Amazing One Pot Tabbouleh Bread and Part 11May 14, 2012 at 5:23 am | Posted in BBD, Breads, Healthy, Middle Eastern, Salads, Sandwiches/Wraps, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Yeastspotting | 115 Comments
Tags: baking, Bread, Bulgur Wheat, Cucumbers, Feta Cheese, First Love, Jacques Pepin, Lemon, Mint, Olive Oil, One Pot Bread, Parsley, Tabbouleh, Tomatoes, Yeast
I’d like to preface this post to thank everyone for all the thoughtful, sweet comments and emails about my situation. You’re all the best.
Back in 2009, I watched Jacques Pepin mix, proof and bake a bread in one pot on one of his shows on Create TV – which I recorded and saved on DVR. I idolize the man..he’s an absolute demigod in the kitchen. Most everything I learned, in a high-end culinary sense, is from him, and he has been an incredible inspiration to me since the age of 13. I will get more into detail about what I learned from him and how he changed my life when it came to cooking, in another post, one most likely dedicated to him with one of his amazing creations.
So, again, on that day in 2009, I watched him mix, proof and bake a bread in a non-stick pot. I knew I had to try it – it was way too easy not to. I wasn’t sure the bread would turn out as crusty, with an artisan like crumb, as it looked, because it went against everything I’ve learned about artisan bread baking over the years, plus it was made using only commercial yeast.
Well, here we are in 2012, and I finally got around to making it. I was wrong, this bread is as close as you can get to a wild yeast like bread without a starter or sponge. I think it has a lot to do with the overnight (10-14 hour) rise in the refrigerator, or maybe it’s just Jacques Pepin magic?
Once I made the bread plain and loved it, I knew I had to play with this blank canvas of crusty, lovely crumbed, perfection. The possibilities were infinite. I could just add cheese and it would be wonderful, as one person in a forum about this bread did, but I was feeling more ambitious. After eating some tabbouleh one night for dinner, it hit me – why the heck not a tabbouleh bread? All the flavors of tabbouleh in this wonderful loaf, including the bulgur wheat. But, would it work? Would the soaked wheat be too heavy for a decent rise?
I wasn’t taking any chances. After deciding not to add my homemade tabbouleh to the bread batter, since cucumbers and tomatoes could make it really soggy and also affect the rise, I decided to add just the bulgur wheat, herbs, lemon zest, green onions, garlic and leave out the cucumbers to serve along with the bread. Since tomatoes needed to make some kind appearance, I felt tiny grape tomatoes would make a great topping, especially once I decided to create a design on top with some extra mint, chives and parsley – the tomatoes being the fruit growing on the branches of my little trees, stems, bushes, or whatever you want to call them.
Let’s just call it free-form.
Not only did the bread turn out, but it.is.incredible, and, it tastes like tabbouleh. The bulgur wheat adds chewiness to the crumb and also binds it so you can use it as a sandwich bread. When it’s plain, it’s more of a ‘rip off a hunk’ type of bread than a sandwich bread. This is not a bad thing, but since the addition of the bulgur wheat made for lovely slices, of course I had to make a sandwich, pictured further down..
Oh, did I mention the crust? I think I did briefly, but please let me ooh and ahh over it for another second. It’s crisp, crunchy, and flaky, like a bread baked in a steam oven on a stone. I do think it’s magic, because, how do you get such an amazing crust from a batter bread that’s mixed, proofed, and baked in a non-stick pot?
I’m still flummoxed.
That being said, the decorative topping adds a nice texture too, a light crispy bite jam-packed with herbaceous flavor (that sounded so granola, didn’t it?) complimented by the roasted tomatoes – a sweet, concentrated punch, both enhancing the already perfect crust.
Okay, there is a slight caveat if you want to make this bread. There is one thing you must have, and that’s a 3-quart non-stick saucepan like THIS, to make the magic work. People have tried mixing the dough in bowls then baking it in loaf pans, but although they may get something okay, it will not be this bread. The whole reason behind its success is that every step of this bread takes place in this pot – no kneading, no shaping, no greasing or flouring, so not using this pot kind of defeats the purpose, not to mention, the amazing crust.
I know, it sucks to have to buy something for one use, but, you can cook in it too, so technically, it’s not a ‘one use’ item. However, trust me when I say you will be making this bread at least once a week, whether it be plain or with additions, because it’s simple, wonderful and convenient. Mix it up at 2 am if you like, as long as it gets the 1 to 1 1/2 hour room temperature rise and the 10-14 hour refrigerator proof, you’re golden.
I changed the basic recipe just a bit for my tabbouleh bread..using a whole packet (2 1/4 teaspoons – .25 oz) of yeast to insure a good rise with the bulgur wheat, and increasing the salt. You can also play around with the recipe, maybe using bread flour or decreasing the water, but I think it’s pretty perfect as is. Be creative, add whatever you want to his basic recipe, have fun! As I mentioned above, the possibilities are endless! My next ‘endeavor’ will probably be baby spinach leaves and gruyere, OR, maybe even a cinnamon sugar bread, slathered with gobs of gooey, cream cheese glazey goodness. Why not?
‘One Pot’ Tabbouleh Bread
Adapted from and Inspired by Jacques Pepin’s One Pot Bread Recipe, with my revisions.
2 1/4 cups tepid water
3-4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package Active Dry Yeast – .25 oz
4 cups AP Flour
1/3 cup bulgur wheat (fine to medium grain)
1/3 cup boiling or very hot water
I very large handful parsley leaves
1 small to medium handful mint leaves
4 green onions, sliced thinly
4 – 5 cloves garlic, finely minced (I make my tabbouleh with garlic – not the norm, but everything is better with garlic!)
1 lemon, zested..then juiced for olive oil dip
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
fresh black pepper
grape or teardrop tomatoes – cut in half, seeds and juice squeezed out.
3 or 4 chives plus extra whole stems of mint and parsley (optional, for making design)
1. Boil water, then add bulgur wheat. Let soak abut 20-25 minutes, until the wheat has absorbed all or most of the water.
2. Coarsely chop the parsley leaves with the mint leaves. I chopped mine too fine..you can barely see them in the bread. This is for aesthetic purposes only, so it’s really ok if you chop them finely. Chop the garlic finely.
3. Pour the tepid water into the pot. Add the kosher salt, yeast, and flour.
4. When you start to mix the bread batter, stir in the bulgur wheat (if any water remains, strain it out), chopped garlic, lemon zest, parsley, mint, and thinly sliced green onions. Mix thoroughly. Cover and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes, at room temperature.
5. After room temperature rising, lift off cover and stir down the risen dough. Cover again, tightly, and place in the refrigerator overnight 10-14 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 450F. Remove risen bread dough in pot from refrigerator. Top with grape tomatoes (keep whole if very small, slice in half if not that small), parsley leaves (no thick stems), mint leaves, and strips of scallion or chives (for stems if you want to make a pretty design).
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes (40 was perfect for me).
7. Combine the cup of olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper, then add some lemon slices to it. Dip slices of the bread in the lemon olive oil, if desired. Serve with sliced cucumbers and more tomatoes or make that awesome sandwich above – or eat it/serve it any way you want – it’s amazing without any of the above.
Once again, it’s my Bad Boy First Love memories/memoir/whatever. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, and Part Ten is HERE.
The rest of that summer was phenomenal – and every moment with him was electric, my legs still turning to JELLO every time he even glanced my way.
He would occasionally tease me, calling me ‘little girl’, ‘kiddo’ or ‘half-pint’, the latter always met with a “Yes, Pa?” I had to know..so I asked..
“Did you watch Little House on the Prairie as a kid?”
He tried to keep a straight face “Nah, a baby sitter made us watch reruns of it – I played with my toy trucks.”
My friends had to leave a week before Labor Day weekend. To backtrack, I had known this before we even rented the place, but I wanted to stay through Labor Day in hopes I’d reconnect with Dreamboat and have that extra week, so I had this luxury palace to myself. However, there were two casual friends from school that came down and one stayed with me for 2 nights, plus two close friends were staying in Ortley Beach, plus the local girls, so I was never alone.
I loved taking them all to finally meet the mysterious Dreamboat they’d been hearing about all year long. The looks on their faces were pretty much what mine probably looked like upon seeing him for the first time. One friend couldn’t stop talking about how hot he was for hours after. I beamed with pride. I still couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have a guy who was so beautiful inside and out.
Although I loved hanging out with my other friends, I did relish some ‘alone’ time late in the day or early evening. Occasionally, I would politely separate for a bit from whomever I was hanging with, to explore or take a walk to the pier to see him, always picking up a Sunkist soda and a bag of Doritos – his favorite mid-work snack. There were always girls there..watching, waiting. I got used to hearing..
“Damn, he has a girlfriend.” or, from the angrier ones, “#$%^! He has a f****ing girlfriend!”
..when they would see him pop out of the booth to hug and kiss me or take a break to go for a walk with me. I also had a few remarks thrown my way, but I don’t think it’s possible to clean them up for this blog. Let’s just say ‘bitch’ was a mild one. Some girls can be insanely evil when they want something they can’t have.
On the contrary, they never said a word when he was near me, and I never told him. There was no need to, my happiness being with him made those remarks disappear into thin air. In through one ear, out the other.
Of course, once my friends left, there were the slumber parties with Dreamboat. I finally Rumbaed (trust me, this is not how I refer to it normally, I just don’t want offend anyone) two days before I was leaving. I had already chosen him as my dance partner (again, cheesy term for it, but keeping it clean, babes) weeks before and there was no one else I wanted that first dance with.
There were many firsts that summer – my first love, first Rumba, first time on an upside-down ride (with Dreamboat’s arms wrapped around me, but I still hated it. We are meant to be right side up, was my mantra to avoid a second ride without admitting how scared and sick it made me.), and loads of brand new experiences, emotions and feelings I could fill a page with, but wouldn’t dare. To put it simply, it had been the best summer of my young life.
Just an aside. I cringe every time I read ‘Rumba’ or ‘dance partner’. I think I may have to start keeping it real, at the risk of offending anyone. I digress.
When Labor Day weekend passed, it was time for me to head home. He would be home in two weeks. I cried anyway, because two weeks seemed like an eternity – but, at least I was going to see him again. I was getting a ride a home with the friends staying in Ortley Beach. but then I canceled, wanting to stay until the last possible minute so I could spend one more night with Dreamboat.
I was really pushing it, since school was starting the next day. I had already packed up and dropped my stuff off at the local girl’s house, so I could spend my last night with him, unencumbered.
I remember their mother, who was from Germany, making us schnitzel for dinner that night. It was the best schnitzel I ever had, to this day. But schnitzel also reminds me of what was about to happen, to this day.
My parents had their number in case they needed to get in touch with me. You better believe they used it when I wasn’t home by midnight.
When Dreamboat dropped me off at 4 am, smack dab in the middle of a teary, passionate, goodbye kiss, I heard my father’s voice. Uh oh. I looked up and saw my parent’s car in their driveway.
Deja ‘effin vu.
They’d spoken to the girl’s mother when they called looking for me, and although she was a very cool woman, she told them the truth. I hadn’t left for home yet, I was out with my boyfriend…so, they drove down at 2 am to fetch me.
My father didn’t have to say a word, I knew I messed up again. I obediently got out of the car and just kind of stood there. The local girls and their Mom had already helped my parents pack up the car with my stuff, so they were all outside witnessing the melee. Their Mom, in her cute German accent, felt terrible. So did I.
“If I had known she did not have a ride home, I vood have happily driven her!” she exclaimed, almost embarrassed that she didn’t pick up on it, or possess some kind of extra sensory perception to pick up on it. Bless her amazing schnitzel making heart.
Dreamboat was still there, his window down, an amused look on his face. I couldn’t blame him, everyone was talking at once. I just stood there like a village idiot, a goofy smile on my face as I watched him watching everyone talking about what I did. I stealthily trotted over to him for one more quick kiss. He obliged, then said he would have driven me home, and “..we would have left right after I got off work, why didn’t you ask?”
You see, I had planned on calling my parents the next morning, claiming I fell asleep and missed my ride, then going in late to school. I told no one this.
My father’s voice boomed before I could answer him.
“Let’s GO, get in the car, NOW!”
I guess this wasn’t a good time to introduce them to Dreamboat.
I gave him another kiss, told him I’d explain when he called, and ran to the car. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t upset, I was too damn happy to even fathom fear aka the wrath from my father on the way home.
This time, the ride home was pleasurable. Don’t get me wrong – my parents were tearing into me like a Thanksgiving turkey, but I was smiling, my eyes closed, head back against the seat, reliving every moment with him. Their angry voices berating me were distant whispers in my ‘Dreamboat’ state. I briefly broke out of my zone to apologize sweetly over and over, then dove right back into the Dreamboat chamber.
My father wondered if he had picked up the wrong daughter.
Yes, what I did was pretty selfish, but I was a teenager in love. Teenagers, in general, do stupid, selfish things, usually without thinking about the consequences to others. However, teenagers in love tend to take it a step further, sending their parents into hissy fits of frustration, and unplanned 2 plus hour drives at odd hours to pick up said teenager in love so she makes it on time for her first day of freakin’ school.
I knew everything was going to okay when my father started extolling the virtues of cruise control.
I made it on time to my first day of senior year, sleepless and in the same clothes I wore the night before. There was no time to do laundry and it was too hot for Fall and Winter wear – BUT, like I’ve mentioned in earlier parts, I could still smell him on my clothes, so I didn’t mind – gross or not.
He called that night, right after work.
“How was your first day of your second senior year?”
This had already become ‘our’ joke, or his joke, rather.
Two weeks later, the first Friday night, there sat the Beetle, right in front of my house. One beep, and I flew down the stairs, and before he could get out of the car to greet me properly, whipped open the passenger door, diving into his open arms. I was so into him, I didn’t even realize I’d whacked my shin somewhere in or outside the car. Feh, I was used to it by now. His love numbed all boo boos – one kiss shot a stream of heavy duty novocaine to the now pounding, swollen bump. Another kiss, what bump?
We spent the whole night mushing it up on a lookout on the Palisades. The Hudson and East Rivers were our new Barnegat Bay and Atlantic Ocean. However, if I fell and cut myself again, I wasn’t walking into either. There was no way he could convince me that floating bodies, oily gunk and garbage was beneficial to wounds, I joked with him.
The next night, he took me to his town since one of his friends had just gotten engaged, and he wanted to see and congratulate him.
When we got there, after a 40 minute drive, I couldn’t believe how inner-city like and almost sinister it was. The streets were narrow and dark, most off of a well-lit avenue – well-lit except for several neon letters not working on most of the shops and store fronts. There was a lot of graffiti too. The neon green phrase ‘ Yo Mama IZ Bad!’, outlined in black, still floats somewhere in the recesses of my brain.
He lived on a steep hill where the houses were so close together, you could probably hear a person next door burp. Damn, I thought, everyone must know everyone’s business. Who needs a good book when there’s a juicy, domestic argument going on two doors down?
The initial engagement celebration was in a parking lot with a huge ledge to sit on. The guys were tough, the girls, brassy and sassy. I was completely intimidated, but, at the same time, utterly mesmerized. This was a complete culture shock for me. Some of these guys were baby Sopranos in the making, but not guidos, just really, really gritty, street smart guys. Now I understood where Dreamboat got his grit.
Shouts of, “Yo, D..’bout time ya got here!” with loud slapping handshakes and extremely hard back pats, dotted the already rowdy atmosphere.
This went on with every guy there, coupled with an introduction to dorky me in between each one. A kiss on the cheek from every one of them, like they’d known me forever.
“Nice to meet ya, sweetheart – heard a lot about’cha!” seemed to be the mantra. Hmm…I guess sweetheart was just something he grew up with, not just maturity, I thought.
I don’t think I said more than 10 words the first half hour we were with his friends. I’d never felt so scared, overpowered, underwhelming, and shy at once. I clung to Dreamboat like velcro, digging my nails into his flannel shirt at times. I couldn’t help thinking how uncool I was compared to these people. They were all self-assured, loud, rambunctious and again..tough. Any of the girls could have taken me down easily and not because they were bigger, but because they were resilient, strong-willed and again, brassy. There was no witty repartee or deep, cerebral conversation going on here – just pure, ruffian, good-natured, ribbing.
Brush the inside of both slices with the lemon olive oil, then layer butter lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese and cucumbers. I really like feta cheese – can you tell?
A very pretty, petite girl with long, wavy, dark hair, approached me with a warm smile. With all the introductions, I couldn’t remember who was who, but suddenly recalled she was the bride-to-be. She had a high, sweet voice, like the C key on a piano, but it was peppered with that tough, street effect Dreamboat and his friends had. It didn’t fit her at all. Regardless, we started talking, and soon I was at ease.
She reintroduced me to her fiance when he came over to us, who wasn’t just Dreamboat’s friend, but his best friend. His name was John but they called him just ‘J’.
A lot of these guys, and some of the girls, had nicknames, except for Dreamboat..or at least I hadn’t heard one yet.
The bride-to-be was also named Lisa, and as mentioned, I clicked with her almost immediately, but I also wondered if I could ever really fit into this part of his life. They were all so colorful, confident and sparkly. I was bland, insecure and suddenly painfully shy. This was a whole new Dreamboat, a whole new part of him I hadn’t gotten to know yet.
It was a strange feeling..an odd amalgam of unease paired with a voracious excitement of what was to come. Although a little more at ease, thanks to Lisa, I was still completely overwhelmed by the atmosphere, the people, and the nicknames I couldn’t keep straight;
Tony aka Cannelloni – his last name sounded similar, but with different consonants
Mike aka Mitts – Had a fantastic glove when they played softball
Kevin aka Kooky – He was kooky
Tommy aka Anchovy – He looked a bit like Jon Bon Jovi, so Bon Jovi = Anchovy. That one still gives me a chuckle to this day.
Tina aka Tuna – They just thought it was funny to call her Tuna, swapping the i with a u..
..and many more. They were coming at me from all directions – a blur of nicknames and really fast talking.
Suddenly, I needed to be alone with him in the worst way.
Part 12, coming soon.