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.

7 comments:

  1. Beautifully done! I like the contrast of the colours , from pale dark brown! Looks gorgeous

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  2. thank you for this recipe. I made it today, it tured out wonderful

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  3. Thanks for this recipe. I made it today, turned out great!!

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    1. Thanks Jan. I am so glad it turned out great.

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  4. This looks stunning Varada, so beautifully done!

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  5. Can I make the dough and refrigerate and assemble and make the bread next day?

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    1. Jan while I have done that with sourdough but I have never tried it with dough using commercial yeast. If you try it let me know if it worked.

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