Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Cinco de Mayo Skillet Bread
Don't have oat flour? Neither do I: All you need are uncooked rolled oats, old-fashioned or quick-cook/instant, and a blender or food processor. To make 1 cup of oat flour, place 1 cup of the oats in a blender or food processor and process until the consistency of fine cornmeal (it will be slightly coarser than all-purpose flour).
You can use any combination of chili peppers, whether hot, sweet or bell peppers, according to your heat preferences. I recommend using a variety of peppers of different colors for a fun and festive appearance. For the bread shown in the photos, I used a mixture of serrano, jalapeno, habanero, red Fresno and poblano, which meant that each bite could range from gently spicy to fiery-hot.
Queso fresco is a fresh, crumbly Mexican cheese available at regular grocery stores in areas where there's a Mexican population. You can also usually find it in Mexican tiendas if you have any in your area. Like feta cheese, queso fresco tends not to melt much when you cook with it. If you can't find queso fresco, you can substitute cubed cheddar, Monterey Jack or pepper-jack cheese even though the texture will be different because those cheeses melt much more readily.
For a healthier, very low fat bread, you can omit the cheese altogether and still have a very flavorful and visually attractive bread, as shown in the photo below:
Finally, if you don't have a 9" or 10" cast iron skillet, you can bake the bread in an 8" x 8" baking pan, or even shape it into a free-form loaf and bake on a cookie sheet.
1 cup oat flour
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Mexican spice blend such as Jim's Own Pincho Rub or Gentlewoods Natural Pincho Rub*
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 Tbs oil
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt**
1 Tbs milk**
1 cup seeded & diced chili peppers
1 cup crumbled queso fresco, OR approx. 6 oz cheddar or jack cheese cut into small cubes
*You can substitute Mexican chili powder but make sure it's a seasoning blend and not merely ground red chili pepper (i.e., a single type of pepper without any other spices or herbs).
**If you don't have Greek yogurt, use ordinary plain nonfat yogurt and omit the milk.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 9" or 10" cast iron skillet (I use bacon fat) and place in oven as it preheats. Note: If you are using a baking pan or a baking sheet instead of a cast iron skillet, do NOT place in oven after greasing.
While the skillet is heating, thoroughly combine the first 6 ingredients (all the dry ingredients except the peppers and cheese) in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix together the egg, oil, yogurt and milk. Pour the wet mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Note: This makes a very stiff, dry batter so I recommend using a sturdy wooden spoon. Fold in the peppers and cheese until incorporated throughout the bread, using your hands if necessary.
Carefully remove the hot greased skillet from oven and transfer the dough into the middle of the skillet -- watch out for splattering grease. Use your hands to spread the dough evenly inside the skillet:
Place in oven and bake at 425°F until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes:
Let rest for a couple of minutes before cutting:
You can also transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool before cutting -- if your skillet is well-seasoned and well-greased, the bread should slip out easily without sticking to the sides or bottom. To store any leftover bread, first allow it to cool completely and then refrigerate in an airtight sealed plastic bag.
PS: If you're shopping for some good cast iron skillets that will last a lifetime and longer, I recommend Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillet - Set of 2 (10 1/4" & 12") - Lodge Logic (Google Affiliate Ad) for their high quality, durability and superb cooking at an affordable price.