Category Archives: Bread

Bread Rolls/Pav

 

I love bread and growing up in Bombay (Mumbai) we used to get a variety of bread rolls for breakfast. There were a couple of types one being Kadak Pav (Hard bread) and my favorite just called Pav. The reason I was not a fan of the Kadak Pav is that it had a really hard outer crust. The insides were really super but I just did not appreciate chomping into that hard crust. The only times I did eat it was when I was not feeling well and would dunk a liberally buttered one into Tea.

Some of the ways I would eat Pav for breakfast was with a little butter and then some sugar sprinkled over. At other meals I would love to dunk it in whatever curry we had as it would soak it all up.

Pav’s are also eaten with one of the very popular street foods call ‘Pav bhaji’ – literally translating to Bread vegetable. The vegetable portion of it is a mixture of veggies (tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, peas …) cooked down to a thick gravy. The cooking down is totally dependent on the cook. The Pav is toasted with butter and served alongside to what I consider an amazing dish.

After trying multiple recipes on the net, here is one that I have come up with that works for me. There were 4 batches of this made over Christmas along with the bhaji for our 2nd dinner.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 + 1 tablespoon melted butter
Method
Stir yeast and sugar into warm water and let it sit for 5-7 minutes till frothy.
Warm milk to tepid and then whisk in the egg, vegetable oil, salt and one tablespoon of the melted butter.
Pour both above liquid mixtures into a mixing bowl and then add the flour. Knead until it all comes together. I use my kitchen aid on slow at first and then for about 8 minutes. The dough will be smooth and slightly tacky. Put the dough in a well oiled bowl and cover. Set it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size about 1 hour.
Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
Dust your counter top with a little flour. Turn out the dough and form it into a rectangle. Cut 12 equal parts out of it using your dough cutter. Roll each into a tight ball and place in the prepared pan. When all the balls have been rolled, cover the pan and let the dough balls rise for 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Pre-heat your oven to 375F.
When the dough balls have risen brush them with the remaining butter and put the pan in the oven. Bake the rolls until the tops become golden about 15-18 minutes. Once they are done remove pan and let it sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the rolls and letting them rest on a wire rack until cool.
The rolls will stay out on the counter wrapped for about 3 days and then another 3 in the fridge. They are delicious toasted with a little butter.

 

 

 


Pizza time

Pizza

So I have had a long break, but I have been baking and cooking away. I must say that living in Atlanta one does get to try out a plethora of various cuisines. However, I must say when I visited Melbourne, Australia I was so impressed with the variety of food. There were restaurants that had street food from South East Asian countries. I did partake of a few and enjoyed every tantalizing morsel of yumminess. If you ever get a chance to visit Melbourne make sure you leave enough of time to eat. In addition, make sure you eat at Brunetti’s – they even have a counter in Myer’s and we totally enjoyed their desserts. Make sure you get the bite sized pieces that way you get to sample a lot more!

Now back to the regularly scheduled writing –  I have been baking pizza the Peter Reinhart way which I think is great. You get a really lovely thin crust and you get to freeze dough for a later date. In addition, I have used the dough to make Indian bread ‘Naan‘ which comes out really well. Well I was watching TV – Cooks Country on PBS and they had what a pan pizza recipe. I was most intrigued by it. I was very happy to have my trusty kitchen-aid do the kneading for me. This pizza dough is not the thin crust variety but the pizza is absolutely brilliant.

Pizza first rise

Pizza Stretched before second rise Pizza stretched before second rise

 

Feel free to modify the toppings – I happen to love the peppery taste of tarragon and I had some lying around so on it went. I wanted to increase the spice level and that is why I used a spicy pepper jack cheese. You can go with any variety of cheese that you like and you can top it with anything you like.

Ingredients

Adapted from Cooks Country

For the dough

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp water (warm water)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the topping

  • 28 oz can of drained diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz mozzarella (shredded)
  • 8 oz jalapeno pepper jack (or your favorite cheese shredded)
  • 20 basil leaves (cut into strips)
  • tarragon (optional – as much – as little – or not at all)
  • sea salt optional

Method

Stir the yeast in the 3/4 cup of water and let it rest for 5 minutes until nice and frothy. Mix the bread flour and salt.

Add the yeast water mixture and the oil to the dough and knead on low until the dough comes together. Then turn up the speed to medium low and knead for about 5 minutes until you have a really nice soft sticky dough. If your dough is not sticky start adding the additional water as you continue to knead for another 5 minutes. Take a teaspoon of olive oil and coat your dough.

Oil a 11×13 sheet pan well, this will help your pizza slide out very easily once done. Plop the dough out onto the pan and pat it into the shape of a rectangle. You do not need it to fill the pan. Just a 10×6 inch rectangle should suffice. Cover with cling wrap and put it in a warm place until doubled in size. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.

After the dough has risen, remove the cling wrap. The dough should be very sticky. Work it to the edges of the pan gently stretching it. Cover it with cling wrap again and let it rest for about 45 minutes.

About 10 minutes before the dough is ready turn your oven to 500F.

When your dough is ready top with the two shredded cheese till about a half inch from the side. Then top with the tomato. Put it in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. You will see your crust is formed and your cheese is bubbling. Remove it from the oven using your oven mitts. Let it cool for about 2-3 minutes on a wire rack. While it is cooling top with basil and tarragon if using. Sprinkle a little sea salt (if using).  Then slide the pizza out onto your cutting board slice and enjoy.

 

 

 

 


Challah

Challah Bread

Challah Bread

As most of you know I love baking bread. Well it could be said I just love baking. I think if I had a library it would mainly feature cookbooks as well as cake decorating books. I was reading up on food52 and came across the challah bread. I have always liked it and so I started reading the multiple ones on both quantities and method as well. All the recipes make two loaves and are easily halved if you would like to make only one loaf. I finally settled on this one.  One thing that I would always encourage you to do is read the recipe in full. I tried her method for braiding the bread but after three tries I gave up and tried a three braid with the six braid. On my second try I checked youtube for a video and used this one which was really good.

 

Ingredients

Makes 2 loaves. Prep time : 15 minutes. Resting time : 2 hours. Baking time : 30 minutes

  • 1 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • large eggs (use 2 for a less richer loaf)
  • tablespoon salt
  • cups all-purpose flour

Method

Put the warm water and sugar in a glass container and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast, stir and let it rise for about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and oil to incorporate.

Put the flour and salt in a stand mixer. Turn on the mixer and add the water mixture, followed by the egg-oil mixture. Knead the dough until it has all come together and when pressed with a thumb leaves and impression. Put your dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with a dish cloth. Let it rise for an hour in a warm place. It will more than double in an hour.

Using a scraper gently take the flour out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for a bit and then form it into a ball. Divide the ball into two equal halves. Cover one half with the dish cloth. Divide the other half into 6 equal portions. They come out to a little under 5 oz each. Working one at a time roll each ball into a log about 12″ in length. I do this by rolling the log back and forth starting from the middle and extending to the sides. Once you have all the logs rolled out you are ready to braid them.

To braid watch this video : Braiding your Challah bread

After you have done the first loaf, place it on a lightly floured surface of either the pan you are going to bake it in or on your paddle. Then start on the second loaf. After they are both done cover with your dish cloth and let them rise for another hour. They will again rise a fair amount.

Heat your oven to 350. I used a stone in my oven so that goes in before I turn the oven on.

Before placing your loaves into the oven brush them with milk (You can use egg whites but I prefer milk). Once your oven is ready using your paddle transfer the loaves into the oven or place the pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let it cool before cutting it . (I normally share the second loaf)


Goat Cheese and Chives Scones

Scones

Scones

I have not made any sort of bread in the last couple of weeks and since we had a visitor I thought I would do something quick. There is something to be said about waking up in the morning to the smell of bread being baked in the house and it just gets your taste buds watering. I picked scones because they are easy to make, you do not need to wait for rise one and two. They are simple and the combinations are endless of what you can put in them. My favorite variety are the ones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Of course, to get proper clotted cream one must go to England or find the closest store in your neighborhood that sells them and if that fails you can always order it online – but that requires per-planning. If you have never had clotted cream I think its a must, but then I am slightly partial to anything with a dollop of cream.

A little bit of a factoid : Scones are originally from Scotland and  traditionally were triangular in shape. However, most places in the US have them in the shape of rounds. The pronunciation is different as well, in the UK, Australia etc they are called a ‘skon’ – whereas in the US they are called a ‘skown’. You can make them sweet or savory and shape them as well.

I made mine by just pulling pieces of the dough and dropping them on the baking tray. The dough pieces were about the size of a golf ball and a half.  So they come out nice and domed with lots of bumps giving them a nice crunchiness.  We ate some with salty butter and then some plain.

Ingredients

Makes about 15

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoon butter, chopped into cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives (or less if you do not want less of a chives flavor)
  • 5 oz goat cheese crumbled
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg

Method

Preheat your oven to 250F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. I did the cutting in the butter by just rubbing the butter and flour with my hands until all the butter was incorporated and the mixture looked like bread crumbs. Add the chives and goat cheese and stir to mix.

Beat the cream and egg together. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and use your hands to bring it together. You do not need to knead the mixture. It just needs to be evenly moistened. If the mixture is a little too dry then add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time. The dough will be sticky and not smooth.

Pull apart some dough the size  of about a golf ball and a half and drop it onto the prepared tray. Continue doing that until all the dough is used. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until they are light golden brown on the top and a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean. Take out the tray and put it on a wire rack to cool.


Pineapple Coconut Bread

Pineapple Bread

Pineapple Bread

Well I was in Pittsburgh last week visiting friends and had the most wonderful time there. We visited falling water (the house designed by Frank Wright). It was lovely, and the property was lovely as well. I got more than my fair share of butterfly pictures on the grounds. We did eat at a wonderful Caribbean place and I visited a chocolate shop that makes all their own chocolate they also sell a lot of cadbury’s chocolate but the did not have cadbury’s chocolate spread.

On to this weeks recipe which has nothing to do with my trip. I have not made bread in a while and thought I would make a few loaves. I decided on two different ones. Here is the first one. Its with Pineapple, haha – yes I love pineapple and coconut goes so well with it – that is what happens when you always have coconut flakes hanging around the house.

A little tip here – if you are like me and never have butter sitting at room temperature waiting to be whipped to become part of an exciting treat then this is what you can do. If you butter is in the refrigerator take it out, cut it into cubes. Place on a microwave plate and microwave in short bursts of 2-3 minutes. Test after every try to see if when you press down on a cube it gives fairly easily. It should not take you more than 3 tries to get it softened. You are now ready to use your softened butter.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut plus some
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup heaped pineapple chunks

Method

Sift the flour, baking soda together into a bowl, drizzle in the salt and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. This takes me about 4-5 minutes on my stand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat them well into the batter. Each egg should be completely incorporated before you add the next egg. The batter will be quite runny after the last egg. If you stand mixer does not have the scraper attachment make sure you scrape down the bowl after each addition. Add the one tablespoon of milk and beat just a tad to incorporate.

Now add a third of the flour, beat the mixture till it incorporated then add half of the sour cream and beat until incorporated. Repeat this once and then end with the last third of the flour. Fold in the pineapple and the one cup of coconut flakes. Pour the batter into your loaf pan (Note: I use silicone pans so I do not butter or line the pans. If you are using metal pans, lightly butter them. You may also line them if you wish).   Smooth the top of the batter and drizzle the rest of the coconut flakes over the top. This will create a nice crunchy texture.
Bake at 350F  for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then remove and transfer to a wire rack until completely cool. If you are not going to finish it the same day (who would not!) you can wrap it in parchment paper and then put it in a plastic bag into the refrigerator.


Naan

Naan

Naan

If you have ever been to an Indian restaurant you would probably have eaten at least one Naan. It is an Indian flat bread from North India. The dough , stretched, and then slapped onto the inside of a coal fired oven (Tandoor). Then oven is really hot  (much hotter than our home ovens can get) and a few minutes later out comes this baked bread that can then be brushed with butter and garlic. The Tandoor is also used to make Tandoori Chicken – that mouth watering treat where the chicken melts off the bone when done really well.

So you remember the pizza dough I made the last week. Well Janak’s dad actually decided to taste the pizza and really liked the dough and asked if I could just make the plain dough. So with the leftover dough I just stretched it and then baked it in the oven at 550F for 4-5 minutes brushed it with a mixture of garlic butter and it was smashing.

The only difference here is that I did not stretch out the dough that much. If you do stretch it out too much it will be really thin. However, try a few different thicknesses and see which one you like. You know the Naan is done when you have a few golden brown patches on the top.


English Muffins

English Muffins

English Muffins

 

I love English muffins, especially the sourdough variety. I cannot remember eating English muffins while I was in London though scones with clotted cream and home made jam were always on the menu on the weekends. I do think clotted cream from Devon was my favorite.

I looked up Wikipedia to find out the origins of the ‘English’ muffin  and of course they are just called muffins in England. I will have to check with my cousins as to their take on them.

When Janak’s sister came back from California she raved about the muffins made by Bhanva. So I got Bhavana to send me her English muffin recipe. This is a recipe that  has passed on from person to person and it is just like when my mum used to first give me recipes. The first time I tried it I left my batter fairly wet and sticky but I think that was a little too wet. The problems I had were when I rolled out the dough I could not cut it with a muffin cutter. I then sliced them up into squares. However, they all expanded on the second rise and merged. Then I pulled them apart so I got different heights and sizes for the muffins.

My second try was highly successful. I also changed the recipe a little bit leaving out the egg white and kneading in all the flour that I needed in the first go. One thing that helped a fairly quick rise was putting my batter in the trunk of the car. The batter doubled in size in 30 minutes. I was able to roll out the dough and cut the rings very well and they were almost of similar sizes. Alton Browns suggestion is to use old tuna tins, so the muffins all have the same size. I, however, love my slightly off shaped muffins.

Recipe

Makes 36 muffins

  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • ‘1 tablespoon sugar
  • 7g yeast (1 sachet)
  • 4 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk, warmed

Method

Use tap hot water or heat the water in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. You should be able to dip your finger in and it should be just warm. Dissolve the sugar in the water. Then add the yeast and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. You know it is done when there is a nice frothy rising about the water.

Put the flour, salt, butter and milk into a bowl. Add the yeast mixture to it and knead with your hand or a dough hook for about 3-5 minutes.The batter will be a tad bit sticky.  Oil a clean bowl and put your batter in it. Cover it with a towel and put it in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size (winter the dough rise would probably be longer).

Flour your work surface very liberally. Dump your batter on to the work surface. Dust the top of the batter generously with flour. Roll out your batter to about a 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut rounds and put those rounds on a floured tray. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let the little cut outs sit for about a half hour covered with a kitchen towel. They will rise again (This sounds like a terminator statement).

Heat your griddle to 300F. Spray the surface, lightly, with cooking oil. Bake for about 12 -15 minutes on each side or until you get a nice brown color as in the picture.