Sorta “Socca”

Socca are flat breads from the Nice area of France. Made with garbanzo bean flour, cooked in a screaming hot oven until they blister and brown, sprinkled with salt, pepper and sometimes a bit of olive oil, these tasty bits are simply delicious.

I call these “sorta socca” because I use different kinds of flours and add seasonings and herbs to the mix before cooking. Traditional socca are simply flour, water, oil and salt.

David Lebovitz writes a great recipe for socca in his book Sweet Life in Paris and has another post about it on his blog. Check those out too. He gives some great information. For the most part, this recipe is based upon Davids recipe.

For these “Sorta Socca” you  will need:

  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean (chick pea) flour
  • 9 ounces water
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Final seasonings: Freshly ground black pepper, sea or kosher salt, slight drizzle of olive oil which is totally optional.

Special equipment: Sturdy heat-resistant pan such as cast iron or steel. I use a crepe pan I bought in Paris and it works great! Just be sure there are no plastic handles on the pan you choose. A sturdy tart pan would work well, cast iron, although heavy, is ideal.

Here is some advice: if you go researching recipes and cooking methods you will find some call for cooking in a 450°F oven for 10-12 minutes. Please take my advice and realize this is not hot enough.

Use the broiler on high or use your grill if you can get it that hot.

To prevent the oil from burning on the pan, as it would if you were to pre-oil and then pre-heat the pan under the broiler, oil it just before you pour in the batter.

Mix all the ingredients together and allow the mix to sit for a couple of hours. This allows the flours to hydrate.

15 minutes before you are going to cook the socca, turn on the broiler and place the pan in the oven to get screaming hot.

Be SURE to use a good hot mitt or strong towel to handle the hot pan. Avoid getting burned! (Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial suggests using welding mitts for managing very hot things in the oven)

Pour the batter into the hot pan

Pour the batter into the hot pan

When the oven and the pan are really hot, pour enough batter into the pan, swirl it around and place the pan back under the broiler. Make sure there is room for the socca to rise while it is under the broiler, if it touches the heat source, it will burn.

You will see the dough puff and begin to turn brown. This only takes a few minutes and how long depends totally upon the strength and heat of your broiler.

The socca is done when it is dark brown to black around the edges and the top has golden brown spots.

Done!

Done!

Remove from the oven, place the socca on a cutting board, sprinkle with salt and fresh black pepper and a drop or two of olive oil.

Socca is meant to be rustic so either tear it into serving portions or cut it into wedges.

Put the warm socca on a rack to cool so it does not become soggy.

Sprinkle with seasonings, a little goes a long way

Sprinkle with seasonings, a little goes a long way

Sometimes I’ll re-warm any left-over socca by placing it on a hot pizza stone on the oven for a few minutes. This tastes so good warm!

Today’s socca was served with lemon hummus, baba ganoush and cabbage cruciferous soup.

If you have no idea what socca is, try it.

I encourage playing with flour mix. While traditional socca is made with garbanzo bean flour, you can mix it up a bit with other flours too. An added bonus is this is also gluten-free unless you decide to use some wheat, rye or barley flours.

If you do know what socca is, while not quite the same as the street food in Nice, this comes pretty close.

Socca with soup, hummus and baba ganoush

Socca with soup, hummus and baba ganoush

Advertisements

Lavash – An Easy Cracker to Make

Lavash

Lavash

Lavash is such an easy cracker to make I think if more people knew how, more people would make them.

So here goes my attempt to teach everyone how to make Lavash.

Here is another added bonus, this recipe also makes great pita bread! Just weigh the dough balls to 4 ounces and roll it to 1/4 inch think.

Bake them on a baking stone in a 500°F oven. (Yeah, that’s HOT!) Place the dough disks onto the baking stone, wait for them to poof and begin to brown. Remove them to a cooling rack to cool. Lovely pita!

Sometimes I’ll make two 4-ounce pita and roll the rest out into lavash. Sometimes it’s all lavash others, all pita. Either way , this is a great formula and it comes to you by way of Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Bakers Apprentice, which if you don’t have it, I highly recommend it. But only if you like to bake bread.

OK!

Back to Lavash!

  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup room temperature water
  • Spray bottle with water (hopefully you have one dedicated to baking!)

DSC_0021Some topping suggestions:

  • Sesame seeds, both white and black
  • Poppy seeds
  • Cumin and caraway seeds
  • Sweet and/or hot Paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 7 seed mixtures

To make crackers:

Put all ingredients into a bowl of an electric mixer, add enough water to bring everything into a ball. You may only need 1/3 of a cup or you may need all the way up to 1/2 cup. If you need more than that, add it only 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Inf using an electric mixer to knead, knead the dough 6 minutes on medium speed. If kneading by hand, do it for 10 minutes.

The dough should be firm to the touch, satiny and not sticky.

Oil a bowl, roll the dough ball in the oil so it gets a light coating. Place the dough in the bowl and allow to rise for about 1 and 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

If you don’t feel like finishing the crackers now, you can store the dough in the refrigerator overnight at this point.

If you want to make a couple of pita, weight out 2 4-ounce balls, give them an initial roll and set aside to rest.

Line the back side of a sheet pan with parchment paper. (The crackers get baked on the backside of the sheet pan.)

On a lightly oiled or floured surface, roll the dough into a paper-thin sheet. You may need to lift the dough to ensure it isn’t sticking to anything during this rolling process.

If, while rolling, the dough ‘fights’ you by shrinking back, cover it with a clean towel or piece of plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Place the thin dough onto the parchment lined sheet pan. Spray with water and sprinkle on the topping of your choice.

You can cut the dough into crackers or long strips using a pizza cutter before baking. Don’t worry about separating the crackers now, they will snap apart once cooled.DSC_0006

Bake the crackers in a preheated 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Freshly baked crackers are a real treat to share with anyone dropping by for a glass of wine and a few nibbles. Don’t be surprised if your Lavash crackers become a topic of interest!