I admit I’ve been struggling to find the best way to be useful during this, er…extended baking break we’ve all got in front of us. The johnnycakes were fun, and a good example of what can be done without yeast (or even much flour) in the pantry. We’ll be doing more of that kind of simple stuff in the weeks ahead I think. However in the meantime I’ve been hearing from more than a few readers who are facing shortages of this-or-that, who may have butter but no eggs, flour but no baking powder, oil but no sugar. The mind boggles trying to anticipate all the various scenarios. I’d like to cover them all, but by the time I do even a few of them the store shelves will be full again.
So my though it this. There are a lot of very simple recipes on the site. Something for just about any one in any predicament, provided they have at least a little flour on-hand and maybe some leavening. How about I start a list of some of those, sort of a Joe-recommended set of entry points for the aspiring corona baker? Seems like a good idea to me.
Flatbreads are some of the world’s easiest breads, which makes sense since they were the first. Breads I mean. Ever. We already did johnnycakes below, but there’s a whole wide, flat world to explore here. Arepas are great should you have some hominy around. If not, the supermarket must. Does anyone actually hoard hominy? See what I’m sayin’! Even simpler are crackers, which you can make with yeast, a starter or chemical leaveners. The same goes for pita bread. Got yeast? You can make naan or lavash. No leavening at all? The matzoh is your ticket. In the mood to griddle? English muffins are a lot of fun and surprisingly simple to make if you have some rings, or can find a way to improvise some .
Risen breads generally elicit fear among beginners, especially if flour is in short supply. But it’s pretty hard to mess up pain à l’ancienne or even focaccia. If you have a little experience with baking, are looking for a project, but still don’t want to take too many chances, pretzels are a good time. And why not Lucy Cats? They’re oddly easy to make and flat-out gorgeous to look at. So what if it isn’t Christmas! And when it comes to bang for the time-and-ingredient buck, you can do no better than melon pan.
So there’s a starter list for bread. Any one else with suggestions for bread bakers who are short on experience but long on time, by all means weigh in! Back with dessert and pastry ideas in coming posts!