Armenian peda bread

Bread, Cakes And Ale

Peda with wild garlic fava dip

A week ago I did a post for a bread recipe I had in an old 1994 notebook called Los Angeles peda bread. It was accompanied by another recipe simply called Armenian peda bread. The former, I subsequently discovered, is probably a version of Armenian flatbread called matnakash. This Armenian peda (their word related to pide and pita), meanwhile, is another minor mystery, with the source of the recipe I wrote down back in 1994 unknown. Similar breads can be seen online, but I’m afraid I can’t find a more specific Armenian name for it.*

Ignorance notwithstanding, like the LA peda, this is another great sharing bread, perfect for tearing up at a family gathering – like we did over the weekend with sister-in-law Sharon, niece and nephew.

As with the LA peda, this version is basically just a conversion and slight update of the one I…

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Types of yeast for baking

Bread, Cakes And Ale

3 x yeast From the left: fresh yeast, active dry yeast, instant yeast

One of the awkward things about writing recipes for baked goods leavened with yeast is that there are three different types of yeast available commercially. Each has a slightly different quality, each is used in a slightly different way, and there are several different names to boot. It can make for some convoluted recipe ingredient lists.

I wrote more here about the specific species of yeast that we use for foods and our relationship with them, but here I want to look at the types of commercial yeast and how you use them.

Leaving aside sourdough / natural leavens / wild yeasts, the three yeast products in question are: fresh, active dry yeast and instant yeast.

Fresh yeast

Fresh yeast

Also known as cake yeast, compressed yeast and, in Italian, lievito di birrafresca (fresh beer yeast), fresh yeast is my…

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German-style Breakfast Rolls


A few weeks ago I finally got round to making my first pretzels, a staple of Swabian bread baskets, the race was on to produce proper breakfast rolls. Now, I won’t lie, we don’t have rolls every morning for breakfast. But we could have, if we wanted to: every other street has an independent baker who will open early in the morning to provide the neighbourhood with freshly-baked rolls, breads and the like. And despite the strict Sunday opening regulations (sorry, no Sunday shopping in Germany!), you’ll always find a baker nearby who will provide you with your wheat fix at the weekend. Even if they only open for a few hours in the morning.breakfast rolls 1

If, like me, you live in a less trendy area of the UK – according to this week’s Guardian, George Orwell declared our ‘hood to be ‘one of the most god-forsaken places I have ever struck’ – you…

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Bewitching Kitchen

You would think that I’m done talking about gifts. Sorry, there is one more, a super special gift received from Celia, the bread baking Goddess Extraordinaire from Australia, hostess of the equally extraordinaire food blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  She found out that it was my birthday last month (full disclosure: I told her), and sent me a bread cookbook: Josey Baker Bread.   I was traveling at the time, but could not wait to get my hands on some flour, salt, and yeast to put my gift to use.  Of course, my first thought was sourdough, but we’ve been so busy lately, that every Wednesday would come and go, and I never remembered to revive my starter, hibernating in a – 20°C freezer.  Finally, I could not wait any longer, and tried one of the simpler recipes using commercial yeast.  This is by far one of…

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Crispy Potato Skins

I love bread… but this starchy treat is to die for… seems like my compost is going to be devoid of potato skins from now on

Silvia Colloca

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, you have peeled a gargantuan amount of potatoes to make your creamy Paris mash/chips/champs you name it…now what to do with the skins? The frugal Italian in me cannot bear the idea of wastage and I’m always eager to conjure up a way to give new life to left-overs and food scraps. A little research shows me that most of the nutritional virtues of potatoes (and there are very many, starch bashers out there….) are trapped in the skin. I am talking about super power boosters such as potassium and calcium, optimal for bone mineral density and protection against strokes. Match that with the everlasting benefits of every Italian’s best friend, extra-virgin olive oil, and you have got yourself a perfect, healthier alternative to potato chips that celebrates resourcefulness and flavor in one nimble move!



The skin of 1 Kg (4-1/2 Lb) of potatoes

4-5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive…

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it is 23:30 here and I just saw this post… I want bread and I want this kinda bread 😦

Bewitching Kitchen

As I recently mentioned, Celia sent me a perfect birthday gift last month. I shared with you my first homework under the guidance of Josey Baker, a loaf of his Olive Bread. It was a super simple no-knead recipe. So simple that a 5-year old under the influence of too much candy and a cup of coffee stolen from Mom would be able to make without any problem.  The following weekend I baked a variation of that loaf with sesame seeds in the dough.  But, that time I decided to incorporate one cycle of folding at the end of proofing.  Just that single cycle of folding gave quite a bit more structure to the bread, so consider doing that if you like to experiment with his recipes. And, here it is…


Josey suggests coating the bread in sesame seeds before baking, but I did not do that because I find that many seeds…

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Oh so simple Focaccia

this looks…AWESOME!

Molly's Morsels


Baker down, baker down! No sign of life on the blog; check for a pulse?

Beep, beep, beeeeeeeeep.

We’ve lost her…

Not so fast, dear reader, ‘tis I! Do not give up on me just yet, I’m back, I’m here, I’m raring to go! Yes, I’ll accept that I have been totally MIA (missing in action, for those who aren’t in the know) for the past two weeks and that this behaviour will just not cut it! You’re loyal (I hope), eager (taking a gamble on that one), and over-flowing with excitement (hazarding a guess) to hear all about my latest bakes and last week I let you down. I abandoned you for a taste of exotic sights and boozy nights (I went on hol to Spain), and this behaviour is just not acceptable. As a baking blogger I have accepted the prestigious duty of supplying you, my lovely audience…

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