Bread

Cumin/Jeera bread

jeera bread
We had invited some of our friends for dinner over the last weekend. We didn’t realize how the time had passed. During one of our discussions, I told them I love baking. Our friend Vishal asked if I make Jeera bread. Well, that sounded a great thought, I had to try it. It reminded me Jeera biscuits which we get, back at home. I somehow didn’t act on that idea the next day. But today, I wanted to give it a try.

I started making the bread very late. My plan was to just make the dough and bake it tomorrow morning for breakfast. But curiosity took over me and I rushed to bake it today itself. It was one of the best and tastiest breads I have ever baked. I served it with a simple olive oil-dried basil-salt mixture (like they serve in some of the Italian restaurants here). It was a very crusty on the outside, soft on the inside.

I am sure if I had left the dough for more time, the results would have been much better. Another thing I would try next time is to bake it in a bread loaf pan which would give it a nice depth and height.

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup water
1 tea spn cumin seeds (roasted)
2 and 1/4 tea spn active dry yeast
1 tbl spn unsalted butter
1/2 tea spn sugar
1 tea spn salt
Olive oil

Method:
Roast cumin seeds till a nice aroma comes out of them. Crush them slightly(do not make a powder).
Heat the water till it is lukewarm (I microwave it for 15secs).
Add sugar, butter and little olive oil. Then add yeast to it. Leave it at a warm place for 10mins till yeast becomes active (the mixture becomes frothy).
jeera bread1

Add salt, cumin and flours. If necessary add a little more water. Make a dough.
jeera bread2

jeera bread3

Kneed very well for about 10mins.
jeera bread4
Transfer the dough to a well oiled big vessel. Cover with a plastic wrap (or a plate).
jeera bread5

Leave it for about 1 and 1/2 hrs – 2hrs till the dough doubles in size.
jeera bread6

Take out the dough on a flat surface. Press down the dough. Kneed for a minute and give desired shape. (I added a slit to the top with my kitchen scissor).
jeera bread7

Apply some olive oil on top and leave it covered for another 45mins. The dough should double in size again.
jeera bread8

Preheat the oven at 500F for about 10mins. Bake the bread for about 15mins. Take it out and brush some butter on top. Then keep it back in oven and bake till you get a nice brown color(about 15mins).

Serves : 4-5

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Tomato cheese panini

tomato-panini
I had mentioned about my love for the panini at panera bread. I had to try making it at home. I had mentioned in the above mentioned post that I had frozen 1/3rd of the dough. So, yesterday night for dinner, I made these paninis. Since the bread was just out of oven, these were crispy and very very tasty. I think I will make this often now. This is not exactly same as panera bread version, but was definitely very good.

Ingredients:
Small loaf of bread(any bread will do)
Mozzerella cheese
Few tomato slices
Sun dried tomato pesto :
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 tea spn freshly chopped garlic
1/4 tea spn chilli flakes
1/2 tea spn dried basil
Salt

Method:
Grind the pesto ingredients (do not add water, if necessary, add olive oil).
Cut the loaf horizontally. Spread the pesto on one side.
tomato-panini1
Keep fresh tomato slice on it. Then spread mozzerella cheese.
tomato-panini2
Cover with the second half.
tomato-panini3
Grill it in panini press or on a normal grill(Keep the bread on grill and keep a heavy weight on top) till it gets marks from both sides.
tomato-panini4
Serve hot.

PS: Fresh basil works better than dried one in this. If you can find it, add the chopped leaves to panini instead of including it in pesto.
For melting the cheese faster, broil it in oven for few minutes and then grill.
The quantity of all the ingredients is not mentioned as it is a mix and match dish.

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Olive bread

olive-bread
I have a bad habit of trying different things when I go to a restaurant. Bad because, most of the time I make wrong choices from the menu (which I later don’t end up liking). I did the same thing at the very popular ‘Panera bread‘. Wrong choices a couple of times and we decided never to go again. But last week, I went there with my colleagues. I tasted a panini and loved it. Within a week I returned there to eat it again with V, that itself says how much I loved it.

Now, V wanted me to bake a bread at home. I have been baking a lot these days. I feel baking a bread is much easier once you get the hang of it. I love the freshly baked bread aroma. I know, everyone does. So I decided to bake a bread yesterday. I checked in panera bread website and found an olive bread recipe which looked interesting. Based on that, I baked this bread, with a few variations I wanted to make, to the original recipe.

I must say, this was one of the best breads I have ever baked. It was very easy as I did not spend much time to knead the dough. It got ready in about 2hrs – most of which was proofing time where I didn’t have to do anything. I used 2/3rd of the dough and have frozen the remaining for later use.

Check out tomato cheese panini.

Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cups water(approx)
1 tea spn honey
1/4 cup chopped olives
2 tea spns active dry yeast
1/4 tea spn red chilli flakes
1 tea spn salt
2 tbl spn butter

For brushing:
1 tbl spn butter
Garlic salt (if not available, use fresh garlic chopped fine and normal salt)
Dried basil

Method:
Add salt and honey to luke warm water. Add yeast and leave it for 10mins to get active.
Add all other ingredients. Mix and leave it in a warm place till the dough doubles in volume (It took approx 1hr for me).
olive-bread1
Now take the dough on a clean surface and knead dough for about 2-3mins. Shape it into desired size and keep on the baking tray (I lined a cookie sheet with a aluminum sheet and applied some olive oil to it).
olive-bread2
Leave it for another 30mins till they proof again.
olive-bread3
With a knife, put a cut on the dough.
olive-bread4
Preheat the oven at 450F for 10mins.
Bake the bread for about 15mins.
olive-bread5
Take out and brush some butter on the bread. Sprinkle garlic salt and basil on top.
olive-bread6
Bake again for about 15mins.
olive-bread7
olive-bread8
I served it with basil and olive oil mixture as it is done in my favorite Italian restaurant.
olive-bread9

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Naan

naan1

I was planning to make naan for a long time now. It remained just a plan for a long time for some reason or other. Finally V gave enough push to actually try my hands on it. He usually does not like this very popular bread. But one of his colleagues is a great fan of garlic naan and V wants to invite him home sometime. I didn’t want to experiment on him, so I had to learn making these at home.

My first attempt was not very good. Though everything was fine, I rolled them a bit thicker than required for naan. When baked, they became like a thin crusted pizza base. I had also used 1 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 cup wheat flour for this. I think the wheat flour made it a bit dense. So this time, I made them real thin and I could not believe my eyes when they puffed up beautifully. Within minutes, we finished them all.

naan2

I took some help from Bee’s recipe, Asha’s recipe and many more from the internet. I saw many recipes that used baking soda/powder instead of yeast, but I love working with yeast as I get fascinated when the dough doubles in volume :).

The pictures don’t do justice, as we really like eating them very hot, fresh out of oven, I did not spend time clicking pictures as they get cooled off. But I tried to click some anyway. When I make them next time, I will try to take more pictures.

Ingredients:
1 tea spn active dry yeast
2 tbl spn yogurt
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tea spn sugar
3/4 tea spn salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbl spn water

Garlic-butter topping(Mix both):
1 tbl spn butter
1 tea spn garlic

Method:
Heat the water to luke warm (it should be warm when you dip your finger in it. I normally microwave water for 10sec). Add yeast, sugar and salt. Leave it for 10mins till the yeast forms a froth(gets activated).
Now add all remaining ingredients and make it into a dough. Knead for 3-4mins. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for about 2-3hrs till the dough doubles in volume.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Make balls from the dough and roll them. Do not make them too thick as they puff up when baked (I roll them into thicker than chapathi/phulka but thinner than alu paratha). Apply a little butter on top. Line them on a lightly buttered cookie sheet.
Bake in the oven at 425F for about 7mins till they puff up. Take out, apply the garlic-butter mixture on the top and keep it in the oven again. Bake for another 5mins till the top looks brownish.

Makes about 8 small naans

PS:
– I kept a pizza stone in the oven and then placed the cookie sheet with naans on top of it.
– You can reduce the amount of butter if you don’t like too much butter.
– Avoid the garlic for plain naan.
– Do not apply too much butter while baking to avoid the brown color. I like the color, so I bake it with butter.
– If you do not have oven at home, roast the naans on a tava like normal chapathis.

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Zucchini bread


Many of you know about my love for baking. I love the aroma of baking bread and a fresh bread just out of oven tastes heavenly. I normally make spicy breads as we both enjoy them a lot. This recipe was in my drafts for a long time now, finally thought of posting it today.

I had read about zucchini bread in many recipe books/sites/blogs. I zeroed on one particular recipe from a book, but it was a sweet bread. I was in no mood to make a sweet bread, so I started changing it to make it a non-spicy, non-sweet bread. It came out very soft, fluffy and very tasty. I had actually baked it for the next day’s breakfast but finished it as soon as it came out of oven :). I served this with sun dried tomato pesto.

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Egg
1 cup grated zucchini
1 tbl spn active dry yeast
1 tbl spn chopped fresh basil
1/2 tea spn finely chopped ginger
1 tea spn sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tea spns olive oil
1 tea spn salt

Method:
Heat the water till it is luke warm. Add yeast, sugar, salt. Leave aside for 10mins till it becomes frothy.
Now add all other ingredients and mix (If it is too sticky, add more flour). Knead for few minutes till it becomes a smooth dough.
Apply olive oil inside a big vessel and transfer the dough. Leave the vessel in a warm place for about 2hrs till the dough doubles in volume.
Take the dough on clean surface and press it down. Shape it to desired shape, keep on baking tray and leave for another 30mins till it increases in volume again.
Preheat the oven for 350F for about 10mins.
Bake the bread at 350F for about 40mins or till it is baked.

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Cheddar loaf

Some of you already know my love for baking. I have been baking atleast one new kind every 15 days or so. I want to post them here so that I remember them. This is one such bread I baked a while ago.

I got the recipe in Taste of home magazine. I made quite a number of changes to original recipe. We love spicy breads, so I included chilli flakes in it. The bread was just out of this world. As soon as it came out of oven, we attacked it, even without giving it the required resting time. I love to eat it with blueberry jam that I made a couple of days ago.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour + some more
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tea spn active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1 tbl spn butter
1 egg
1 and 1/2 tea spns sugar
1 tea spn salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tea spn red chilli flakes
Olive oil

Method:
Dissolve the yeast in luke warm water. Leave it aside till the yeast becomes active.
Add sugar, salt, milk, melted butter, egg and mix gently.
Now add the flours and mix with hand. Take the dough on a lightly floured surface. Add about 1/4 cup of wheat flour if the dough is too sticky. Knead for about 8mins till the dough becomes smooth. Cover with a plastic wrap or damp towel and leave it for 1 hr till the dough becomes double in volume.
Press down the dough. Add cheddar cheese, chilli flakes and mix again. Shape into a loaf. Keep the loaf on greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for around 45mins till it doubles in volume again. Brush the top with little olive oil.
Preheat the oven at 350F for about 10mins. Bake for about 30-40mins till the bread is done.

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Parmesan Garlic Herb Bread

Baking good bread at home has been quite a bit of challenge. I have tried my hand at it couple of times and I don’t say I had great success. Some times they turned out good and other times, total flop. But it is definitely something I always loved to learn. So here was a golden opportunity for me.

Our friend Cindy had called us for lunch few days ago. When we reached her home, out-of-the-world delicious aroma of bread baking invited us. She served us just-out-of-oven bread which was one of the tastiest breads I have ever had. I could not believe she had baked such good bread. So I asked her for the recipe.

She sent it to me and I baked it last week. When I started with it and the dough beautifully rose,I knew it was going to be a success. As expected, it was absolutely delicious. I gave it a foccacia bread shape and topped with olives. That was my personal touch, it is great as simple bread sticks too.

I made the bread with half the measurements given below, i.e. half the quantity.

Ingredients:
2 envelopes active dry yeast (1 envelope = 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 cups warm water (100-110F)
2/3 cup olive oil
3 tbl spn sugar
4 1/2 – 5 cups all purpose flour (use the least necessary)
2 tea spn salt
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 cloves garlic (run through press or mince very fine)
2 tea spn dried mixed Italian seasonings
1 tsp dried basil

I used half all purpose flour and half wheat flour.

Method:
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Add oil, sugar, 3 and 1/2 cups flour. Mix until smooth. Let sponge rest about 20 minutes. (At this stage, the dough is very sticky)
Mix down, add salt, garlic, seasonings and basil. Stir in more flour until it is easy to handle. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes by hand).
Leave it overnight(I left it sit just for 1 hr instead of overnight) and next day, take out, Shape into loaves. I made it into 4 bread sticks and 1 foccacia (as I said, I had used half the quantity)
Place into greased baking pans or sheets. Cover with towel and let rise until doubled in size. Approx 1 hour.
I sprinkled them with some parmesan cheese and olives. Also drizzled some olive oil on top.
Preheat the oven at 350F for about 10mins. Bake for 30-35mins at 350F or till it is done.
I served it with marinara sauce, topped it with red chili flakes while serving. But it tastes on its own too.

The quantity mentioned above, makes 2 big round loaves.

I am sending this to Mansi’s Monthly mingle – Appetizers & Hors’Doeuvres event.

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French bread

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge is French bread hosted by Breadchick Mary and Sara. When I first read about the recipe, I got very excited because bread is something which I always wanted to learn to bake. It is one of the extremely well explained – with attention to even the smallest details – recipes I have come across. So I left a comment to Breadchick and Sara that I love this challenge.

After about a week, I thought I should have a look at the recipe and decide when I will be baking it. So I started reading it. To give a complete picture – I have never tasted any French bread in my life. So I had no idea how it is supposed to turn out. V is someone who never touches a hard bread. As many of you know, 90% of breads used by us in India are the soft bread. We have not gotten used to liking the hard crusted bread. Atleast I have tried at Panera bread few times but he just can’t take it. No, there is nothing wrong with the bread, its just that our taste buds are not yet adjusted to it.

With that background, I started reading the post. Well, thats when I started getting shivers. This challenge was in no way a simple one. One read through the post and I realized, I had doubts in my mind. Well, I can’t follow long instructions. Then I saw breadchick had given a link to a video to help in understanding the basics. I went through the video twice and got a pretty good understanding about the bread.

The only thing I was really worried about was, “steam contraption”. If you watch the video, the chef is throwing water in an oven to create steam. Since we have an electric oven, I thought it might create some short circuit if I did that. I was even scared to keep a tray with water in the oven as breadchick and Sara mentioned :(. But anyway, I went ahead and followed each and every step mentioned. I got a bit confused at the shaping part, so I followed the video.

Finally I made 1 batard, 2 ficelle and 4 small round rolls. It took about 6-7hrs. I might not have watched the time exactly, but I went with the volume mentioned by the hosts. The bread was super tasty. I simply loved it. I can say, now I am not that scared of baking anymore. Thanks Breadchick and Sara for selecting this challenge, it was just awesome. The bread does not look as good as it should be, but I am satisfied with the result considering this is my first time at baking any such complicated bread (Well, I think the stuffed buns were very easy compared to this).

I tried taking as many pictures as possible. But after sometime, I just lost patience. So I will post here whatever pictures I took. Since this recipe is too long, I am not going to reproduce it here. You can find the recipe at breadchick’s blog or here.

Pictorial
After initial mixing

After kneading

After first rise

Deflating and second rising

Cutting and resting the dough

Here I didn’t take pictures of few steps. Final outcome

I could not finish off all the bread in one day. So I froze the remaining lot.

I baked the pieces topped with little olive oil till it became crispy and enjoyed with soup on the next day.

On the third day, I sprinkled some garlic chutney powder on it and baked it for sometime to make a crunchy toast.

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Spicy stuffed potato buns (Khara buns)

From many days I am terribly missing these khara(spicy) buns available in Bangalore bakeries. These buns are nothing but very soft bread stuffed with some kind of very spicy vegetable. But I have a very bad history of baking breads. I must have attempted it atleast 5-6 times(that I know of) and consistently I got rock hard products which I am sure would work great as cricket balls :). But no matter how many times I failed, I wanted to try it again, I am pretty optimistic when it comes to cooking.

Then last week when I was blog hopping, I came across Sunitha’s amazing bread creations. While reading through her post, I came to know it was November daring baker‘s challenge. Now my next stop was Meeta’s blog. I have been reading Meeta’s creations for this “event” for last few months. I didn’t know Sunita was also a part of daring bakers till now, as soon as I came to know, I spent next few minutes digging her old posts. I am always bowled over by the amazing creations by these two for the challenge every month. Though all of their creations were very tempting, they looked very difficult to me. But this bread looked very very simple. With lot of difficulty, I postponed the baking for over a week. Finally I baked it yesterday.

I had very less hopes because of my previous attempts, but since all the daring bakers had created such nice results, I ordered my mind to keep cool ;). When the bread dough beautifully rose, I was sure the bread would come soft. It was amazing :). Very soft and very tasty.

Since I am not officially a daring baker (or to be honest, I missed one step while reading it), I kind of took a slight shortcut – I added all the flour at once instead of adding it in steps. It made my life much easier, because the dough was not very sticky and therefore easily manageable. I made a very small batch, I didn’t want to throw a big batch if I messed up this time. Try it, its the best. Thanks a lot daring bakers and to Tanna for coming up with this recipe. Here is the measurements I used-

I use the measuring cup+spoon set, so measuring was exact.

Ingredients for bread:
1 medium potato
1 cup water
1/4 tbl spn + 1/4 tea spn salt
1/2 tea spn active dry yeast
2 and 1/8th cups all purpose flour
1/4 tbl spn unsalted butter
1/4 cup wheat flour

Method:
Put the peeled and chopped potato in 1 cup water, 1/4 tea spn salt and bring it to boil. Cook till the potatoes are very tender.
Drain the water (save the water). Mash the potatoes. Measure the saved water. If it is less than 3/4 cup, add extra water to get a total of 3/4 cup.
Take the mashed potatoes and water in a big bowl. When the mixture is cooled to about 70-80F (ie, when it is still a bit warm but not hot), add the active dry yeast. Add all purpose flour, mix and leave for 5mins (According to original recipe, at this stage only 1/2 cup all purpose flour is added. so the dough was not at all sticky).
Add remaining salt, softened butter and wheat flour and mix well. (According to original recipe, at this stage 1/2 more cup of all purpose flour is added. Remaining flour is used to dust the surface where the bread is kneaded. I am not sure what difference it makes if I add the flour at once because the dough rose well without any trouble).

Now take the dough on a clean surface and knead it well for 10mins (if you follow the original recipe, the dough at this stage has only 1 cup of flour, so dough is very sticky. Keep adding flour to get a dough that can be easily managed. Since I added all the flour earlier, I didn’t dust the surface at all).
Leave the dough in a warm place for about 2hrs or till the dough doubles in volume.

Stuffing:
1 cup onion
3-4 green chilies
1/2 tea spn garam masala
1 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
A pinch turmeric
Oil
Salt

Method:
Heat a little oil and add green chilies, onion, turmeric, salt and fry till the onions are translucent. Add a little water, close the lid and let it cook. Add garam masala, coriander leaves. Cook till onions are completely cooked and the mixture has become very dry. Take off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

How to make the buns
Preheat the oven at 400F for 10mins.
Take the dough and knead for some more time. Make big balls of the dough. (For above measurements, divide the dough into 8 equal parts).
Divide the stuffing into 4 equal parts.

Take one ball of dough and keep one part of stuffing on it. Cover with second half of dough and Cover properly from all sides. Make sure all the edges are sealed properly, otherwise the buns open up while baking. Slightly flatten with hand.

Drizzle some olive oil or butter on top of the bun. Spread some oregano on top (optional). Repeat same for remaining dough and stuffing to get 4 buns. Leave it aside for atleast 30mins for the buns to proof again. When they are almost double the size, they are ready to bake.
Bake in the oven for about 10-12 mins (or the top becomes brown).
Cool on a wire rack.

Note : This is by no means a simple recipe. As you all see, it’s a daring bakers challenge recipe. Daring bakers is a group which takes up very difficult challenges every month and tries to bake them. Whatever I knew about the recipe, I have already posted here. So, try on your own risk :).

Spicy stuffed potato buns (Khara buns) Read More »

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