Category Archives: Baking

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bread 3

For the month of May’14 Aparna chose beautiful looking French Rolls/Bread for the We Need To Bake Group. Petit Pains au Lait simply means small or little breads. They are classic French Milk Rolls. These rolls are very easy to make, it took me about ten minutes to make the dough and another ten minutes to shape them. Ofcourse they take time to rise…about 1.5 hrs.
Bread 1

Usually these breads aren’t very sweet, the pearl sugar which is sprinkled on top just before baking adds to a little sweetness and crunchiness; not to forget the visual appeal :) . The liquid in this bread is purely milk, it also has about 4 tablespoons of butter .

Bread 2

I believe these can also be baked with either sweet or savory fillings. When I think of sweet, chocolate chips are the first thing that comes to my mind. I plan to make a savory one soon with herbs and cheese filling:). Once baked these have a beautiful golden outside and a flaky inside ( because of the way these are rolled). You can see the inside texture in the below picture. The beautiful pattern which is made using a pair of scissors makes it even more interesting. This dough can be shaped in any form as per your choice.

bread 4

The original recipe is adapted from Gourmet by Kat.

*If you don’t have bread flour, put 2/3 tsp vital wheat gluten in your 3/4 cup measure and top up with all-purpose flour. Mix this well.
If you don’t have vital wheat gluten, then just use 3/4 cup all-purpose flour.

**This topping is optional. The pearl sugar looks pretty and adds a little crunch. If you can’t find pearl sugar, use large crystals of sugar or even regular granulated sugar.

Petit Pains au Lait ( French Milk Bread/Rolls )

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup warm milk (you might need a little more; I used milk with 2% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon butter, soft at room temperature
  • Extra milk for brushing
  • Pearl sugar for topping (optional)**

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand Mixer or Food Processor put the warm milk, yeast and sugar.Pulse a couple of times to mix. Then add all the flour and the salt and run the processor until it looks crumbly. Add the butter and knead until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that’s not sticky. Add a little more milk (in teaspoonful at a time), if your dough is dry, until you have the required consistency of dough.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, turning it over to coat with oil. Cover loosely and set aside to rise until double in volume. This should take about 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Turn the dough out onto your working surface. You shouldn’t need any flour, but if you feel the need, just lightly dust your palms with it. Deflate the dough gently, and divide it into 10 equal pieces. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Roll out each piece of dough, one at a time, into a circle about 4” in diameter. Slowly roll up the circle from one end, Swiss roll/ jelly roll style into a cylinder. Pinch the seam closed neatly, and place them on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet with the seam side facing down. Cover loosely and let them rise for an hour or so till almost double in size.
  5. Brush them lightly with milk and using a pair of sharp scissors, make diagonal cuts (not too deep) on the top of the rolls. Sprinkle pearl sugar/ granulated sugar.
  6. Bake them at 400F for about 15 minutes( mine took about 12 mins only) or so until they’re golden brown. Let them cool on a rack. Serve them warm or at room temperature with coffee or chilled flavoured milk, or at breakfast.
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They’re best eaten the same day, though you could warm them up and serve the next day.Thanks Aparna for the recipe:)

Enjoy

Nina!

 

 

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Melon Pan 1

Melon Pan is a Japanese bread which is made as buns. They are soft, rich and somewhat sweet bread covered by a layer of crunch cookie. Pan is Japanese for bread but there is definitely no melon of any sort in this bread. I read about this bread only when Aparna posted it on FB for the “We need to Bake” event. I believe there are a couple of suggestions as to where the “Melon” in Melon Pan comes from. The sugar cookie topping is usually scored in a crosshatch pattern similar to the Japanese presentation of a melon wedge which is also cut into a crosshatch pattern, and bent backwards for serving.  The other suggestion is that appearance of the cracked surface of the cookie dough layer resembles a rock melon/ cantaloupe, and hence the name. Apparently, some Japanese bakers also use melon extract in these buns to add fragrance.

Melon Pan 2

Usually the buns are left plain, though chocolate chips can be added or it can also be filled with cream cheese,custard or pastry cream. Aparna mentioned that if you don’t eat egg, you can leave them out, but substitute for it in the bread dough with a tablespoon of yogurt or milk. However both doughs are made with egg as this gives the bread a better texture. The original recipe was adapted from A Bread a day .

Melon Pan 3

Melon Pan are best eaten the day they’re made. This recipe makes 8 burger bun sized Melon Pan. You can bake a half batch or even make smaller Pan by dividing both doughs into 10 or 12 instead of 8. Like I mentioned above these buns are mildly sweet, soft inside and has wonderful crunchy top. Please watch this video before you start making the bread,so you a good idea on how to shape the Melon Pan.

Melon Pan

Ingredients

  • For bread dough:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra as required)
  • 2 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 25gm butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • For cookie dough:
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • A large pinch of salt
  • 60gm butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar (increase to 1/3 cup for sweeter dough)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Castor sugar for dusting (granulated sugar will do too)

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, powdered milk, yeast, and salt in the bowl (or the bowl of your machine if using one). In a smaller bowl, beat the egg and cold water together with a fork till well blended. Add this to the flour mixture in the bowl.
  2. Knead (on low speed in the machine) till it all come together as a dough and then (on medium speed) until you have a somewhat stiff dough. Add the sugar and knead well.
  3. Now add the butter and knead (first at slow speed and then on medium) until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough and the dough becomes smooth and elastic. The dough should well-kneaded to develop the gluten.
  4. Shape the dough into a round, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise till double in volume (about an hour or so).
  5. During this time make the cookie dough. In a bowl, cream the soft butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat till combined. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and add this to the bowl. Also add the lemon zest. Beat together until just combined.
  6. Shape the dough into a cylinder (this will make the dough easy to divide and flatten out later), and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate the dough until required.
  7. Now go back to the bread dough. Once it has doubled in volume, place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly grease your baking sheet or line it with parchment. Deflate the dough gently and divide it into 8 equal portions.
  8. Shape each portion into a smooth ball like for bread rolls. Work with one portion and keep the others covered so they don’t dry out.
  9. Unwrap the cookie dough. It should be reasonably firm now and easy to work with. Slice the cylinder of cookie dough into 8 equal portions. Use two pieces of plastic sheets or cling film to flatten the cookie dough. Place one slice/ round of cookie dough on a piece of plastic sheet/ cling film. Cover with another piece, and using a flat bottomed pan, press down on the dough to flatten it, until it is reasonably thin but not very much so.
  10. Carefully take on ball of bread dough (it will have puffed up a little so don’t deflate it), and place the circle of cookie dough on top of it. Gently press the cookie dough edge to the bread dough ball so that it covers the top and sides of the ball, but leaves the bottom open. Gently, holding the covered bread dough by the underside, press it into some castor sugar. Then using a scraper, or the blunt side of a knife, mark the top of the cookie dough side of the bread roll with a cross hatch/ diamond pattern. The pattern should be deep enough (otherwise it will disappear when the bread rises and bakes) without cutting through the cookie dough layer into the bread.
  11. Place this on the greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat this with the remaining cookie dough and bread dough balls. Let them rise for an hour.
  12. Bake them at 350F for about 25 minutes, until the tops of the Melon Pan just start turning brown. If you let them brown too much, the underside of the bread will burn. Transfer to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
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Thanks Aparna for the recipe.

Enjoy!

Nina

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Bialys 1 main

Ever since I read about Bialys in Julia Child’s book Baking I have been wanting to make these. Thanks to Aparna who came up with Bialys for the “We need to Bake” event. I baked these as soon as she announced it( which was last Summer ). But these pictures ended up being in my draft for this long.

Bialys 2 main

The recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I am really not happy with the pictures and wanted to re-do, but just haven’t had the time for it. These Bialys are best eaten when warm. Also, if you want to make  it slightly chewier, refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. The next day, take the dough out and keep it at room temperature for about half an hour. Then shape the rolls and proceed with the recipe. These Bialys are on the softer side so do not over bake them or they will dry out and become tough. Anyways here it is warm chewy rolls with Caramelized Onions.

Bialys – Chewy Rolls with Carmelised Onion Topping

Yield: 8 Large Bialys

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)
  • 1 tsp 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 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Make the dough first. If you are using bread flour or vital wheat gluten, then your dough will be tougher to knead so if you have a machine you can use, I would say go ahead and use it. Me, I always take the easier way out provided I get good results. If you’re doing this by hand, just adapt the instructions to that.
  2. Put the yeast, sugar, salt and flour in the food processor bowl. Pulse a couple of times to mix and then add the warm water in a steady stream. Knead until the dough comes together as a mass and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This will help the dough absorb water. Knead again, adding a little more water or flour (not too much) if you need it, until your dough is smooth and elastic but not sticky.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 by flattening it and then pinching the ends together to form a smooth ball. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Place the shaped dough on a parchment lined (or greased) baking tray leaving about 2 inches space between them. Place the caramelized onion filling in the depressions of each Bialy. Brush the outer dough circle with milk.
  9. Bake the Bialys at 450F for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Bialys keep well in an airtight container for a day or two and just need to be warmed up slightly before serving.
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Thanks for the recipe Aparna.

Enjoy!

Nina

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Yay I finally made it on time . It has been ages that I completed a Daring Baker’s Challenge on the revealing day. The name says it all - Beautiful Bread.
Bbread1
 Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of Chef in Disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

bbread3 As Sawsan mentioned this challenge seems complicated and intimidating but trust me it is not, its very easy. The original recipe was a sweet bread with cinnamon and sugar filling. We were allowed to make any kind of filling, I decided to use cheese( Italian cheese blend), seasoning and chili flakes. The bread tasted good but lacked little salt. The next time I would add more salt to the bread and also add some to the filling.

bbread4

You can come up with any kind of filling – just plain cheese, nutella,coco powder, dry coconut etc. The possibilities are endless. It takes less than ten minutes to prepare the dough and about fifteen minutes to shape them. So its definitely an easy one to try:)

bbread5

After shaping the bread I was left with some dough, so I decided to make rolls. I rolled the dough into a rectangle, sprinkled the filling on one half  side ; folded the dough; cut into strips;twisted them and finally baked it until golden brown.

bbread2 Thanks Sawsan for the Beautiful Bread. Here is the recipe.

Beautiful Bread – Daring Baker’s Feb’13 Challenge

Serving Size: Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-1/4 cups plain (all-purpose) flour, approximately
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, optional
  • For topping
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Between the layers
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
  • ½ cup cheese,herbs( I used Italian cheese blend and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and little chili flakes)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl whisk the egg with milk, water, sugar, butter and yeast. Set aside . In another bowl sift the flour with the salt and the optional cardamom. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead until you get a smooth dough.
  2. Place it in a bowl you have brushed with some oil and cover it with a wet cloth and leave it in a warm place to double (If you are tight on time you can heat your oven to 390°F then turn it off and place your dough in a glass bowl and place it in the warm oven with the wet cloth covering the bowl).
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.Divide the dough into 4 parts.
  4. Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter.
  5. Brush the first layer with butter then sprinkle with cheese,herbs and chili flakes. Place the second layer on the first layer repeat the brushing and sprinkling and then do the same with the third layer. Top with the fourth layer, this time only brush it with butter.
  6. Using a knife make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles.Make cuts that go 2/3 of the way in the middle of each triangle.The cuts should not reach the base of the triangle nor the tip.
  7. Take the tip of each triangle and insert it into the cut you made and pull it from the underside. Arrange the triangles on your baking sheet.Pinch the two angles at the base of the triangle together Note: If you would like to add the little bread coil in the center simply roll a piece of dough into a rope then form it into a little coil and place it in the center where the heads of the triangles meet .
  8. Brush the dough with milk. Allow to rest for 15 minutes during which you would heat your oven to very hot 500°F (rack in the middle). (Go for the hottest your oven will do). Bake for 5 minutes on very hot 500°F, then lower the temperature to moderately hot 400°F and bake for 15-20 more minutes (ovens do differ greatly, so the time may differ…..what you want is to bake it until the under side is golden brown).
  9. If you have a broiler (grill) in your oven. Turn on the broiler (grill) for a couple of minutes until the bread is golden brown on top(I did not do this). Take it out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
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If you plan the sweet one, instead of herbs and cheese use cinnamon(4 tablespoon) and sugar(1/2 cup) also after baking just drizzle condensed milk (1 can) on top when warm. Also, I must say it would be alot easier to shape the bread if you are using simple sugar and cinnamon as filling. With the cheese filling, I felt it was slightly tricky to shape them.

Enjoy!

Nina

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