Category Archives: Bread

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For the month of September’s Daring Baker’s Challenge Meredith from the Poco Loco Olsons challenged us to experiment with soda bread.
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I got to learn a lot about Soda Bread, thanks to Meredith. Contrary to the popular belief, soda bread wasn’t invented by Irish bakers. In fact, food historians give credit of first using soda to leaven bread to the Native Americans, who used pearl ash to help their breads rise.

I believe, Over the years, the Irish people have definitely made this delicious treat their own and are most commonly associated with this diverse and delectable food. I have always come across Soda Breads with Raisins, cranberries etc. Most of the breads also have a cross in the top of each loaf. They can be white or brown.

IMG_9227 The bread contains simple ingredients – flour,baking soda, buttermilk and salt. No- eggs,butter,oil, sugar etc. The ingredients come together in matter of minutes and the bread is ready in less than one hour. Soda bread adds a festive flair to every St. Patrick’s Day meal.
IMG_9229 Using Soda Bread, I made two kinds of simple sandwiches – one with mayo, sun-dried tomatoes along with sautéed onion and peppers. The second one was my little ones favorite with almond butter and slices of banana. It turned out to be a little hard the next day, I should have wrapped the loaf in clean kitchen towel while they cool. Meredith says that Soda bread is best if wrapped in aluminum foil after it is completely cool and then given a day to season.

Irish Soda Bread – Daring Baker’s September’15 Challenge

Yield: 12

An easy quick bread!

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups sour milk or buttermilk
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour( I used white wheat flour)
  • 4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. (I do this by hand, but you could use a mixer if you’d prefer.)Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.Pour the buttermilk into the well.Mix the dough until the flour is completely incorporated. (It will be very stiff. I find it helpful to knead the dough by hand a few times while it is still in the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated before moving on to the next step.)Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.

Pat or roll the dough into a circle shape that is approximately 1 inch thick.Using your fingertips or the blunt end of a wooden spoon handle, make several dimples in the top of the dough. (This is very similar to the technique used when making focaccia bread.)

Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated hot oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Reduce the heat to moderately hot 400°F. Pull the baking sheet out from under the dough, so the parchment is directly on the oven rack. Bake for 10 more minutes or until the top is golden brown.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/09/irish-soda-bread-daring-bakers-september15-challenge/

Buttermilk substitutes :

To 2½ cups of milk add 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or white vinegar) let stand for five minutes and then use as normal buttermilk.
2 cups of plain unsweetened yoghurt plus ½ cup of milk
1½ cups of sour cream plus 1 cup of milk

Thanks Meredith for the easy challenge!

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I got very excited to see a healthy recipe this time in the Daring Baker’s Challenge. A nutritious Seed and Nut loaf which also happens to be gluten-free.

For the August challenge Susan from The Kiwi Cook dared us to make Seed & Nut Loaf – a super healthy and gluten free alternative to standard wheat based bread.
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Some notes from Susan – The psyllium hulls is the ingredient that binds the loaf together in the absence of flour. If you have a nut allergy, you could make the loaf exclusively seeds. If you use ground flax seeds instead of whole, you will need to add more water to the mix. Oats are inherently gluten free, however they can be cross contaminated with wheat products. If you are gluten-sensitive, ensure your oats are certified gluten free. Buckwheat or spelt flakes make a good alternative. While you can use any nut you prefer, it’s best to chop them fairly finely; if the nuts are too big, it’s harder for the loaf to hold together around them and you might end up with a very crumbly loaf. I find sliced almonds work really well. A silicon loaf pan is ideal for this recipe, as you can check whether the loaf is holding together before removing it from the pan. While I have used a nonstick pan successfully, once or twice some of the mixture has stuck in the pan when I’ve inverted the loaf as such, if you don’t own a silicon pan, It’s important that you line the pan with baking paper, then peel the paper off once you extract the loaf from the pan prior to baking it further. While the idea is that you can mix all the ingredients in the loaf pan itself, I found it easier (and less messy) to combine the wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl, before transferring it to the loaf pan. While you can ‘rest’ the mixture for a minimum of 2 hours, she recommends resting it overnight as it sets up much more firmly and is easier to extract from the pan during baking. All that soaking also ensures optimal nutrition and digestion.
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Recipe Source – www.mynewroots.org

Gluten – free Seed & Nut Loaf – Daring Baker’s August 2015 Challenge

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • ½ cup sliced almonds (or whatever nut you prefer)
  • 1½ cups gluten free rolled oats (or try buckwheat flakes or rolled spelt flakes)
  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoon psyllium seed husks (3 tablespoons if using psyllium husk powder)
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt (it’s fine to reduce this if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or liquid honey; for sugar free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee, melted
  • 1½ cups water

Instructions

In a standard sized silicone, nonstick, or greased and lined loaf pan, combine all the dry ingredients It’s easier and less messy to combine in a large bowl first. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a separate bowl. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and combine until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (while the mixture will be wet, there should be no excess liquid).Transfer the mixture to the loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Cover the pan lightly with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight. The

mixture should feel very firm to the touch. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F.Then bake bread initially for 20 minutes. Take the loaf out of the oven, place a wire rack over top and invert to remove the bread (if you’ve lined the loaf tin, you should remove the lining at this point). Put the now inverted loaf on its wire rack into the oven again and bake for another 30-40 minutes (it should sound hollow when tapped). The loaf should be starting to brown on the outside - this gives a lovely nutty crunch to the finished loaf. Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/08/gluten-free-seed-nut-loaf-daring-bakers-august-2015-challenge/

Using a fine serrated knife for slicing worked better than a typical bread knife with its more exaggerated serrated edge, which made for a very crumbly slice. You can store the loaf in an airtight container (or wrap it in plastic wrap) for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for at least 3 months (it helps to slice it first before freezing so you can enjoy that occasional piece of toast!)

This ‘bread’ makes fabulous toast! Toasted with almond butter and slices of Banana or with some avocado is truly delicious!!!

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For the month of May, Aparna chose an easy bread which is loaded with flavors – An Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread. This bread was originally adapted from 500 Breads by Carol Beckerman.
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It’s an easy bread to knead,shape and bake.This Bread is a typical American style sweet breakfast bread.
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We enjoyed this bread for breakfast as well as evening snack. Apricot, Orange and Cinnamon put together makes a flavorsome bread!

Orange & Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • The juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 5 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Oil for greasing

Instructions

Grease two 8”x 4” loaf tins with a little oil. Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in the warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes till frothy.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and the 3 tablespoon sugar. Add the liquid yeast, the eggs, the juice and the zest of orange and work into a somewhat firm dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, and turn so it is coated all over. Cover and put it in a warm place for about 1 1 /2 hours, until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down. Knead for a few minutes until the dough feels firm. Roll into to 6 x 13-inch rectangles.

Spread each rectangle with apricot preserves and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll up each triangle like a jelly roll and place in the loaf tins. Put in a warm place for about 30 minutes, until double in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and bake the loaves for about 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. This recipe makes 2 medium sized loaves.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/06/orange-and-cinnamon-swirl-bread/

Thanks Aparna for the recipe!

Enjoy!

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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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