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I am sure each of us has one or the other food craving? Isn’t it? There are times when I have the most irresistible urge to try out something and would probably go mad if I can’t have it! I still recall vividly during my initial stages of pregnancy when I had a sudden craving for Arby’s curly fries and I had to send my husband late in the night to get it for me! Similarly I had this sudden craving for Dipping dots Ice Cream in the middle of a night! I had them at Wisconsin Dells for some for the first time which is like 3 hours drive from the place where I live and I couldn’t possible send my husband to get it this time:). Hence I googled up and got a nearby address where these ice-creams where were sold. Along with a few friends we went in the middle of the night, only to land at a local theater’s vending machine. I couldn’t stop laughing!!! Ahh such is my craving.

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On the same note, Pull – Apart Bread has been on my mind for some time now. I was longing for some savory bread and I HAD TO – HAD TO bake something and this was the first thing that struck me. So I baked a Whole Wheat Pull-Apart Bread with some garlic butter spread. My husband said it was too garlicky and didn’t like it much( he hates garlic!!!).Though I loved it, it was a little hard. So I started browsing to find a good recipe.

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To my surprise, every other blog I stumbled upon had posted about this bread. All the blogs lead to Aparna’s “We need to Bake “ group. That’s when I hoped onto Aparna’s beautiful blog and read the details and was keen to participate. I immediately wrote to her and she was kind enough to add me and asked me to bake the bread and post it by end of this month. In addition to her recipe I added some sun dried tomatoes. So here is my bread for your eyes.

HERB AND CHEESE PULL- APART BREAD WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES
Makes one loaf ( 9 x 4 or 5)
Ingredients:

For the Dough:
1/2 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspon active dry yeast
2 3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon butter,room temperature
3/4 teaspoon garlic paste
3/4 cup milk (+ a couple of tablespoon to brush over the bread)

For the Filling:
1 tablespoon butter,melted
2 teaspoon dried italian herbs
1 teaspoon cumin seeds,crushed
Crushed pepper and red chilli flakes, to taste
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon chopped sundried tomatoes

Directions:

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. In the bowl of a stand mixer( Kitchenaid) Put 2 ¾ cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic paste and stir a couple of times to mix. Then add the yeast mixture and the ¾ 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. I didn’t use up the entire milk, also didn’t have the need to add more flour.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 ½ hours or until almost double in volume. 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. Evenly sprinkle the herbs, pepper/ chili flakes 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. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips
You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks). Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 4” (or 5”) loaf tin. {I used a (7.75x 4.75)}. Butter and lightly flour the loaf pan. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin. Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf. Bake the dough 350F for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown.

The bread was fantastic, both in terms of look and taste. It was very flavorful. As the name suggest you have to PULL the Bread apart: you don’t need a knife. I am so glad that I joined this group, this will keep me going.

Thanks Aparna for the lovely recipe:)

Roxana of Roxana’s Home Baking asked me to send this to her “Bake your own Bread” event and I was happy to do so:). Thanks a bunch Roxana:)

Bon Apetit!

Nina

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