Welcome to the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain. This week’s email is a bit of a hodgepodge, since I’ve got a backlog of bready items to share after a month distracted by pizza.
But first, a few personal links to share. My series of high-temperature, tabletop pizza recipes and stories for Serious Eats have started trickling out:
Hopefully it’s not already too cold where you are to take advantage of these, and stay tuned for two more topped pie recipes, along with a how-to guide for Ooni-style ovens that includes interviews with four of the best pizzaiole working with them now.
Ak-Mak Are the Best Crackers
My friend and King Arthur Baking Company colleague David Tamarkin wrote a love letter to Armenian classic Ak-Mak Crackers last year that I only just discovered a few weeks ago, while doing research on how to create a copycat version (which is coming someday, by the way). Ak-Mak crackers are a version of parag hatz, or ”thin bread”, which are considered a crisp variation on lavash:
The ancient Armenian cracker I refer to is Ak-Mak. It is a narrow rectangular cracker, about an inch-and-a-half wide and roughy five inches long. It is baked in sheets: like Pick-a-Size paper towels, you snap an Ak-Mak away from its cluster by bending along the cracker’s perforated edge. You can break off one at a time, or two, or three. Or you can keep all four crackers together, in which case you’d have one rather big cracker onto which to pile an entire carton of hummus and a fistful of olives.
By the by, if someone wanted to buy David—or any other Ak-Mak fan—a gift this year, I have the perfect idea—this print by Sarah Dudek, from her cool “Indestructible Foods” series:
Sarah is a local (to me) artist & designer who makes all sorts of wonderful artworks from food products you know and love, any one of which would make a lovely gift.
A Good Topping Tweet
I’m in the middle of working on a recipe for apple crisp kolaches, which will probably hit your inboxes next week as part of my holiday breads series. Which is why I found this tweet apropos:
How Baker Ludwig Neulinger Makes up to 4,000 Bavarian Pretzels a Day
Neulinger learned the trade of baking buttery, soft, and golden brown Bavarian pretzels at a young age from his parents, who also owned a bakery. “I’ve been in the bakeshop since I was two, and [was] doing stuff like shaping the loaves and watching my dad work. I’ve always been a baker.”
Bavarian pretzels are also on my to-do list (for Serious Eats in 2022), so this video is right up my alley.
Another Good Bread Tweet
That’s it for this week’s Friday Bread Basket. I hope you all have a peaceful weekend, see you on Monday.
I’d love to hear/see your ooni method! Any favorite tips for baking in high-heat ovens with this dough? I find that I have a tough time getting the bottom dark enough before the top does but I look forward to trying this recipe.
Great video about the pretzel Baker. Great guy!