Focaccia Caprese

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We knead to bake ‘  – a bread baking group started by Aparna has entered it’s second year. Though I couldnt do all the 12 breads last year, it was a great learning experience for me. Thanks Aparna for starting this wonderful group . Last month we could bake the bread of our choice. I chose Focaccia Caprese which was one of the breads I had missed earlier .

 Focaccia is a type of flatbread from Italy, thought to have originated in ancient Greece but now associated with the north eastern part of Italy. Today however, it is a flatbread that is found all over Italy and baked in a variety of ways.  The Focaccia is usually served either as a light snack, can be made into sandwiches or be served with a soup or salad to make a meal.

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A lot of people feel that the Focaccia is not much different from the Pizza and even go as far thinking it is a kind of square shaped Pizza! However, the Focaccia is different from the Pizza in more than just shape. Traditionally, Focaccia has the topping ingredients kneaded into the dough while Pizza has it on top of the dough. Traditionally, an Italian Pizza crust is on the thinner side, rarely more than 1/2″ thick whereas a Focaccia is at least about 3/4″ thick. Focaccia therefore, tends to be “spongier” and softer whereas a Pizza is crisper.

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A lot of oil into the Focaccia dough after which it is shaped and then more oil is brushed/ drizzled on whereas in a Pizza, oil is not kneaded into the dough and only used on top. Also, Focaccia maybe served warm or cold (at room temperature) but a Pizza is always served hot and never cold. In the old days, Focaccia rarely had any toppings except oil and herbs (and garlic as well) for flavour though this has changed.

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Focaccia Caprese is nothing but a basic Focaccia dough topped Caprese style. “Caprese” refers to something that comes from or is in the style of Capri, an island off the Italian coast near Naples. The topping of the Focaccia Caprese is sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, in addition to the usual olive oil and herbs that are typically used in this flatbread. Though it is fresh mozzarella that is the best in this Focaccia, if one cannot find it  you can also use any other “melty” cheese if you have no choice.

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I had tried a few recipes on Focaccia before, but this one had the softest texture. The herbed oil topping imparts a distinct flavour to the bread.  And I loved the mild spiciness from the red chilly flakes.

Here is the step by step pictures. You can find the full recipe at the end of the post.

FOR THE HERBED OIL :      Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.

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FOR THE DOUGH :

For the dough mix all the ingredients to make a soft dough and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.

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Then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. Transfer the dough to the baking tins. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.

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Bake at 210C (410F) for about 18 to 20 minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Take the Focaccia out. Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia/ and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted.

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FOCACCIA CAPRESE

FOCACCIA CAPRESE

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough:

  •  Instant yeast -2 tsp
  •  Sugar – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Bread flour OR all purpose flour -3 1/2 cups
  •  Salt – 1 tsp
  •  Oil (preferably olive oil) – 1/4 cup
  •  Warm water – 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • A little more olive oil for brushing dough

For the Topping:

  • Large tomatoes, sliced thin – 4-5
  •  Mozzarella cheese , grated (or any other melty cheese ) – 1 cup
  •  Fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips – 1/2 cup

For the Herbed Oil:

  •  Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  •  Dried oregano – 1 tsp
  • Dried basil – 1 tsp
  •  Red chilli flakes – 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ( I used 1/4 tsp)
  •  Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

 

METHOD 

FOR THE HERBED OIL :      Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.

FOR THE DOUGH :

The dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand or machine. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky.

Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.

You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller ones like I did. For making 4 Focaccia, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out (or press out) evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. It alright if it’s an odd shape because Focaccia is really a “rustic” bread.

Transfer the dough to the baking tins. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.

Bake at 210C (410F) for about 18 to 20 minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Take the Focaccia out and turn up the heat of your oven to 230C (450F).

Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.

Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve while it is still hot. This recipe should serve 4 if served alone or 6 if served with a side.

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Khaliat Nahal (Honeycomb Buns or Bee’s Hive Buns)

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 For October’s We Knead to Bake Aparna had selected  Khaliat Nahal or Honeycomb Buns .  Khaliat al Nahal (also known as Khaliat Nahal) translates as Bee’s Hive in Arabic. This is because the buns are baked close to each other in a round pan where they form a honeycomb like pattern. They’re traditionally made sweet and glazed with honey flavoured syrup, though savoury versions are also made.

 This recipe makes 18 smallish buns, and if you want fewer you can halve the recipe to make about 9 or 10 buns. For half the recipe, use a 6” or 7” round cake tin to bake the Honeycomb Bread.  You can also bake them individually in muffin tins if you prefer, except they would not have their characteristic “honeycomb” pattern.

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Traditionally, the filling used in this bread is a small piece of plain cream cheese but here choice of filling is entirely up to you. You can make it sweet or savoury.

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   This is by far the softest bread I have ever made !!! And the kids really loved it … The bread disapperared real fast 🙂

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My little one was so impatient to have the bread that he couldn’t wait till my photosession was over 🙂

Hubby too was real impressed but he wanted it to be a savoury filling the next time.. And I obliged by baking him a savoury version with chicken keema filling the next day 🙂

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INGREDIENTS

FOR THE DOUGH

  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar (for sweet bread)
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp salt (for savoury bread) OR 1/4 tsp salt (for sweet bread)
  • 40gm butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp milk for brushing the dough
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds for sprinkling on top (optional; only for savoury bread)

FOR THE FILLING

1 cup of filling (approximately) of your choice, either sweet or savoury

Savoury – cream cheese OR crumbled feta cheese OR crumbled paneer/ cottage cheese, flavoured according to your choice. You can also use any other savoury filling that you want. I used a combination of crumbled paneer, herbs, chilli flakes, a little garlic and chopped spring onion.

Sweet – cream cheese (traditional filling), or any other filing of your choice like chocolate,   dried fruit like dates, raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit , sweetened coconut filling, etc.

Sugar Syrup/ Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp lime/ lemon juice
  1. Make sure your melted butter has cooled down a bit before using it. Put 2 cups of the flour, salt, sugar (if making the sweet bread only) and melted butter in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well.
  2. Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and keep for 5 minutes. Add this to the processor bowl and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough which is not sticky. Add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you need to get this consistency of bread dough.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning it to coat completely with the oil. Cover and let it rise till double in volume, for about an hour.

IMG_75584. Turn the dough out onto your work surface. You won’t really need to flour it as the dough is quite manageable as it is. Cut it into 2 halves. With your palms, roll out each half a “rope” about 9” long.

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5. Cut each rope into 1” pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces.

IMG_75756. Take each piece and flatten it out a little and place half a teaspoon of filling in the centre.

IMG_75907. Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Smoothen it into a round ball.

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8. Place this in a well-greased round 9” cake tin. Repeat with the remaining 17 pieces and the filling. Arrange the filled balls of dough in concentric circles, filling the base of the cake tin.

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9. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 30 to 40 minutes. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds over this. Don’t use the sesame seeds for sweet bread, only for the savoury one. Bake the buns at 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until they’re done and a nice golden brown on top.

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10. If you’re making the sweet version, make the sugar syrup/ glaze during the first rise of the dough. For this put the sugar, water and saffron in a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until it starts thickening a bit. Take it off the heat and add the honey and the lime/ lemon juice. Mix well and let it cool. Keep aside till needed.

11. When the sweet buns come out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top of the “Honeycomb”.  The bread should be hot and the syrup/ glaze should be cool. If you want your Honeycomb Buns to be less sweet, just brush the syrup/ glaze over the top. ( I skipped the honey in the recipe as kids do not prefer honey’s taste )

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12. Let it sit for a while for the syrup/ glaze to set a bit. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.

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Here’s a good video to watch in case you think you need it.  http://xawaash.com/?p=6593#sthash.WYkAg0DL.dpbs

 

Bialys – Chewy Rolls Topped With Caramalised Onions

IMG_5892Bialys – that was the challenge for the month of May in the Breadbaking group -We Knead to Bake hosted by Aparna.  Aparna comes up with these varied kinds of breads which makes me nervous to attempt on the first glance.. but she explains it in detail that when the final action takes place, it comes out well without much fuss. Thanks Aparna for yet another wonderful challenge…

The Bialy (pronounced bee-AH-lee) maybe thought of as a cousin to a Bagel but is quite different from it. For one thing, a Bialy is baked whereas a Bagel is boiled and then baked. A Bialy is round with a depressed middle, not a hole, and typically filled with cooked onions and sometimes poppy seeds.

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The method of preparation  – Mix the ingredients of the dough and knead well. Let it rise for atleast 2 hrs. Roll the dough into 8 balls and let it rise again. Then comes the fun part of shaping the dough. The dough is not rolled by a roller but rather using your hands, by holding the dough using both the hands and turning the dough like you do a steering wheel ..  sounds complicated?? Check this video to get a clear picture .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB908K3Kd6k

Fill in the depression of the dough using caramalised onions and crumbled paneer and bake at 230C (450F) for about 10- 15 minutes. Bialys are on the softer side, so be careful not to overbake them.. I baked for 15 minutes and my bialys were not too soft , I think around 12 minutes were enough in my oven.

The verdict – my elder son loved it, but the younger one was happy with the fillings removed 🙂

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recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

INGREDIENTS

 FOR THE DOUGH

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (use bread flour if you can find it or all-purpose flour + 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten)
  • 1tsp salt
  • Milk for brushing the dough

FOR THE ONION FILLING

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tspgaram masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 100gm paneer, crumbled (optional)

 method

Mix the instant yeast, sugar, salt and flour . Add the warm water and knead until the dough comes together as a mass. Add a little more water or flour (not too much) if you need it, until your dough is smooth and elastic but not sticky.

Shape it into a ball and put it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough till it is well coated. Cover and let it rise till about double. This should take about 2 hours. If you’re not making the Bialys right away, you can refrigerate the dough overnight at this point. When ready to make them, keep the dough at room temperature for about half an hour and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

In the meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When the crackle, add the onions, and sauté over low to medium heat. Sprinkle a little salt and continue sautéing until they become soft and turn golden brown in colour. Add the garam masala and stir well. Keep the caramelised onions aside to cool.

Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on it. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and shape each one into a roll

(See this video for shaping rolls, if necessary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB908K3Kd6k )

Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover them with a towel. Let them rise for about one hour (about  1 1/2 to 2 hours for refrigerated dough)  till pressing with a finger on the top leaves a dent.

Work on one piece at a time, while you keep the others covered so they don’t dry out. When the rolls are ready, pick them up one at a time and using your fingers, form the depression in the middle. Hold the roll like a steering wheel with your thumbs in the middle and your fingers around the edges. Pinch the dough between your thumb and fingers, rotating as you go and gradually making the depression wider without actually poking a hole through.

Remember not to press on the edges, or they will flatten out. Once shaped, you should have a depression about 3” in diameter with 1” of puffy dough around the edge, so your Bialy should be about 4” in diameter. Prick the centre of the Bialy with a fork so the centre doesn’t rise when baking.

Place the shaped dough on a parchment lined (or greased) baking tray leaving about 2 inches space between them. Place the caramelised onion filling in the depressions of each Bialy. Brush the outer dough circle with milk. If you’re using crumbled paneer, add it to the Bialys in the last 5 minutes of baking or it will get burnt.

Bake the Bialys at 230C (450F) for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. This recipe makes 8 largish Bialys.

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Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong

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I am really glad that I joined Aparna’s bread baking group.. or else I never would have found the courage to plunge into these bread making sessions.. Really happy that Aparna lead us to try this soft bread – Hokkaido Milk Bread . It comes real close to the milk bread we get in the Asian groceries. Aparna had suggested to try the dough to make the bread as well as rolls.. I tried them both and am quite pleased with the result !! Well , the kids are happier than me as they sure enjoyed the rolls with chocolate chips inside !!

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The Hokkaido Mild Bread owes its texture and height to the use of an interesting ingredient called Tangzhong. Basically, the Tangzhong method involves cooking 1 part of bread flour with 5 parts of water (by weight) at 65°C (149 °F) to form a roux.  This method of using Tangzhong is often seen in South Asian breads and was created by a Chinese woman, Yvonne Chen, who describes this method in her book which translates to “65 degrees Bread Doctor” .

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Ingredients:

 For The Tangzhong (Flour-Water Roux)

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk

For The Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp powdered milk
  • 2 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk (and a little more if needed)
  • 1/8 cup cream (25% fat)
  • 1/3 cup tangzhong (use HALF of the tangzhong from above)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 25gm unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips if making the rolls

Method:

For The Tangzhong  (Flour-Water Roux):

  1. Whisk together lightly the flour, water and milk in a saucepan until smooth and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan on the stove, and over medium heat, let the roux cook till it starts thickening. Keep stirring constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth.
  2. If you have a thermometer, cook the roux till it reaches 65C (150F) and take it off the heat. If like you don’t have a thermometer, then watch the roux/ tangzhong until you start seeing “lines” forming in the roux as you whisk it. Take the pan off the heat at this point.
  3. Let the roux cool completely and rest for about 2 to 3 hours at least. It will have the consistency of a soft and creamy crème patisserie. If not using immediately, transfer the roux to a bowl and cover using plastic wrap. It can be stored in the fridge for about a day. Discard the tangzhong after that.

For The Bread Dough

[You can knead the dought wither using food processor or by hands..  Using a food processor saves a lot of work though.. ]

  1. Put the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and instant yeast in the processor bowl mix well.
  2. In another small bowl mix the milk, cream and Tangzhong till smooth and add flour. Knead to form a dough (I added abt ¼ cup more milk to get the whole flour to form a dough) Now add the butter and knead well till you have a smooth and elastic dough which is just short of sticky.
  3. (The dough will start out sticky but kneading will make it smooth. If the dough feels firm and not soft to touch, add a couple of tsps of milk till it becomes soft and elastic. When the dough is done, you should be able to stretch the dough without it breaking right away.  When it does break, the break should be form a circle.)
  4. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl turning it so it is well coated. Cover with a towel, and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or till almost double in volume.
  5. Place the dough on your working surface. You don’t need flour to work or shape this dough. This recipe makes enough dough to make one loaf (9” by 5” tin), 2 small loaves (6” by 4” tins) or 1 small loaf (6” by 4”) and 6 small rolls (muffin tins). Depending on what you are making, divide your dough. If you are making 1 loaf, divide your dough in 3 equal pieces. If you are making two smaller loaves, divide your dough into 6 equal pieces.
  6. To make one small loaf and 6 small rolls, I divided the dough into two equal pieces first. Then I divided the first half into three equal pieces to make the loaf. The other half was divided into six equal pieces for six rolls.
  7. The shaping of the portions, whether for the loaf or the rolls, is the same.
  8. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape, about 1/8” thick. Take one end of the dough from the shorter side of the oval and fold it to the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold so it slightly overlaps the other fold.
  9. Roll this folded dough with the rolling pin so the unfolded edges are stretched out to form a rectangle. Roll the rectangle from one short edge to the other, pinching the edges to seal well. Do this with each of the three larger pieces and place them, sealed edges down, in a well-oiled loaf tin. Cover with a towel and leave the dough to rise for about 45 minutes.
  10. To make the rolls fold them in the same manner described above, but before rolling them up, place some chocolate chip on the dough. Roll the dough rectangles carefully and pinch to seal the edge. Place each roll of dough in a well-oiled muffin cup and cover with a towel. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes.
  11. Carefully brush the tops of the rolls and the loaf with milk (or cream) and bake them at 170C (325F) for about 20 to 30 minutes till they are done (if you tap them they’ll sound hollow) and beautifully browned on top. Let them cool in the tins for about 5 minutes and then unmould and transfer to a rack till slightly warm or cool.
  12. Serve or else store in a bread bin. This bread stays soft and delicious even the next day. This recipe makes enough dough to make one loaf (9” by 5” tin), 2 small loaves (6” by 4” tins) or 1 small loaf (6” by 4”) and 6 small rolls (muffin tins).

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HERB & CHEESE PULL-APART BREAD

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A few days back I came to know about a new Bread Baking Group – WE KNEAD TO BAKE!! –  formed by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. The idea is to bake a bread each month and post it by the end of the month . Baking is something I love to do ( which must be obvious from my blog posts ), but i have yet to master the art of bread baking..

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January’s bread is HERB & CHEESE PULL-APART BREAD . ( Joined in the group late and so got a bit late in posting !! )  Since I am a novice in bread baking, decided to stick with the original recipe by Aparna… Her detailed recipe instruction was really helpful for a beginner like me..

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The dough was easy to work on. The only variation I did from the original recipe is the shape of the bread… Instead of stacking each layer of dough, I rolled them up and let them to rise …  While baking the bread , kids were asking me what is smelling so good in the oven?? 🙂 Needless to say, hubby and kids loved this one..

There are a whole lot of variations done by the other members of the group, like adding veggies or going to the sweeter version with chocolate and cinnamon..  Will experiment with the fillings soon.. !!

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INGREDIENTS

 For the Dough:

  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25gm butter, soft at room temperature
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 3/4 cup milk (+ a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread)

For the Filling:

  • 15 to 20gm melted butter
  • 2 tsp dried Provencal or mixed herbs*
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • Crushed pepper/ red chilli flakes to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

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Method:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up.
  2. Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic paste in a large bowl and knead together. Then add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking,but only just as much as is necessary.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat itc ompletely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in volume.
  4. Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12’ by 12”. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter.
  5. Evenly sprinkle the herbs, pepper/ chilliflakes and the cumin seeds and then the grated cheese. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
  6. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect.
  7. Butter and lightly flour a round cake tin.
  8. Roll each strip from one end to the other. Place the 6 rolls in a round pan , leaving space between them to rise.
  9. Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour.
  10. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf
  11. Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown.

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Bread Pudding

As summer is nearing, its time for cold puddings 🙂 … This is an easy and simple pudding, actually one of my first attempts which was successful . The plus factor is that preparation time is less than  fifteen minutes..All you need is bread slices,milk, cream, condensed milk and pistachios or nuts of your choice.  This pudding is made in 3 layers and you have to use a rectangular tray for arranging the bread slices. So here goes the recipe…


Ingredients

  • Bread slices – 20
  • Milk – 1 ½ cups
  • Condensed Milk – 1 tin
  • Whipped Cream – 2 cups
  • Chopped Pistachios – ½ cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1tsp

Method

  1. Mix the milk , condensed milk and vanilla essence.
  2. Trim the edges of the bread slices and cut them into half .
  3. Dip the bread slices into the milk and lay them on a rectangular tray. Continue this till you have made one layer.
  4. Take about one third of the cream and spread  it over the bread slices.
  5. Spread some chopped pistachios over the cream.
  6. Top this layer using bread slices dipped in the milk mixture, followed by cream and pista.
  7. Repeat once more so that finally you have 3 layers.
  8. Chill for a few hours and serve

Note : If the milk mixture is remaining pour it on top of the bread slices and then spread the cream .

Yeasted Filled Meringue Coffee Cake

This was my first Daring Baker challenge. To be honest I was nervous as I read through the challenge , unsure whether it would come out well…  For a few days I kept on going through the recipe and the discussion forum where the fellow Daring Bakers had posted their successful results…  Well , after a few days I summoned up the courage to get going.. The filling for the coffee cake could be anything of our choice and I decided it would be pistachios for mine , as they would complement the chocochips in taste and visual appeal 🙂 …

As I was rolling out the first meringue, I thought of adding dates to the second coffee cake along with  the pista and nuts… again I was not sure how it would turn out, but went ahead with my instinct..

Apart from the  minor mishap of filling the meringue till the end of the rolled dough which made it a bit difficult in joining the ends together and keeping away the over enthusiastic kids from the chocolate filled dough kept for rising 🙂  the rest of the process went smoothly …

And the coffee cakes looked beautiful and was soft in texture :)… The kids loved the pista and chocochips version… I loved the dates with the chocolate…Hubby dear thought it was from the bakery 🙂 .. hmm all in all, it was worth the effort .. Thank you Daring Bakers for giving this wonderful challenge… and to my bro once again for the beautiful snaps in this post…

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

Ingredients
For the yeast coffee cake dough:

4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:

3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:

1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pistachios
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

For the dates paste in filling : (for 1 coffee cake)

10 dates pitted and chopped
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup water
1-2 tbsp sugar

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes

Directions:

Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling:In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling .

For the dates paste : Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp of butter. When it melts add the pitted and chopped dates. Add 1/4 cup water and let it boil. Stir till the dates get mashed. Add 1-2 tbsp of sugar depending on your taste.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of  the chopped pistachios and half of the chocolate chips of the filling of choice evenly over the meringue

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

Potato Bread Rolls With Cheese Filling

This is an easy and tasty preparation . I have made cheese filling to make it kid friendly 🙂 . Another option is to grind grated coconut and green chillies and use it as filling.. so here goes the recipe


Ingredients
 

  • Large Potatoes – 2
  • Bread slices – 4 (I used Brown Bread as i didn’t have any white bread )
  • Mozarella Cheese – as required



Method

  1. Boil the potatoes with a little salt and mash them.
  2. Trim the edges off the bread slices.Dip the  slices in water and squeeze them. Add to the mashed potatoes.
  3. Mix the bread and potatoes well.
  4. Roll the bread potato mixture into large lemon size ball  in hand .
  5. Make a small depression and stuff with a little mozzarella cheese.
  6. Cover up the depression with the potato  mixture.
  7. Deep fry in oil till golden brown.

P.S: Sending this to “ONLY COOKING WITH BREAD ” Event hosted by Pari