Category Archives: Bread

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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

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.

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).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.Divide the dough into 4 parts.

Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter.

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.

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.

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 .

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).

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.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2014/02/beautiful-bread-daring-bakers-feb13-challenge/

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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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.
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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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