Exodus bread

Its been ages since I posted a new recipe on this site, and sadly, that’s really an accurate reflection of how my cooking has gone lately as well.  We’ve recently found ourselves in a cooking and eating rut.  Familiarity has become the norm around our house.  I could blame it on all the summertime chores, but in reality I think it’s just plain old-fashioned laziness.  However, there is a super quick and easy bread recipe I’d like to share with you today – I call it Exodus bread and its become a staple on our dinner table.

“So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing….With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.” Exodus 12:34 & 39

For years I’ve often wondered just what kind of bread the people of the Bible ate.  I’m pretty sure Wonder bread wasn’t available, and I know they didn’t have a Whisper Mill either.   Its only been in the last 60 years that kamut wheat has been reintroduced – thanks in part to King Tut and that amazing tomb find.  So what was ancient bread like?  Was it light and fluffy?  What it flat and gritty?  Was it sweet or savory?  Was it baked in an oven or on a flattened stone griddle?  Did it store well?  Frankly, I don’t have all the answers, but what I do know is at one point in time (during the Israelites exodus from Egypt) it was baked without yeast – and still is today during Passover.  But that’s really all I know about this bread, except that it might be the best bread in the history of quick bread.  Here’s how it came together.

Shortly after I started grinding my own wheat I found myself craving bread for lunch; and lo and behold there was no bread to be found in the house.  On a whim I decided to make a flatbread.  I wanted something similar to a tortilla or a naan bread, but not either of those things.  I didn’t want to use any leavening in it at all,and I certainly wasn’t interested in digging out the shortening or kneading a batch of dough.  I wanted something quick, savory, and small.  Thus, the birth of my Exodus bread.

I plugged in the ol’ Kitchen Aid; added the grinder attachment and grabbed about a cup of wheat berries (soft white, for those of you who know the difference and/or care).  Once the berries were transformed into soft, fluffy, finely ground flour, I poured in a good amount of olive oil, added some kosher salt, and enough water to make a soft dough.  I noticed as I stirred there seemed to be too much oil in the dough – oh well, guess the breads would be heavy.  I patted out two discs – not too thin but not too thick either – about the size of a salad plate and threw them onto a hot (dry) skillet.  The oil immediately began to sizzle on the hot iron and I’ve since discovered that having “too much” oil is really a key to keeping this bread light, tender and pliable.  Within seconds the smell of hot bread began to rise and fill my kitchen.  Once the bottom was browned and had a few welts on it I flipped the bread and cooked the opposite side.  At this point it resembled a thick tortilla and I was certain this had been a major waste of ingredients.

Removing the bread from the griddle, I tore off a small piece – unsure of what to expect.  The texture was amazing.  Grainy and soft, with a lovely nutty aroma and a slightly salty flavor – and not oily tasting what so ever.  It was love at first bite for sure.  I raved to Sam for three days about how good the breads were.  Later that same week I fixed another batch to go with our dinner, and Sam became as hooked as I was.  This has definitely become our everyday bit of bread.  It goes well with just about everything, and the ingredients are staples in my pantry (freshly ground flour, olive oil, kosher salt, and water).  The entire process takes about 15 minutes and makes a great week night addition to any meal.


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