Tag Archives: bread

Burek

BurekWhile we were in Dubrovnik we took a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia. The day started off rather wet as we waited for the tour bus to arrive. The drive to the border was pretty. Once we crossed over the border just a mere formality with a long line, we stopped at our first stop which had a beautiful mosque at the top of the hill. Well beautiful from the outside we did not make the trek up. The roofs on the houses here were completely different compares to Dubrovnik. We carried on to Mostar and did have a shock as we entered the city. It still had all the signs of being ravaged by war. There were a lot of destroyed buildings and quite a few with a lot of bullet holes. It was really sad. When we go to the destination which is the historic portion of Mostar we were given instructions to be very careful because of the pickpockets.

We had a very nice and informative guide. The old part of the city (the only part we saw) was very charming. We climbed to the top of the oldest  mosque – that was quite a challenge as the stairwell was very narrow and fairly dark. From the top of the minaret was a fantastic view of the river and the famous Mostar  bridge. At the end of the tour we asked our guide to recommend a local dish we could try and he pointed us to the very popular local food ‘Burek’. Its really a pastry filled with either cheese, spinach or beef, that is eaten with yoghurt. It was simply delicious. If I could describe it, it would be layers of filo pastry wrapped around the filling. It was simply delicious and was our cheapest meal of the trip.

You can fill your Burek with anything that you would like as long as the mixture is more on the dry side. You could even go for a sweet filling.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 2 eggs (reserve one egg yolk)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3.5 cups flour

For the filling

  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 1 frozen packet of cut leaf spinach
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3/4 packet of cream cheese

Method

Whisk eggs (one full egg and one egg white), salt, olive oil and milk. Sift the baking powder and flour.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and knead until soft. If your mixture is dry add a little more milk a bit at a time. If it is too sticky add a little more flour a bit at a time. Your dough should be smooth and soft and should spring back when you do the thumb test (See notes)

Let the dough rest covered with a damp towel while you make the filling

Fry the onion until it becomes translucent. Add the remaining ingredients except the cream cheese and cook. Once the spinach is cooked add the cream cheese and take it off the heat. Stir to blend in the cream cheese.

Divide the dough into 6 equal portions.
Take one portion and roll it into a long log at least 14 inches in length.
Use a rolling ping to flatten it out along the length. Then use a rolling pin to widen it along its width. You want it to be at least 3 inches wide. It can be as thin as you can get it. I do this on a (Clean) countertop. It does not stick because of the olive oil in the dough.

Burek Steps

Lightly brush the top of the rolled pastry with either melted butter or olive oil. (This is optional but will give you better layers)

Put a thin strip of filling on the section that is closer to you just a little bit away from the end. Then lift the dough and cover the filling bit by bit along the length. Tightening the roll as you go. Repeat the procedure until you have a filled log.

Next, You are going to  make a spiral, starting at one end and rolling the log around itself. Make sure you have the top of the Burek at the same level. Brush the top with egg white and place on your foil lined baking sheet.

Bake for 350 for 30-35 mins or until the tops are golden brown. Serve hot with a side of yoghurt.

Optional fillings

  • onion, sweet potato, spinach, spices of your choice
  • cooked spiced minced chicken

 

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Easy Bread Rolls

Bread Rolls

Bread Rolls

I got the original recipe from my Aunt. She is a great cook and is always happy to share recipes when you like them. This is a really cool recipe and reminds me of the bread rolls we used to get from the ‘Bread walla’ in Bombay. He used to come in the morning on his bicycle and you would buy whatever bread you wanted from him. There was one I never liked called ‘Kadak Pau’ – literally hard bread because the crust was really hard. I happily never got into that one. However, I used to love these soft rolls and we used to call them ‘Pau’. We would eat them with Amul butter (which has a nice salt content) and just loved them so much.
The nice part about these little rolls is that you can make and then freeze them. Then when you want to eat them just take them out and heat them in the oven or microwave them.

Recipe

  • 7 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 tsp of yeast
  • 1/2 cup of yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups of warm water

Method

Put the sugar in the warm water, stir to dissolve. Add the yeast and let it sit for about 7-10 minutes. The yeast should rise up and be all frothy.

Meanwhile, sift the flour into a bowl. Add the salt, yoghurt on the side and oil. Then add the yeast mixture to the dough and knead.If your dough is too dry add a little more warm water – just a tad bit at a time. If it too sticky add a little flour. Knead for about 10 minutes. Your dough is done when it springs back if gently pressed. I used my kitchen aid to do the kneading for this.

Oil a bowl well and the dough well and place the dough in the bowl. Place a damp (dampened with warm water) kitchen towel over the dough and let place it in a warm place. I used my microwave for this. Let it sit there for about 2.5 hours until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down. Using a pastry scraper, out small pieces of the dough and roll them into balls that are a little larger than golf balls. Place them on a cookie sheet or a baking stone if you have one with space between them. The space should be about the size of the dough ball. I got 30 balls out of the dough and I used two cookie sheets. Now cover both sheets with damp kitchen cloths and let them rise again. It took about 2 hours but if you have a warm house it normally takes about an hour.

Heat your oven to 350F. Bake the rolls for 13 mins. Then turn the oven to Grill Low and grill them for about 2 mins. You will see the tops start to brown. The middle ones will brown quicker than the ones on the end. Keep a close watch as you do not want them to burn. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on a cookie sheet for about 3-4 mins and then move them off the tray directly onto the cooling rack.

Once they are cool you can put them in freezer bags and into the freezer.


Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

What could be more delightful to breakfast than sweet strawberries on a slice of cinnamon sugared toast – well crepes with strawberries and bananas to follow. I got this idea from a cooking  magazine I had (one of the many). Its pretty much prepared all in advance and then just put together before it is served.

Recipe

  • 8 strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped into tiny bits
  • 6 slices of white bread
  • 2 tsp sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 basil leaves chopped, (plus a few more for to garnish)
  • 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • honey to taste

Method

Mix strawberries, 2 tbsp sugar and basil in a bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator to macerate.

Mix 2 tsp sugar with the cinnamon. Sparingly butter the bread, then sprinkle with the sugar cinnamon mix. Bake in a toaster oven until browned. Cut into bite sized pieces.

When ready to serve, mix together honey and yoghurt. Top each bit of bread with about a spoonful of the strawberry mix, put a small dollop of the yoghurt honey mix and top with a basil leaf.


White Yeast Bread

White Yeast Bread

White Yeast Bread

I was watching telly yesterday and saw Rachel Allen making this bread. On the show it seemed pretty easy so I though I would give it a try. I found this recipe of hers on line Rachel Allen White Yeast Bread.  I did actually knead the dough myself instead of using my trusty kitchenaid and it was a bit of a workout but it was so worth it. It did not help that I had gone to the gym earlier in the day and worked on my shoulders oh well a double work out has not hurt anyone that I know :-).

Recipe

  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 425 ml warm water (from a hot running tap)
  • 1 1/2 7oz sachet of quick rising yeast
  • 1lb 10oz all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • zatar

Method

Put 150ml of warm water into a liquid measuring cup, add the sugar and stir. Then add the yeast and stir just a tad. Keep aside.

Sift flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the center.

Add the remaining water to the liquid measuring cup to come up to 425ml and then add the 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour this into the flour well. Start bringing the dough together. (I assume you have washed your hands). Keep a little extra warm water on the side and if your dough is too dry keep adding a little water. I had to add about 2 tbsp more of water to get a softer dough.
Once the flour has all come together you will now need to knead your dough on the countertop or in the kitchenaid. The hand kneading process to do this is to push down on the dough away from you with the base of your palm. Then bring the stretched part back. Then do a quarter turn and repeat. Stretch for about 3-4 mins, then go to regular kneading and really work that dough. It took me about 10 mins to get a dough that once I pressed my finger into would spring back.

Then lightly grease your bowl put the dough in there and cover with cling film. I then let it sit for 2 hours in the microwave and it had doubled in size. Next take off cling film and punch the dough down. Do a little bit of kneading about a min or two, and put it back into the bowl, cover it again and let it relax for 10 mins.

Ten mins before you are ready to bake set the oven to 425F.  Put an oven proof bowl filled with warm water on a lower rack in the oven.

Take the dough and shape it into the shape you want. I did a load bread. Remember to run your knife in a couple of spots on the top so that the bread rises without cracking on the sides (which is what happened to mine). Let it rest on the baking tray for about 30 mins or until it has doubled in size again, covered with a clean kitchen towel.

Take the towel off, brush gently with egg wash and sprinkle topping. I used Zatar which is a middle eastern spice mix. Then put the loaf into the oven for 15 mins. After that turn the oven down to 400F and bake for another 15 mins more. Mine was done at this point. The check is if you knock on the bread it will sound hollow.

The bread was delightful.


Easy Bread with spices

Jalepeno Garlic Bread

Jalepeno Garlic Bread

Who does not like bread, served hot with a little salty butter. I love it and came across this really easy recipe (one of the many no-knead recipes out there).  This one is from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey. I have made a few modifications to the recipe and it is just simply easy, delicious and the aroma in the house as the bread is baking is mouth-watering.

If you do not have bread flour, don’t panic. I tested this recipe with both All-purpose as well as Bread flour and it works. One thing I have to point out is that unless you have an oven thermometer is that it may take a little less or a little more time than my oven. You can also test to make sure that when you knock on the bread the crust has formed you do get a knocking sound (it will be really soft).

Other variation toppings are sun-dried tomatoes (the ones that have been soaked in oil).

I do hope you enjoy it.

Recipe

  • 3 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • topping
  • 8 cloves of garlic (cleaned and sliced)
  • 2 jalapenos (de-seeded and chopped into smaller chunks – more if you want it spicier)
  • sea salt
  • olive oil

Method

Pour warm water into a large bowl. Add the yeast and sugar and stir.  Dump the flour into the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture all comes together. The dough will be sticky and fairly wet. Put cling film over the top of the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it sit. If you find your kitchen too cold you can always wrap a towel around the bowl.

Prepare the toppings.

After about 12 hours, if you peek you will see the dough has more than doubled in size. It also is covered with lots and lots of bubbles. At this point take your dough scraper and cut it into quarters. This will be a little difficult as the dough will want to travel with the dough scraper. A little man-handling of the dough is perfectly alright.

Dust your baking sheet with flour. Run your hands under a tap. Pick up your first piece of dough. Gently stretching it just a little and put it on your baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Dot the top of the bread with the toppings. Sprinkle with sea salt generously. Brush the tops with olive oil. Cover with saran wrap and then put a towel on top and let it sit for at least and hour till it rises again.

Pre-heat your oven to 450.  Remove the towel and saran wrap. Pop the tray into the oven for 22 mins until the tops are a light golden color. Take the tray out and let it cool down for about 5 mins before you cut into it.