Category Archives: Bread

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Foccacia 3

Just when I thought we are nearing Spring we got hit with another snow storm. It snowed like crazy yesterday. My husband’s car got stuck in the drive way this morning. We called up for help and the snow plow services came to our rescue. My daughter had to miss her school today. Huh..how much winter affects daily life. Let me not crib again!!

Foccacia 2

As mentioned in my previous post I am busy catching up on events and challenges that I have missed in the past. For the month of January, Aparna made us bake Focaccia Caprese. Focaccia is said to be a true stroke of an Italian genius. It’s incredibly simple to make with just few ingredients. I have baked this bread a few times with different toppings. Do check out my Spice Focaccia with onion and Pepper topping. I used cheese for the first time and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Since I had baked this bread a little longer, the cheese had melted completely.

Foccacia 1

Also, I feel that the secret to a great Focaccia is the Olive oil, it has to be a really good one!  With all the garlic, herbs, olive oil and cheese…this one is fully loaded with flavors and this recipe is a definitely a keeper. The original recipe was adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer.

Focaccia Caprese

Yield: 2 Medium size Bread

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • A little more olive oil for brushing dough
  • For the Topping:
  • 4-5 larg-ish tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 6-7” round piece of fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into1/4” slices**
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • For the Herbed Oil:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic/ paste
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

Instructions

First make the herbed oil. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.

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 the rectangular Focaccia, take two rectangular pans/ jelly or Swiss roll pans (I used an 11" by 7" tins) and oil them well. Then divide the dough into two equal portions and lightly roll them (or press out) out into approximately 11” by 7”. If 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 410 F 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 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.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2014/02/focaccia-caprese/

 Note – * If you cannot find bread flour, you can add 1 tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten to 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix together well. Otherwise just use 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.

**If you don’t get fresh buffalo mozzarella use regular mozzarella instead, the kind we use on pizzas. Otherwise, use any “melty/ stringy” kind of cheese you can find.

Thanks Aparna for the recipe:)

Enjoy!

Nina

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Honeycomb 4 main
Aparna always comes up with interesting breads for the “We need to Bake”. This time it was KHALIAT NAHAL ( HONEYCOMB BUNS OR BEE’S HIVE BUNS ).These are cute little buns structured in the form of a Bee Hive. The whole grain health bug has caught me too. I have started making an attempt to use whole grain though I haven’t been able to completely make the switch.

Honeycomb 3 main
The original recipe called for 2½ cups all-purpose flour. I have substituted it with 2 cups of whole wheat flour and reduced the milk to ¾ cup instead of 1. While baking with low protein flours like Whole Wheat, adding Vital Wheat Gluten really helps. Since its purely gluten it goes a long way to improve the elasticity of the dough and rising. The wheat buns were a little dense which was expected,thanks to the flour!!.But if you are used to eating wheat breads you wouldn’t be disappointed with this one. I believe they are traditionally made sweet and glazed with honey flavored syrup. I am more of a savory person so ended up baking the Savory buns. While thinking about filling, Caramelized Onions were the first to cross my mind. They are my favorite!!! I love this bun, the filling in every bite balances the flavor and the taste of the buns.

Honeycomb buns main
The below mentioned recipe makes 18 small buns which is good to go with a 9” round pan. Usually cream cheese is used as a filling; but there are plenty of other choices like feta cheese/paneer(cottage cheese)/cheese. And for the Sweet ones: Chocolate,dried fruit like dates, raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit , sweetened coconut are great options.

Honeybuns 2 main Incase you plan to make the sweet one, here is the recipe.Sugar Syrup/ Glaze : 3/4 cup sugar;1/2 cup water;A pinch of saffron; 1 tablespoon honey; 1 teaspoon lime/ lemon juice. 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. 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. Let it sit for a while for the syrup/ glaze to set a bit. I plan to try the sweet one next time.

Whole Wheat Honeycomb Buns with Carmelized Onion Filling

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoon vital wheat gluten
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoon milk for brushing the dough
  • 2 tablespoon white sesame seeds for sprinkling on top
  • For the filling:
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Mint leaves, a few
  • OR
  • 1 cup of filling (approximately) of your choice

Instructions

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.

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. I used all of 2 1/2 cups of flour for mine.

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.

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. Cut each rope into 1” pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces. Take each piece and flatten it out a little and place half a teaspoon of filling in the centre. Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Smoothen it into a round ball. 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. 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 350F for about 25 minutes, until they’re done and a nice golden brown on top. Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then on a wire rack. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.

For the Filling – Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions until pink. Add the sugar which will help to caramelize them. When they are almost done, add the salt; pepper and mint leaves. Mix well.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/09/whole-wheat-honeycomb-buns-with-carmelized-onion-filling/

Thanks Aparna for the recipe.

Enjoy!!

Nina

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kbread 1 main
Thanks to Aparna I was able to do this post. I bought my first Kugelhopf pan from Sur La Table almost four years back and have hardly put to use. So when I read about this month’s bread in “We need to Bake” group, I was super thrilled.
kbread 2 main
KUGELHOPF is a yeasted sweet cake which originated from Germany, Austria,Switzerland and Alsace. It is baked in a special circular pan with a central tube which is similar to a bundt pan.
kbread 3 main
I am glad we baked a Savory one instead of the usual sweet bread. This Kugelhopf bakes in an 8” Kugelhopf pan, but you should also be able to bake it in an 8” Bundt pan, a regular loaf tin (or 2 small ones), smaller Brioche tins or even muffin tins. If you’re baking this in muffin tins you might want to use half the recipe..Since I had only a 6″ pan, I used that along with a small bread pan(7×5).After the initial rise, I divided the dough into two portions.

Savoury Kugelhopf

Ingredients

  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 5 1/2 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/3 cup deseeded, pulp-free and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions

Put 3 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of the processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix. The add the butter, a little at a time, and process till incorporated.

Add the warm milk and process till mixed. Now add the eggs and process till mixed. You will now have a soft and sticky dough. Knead some more, adding more flour, a little at a time and just enough till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do not be tempted to add more flour than absolutely necessary.

Your dough will be very soft, elastic and just short of sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise until double in volume. This can take from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours!

In the meanwhile, heat 1/2 tsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped green bell pepper, the tomato and a pinch of salt and stir-fry till the raw smell disappears but the vegetables are still crisp/ crunchy. Remove and keep aside. To the same pan, add the remaining 1/2 tsp oil and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt till they turn golden brown. Remove and add to the bell peppers and keep aside.

Grease an 8” kugelhopf mould or bundt pan well especially around the centre (or whatever pan/ tin you plan to use). Place some of the chopped walnuts in the bottom of the mould. If you’re using a loaf tin or brioche moulds, then don’t do this. Instead press in the walnuts on top of the dough after the second rise, just before baking.

Once the dough has risen, deflate it. Then work the cheese, stir-fried onions, bell pepper and tomato, the remaining walnuts, black pepper and thyme into the dough. The best way to do this is to flatten the dough out and spread all this over the surface, fold the dough over and then knead it. This will ensure a more uniform incorporation of the “filling”. The dough will be a bit sticky, so use a scraper to help you with the kneading. Do not add more flour!

Roll the dough into a longish log, long enough to fit into the mould comfortably. Lift the “log” of dough and place it in the mould in a circular fashion and pinch the two ends together to close the “circle” of dough. Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour or so, until it reaches the edge/ rim of the mould.

Bake the Kugelhopf at 200C (400F) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when it is tapped.

Unmould the Kugelhopf and let it cool on a rack. Slice and serve.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/07/savoury-kugelhopf/

Kugelhopf is similar to a Coffee Cake; it can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack along with coffee. This bread is full of flavors. Loved the crunchiness of the walnuts and the softness of the bread. Will I bake this again….??? OFCOURSE!!

Thanks Aparna for another great recipe!

Bon Appétit

Nina

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Hokkaido Bread 1 main

I have been absconding from the blogging world for over a month now. We were busy moving and with all the packing, unpacking and setting up, things were just crazy. My little one kept removing everything I packed, making me rework multiple times. I had a tough time packing her toys…she was so mad at me. Guess it is part of the “terrible two” phase. Anyways, we are limping back to normalcy. I did start baking last week, but couldn’t post anything because of my laziness rather tiredness. It is the 24th of the month and is time for Aparna’s “We need to Bake”. This month Aparna shared yet another classic recipe – Hokkaido Milk Bread. I had never heard about this bread and was very intrigued with the method used. I must admit it was one of the best bread I’ve ever baked…super soft texture with a milky taste making it just perfect!

Hokkaido bread 2 main

Hokkaido Milk Bread also known as Asian Sweet Bread and Hong Kong Pai Bo, is known for its soft cottony/ pillowy texture.I believe it’s a very popular bread in South Asian bakeries across the world. It is The Hokkaido Mild Bread owes its texture and height to the use of an interesting ingredient called Tangzhong.The Tangzhong method involves cooking 1 part of bread flour with 5 parts of water (by weight) at 149 °F to form a roux. When the Tangzhong is added into other ingredients of a bread dough, it produces light, tender and fluffier bread.

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” .The Hokkaido Milk Bread is very easy to make. First you make a Tangzhong (flour-water roux, and milk in this case) and then let it cool completely. You can use it after a 2 hour rest. It also keeps for a day or so refrigerated.

Haikado Buns 1 main

You can make both Sweet or Savoury ones with the same recipe. If you want to make a savoury version, you can cut down the sugar to 1 tbsp and add another 1/4 tsp of salt. I baked two different kinds of bread the same day. For the sweet version – a Chocolate Marble Hokkaido Bread (9×5 loaf) and for the savoury – Spiced Hokkaido Rolls with Potato filling. The original recipe was adapted from here.

CHOCOLATE MARBLE HOKKAIDO BREAD AND SPICED HOKKAIDO ROLLS WITH POTATO FILLING

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 tablespoon sugar ( reduce for the savoury ones)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon powdered milk
2 teaspoon instant dried yeast
1/2 cup milk (and a little more if needed)
1/8 cup cream
1/3 cup tangzhong (use HALF of the tangzhong from above)
25gm unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

Apart from the above, for the Sweet version you’ll need:
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoon all- purpose flour
a pinch of cinnamon, powdered

Savoury version ( for the dough):
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoon cilantro,chopped
2-3 green chillies, minced

Potato Filling :
2 large Potatoes,cooked, peeled and mashed
¼ cup frozen peas
2 teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper/chili powder
Salt as per taste

Directions:The Tangzhong(Flour-Water Roux):

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/ whisking constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth.
If you have a thermometer, cook the roux/ tangzhong till it reaches 150F and take it off the heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, then watch the roux/ tangzhong until you start seeing “lines” forming in the roux/ tangzhong as you whisk/ stir it. Take the pan off the heat at this point.
Let the roux/ tangzhong 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.

Chocolate Marble Bread Dough:

1. In the bowl of the stand mixer, put the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and instant yeast and pulse a couple of times to mix. In another small bowl mix the milk, cream and Tangzhong till smooth and add to the processor bowl. Run on slow speed until the dough comes together. Now add the butter and process till you have smooth and elastic dough which is just short of sticky. Remove 1/3rd of the mixture and keep it aside.
2. 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 teaspoons 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.
3. 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.
4. Now for the chocolate part of it, melt the chocolate chips and allow it to cool down. Mix it with ¼ cup milk and cinnamon powder. Pour it to the 1/3 rd mixture (which is set aside from step 1). You may need about 2 tablespoon of flour( add more if needed) to form a soft dough. Continue with step 2 and 3.
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. 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. 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. Now repeat the above method for the chocolate dough. Place one on top of the plain one and fold the sides; try and roll it into a cylinder. (I wanted to make a Chocolate Spiral Bread, but couldn’t roll it 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.

Savoury Rolls with Potato Filling:

Add the cumin seeds, caraway seeds, garlic and chillies at Step 1.(from above) and follow step 2 and 3.

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. 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. Place a small portion of the potato filling and bring the sides together and shape it into a roll. Place each roll of dough in a baking sheet and cover with a towel. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes.

Before working on the rolls make the filling. Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and when it splutters add rest of the ingredients. Saute for two minutes; remove from heat and allow it to cool.

Carefully brush the tops of the rolls and the loaf with milk (or cream) and bake them at 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 for about 5 minutes and then unmould and transfer to a rack till slightly warm or cool.

Serve or else store in a bread bin. This bread stays soft and delicious even the next day. We enjoyed each and every bite of the bread. From the left overs, I made an Eggless Bread Pudding which was delicious too.

Thank you Aparna for sharing a great recipe

So far in “We need to Bake”

Herbed and Cheese Pull-Apart Bread with Sundried Tomatoes
Croissant

Bon Appétit

Nina

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