Remember that time I admitted to my fear of yeast and then resolved to get over it? Two-plus years later and it hasn’t happened … I still cringe every time I hear the word, and have yet to make a yeasted bread.
My excuse? There are plenty, most of which are exceedingly flimsy:
a) I don’t have time to sit around kneading and rising and kneading and rising. (Since I’m still sick and
watching episode after episode of The League resting, this is mostly untrue.)
b) There’s zero counter space for me to actually knead anything, which is why I haven’t made any pies or pizzas recently either. (This kitchen is actually bigger than my last one, as 1-1/2 people can fit in it at the same time.)
c) It’s starting to get warm out, which means keeping the oven on for hours is slowly losing its appeal. (As evidenced by this recipe, that’s not really stopping me.)
d) I’m trying to cut back on my bread eating, as part of an overall effort to shore up my diet for summer. (Trying and failing would be more accurate.)
e) There’s an abundance of bread recipes out there in the world that don’t require yeast, and a lot of them look pretty awesome.
That last reason is pretty compelling, as it turns out you don’t need any fungus to make a wide array of good bread. The Irish are all over this with their soda bread, but there’s also this gorgeous seeded bread, Mark Bittman’s beer bread, and this amazing flatbread recipe, which in its original form requires only three ingredients and three steps.
The recipe, from Top With Cinnamon (and courtesy of Nila), is amazing heavenly perfection and all the other superlatives in the world. It’s so easy that it is literally foolproof (trust me, I tried hard to break the recipe and still couldn’t) and can be gussied up a million ways — cinnamon sticks, pizza breadsticks, cheddar beer bread, rosemary-garlic focaccia … SO. MANY. IDEAS. In its almost-original form, it’s got a crisp and craggy exterior and a plush interior, with a nice balance between the malty, caramelly flavor of the beer and the savory herbs.
I topped the flatbread with a shaved asparagus salad and my new favorite discovery: goat’s milk ricotta. It has the creaminess of ricotta plus the tanginess of goat cheese, and paired nicely with the grassy, crisp asparagus. I bought it through Fresh Direct, but if you can’t find it, either regular ricotta or softened chevre will work too. The end result is a lovely spring lunch, no yeast necessary. Continue Reading →