Sunday, July 19, 2009
This week's Baking Beauties challenge was to make Ka'kat. Julia describes it as a Middle-Eastern version of American soft pretzels. Well, that did it for me. I love pretzels! I had high hopes for this week's baking adventure.
The recipe was very easy to follow. Although the instructions said to knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, I got a bit lazy, and through it into my mixer. Hey, that thing cost a lot of money, I might as well get as much use of it as I can! The dough was smooth and silky after it's trip to the Kitchen Aid mixer. I left it to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. When I came back to check on it, it looked like an incredibly growing "mess." So, I punched that monster down. What? Julia told me to do it.
The recipe makes 32 pieces; each piece needs to be rolled into a 6" strip and folded into a circle, much like a bagel. Once finished, the ka'kat needs to rise for a second time (only 1/2 hour). It then gets topped with egg wash and sesame seeds. They took a mere 20 minutes at 400F, and were browned to perfection! Ka'kat really looks like mini bagels and I must say, they taste quite similar as well. I can only assume that this is because I left out mahleb, which is ground sour cherry kernels. Next time I attempt this recipe, I will definitely make sure I have some on hand. I am sure it would take this recipe from mediocre to amazing!
Avery certainly enjoyed them; as you can see he could hardly wait for me to finish taking my picture to snap one up. What a guy!
2 tsp. dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups warm water
4 to 5 cups hard unbleached white flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp. mahleb, ground
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs. water, for egg wash
3 to 4 Tbs. sesame seeds
You will need a medium-sized bread bowl, two large baking sheets, and a pastry
In a medium-sized bread bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water.
Add 2 to 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, stirring constantly in the same direction to
help activate the gluten, until a thick dough begins to form. Then stire 100 times
in the same direction, about 1 minute. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Add the salt, butter, and mahleb, stir, and continue to add more flour, using a
wooden spoon to stir it in. When the dough will no longer take any more flour,
turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until
smooth and elastic, adding flour only when necessary. Rinse out the bread bowl,
oil lightly, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to
rise until doubled in volume, approximately 1-1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough and divide into 32 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll
each piece under your palms into a cigar-shaped rope 6 to 7 inches long. (You
can also roll them in the air between your palms, letting the bread hang down
vertically from your hands.) Pinch together the ends of each rope to form an ovalshaped
loop. Place the ka'kat on lightly oiled baking sheets, at least 1/2 inch
apart. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
Place the racks in the upper part of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400° F.
Just before baking, brush the breads with egg wash and sprinkle on the sesame
seeds. Bake for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned; switch the baking sheets
after 10 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack, then wrap in a cloth to keep warm.
Makes 32 oval bread rings about 3-1/2 inches across.