Flatbread, an aromatic way to reconnect with my community

Turn bread eating into a guilt-free pleasure

Welcome to another chapter of my flatbread journey.My love for bread, memories and flavours from childhood, and my willingness to turn bread eating into a guilt-free pleasure, the cultural, flavoursome experience became the drive behind Bake2Explore. My mission and passion are to make baking your flatbread easy and exciting for all the bread lovers to turn it into their healthier and mindful eating and lifestyle. My mission is all about being fully attentive to your flatbread. This includes collecting authentic recipes, sourcing locally produced, organic and wholemeal ingredients, creating awareness about each recipe's culture and heritage, and environmentally friendly packaging.


Searching for recipes; reconnect me with the community

Searching for authentic recipes was an excellent opportunity to reconnect with the community I knew from the Fertile Crescent region to ask them to share recipes and tell me about their childhood memories and attachments to flatbread. It took a bit longer to receive the recipes, especially considering the timing. At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone had so much on their plates, including me. However, the amount of support and passion for sharing the pleasure of those unique flavours was well beyond my expectation. I received 25 recipes, mainly family recipes, for different flatbread shared with me from Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and Syria. I had more than enough to bake and explore for my Wednesday baking ritual during the first lockdown in my North London kitchen. As you can imagine, my first attempts did not always look perfect, but the irresistible taste and aroma were there and was the highlight of my lockdown weeks in my kitchen with those Juliet balcony doors. Even with the full lockdown restrictions, I benefited from every opportunity to share the joy of eating freshly baked flatbreads. First started with my two neighbours by leaving them a bag of one or two flatbreads outside their doors, and later on, we were allowed to go for a social distance walk with another person, with a friend on our Thursday morning walks. I was waiting for their feedback impatiently. 


Discovering more about the flatbread

I came across so many unexpected yet intriguing stories about flatbread, its diversity, history and heritage behind it. For instance, the significant piece of research done by Antonella Pasqualone, professor at the Food Science and Technology unit of the University of Bari Aldo Moro. This research talks about the very ancient origin of flatbread, demonstrated by the findings from Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and the Indus civilization, and the probability of being the first processed food. On another occasion, looking for family recipes among my Egyptian friends, and surprisingly none of them had any, led me to another interesting finding. Based on the historical texts and evidence, due to the state policies and total control of grain cultivation, transportation and storage during the Ottoman Empire, including providing subsidized flour to the local bakeries in the central markets in cities, the tradition of home baking in urban areas never developed.


The more I learnt about flatbreads from the Fertile Crescent area and how the tradition of home baking in modern urban life is about to be forgotten, the more I became determined to follow my passion for making flatbread making experience, an easy and enjoyable for everyone. 


I believe in educating people about food, so in every Bake2Explore journey, I include the story of the people, the culture and the heritage behind the flatbread recipe.

Enjoy it!

Leila


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