New recipes from the gluten free Breadfruit tree; Tortillas.
The summer months are when this iconic Polynesian tree, commonly called Ulu, is busting with cannon ball size fruit. We are bakers so it might not surprise you that we took the name literally and developed some bread formulas with it. We’re not talking about just adding Ulu to a traditional wheat recipe. We set out to craft baking formulas with Ulu as the main dough ingredient. Think of an Ulu fruit as dough on a tree. Try the simple formula below and make tortillas to rival any corn tortilla for flavor, texture and shelf-life. If you like the tortilla recipe then take on our recipes for bagels, bread, and pie dough for additional delicious, backyard sourced food.
Have some fun with this food, get to know it. The first or second try at a recipe gives you a chance to explore the territory and make mistakes. Once comfortable with it you may adopt a recipe that is like an old friend; reliable and trustworthy.
With these Ulu recipes keep in mind you are performing a bit of alchemy. You are making a bread from a fruit that would be happier if it had ripened and landed with a splat on the ground under the tree. One useful ingredient is xanthan gum. xanthan gum acts as a binder, sort of like a replacement for the gluten in wheat. xanthan gum is available in health food stores. If you are in the neighborhood call me and Iʻll share some with you, 639-4689. If you are comfortable breaking the rules before you even start the game try substituting xanthan gum with another more common binding ingredient like a tablespoon of cornstarch, mochi flour or tapioca flour.
1 pound ulu
4 ounces tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbl Xanthan gum
1 ounce butter, lard or oil of your choice. We use coconut oil.
Method.To summarize; pick an Ulu fruit from a breadfruit tree, cut it in wedges, boil it a few minutes, shred it on a cheese grater, mix it with a few ingredients into a dough, make tortillas and pan fry them. Recipe makes 6 tortillas
1. Pick an Ulu; In order to push you into actually making these tortillas why don’t you go out and pick your Ulu now? That way, with a freshly sacrificed Ulu on the table in front of you, you will feel compelled to follow through. Look for an Ulu in your tree that is mature, starchy and hard. We like the big ones, two or three pounds at least. Any sign of softness means the fruit is too ripe for bread recipes. A fruit that is too young will be light green and have a bumpy surface. The fruit you want has a deeper shade of green and the bumpy texture is almost gone as if the fruit is swollen or plump. There should be a drip or two of dried white latex sap showing on parts of the skin.
Picking the fruit can be a sticky job because latex sap will drip from the stem. A few minutes after you pick it the sap will stop running. We said “pick” the Ulu but you will actually have to cut it down with a blade or clipper as the stem is rather thick and woody. Wear clothing if you plan on climbing into your tree. Speaking from personal experience heading up the tree without a shirt on can leave you a bit itchy after brushing up against the underside of Breadfriut leaves. We will leave you to your own devices and ingenuity to figure out how to reach your Ulu if your tree is one of those towering beauties planted decades ago.
2. Boil it a few minutes; Rinse the Ulu off, cut it into four or six wedges and drop them into a large pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. The idea is to soften the starches but not to overcook them or make them soggy or mushy. Once boiled turn off the heat, carefully pick the pieces out of the water with tongs and let them cool on a plate or in a bowl. Once they are room temperature refrigerate them for an hour or more. They will be fine refrigerated for a few days if you cover them. It is fine to peel and core your fruit however we do not. The skin contains extra nutrients and the core contains more dietary fiber. Consider this a “whole grain” Ulu recipe. The only part we don’t use is the woody stem and the occasional seed.
Note; steaming is also a fine cooking method.
3. Shred it; Shred or grate your cooled wedges of par-cooked Ulu with a cheese grater or a food processor to convert it into a shredded or finely chopped meal. This is the basic ingredient for Tortilla dough and for several other breads and pastry recipes we will share here in these pages. This is how we store our processed ingredient for future recipes. Put it into a bag or container, refridgerate it for a few days or freeze it for the long term.
4. Mix it like a dough; Measure the ingredients into a bowl then mix and kneed them well with your hands or a Kitchenaid style mixer. Mix well until most lumps are smoothed out and your dough resembles moist clay. If you have a food processor use it, the finer the mix the better.
5. Make tortillas; Cut 2 pieces of waxed or parchment paper 10” or 12” square, oil one surface of each paper. Wet your hands with water and roll gobs of your dough into 1 1/2 “ to 2 1/2” balls. Sandwich a dough ball between the two pieces of oiled paper. Place a flat board, like a small cutting board, on top of this and smash it flat with the weight of your hands until your tortilla is about 1/8 inch thick and 6” to 10” inches in diameter.
6. Cook them: Flatten and cook your tortillas one at a time. Put a non-stick or seasoned frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Peel the top piece of waxed paper from your newly flattened tortilla. Lift it off the table with the bottom piece of waxed paper. Flop the tortilla over and into the pan and carefully peel the other paper away. Cook the tortilla until it is firmed up a bit. Flip it over or turn carefully with a spatula. Once it looks cooked, with a bit of browning in spots on both sides set it to cool on a plate and begin the next one. The heat converts the starches to gelatins and gives your flat bread itʻs strength, flexibility and chewy texture.
7. Try something different: I donʻt know about you but we usually ask ourselves, “What else can we do with this?” “Letʻs try a huge one, letʻs try a tiny one. Letʻs try making a pita bread with it.” Hint; to make a pita bread flatten two 6” inch tortillas and peel the top paper off, stick the two exposed sides together and gently press the outer rims. Peel the top paper off your new Pita bread, invert it into you pan or griddle peel the other paper off and fry as you would a tortilla only a bit longer. Your Pita will puff up a bit while it is cooking due to the steam in the middle. That steam creates the pocket. When it is cooled you can cut it in half and open it to make your Pita sandwich. Good luck, have fun, make mistakes, itʻs how you learn.
If you made it to the end of this article and have questions email me,
Tom Pickett at email@example.com