If you’re here for the Daring Bakers or Tuesdays with Dorie, I had to leave town on a family emergency. I did not get a chance to make and/or post for those events. I did, however, manage to bake a few things before I hit the road, so you’ll be seeing those posts on this blog. If I can manage to get some TWD in while I’m gone, I will!
I think that baking, particularly baking bread, is a form of therapy for me. I love to bake, and then give most of it away. Rarely do I have more than a slice or a bite. Nevertheless, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve broken that pattern not once, but twice: first, with some cinnamon buns that I will be blogging about soon, and second, with these TOTALLY AWESOME Lebanese Tahini Swirls, Sukkar bi Tahin.
There is a group of bread bakers called the Bread Baking Gals who get together, bake a top secret bread, then invite anyone who is interested to join them. This month, Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, picked a Lebanese yeasted flatbread called Sukkar bi Tahin, a type of flat roll filled with sesame paste and sugar, which caramelizes a bit when baked. Natashya found the recipe in Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid‘s wonderful book, Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World.
I baked these a few hours before I left for the airport because I had to make such an intriguing bread and, of course, I had to have a little bite. The recipe made six flatbreads and, honestly, I meant to have a nibble. Just a nibble. I ended up wolfing down an entire Sukkar bi Tahin, then I wrapped up two for my brother who was cramming one in his mouth as I shoved him out the door (I had to get to the airport, you see).
My brother and I LOVED these, my husband, who prefers sesame in savory dishes, thought they were okay. The filling tasted almost like a crunchy peanut butter. I added a pinch of salt to the dough, and I’m glad I did – my brother would have liked more salt, but I thought it was just right. I will be making these again, and I will experiment with the fillings like some of the Babes did – Tanna filled some of hers with pesto!
Be sure to check back with Natashya after August 1 to see her roundup of participants, and her post of these breads for a list of the Babes, and the recipe, including a metric version of it. My very slight adaptations to the recipe are after the jump. And this bread has been YeastSpotted!
Sukkar bi Tahin – Beirut Tahini Swirls
Adapted from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi DuguidMakes 6 golden brown, flaky textured coiled rounds, about 6 inches wide, filled with sesame paste and sugar.
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast1 cup lukewarm waterAbout 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s Organic AP flour, and about 3/4 cup atta flour)
pinch of kosher salt2 tsp sugar1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup tahini¹1 cup sugarIn a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water.Stir in one cup of the flour, then stir in the sugar and oil.Incorporate a second cup of flour, then turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth. Or you can do all of this in your stand mixer. Mine took a while to mix in the Kitchen Aid – it was terribly humid when I baked these, and I had to keep adding flour to get a dough that I could actually work.Place the dough into an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in volume. Mine doubled in 1.5 hours, so you will have to pay attention.Meanwhile, place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles or a baking stone, if you have them, (or a baking sheet) on the middle oven rack and preheat the oven to 375 F.Mix together the tahini and sugar and stir until smooth. Set aside.Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Work with 3 at a time, keeping the others covered. Flatten each out on a lightly floured surface, then roll each out to a rectangle about 5 inches by 10 inches.Spread the top surface with 2 1/2 tablespoons of the filling mixture, spreading it almost to the edges.Roll up the rectangle from a long side into a cylinder, which will stretch as you roll to about 20 inches long. Anchor one end and coil the bread around itself, then tuck the end in. I found that it was best to coil the dough so that the seam was on the inside of the coil – that helped keep things together, and prevented the filling from falling out.Flatten with the palm of your hand, then set aside, covered, while you fill and shape the other 2 rectangles.Return to the first coil and roll out gently with a rolling pin.Roll the other 2 out a little and then return to the first one and roll it out a little more thinly, and so on, until you have rolled each to a round about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. A little filling may leak out—don’t worry, just leave it.Shape the remaining pieces of dough, and cover with plastic wrap while you bake the first three.Place the breads on the hot baking stone or tiles (or baking sheet) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and flaky. I used parchment on my baking stone, and baked three breads at a time.Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
¹Tahini is a paste of ground sesame seeds. It can be found in health food stores, Middle Eastern markets and some grocery stores. It is a common ingredient in hummus, and is gaining in popularity in most parts of the world. It must be refrigerated after opening.