", where some of the best chocolate makers in the World will be competing live.
  • In the "Chocoland" area, different animations will make children (age 4 to 10 registrations needed) discover the world of chocolate.
  • The cacao show area will offer different discussions such as chocolate and your health, is chocolate good for my heart, etc.
  • And lots more.

It has everything chocolate lover could ever dream of. Beware of indigestion!

The fashion show Loads of chocolate! Sculptures

The show will also travel around the World. These are the dates and venues :

  • New York, Metropolitan Pavilion and Altman Building, 9-11 November 2007.
  • Moscow, Gostini Dvor, 30 Nov- 2 Dec 2007.
  • Shanghai, Shanghai International Convention and Exhibitions Center, 18-21 January 2008.
  • Tokyo, Isetan Tokyo, 23-28 January 2008.