* Uyghur Bread

Posted on May 17th, 2017 by Linda. Filed under Bake, Bread, Chinese, Cooking Method, Course, Cuisine, Entree, Xinjiang.


Uyghur bread - IMG_4011

 

 

I have not been to Xinjiang myself and it’s on my bucket list of the places to visit.  I have been to many Uyghur villages in the big cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.  When I lived in Guangzhou, we would seek out these breads because they are the closest thing to bagels (this was in the early 90s before China opened up), in fact, this actually resembled bread as we know it, not some strange fluffy sponge that were available as bread then.

To make the bread stamp (durtlik/chekich), go to your hardware store and buy a woode.  T piece of knob or coat peg.  Then find somebody with good woodwork skill (Marco in my case), to knock in some nails so it looks like a nail brush.  Have fun.

Dough:
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 packet yeast
1 1/4 cup hot water
1 1/4 cups cold water

5-6 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Toppings:
1 yellow onion, grated
2 Tablespoons nigella seeds
2 Tablespoons sesame seed
Cornmeal or semolina

Heat oven to 550F preferably with a pizza stone. If no stone is available, place baking sheet in the oven to preheat.

Proofing the yeast: Dissolve sugar in hot water. Add cold water to make a warm solution (105 – 115°F). Take half of this lukewarm water and dissolve in the yeast. Stir lightly, and let stand in a warm place until mixture develops a creamy foam, about 7 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Making the sponge. Add remaining water and half the flour. Whisk for about 8-10 minutes until big bubbles form. Let rest 30 minutes. Then all but 1 cup of flour, salt and oil and stir to combine.

Place remaining flour on a clean work surface. Transfer dough to floured surface and knead. Lightly flour your hands if necessary. Knead (by using the heels of your hands and your body weight to push away from you, pull it back and fold in the sides of the dough towards the center. Turn the dough right angle every few kneads) until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form into a ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl, put the dough into the bowl and turn the dough so that all sides are coated. Cover the bowl tightly with a plastic wrap/damp tea cloth and let dough rise in a warm (75-80°F), draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours. The dough is ready when it does not spring back when poked with a finger.

In the meantime, squeeze the grated onion slightly to extract juice.

Once dough has doubled in volume, remove dough from the bowl and cut in quarters with out working it. Generously dust dough with flour and begin to roll out. Do this until dough is rolled to form a 8-inch circle that is 1/4-inch thick. Pick up the disc and then form a 1 inch band around the edge. Let dough rest for 10 minutes, covered with a towel. Transfer it to a pizza peel that has been sprinkled with semolina or cornmeal (Alternatively use a parchment paper) then using a bread stamp (durtlik/chekich) or a fork. Prick the center of the bread to create holes so bread will remain flat. Brush dough with onion juice then smear in a quarter of the onion pulp on the dough. Sprinkle with nigella seeds and sesame seeds. Then slide dough onto heated stone and bake until golden and crisp, 8-10 minutes. Remove bread from oven and serve immediately. Repeat.

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