Have you ever been to a house near the mountains where wild, delicious veggies grow throughout the property and one of the first historical Turtlerock wood fired ovens is built behind the kitchen? This is where Syd and Eli of Hominy Farm live, where the morning and afternoon activities are hand mixing sourdough in a custom built, wooden trough with 100% North Carolina flours and baking loaves of wonderfully fermented bread in the gargantuan oven. Dinner time is a kitchen full of hummus, foraged veggies, and other homemade vegan treats like the "cashmere" spread that gets slathered on thick slices of their sourdough. Syd and Eli don't make your typical sourdough bread either - if you're following their instagram, prepare for your feed to be infused with vibrant pictures of pita bread, ka'ak, and manoushe inspired by Eli's desire to connect with his Lebanese roots.
I first met Eli while working in Miami at Sullivan Street Bakery - thankfully I kept in touch after he and Syd moved up to North Carolina to begin this new adventure. When I visited during Asheville Bread Fest, the naturally leavened manoushe really caught my eye. Homemade za'atar and olive oil are very complimentary of the dark bake from the hot stones of the oven. Unaware at the time, I asked Eli why he makes manoushe and his response really stuck with me:
"My grandma, Tayta Jana Je Bailey, is the reason I bake manoushe because I grew up with her version! When I showed her the Turtle Rock oven (built by Antoine Guerlain, William Davenport and Dave Bauer), she told me stories of their village baker from when she was a child in Hakur, Lebanon. It sort of woke me up to the breads I should be baking and reminded me to stay true to myself as well as my family's Lebanese heritage."
I can certainly relate to that, and I am pleased to share with you the Hominy Farm manoushe recipe!
What You'll Need (For Levain Build)
50 grams mature sourdough starter
50 grams whole wheat flour
50 grams bread flour
100 grams water
What You'll Need (For Final Mix)
250 grams bread flour
250 grams whole wheat flour
415 grams water
100 grams levain
15 grams salt
What You'll Need (For Topping)
What You Need To Do
Combine flour and 350 grams of water together in a bowl. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Combine the rest of your water, save a splash for when we add the salt, and the levain to the bowl. Squeeze together with your hands until the levain and water are incorporated. This will take you 5-10 minutes.
Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Add salt and last bit of water. Squeeze again until salt and water are incorporated.
Let the mixture ferment for 5-6 hours at room temperature (about 72-78f is ideal).
Divide into 7 pieces, roughly 150 grams each.
Use the palm of your hands on a lightly floured work surface to ball them up. Dust a cutting board lightly with flour and pace the balls, seam side down, on the cutting board. Let them proof for about 1 hour. Preheat your oven as hot as you can get it, around 550f. If you have a pizza stone, put into the oven during the preheat. Another great method is to use a Challenger Bread Pan without the lid.
Dimple your manoushe by pushing form the center out. You want to push the air towards the edges.
Dress your manoushe with za'atar and olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until you get a crisp, slightly dark edge. Enjoy!
Are you local to Asheville, NC? Make sure you sign up for the Hominy Farm Bread Subscription! If you're a restaurant or cafe, you can ask for their wholesale pricing as well.