Ah, the sweet smell of spring! Green grass, wild flowers popping up, trees in full bloom, and… chicken litter. “Chicken litter” is a nice way of saying chicken poop. This time of year is when chicken litter gets put on the pastures surrounding our house, 570 tons of it. The aromatics of that endeavor linger in the air for about a week.
It is also the time of year that my family celebrates Passover. We are not Jewish, but like some in the Jewish religion, we keep Passover and eat unleavened bread for seven days. So, today I thought I might share some unleavened bread recipes with you.
Just in case you are wondering, “What is unleavened bread?” I’ll explain. Leavening is what makes bread (and other products) rise. There are three main ingredients we use in modern times to do this: yeast, baking soda, and/or baking powder. Unleavened bread is made without yeast, and, thus, is fairly flat. There are many different kinds of unleavened breads out there. I made three different ones for our festival.
The more traditional unleavened bread looks sort of like wheat crackers and has a pretty plain taste. The Bible calls it “bread of affliction.” (This is in Deuteronomy for you Bible buffs.) Anyway, the recipe I use sort of jazzes it up slightly with some honey and white flour.
The second recipe I’ll include is for almond bread. This is delicious and, thanks to the sugar, more like dessert than bread. Mine usually comes out a little doughy in the middle, but I like it that way. This bread of almonds is certainly no bread of affliction.
The easiest bread I made is shortening bread. It tastes like a shortbread cookie and is great to dunk in coffee or tea.
For my Passover night meal, I made something I had never cooked before — rack of lamb. This is a pricey cut of meat to buy from the store, which is why I still hope to get a couple of our own sheep in the future. A couple months back, I tried to purchase a sheep from someone in our area, so we could butcher it in time for Passover. However, the one they were going to sell us was killed by stray dogs. (Fleeced by some mangy mutts.) The Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb recipe is here, and it was both easy and scrumptious — a good combo.
Mandi’s Unleavened Bread 2 tablespoons honey ½ cup of olive oil 1 cup of milk 1 egg 1 cup of whole wheat flour 2 cups of white flour 1 tsp. salt Blend honey, oil, egg, and milk. Stir in remaining ingredients. Knead lightly, adding flour if too sticky. Roll on a floured board. Cut into squares. Place on a cookie sheet, and put a few holes in each piece with a fork. Salt lightly on the top. Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes. Almond Bread 4 eggs 1 cup white sugar ¾ cup butter, softened or melted 3 cups white flour 1 small bag of slivered or sliced almonds ½ teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon almond extract ½ cup milk Mix sugar, eggs, and 1 cup of flour. Add butter and mix. Add remainder of the ingredients. Pour into two bread pans. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes. (More time for less doughy middle.) Shortening Bread ½ cup butter, very soft ¼ cup brown sugar 1 cup white flour Cream butter and brown sugar. Mix in flour slowly. Roll ½-inch thick slices. Place on greased pan. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.