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Monday Mix 3/6/23
Bread and taxes
Happy Mondays, everyone. I spent the better part of the past weekend organizing all of my paperwork for my 2022 taxes, which was NOT FUN. I love being a freelancer, but man it sucks to have to keep track of all of this stuff. Still, combing through all the hundreds of natty receipts for the past year’s work is a satisfying, if much messier, counterpart to the sorts of annual reviews I do here for public consumption. Boy was I BUSY last year.
I did find a little time for baking (aka work) in the midst of it, including this deep-dish pan pizza made with Cairnspring Mills Trailblazer bread flour. There’s a recipe coming soon, though it’s not all that different than my Detroit formula. And just a reminder, you can get 15% off at Cairnspring Mills if you use the discount code WORDLOAF15. The pie is topped with Be-Hive vegan pepperoni, which I like a lot.
I baked it in my new Netherton Foundry Prospector pan, which I love. Netherton—based in Shropshire, UK—make a wide variety of tools and pans, many of them from spun iron, which is just like cast iron, except much thinner-gauge, making lighter and faster to heat. I first discovered Netherton at Strata, the excellent knife and kitchen shop in Portland, Maine, where I purchased one of their woks. Recently they’ve started offering free, fast shipping to the US for many of their products, so you should check them out if you are in the market for new pans.
And I made those tahinov hats pictured above, tying down the last of the three recipes I’m teaching at my Sofra workshop later this month. Tahinov hats are a laminated Armenian bread made by rolling tahini & sugar (and sometimes warm spices) into a yeasted dough, stretching it out into long ropes, coiling the rope, and then rolling the coils under a pin into disks. (Pretty much exactly how scallion pancakes are made, except these are baked not fried.) They are a classic Armenian lenten food, since they lack eggs or dairy, though they are hardly abstemious, given they are loaded with sugar and fat. They are sometimes referred to as “cookies,” despite being made from a yeasted dough, since they are crisp and crunchy and keep for a week or more.
For some background into tahinov hats and its importance to the Armenian diaspora, see this short, excellent video:
One interesting thing about tahinov hats is that they are in a small class of bread products that are baked immediately after shaping, rather than given a final proof like most other breads. Here’s what happens if you don’t smoosh the discs under a rolling pin and instead let them proof for an hour or two (and hit them with an egg wash before baking):
Both are nice, which makes this recipe a twofer. (Interestingly, while classic tahinov hats have a long shelf life, the buns are only at their best for a day or two, so that fluffy alternative texture comes at a price.)
Pita and pizza are two other breads that get baked right after shaping. Can anyone think of others that fit that description? Would love to explore this topic further someday.