Friday, February 28, 2014


I have had crispbread in my list of recipes to bake for a while. Crackers with hummus, salsa, laughing cow cheese, guacamole etc. are my daughter's favorite after school snack.

Today was my first attempt at baking crispbread. I made the bread with rye flour and sesame seeds sprinkled on the top. I will have to work on getting a perfect balance between the thickness and crispiness of the bread. But this was a good start.

You will need
1 cup rye flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 oz. Fleischmann instant yeast (half packet)
150 ml warm water

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. In a bowl mix the flour and salt. Add the water and yeast and mix well. Cover the dough and leave aside for an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the slightly risen rye dough into 6 portions. Place one of the portions of the very sticky dough on the parchment paper.

Place a minimally greased ziploc sandwich bag on the ball of dough.

Using you finger spread the dough until it forms a small disc about 1/4 of an inch in thickness. Slowly peel away the ziploc bag.

Repeat with two other portions of dough. Using a fork poke holes all over the bread. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes of until the bread just starts to brown.

The bread will be crisp and will curl up a little. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

This month I decided to contribute to the February edition of the Bread Baking Day (BBD) the 65th edition of which is being hosted at Kochpoetin. The theme for this month is crispbread or knackebrot.

Swedish Coffee Bread

17 years ago I met a group of fabulous gals online. Last month we decided to bake together once a month. Kneading Bakers emerged out of this thought. Every month we plan to bake the same dish. Our very first venture is Swedish Coffee Bread.

I had a lot of fun shaping this bread. I had never used a kitchen scissors on dough before. If I were to make this again I would probably go deeper with the cuts to have a very pronounced end result. But I am happy with this bread. I learnt a lot.

The dough was very sticky and my palm and fingers hurt kneading it. But the resultant bread as so soft it was a pleasure to munch on.

I used two sources for the recipe. I used the filling from here and next time I may use the optional raisins and almond paste as well. The dough is from here. It is not very sweet, just the way I like it but the bread is super soft. This will be my stand by sweet bread dough recipe for the further.

For the dough
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. cardamom powdered
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk, lukewarm
1/4 cup water, warm
1/2 oz. Fleischmann instant yeast (2 packets)
2 1/2 cup bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour

For the filling
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

3 tbsp. milk

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the butter, sugar, egg, cardamom and salt. Warm the milk and add it to the bowl.

Warm the water and dissolve the yeast in it. Whisk it into the contents of the bowl. Now add 2 cups of the flour and start forming a dough.

Add more dough as needed. The dough will be sticky. Continue to knead and add more flour as needed. I needed all 3 1/2 cups before the dough came together. Transfer the dough to a clean greased bowl.

Turn the dough around to coat with oil and keep it aside covered for an hour or two until it doubles in size.

Grease a baking sheet and keep aside. Mix all the ingredients for the filling and keep aside. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and roll into a large rectangle about 15 x 9.

Spread the filling on the rolled out dough up to a forth of an inch from the edges. In winter you may have to keep the filling warm to prevent the butter from solidifying. You could put it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds if the butter does solidify and you are unable to spread the filling.

Starting from one of the short ends start rolling the dough.

Roll all the way to the end to form a smooth long roll. If the thickness of the roll is uneven, use your fingers to even it out the best you can.

Seal the edges by pinching them together, like this.

Transfer it to the greased baking sheet with the edge on the bottom. Form into a ring and seal the two ends together.

Using a kitchen scissors cut into the ring about 2/3 of the way in. Do not be afraid to go deeper than what I have here. Just make sure you do not cut all the way to the end.

Go all around the circle making cuts every inch.

Now pick up one of the cut pieces and turn it upwards. 

Repeat all the way around going clockwise. When done cover with a greased sheet of plastic and allow to sit for about 45 minutes. The dough will rise again.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 F. Warm 3 tbsp. of milk in a bowl and wash the surface of the bread with the milk using a pastry brush. You could use egg yolk wash but I do not like the egg smell so I use milk. Bake the bread for about 15-20 minutes.

Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beautiful Bread

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?

This challenge was inspired by the design creations of Valentina Zurkan. The end result was intimidating. I baked a sunflower bread a couple days earlier. It is easier to shape and I wanted to get an idea of how shaping the dough affects the final result. I am glad I did that but I was nervous nevertheless. Surprising, I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the dough and molding it to the desired shape. The house smelt of cinnamon and freshly baked bread. I think I found a new hobby.

The bread was a treat with evening tea. My daughter walked through the door with her nose in the air asking what smelt so good. She even asked if she could take a piece to school for her mid-morning snack.

The recipe was easy to follow but I tweaked it a little. I used mostly bread flour in place of all purpose flour, cut down on the cinnamon and did not drizzle anything on the bread after it was baked.

You will need
For the dough
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
2 oz. butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 oz. Fleischmann yeast
2 1/4 cup King Arthur bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
1/2 tsp. salt

For the topping
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. sugar

Between the layers
2 oz. butter, divided
3 tbsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 cup sugar

Leave the egg and the butter on the counter top at least an hour before you start. Shell the cardamom and pound the seeds to a powder. Mix the water and milk in a bowl and heat in the microwave for about 25 seconds. In a large mixing bowl whisk the egg. Add sugar, softened butter, yeast and the warmed milk and water. Whisk it together. Add the cardamom and salt. Mix in the flour a little at a time. Knead well to form a soft dough.

Oil the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise to double its original size.

Flour a working surface and dump the dough on it. Break away a small piece of dough for the center. Divide the rest into four portions.

Roll out the portions to about 9-10 inches. Save a tablespoon of butter and in a small bowl mix the remaining butter, cinnamon powder and sugar to be applied between the layers. Place one of the rolled out portions and spread a third of the cinnamon mixture all over the top.

Place another rolled out portion of dough over the top of the first. Apply half of the remaining cinnamon mixture over it and place the third portion of dough over the top. Apply all of the remaining cinnamon mixture over it. Place the last portion of dough over the top. Brush the top with the butter that was kept aside earlier.

Shape the layers into a circle doing the best you can. The better the circle the prettier the baked bread will look. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife cut the four layer thick disc into 8 wedges. Using a knife cut a slit in each of the triangles as shown in the picture.

Take one of the triangles and fold the narrow edge over the top and into the slit.

Pull it from the bottom and spread it out again as shown in the picture.

Repeat for all the triangles.

Grease a baking sheet large enough to hold all the pieces. I used a pizza sheet. Place the triangles on it to form a circle. Retrieve the little ball of dough put aside earlier. Roll it into a thin rope. Starting from one side coil the rope to the end. Place it in the center. Pinch the open ends of the triangles together. Mix the milk and sugar for the topping and brush it liberally over the top.

Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. In the meantime preheat the oven to 450 F. Bake the bread for 5 minutes at this temperature. Reduce the temperature to 390 F. Bakes for about 10-12 minutes. The bottom of the bread should be brown. The top can be covered in foil if it browns too early. Alternately it can be broiled if it does not brown enough.

Let the baked bread rest for 5 minutes on the pan. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely before storing. The bread can be stored at room temperature in an air tight container for 2-3 days.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Peppery Paneer Stromboli

I have always wanted to try stuffed bread. In the past the recipes I found did not have a vegetarian filling and used all purpose flour for the bread. After recently baking coco bread I was confident I could bake yeast bread with all wheat flour rolled up like a Stromboli. I decided to use the winning combination from the peppery paneer toast (without the white sauce) for the filling.

The result was delicious and now I have a great alternative to the everyday poli. I will continue to experiment and tweak the recipe but this is a great basic whole wheat recipe for Stromboli.

You will need
For 2 8 inch loaves
2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 packet of Fleischmann instant yeast (each packet is 1/4 oz)
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 milk

For the filling
6 oz homemade paneer crumble
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 onion
2 carrots
1/2 cup cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

To make the bread dough
In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except the milk. Warm the milk in a microwave or on the stove top. Do not let it get hot. Pour it into the flour and mix it in.

Using as little water as needed make a soft sticky dough. Knead this dough for about 10 minutes until it is soft and elastic. Pour a few drops of olive oil on your fingers and knead the dough again. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise to double its size. That should take about an hour.

To make the filling
Make homemade paneer, I use this recipe. Knead the paneer and break it up into crumbs. If you are using store bought paneer, chop it into tiny pieces. Keep aside.

Chop all the vegetables and transfer to a separate mixing bowl. Add the paneer, salt and pepper. Mix it all together and keep aside.

To put it together
After an hour punch down the dough and knead it for a minute. Divide it into two. On a floured surface roll out one portion into a 1/2 in thick rectangle.

Spread half the filling over the surface of the rolled out dough leaving an inch all around.

Now starting from one of the shorter ends roll tightly all the way to the other end.

Seal the edges and transfer to a greased baking dish. Repeat for the other portion of dough and filling.

Let the rolls rest covered for half an hour. Preheat oven to 410 F. Make three slits on the top of the rolls to let the steam escape. Bake the rolls in the center rack for 25-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the bread comes out clean. Turn off heat and let the rolls rest on a cooling rack for a few minutes.

Serve hot.

You can add red chili pepper or minced Serrano pepper to the filling if you prefer spicy food.

This is my entry for week four, day three of BM #37 for the theme Rolled and Baked. Check out the
Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#37.