Category Archives: Baking

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Foug 1
For the month of April’s Daring Baker’s Challenge Rachael of Pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making Focaccia from scratch. Original recipe adapted from here.
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Focaccia is a type of flat Italian bread that is baked in the oven. Focaccia can be topped with a variety of toppings ranging from rosemary and sea salt to different types of cheese, herbs, vegetables and even fruit. We were tempted with four different kinds of Focaccia – Basic Focaccia,Sour Dough Focaccia,Fugazza and Focaccia di Recco and asked to make any one or all of them. The first three is something I have already made in the past. Focaccia di Recco was something new to me so I decided to go ahead with it. Focaccia di Recco is from the northern coastal region of Italy called Liguria. It is unleavened and stuffed with Stracchino (Crescenza), which is a very young cheese with a fine rind barely encapsulating a gooey cheese much like a very thick mascarpone.
foug 3 If you can’t get Stracchino (Crescenza), you can use another young, melty cheese – I have used fresh mozzarella for this recipe. This recipe will make more dough than you need if you roll it as thinly as is traditionally done, but you can freeze the excess, well wrapped in a zip lock bag, for several months.

Focaccia di Recco – Daring Baker’s April’15 Challenge

Ingredients

  • 3¾ cups all-purpose (plain) flour
  • pinch course sea salt, plus extra for topping
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling and topping
  • 1¼ cups water
  • 2/3 oz Stracchino (Crescenza) cheese / Mozarella

Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt and form a well in the middle. Add cold water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Start mixing the dough with a fork, incorporating the flour little by little.

Once the dough has come together, start kneading it with your hands. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth. When the dough is ready, wrap it well with plastic wrap, being sure to expel all the air so your dough doesn’t dry out, and let it rest for an hour at room temperature.

Preheat oven to very hot 480°F. Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll each piece out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, trying to keep them as round and as thin as possible. I rolled these ones a little thick, because we find it easier to handle when it’s more sturdy, but traditionally it should be almost transparent.

Grease a medium sized round pizza tray (not the type with holes in it, or you will have a very messy oven) or baking dish with olive oil. Place one layer of dough on the bottom of the dish. Add the cheese in pieces using your hands.

Cover the cheese with the second sheet of dough. Use a knife or a pair of kitchen shears to remove any excess dough from around the edges of the pan.

Seal the edges by pinching them together. Snip small holes into the top layer of dough so that the steam can escape during baking. Brush with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake in the centre of a preheated very hot oven for 6 - 8 minutes, until golden. When the focaccia is done, remove it from the oven and let cool enough to be handled.

Transfer to a platter, cut it and serve as an appetizer or with an aperitif.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/04/focaccia-di-recco-daring-bakers-april15-challenge/

As per the recipe, this Focaccia should take about 5-6 minutes to bake. But mine took more than 15minutes. It didn’t brown well on top so I let it bake for long enough. It overbaked and the cheese was no more goey. I could cut it and serve it without any mess. They are best eaten immediately. However it can also be refrigerated overnight and reheated the next day. Making this bread is super easy, simple ingredients and utterly delicious!

Enjoy!
Nina

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gOBI 1
Learn how to make Gobi Manchoorian/ Gobi Manchoori

Gobi Manchoorian/ Manchoori is an Indo Chinese food which is quite popular in India. It is said to have been developed by the tiny Chinese community that lived in Kolkata for over a century.  It is nothing but fried cauliflower tossed in a sweet and chili sauce. There are two different variants of it, dry and gravy. If I were frying I would use all purpose flour and cornstarch to make a thin batter; dip the florets in the batter and then deep fry.  Once that is done follow the below mentioned sauce recipe.  Few recipes even call for Ajinomoto (MSG) to increase the taste however I try to avoid it due to health reasons. Some add food colors to give the florets a bright red color, which is quite common in restaurants. I avoid that as well.
gOBI 2
In the past I have baked the same dish using different flours – chickpea,all purpose and even whole wheat flour. The problem was it wasn’t as crispy as I had expected it to be also there would a thin layer of batter stuck in the base of the florets. This used to put me off. That’s when dusting cornstarch came to my mind. I actually used about 3-3.5 tablespoon of cornstarch. The cauliflower florets baked beautifully, ending with a crispy texture. But the only thing was I could feel the cornstarch even after baking ( I realized I added a lot).The next time I would work with 1.5-2 tablespoons only. I know fried ones are the best but I wanted to try something that I could enjoy whole heartedly without worrying about calories. Making junk food healthy is a very smart idea:) .
Gobi 3
To me these tasted great, not as crispy as the fried ones but slightly close to it. Once they are coated in the sauce, I don’t see much of a difference. A good sauce is the key! If you plan to use them just as plain fritters, do season them with salt, pepper, cayenne and some turmeric (for the color) before baking. Also broil it for about 2-3 minutes towards the end to make it more crispier.

Baked Gobi Manchoori

Serving Size: 3

Baked Cauliflower with sweet and Chili sauce - healthy twist to a tasty junk food.

Ingredients

  • Baking Cauliflower
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets about 5-6 cups
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • For the Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2-3 garlic pods, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
  • 2-3 thai green chillies, chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup bell pepper, cubed
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Green chili/red chili sauce, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro , chopped
  • Salt as needed

Instructions

Preheat oven at 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Wash and dry in a paper towel. Place all the cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle oil over the florets coating it well. Now add the cornstarch and toss it. Spread it evenly on the lined sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip each floret. Increase temperature to 425F. Bake again for about 20 minutes. You will end with slightly crispy florets with a brownish tinge. Feel free to broil it for about 2 – 3 minutes for more crispier option, which I didn’t.

Sauce - Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic, ginger, chillies, onion and bell pepper. Saute until the onions turn pink. Do not overcook the veggies, do retain the crunchiness. Now add the ketchup and soy sauce. If you are using the chilli sauce, please add now( We don’t eat too spicy food, so I avoided the sauce). The mixture will start sizzling. Add the cauliflower,lemon juice and salt. Mix well. Garnish with cilantro.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/03/baked-gobi-manchoori/

If you are thinking of gravy please add some water mixed with very little cornstarch towards the end and then a quick boil will result in a semi gravy Manchoorian sauce. Serve as an appetizer or along with fried rice/noodles. Spring onions are a great choice too, if you have some handy do add it right at the end.

Enjoy guilt free!

 

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rolls 1

Aparna’s pick for March’s Bread was simple rolls called the Kummelweck Rolls(Kimmelweck Rolls).They are made from basic ingredients – flour,yeast,milk,honey ,egg white and oil. Kummelweck is a hard roll with a crusty top sprinkled with sea salt and caraway seeds. I believe they are German in origin. Kummel means “caraway” and weck means “roll”.
roll 8
These rolls are great for Sandwiches or Burgers.They are best eaten fresh ; soft inside and crusty outside. The below mentioned recipe makes eight large burger bun sized rolls. I made four buns and six Salt & Pepper sticks.
roll 10
I used the buns to make a simple Burger with Beets & Chickpeas Patties. I wanted to keep the patties as healthy as possible. So I pureed a can of chickpeas in my food processor along with cooked Beets, cilantro, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper. I also added some cumin and coriander powder for flavour. Since it was a bit sticky I added some chickpea flour. I should have actually pan-fried the patties with a little oil, that way I could have retained the moisture and juiciness from the beets.Baking made them slightly dry.
roll 11
This recipe is adapted from – Adapted from http://www.jewishfood-list.com/recipes/bread/rollskimelweck01.html

Kummelweck Rolls, Salt and Pepper Sticks, Baked Beets and Chickpea Burger

Yield: 8 large buns or 12-13 salt and pepper sticks.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3 1/4 cups bread flour*
  • Egg wash (optional)
  • Coarse sea salt and caraway seed
  • Beets and Chickpea Patties
  • 1 – 14oz canned garbanzo/chickpeas
  • 3 beets, cooked and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup cilantro,chopped
  • Salt,cayenne pepper,coriander powder, cumin powder
  • ½ cup chickpea flour or more as needed
  • Cooking spray/oil for baking /panfrying

Instructions

*To substitute for bread flour add 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to 2 to 3 cups of all-purpose flour.

Mix together the warm water and the warm milk and stir in the yeast. Let it sit aside for about 5 minutes. Knead by hand or with the machine.

In the bowl of your machine, combine the yeast mixture, oil, honey, the egg white and stir.

Now add the salt and about 2 1/2 cups of flour and knead, adding as much more flour as required till you have smooth and elastic dough that is tacky but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball, and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover loosely with cling film and let rise for about an hour, until it is almost double in volume.

Deflate the dough well (not kneading), shape into a round and and allow it to rise, covered, for 30 minutes more.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each into a smooth ball, then slightly flatten it. Place them on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Spray or lightly brush with oil, loosely cover and let the dough rise for 30 more minutes. Brush with eggwash (or something else that will make sure the topping sticks when baking), then cut slits ( like an +) on the top using a sharp blade or scissors.

Sprinkle the top of the rolls with sea salt and caraway seeds, and then mist with water. Bake the rolls at 425F for 5 minutes and then quickly mist with water again making sure you don’t keep the oven door open for too long. Bake for another 20 minutes or so until they’re brown and done. Cool on a wire rack. This recipe makes 8 large burger bun sized rolls.

If you would also like to try something different with this dough you can make a Vienna Loaf or Slat & Pepper Sticks according the recipes given below.

For the Vienna Loaf:

Follow the above recipe but with the following changes –

After the second rise, divide the dough in half and shape each half into an oval with tapered ends. After the final rise, apply the egg wash and then slash the top with a 1/2" deep lengthwise slit. Leave out the salt and caraway seeds. Bake at 400F for about 35 minutes, including the 5 minutes after spritzing with water.

For the Salt and Pepper Sticks:

Again follow the above recipe for the rolls, but make the following changes –

Leave out the second rise and do only the first rise. After that, divide the dough into 13 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a 12" rope of even thickness, and place them 1-1/2" apart on the greased or lined baking sheet. Let them rise now. Apply the egg wash, but do not make any cuts. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt crystals and coarsely ground or cracked black pepper. Do not spritz with water and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the Patties:

Place the chickpeas in a food processor along with garlic and cilantro. Coarsely grind this mixture. Add the remaining ingredients except the chickpea flour ;pulse it until it comes together. Take this mixture in a wide bowl, add the flour. Mix everything and shape into six patties. Pan fry them with cooking spray/oil. I baked them at 375F for about 30 minutes (flipping in between).

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/03/kummelweck-rolls-salt-and-pepper-sticks-baked-beets-and-chickpea-burger/

The Salt and Pepper Sticks make a perfect snack. My little one loved them.I also sprinkled some crushed pepper on the buns for an extra kick:)
Just when you are about to serve Slice the buns into half, spread some mayo on the bottom. Place sliced onions, cucumber, tomatoes, one patty, Cheese slice and close it with the other half. Enjoy!

Nina

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bun 1
Moving can be stressful. And if it in winter it’s all the more a challenge. Unless of course you are moving to a warmer place. It’s been One month, two days and 5 hours that we moved to a different city in Midwest. Life has been crazy. Staying in a hotel for the first few days, finding the right neighborhood to stay, and right school for A has been daunting. It’s a new beginning, fresh start and look forward to every bit life has to offer in this new place.
Anyways now that we are finally settled I should stop complaining and get back to business. I was unhappy to miss the Daring Baker’s January Challenge. Amidst all the packing, unpacking and the last minute changes I just didn’t have the mind space and time for baking. I was hoping to bake in the kitchen in our hotel room but Marriott had everything to offer except the oven.
Bun 2
So finally home sweet home it is! The February Daring Baker’s Challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen . She challenged us to an easy,simple filled buns using no –knead dough. She pieced these recipes together from http://jinkzzkitchen.blogspot.com/2011/09/no-knead-pork-asado-buns-aka-baked.html, http://www.food.com/recipe/no-knead-dinner-rolls-201793, her mom’s teachings, and her personal preferences.

Many Asian countries make different kinds of filled buns. According to Julie – In China where they originated have several names for them, including bao (bow, which rhymes with “pow”), humbow, mantou (man-too), and pau (pow). In Philippines, these buns are called siopao (shoh-pow), and while they’re sold as street food, they’re also a home comfort that every home has its own recipe for, and they’re often served with hot noodle soup called mami.
Bun 3
I must say that this challenge was one of the easy ones to make. Julie gave us the option of choosing our own filling. I first though about savory – caramelized onions; but at the last minute change my mind to go with a sweet filling. I had some store bought fruit and peel mix and ended up using that. After baking I realized that the filling was little hard, I should have softened it by soaking it in warm water for some time. Also make sure you wrap the dough around the filling very firmly. Do not make it to thin, if you do it will open up while baking.

Siopao – Asian filled Buns – Daring Baker’s Feb’15 Challenge

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 egg for egg-wash for the buns
  • For the filling:
  • 5 tablespoon fruit and peel mix
  • 2 tablespoon dry coconut ,grated

Instructions

Mix yeast, water, sugar, melted butter, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly mix in flour until it's fully incorporated and you have a shaggy, very tacky dough, but not wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for up to an hour in warm place until doubled. While dough is rising, you can make your filling – Sweet or Savory. For the sweet filling, just mix the fruit mix and coconut.

Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Depending on how much flour you added, it will be somewhat tacky to pretty tacky. Fold it over several times and shape it into a smooth ball, then divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it into a disc about 6 inches (15 cm) wide. Place a heaping tablespoonful of filling into the center of the disc, wrap the dough around the filling, and firmly pinch it closed over the top of the filling.

Place filled buns on a baking sheet and loosely cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to moderate 350°F. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl for egg wash and brush on top of each bun. Bake buns for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/02/siopao-asian-filled-buns-daring-bakers-feb15-challenge/

Julie also suggested to use Pandan Jam which is available in Asian groceries. Pandan comes from a leaf used throughout Southeast Asia for flavoring.
Thanks Julie for the challenge. I am happy to post on time after a long time!

Enjoy!
Nina

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