For first Shabbat after the election and I decided that I would feed my soul by baking bread. A good long process of baking bread…a sourdough. And I would celebrate not only diversity, but the diversity within my religion and make Bereketei – Ethiopian Sabbath Bread.
One of the first steps was to toast some fenugreek seeds. I never cooked with fenugreek seeds before. I use dried fenugreek leaves in Persian cooking, but not the seeds.
Well, I was in for such a pleasant surprise – when I put the toasted seeds in the grinder with some salt, a wonderful aroma rose up as I the grinder whirred! I called my daughter over to smell it, and she said it smelled like matzoh ball soup. You know what? She was right, that was exactly what it smelled like! And it is what the house smelled like as the bread baked. Warm and comforting.
It was just what I needed.
A note: this is an all-day baking process that starts the night before, so be prepared.
adapted from Maggie Glezers’ A Blessing of Bread
1/2 cup very active fully fermented sourdough (refreshed 8-12 hrs earlier)
60 grams warm water
about 1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tbs. fenegreek seeds
1 tbs + 1 tsp kosher salt
5 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups warm water
The evening before baking:
Feed your sourdough around 12 hours before you intend to start baking.
Place the flour in a large bowl, stir in the water and let sit for 20 minutes.
While that sits, make the seed mix. Important – turn on the exhaust fan and toasting the fenugreek seeds in a small pan over medium heat. The seeds will turn darker brown and turn fragrant (do not touch the seeds with your hands before they are mixed with the salt or it will become bitter.) Let the seeds cool and place in a spice grinder with the salt until coarsely crushed. Set aside.
Add the starter and the seed mix to the flour mixture.
Turn out onto your work surface and knead until until it is well mixed and fairly smooth.
Place it in a warmed, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment for 2 hours.
Place parchment on a large baking sheet. Divide the dough in half and shape into tight round loaves. Cover with plastic and let rise until tripled in size about 5 hours. About 1/2 hour before baking, place a baking stone in the upper 1/3 of the oven and heat to 425F.
Turn on the exhaust fan again. Bake for 35-40 minutes.After the first 20 minutes, rotate the loaves. Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Makes 2 loaves.