Friday Bread Basket 11/11/22
Happy Birthday Mom! edition
Welcome to the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain. Today is my mom’s birthday, so everyone wish JoAnn a happy one when you see her!
Not lame lames
Over at Serious Eats, Jesse Raub wrote a highly useful review of various bread lames, and asked me for a quote or two. Best of all, he chose the one I usually recommend, which I think of as the “hot dog” lame:
I eat a lot of bread. However much bread you’re imagining might be “a lot” for a single person to consume within a week’s time, I assure you, you’re still not thinking big enough. And the only way I can sustain this habit is by baking my own, so like many people in the spring of 2020, I went down the sourdough rabbit hole.
The quality of the bread I baked was not enough to satisfy; no matter how good each loaf was, I needed the loafs I pulled out of the oven to lookpristine as well. A big, rounded oven spring, deep, caramelized crust, and pronounced shark fin flip of an ear were some of the metrics I gauged my progress by. And one of the keys to bread aesthetics? A clean, confident score across the top of the dough with a bread lame (essentially, a razor blade affixed to a handle).
Lamb, not lame
My friend Jenny Dorsey created a lamb stuffed flatbread recipe for American Lamb, and—though I am not really eating much meat right now—I knew I had to share it here:
New England fall is officially underway, so I've been at home making foods that make me feel warm and comfy 🥰
These stuffed lamb flatbreads are very loosely inspired by kubdari, a Georgian dish I love, with a healthy dose of five-spice that reminds me of lamb baos from my childhood. This is a very flexible recipe that you can stuff with honestly anything you desire, so feel free to play around with the spices and mix-ins to suit your own tastes. (If you are not lactose intolerant like me, a nice add-in is a melty cheese for some gooey goodness.)
I’ll probably make mine with mushrooms in place of lamb, but I’m definitely going to make this one.
Yes, this happened
Sheila Julson wrote a piece for Smart Mouth on lefse, a Norwegian potato flatbread popular in the American Midwest:
Northern European food doesn't generate a buzz like some other cuisines, but lefse (LEFF-suh), a Norwegian flatbread commonly made with riced potatoes, is a hot seller in states with high percentages of Norwegian ancestral roots such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Often dubbed the "Norwegian tortilla," the versatile lefse is used for savory or sweet dishes, wraps, and appetizers.
The very first lefse was likely made with flour instead of potatoes since the potato wasn’t introduced to Norway until about 250 years ago. (There’s some fun lore out there as to how potatoes first arrived in Norway, many of which involve Viking mayhem.) Nineteenth-century Norwegians found that making lefse was an efficient way to use and store wheat and potatoes pre-refrigeration; the flatbread was dried to cracker-like consistency, and then rehydrated when ready to eat.
Given that lefse was a way to preserve wheat and potatoes for later consumption, maybe it should be considered the Norwegian lavash….
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. I hope you all have a peaceful (and maybe long) weekend. See you on Monday.