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Croissants- We Knead to Bake#2

We Knead to bake, a group of bakers eagerly learning to bake bread every month, lead by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. Last Month we made Pull-Apart Bread and for this month, aparna thought of giving some exercise to our Bingo Wings!!!! Yup, we made Croissants!!!!! 


When Aparna posted the recipe, My first thought was, oh my!!! Such a long process, will i be able to do??? But as members of our group started posting Pictures of the final product, i got the courage and particularly Lataji, such a enthusiastic and bubbling person she is, when i saw her pics of baking these french beauties for the second time with her hubby i felt more encouraged and went through the recipe and baked it and I Loved it!!!! It is such a happy feeling to see those croissants browning and puffing up in the Oven and even more rewarding when your people go mmmm, aaawwww, after the first bite. 
Thanks to Aparna, she gave us such a detailed instructions and a fool-proof recipe. All you have to do is read the recipe and the tips carefully to get a Utterly, Buttery and a Flaky Croissants!!!! 🙂
I made the original proportions of the dough. Divided it into 4 equal parts and made croissant with 2 parts and have freezed the remaining 2 parts. Maybe someday in the week i will try Pain Au Chocolat. Stuff the croissant with a piece of Chocolate and bake, preferably dark, it will be heaven!!!!


Recipe Source : Adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s recipe at Fine Cooking
Ingredients:
For
the dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour, and a little more
for dusting/ rolling out dough
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cold water
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cold milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
40gm/3.5tbsp soft unsalted butter
1 tbsp plus scant 1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt
For
the butter layer:
250 gm cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup of cold milk  for brushing the dough or 1 egg for egg wash
Method:
Day
1:
Make
the dough (and refrigerate overnight)
  • Combine all the ingredients for the dough
    in a bowl and knead for 5 minutes to make a dough.
    Lightly flour a 10-inch pie pan or a dinner plate.  And place the ball of dough on this.
  • Gently shape the dough into a flat ball by
    pressing it down before storing it in the fridge, this makes rolling out next
    morning easier. Making a tight ball will strengthen the gluten which you do not
    need. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and wrap well with plastic
    so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.

Day
2:

Make
the butter layer
  • The next day, cut out 2 pieces of parchment
    or waxed paper into 10” squares each. 
    Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Place these pieces on one
    piece of parchment/ waxed paper so they form a 5- to 6-inch square. Cut the
    butter further into pieces as required to fit the square. Top with the other
    piece of parchment/ waxed paper.
  • Using a rolling pin, pound the butter with
    light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force.
    Pound the butter until it flattens out evenly into a square that’s approximately
    7-1/2”. Trim the edges of the butter to make a neat square. Put the trimmings
    on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin.
    Refrigerate this while you roll out the dough.

Laminate
the dough

  • Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly
    floured work surface. Roll it out to a 10-1/2-inch square, and brush off the
    excess flour. Take the butter out from the refrigerator —it should be cold but
    pliable.  If it isn’t refrigerate it till
    it is. This so that when you roll out the dough with the butter in it, neither
    should it be soft enough to melt, or hard enough to break. Unwrap the butter and
    place it on the square of dough in the centre, so that it forms a “diamond”
    shape on the dough.
  • Fold one flap of dough over the butter
    toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the middle of
    the butter square. Bring the opposite flap to the middle, slightly overlapping
    the previous one. Similarly repeat with the other two so that the dough forms
    an envelope around the butter. Lightly press the edges together to completely
    seal the butter inside the dough to ensure the butter doesn’t escape when you
    roll out the dough later.
  • Lightly flour the top and bottom of the
    dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press along the dough uniformly to elongate
    it slightly. Now begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening
    rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.
  • Roll the dough into an 8” by 24” rectangle.
    If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your
    hands. Brush off the excess flour. Mark the dough lightly equally into three
    along the long side. Using this as a guideline, pick up one short end of the
    dough and fold 1/3
    rd of it back over the dough, so that 1/3rd
    of the other end of dough is exposed. Now fold the 1/3
    rd exposed
    dough over the folded side. Basically, the dough is folded like 3-fold letter
    before it goes into an envelope (letter fold). Put the folded dough on a floured
    baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and
    freeze for 15 to 20 minutes to relax
    and chill the dough.
  • Repeat the rolling and folding, this time
    rolling in the direction of the two open ends (from the shorter sides to
    lengthen the longer sides) until the dough is about 8” by 24”. Once again fold
    the dough in thirds, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded
    edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers. Cover once again with
    plastic wrap and freeze for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Roll and fold the dough exactly in the same
    way for the third time and put it baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap,
    tucking the plastic under all four sides and refrigerate overnight.

Day
3:

Divide
the dough
  • The next day, unwrap and lightly flour the
    top and bottom of the dough. Cut the dough along the longer side into halves.
    Cover one half with plastic wrap and refrigerate it while working on the other
    half.
  • “Wake up the dough up” by pressing firmly
    along its length with the rolling pin. Don’t widen the dough but simply begin
    to lengthen it with these first strokes. Slowly roll the dough into a long and
    narrow strip, approximately 8” by 22”. If the dough sticks as you roll,
    sprinkle with flour.
  • Once the dough is about half to two-thirds
    of its final length, it may start to resist rolling and even shrink back. If
    this happens, fold the dough in thirds, cover, and refrigerate for about 10
    minutes; then unfold the dough and finish rolling.
  • Lift the dough an inch or so off the table
    at its midpoint and allow it to shrink from both sides and prevent the dough
    from shrinking when it’s cut. Check that there’s enough excess dough on either
    end so that when you trim the edges to straighten them, you have a strip of dough
    that is 20’ inches long. Now trim the edges so they’re straight.
  • If you’re good at “eyeballing” and cutting
    the dough into triangles, then forget the measuring rule, marking and cutting
    instructions.  Otherwise, lay a measuring
    rule or tape measure lengthwise along the top length of the dough. With a
    knife, mark the top of the dough at 5-inch intervals along the length (there
    will be 3 marks in all). Now place the rule or tape measure along the bottom
    length of the dough. Make a mark 2-1/2 inches in from the end of the dough.
    Make marks at 5-inch intervals from this point all along the bottom of the
    dough. You’ll have 4 marks that fall halfway between the marks at the top.
  • Make diagonal cuts by positioning the
    yardstick at the top corner and the first bottom mark. Use a pizza wheel/ pie
    wheel or a bench scraper and cut the dough along this line which connects each
    top mark to the next bottom mark and then back to the next top mark and so on.
    This way you will have 7 triangles and a scrap of dough at each end.

 


Shape
the croissants

  • Now work with one piece of triangular dough
    at a time. Using your rolling pin, very lightly roll (do not make it thin but
    only stretch it slightly) the triangle to stretch it a little, until it is
    about 10” long. This will give your croissants height and layers. You can
    stretch it by hand too, but if you don’t have the practise, your stretching
    could be uneven.
  • Using a sharp small knife, make a 1/2- to
    3/4-inch-long notch in the centre of the short side of each triangle. The notch
    helps the rolled croissant curl into a crescent.
  • Place the triangle on the work surface with
    the notched side closest to you. With one hand on each side of the notch, begin
    to roll the dough away from you, towards the pointed end.
  • Flare your hands outward as you roll so
    that the notched “legs” become longer. Roll the triangle tight enough but not
    too tight to compress it, until you reach the “pointy” end which should be
    under the croissant.
  • Now bend the two legs towards you to form a
    tight crescent shape and gently press the tips of the legs together (they’ll
    come apart while proofing but keep their crescent shape).
  • Shape all the triangles like this into
    croissants and place them on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet leaving
    as much space between them as they will rise quite a bit.

 Proof
the croissants

  • Brush the croissants with milk (or a mix of
    milk and cream). If you use eggs, make an egg wash by whisking one egg with 1
    tsp water in a small bowl until very smooth. Lightly brush this on each
    croissant.
  • Refrigerate the remaining milk/ milk+cream
    (or egg wash) for brushing the croissants again later. Place the croissants in
    a cool and draft-free place (the butter should not melt) for proofing/ rising
    for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  They might
    need longer than 2 hours to proof, maybe as much as 3 hours, so make sure to
    let croissants take the time to proof. The croissants will be distinctly larger
    but not doubled in size. They’re ready if you can see the layers of dough from
    the side, and if you lightly shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle.



Bake
the croissants

  • Just before the croissants are fully
    proofed, pre-heat your oven to 200C (400F) in a convection oven or 220C (425F)
    in a regular oven. Brush the croissants with milk/ milk+cream (or egg wash) a
    second time, and place your baking sheets on the top and lower thirds of your
    oven (if regular) or bake one tray at a time in the convection oven.
  • Bake them for about 15 to 20 minutes till
    they’re done and golden brown on top and just beginning to brown at the sides.
    In a regular oven, remember to turn your baking sheets halfway through. If they
     seem to be darkening too quickly during
    baking, lower the oven temperature by 10C (25F). Cool the croissants on the
    baking sheets on racks.
  • Serve warm. This recipe makes 15
    croissants.

Important tips to get your Croissants right (Read them twice/thrice)

  • Ensure that your butter is cold – cold enough that it is pliable enough to smoothly roll out; not hard (or it will break) or soft (it will melt). If the butter is too hard and breaks while rolling out the dough, you will not get the layers in the croissants.
  • Do not over-knead / develop the dough too much, too much gluten will not help during the lamination process. The lamination process itself is a kind of stretch and fold anyway and will strengthen the dough. So keep to the 3 minutes the recipe says.  You want a soft dough, not an elastic one.
  • When you cover the butter square with the dough, make sure you seal the dough well, otherwise the butter will leak out when you roll out the dough, and there’s no way you can manage to put the butter back in. You will also end up with butter leaking during the baking.
  • Always, always make sure your dough and butter inside it are cold. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Once the butter has melted, it is difficult to get the dough to produce layers because the dough tends to absorb the butter and will make greasy croissants. So, while working with the dough, or when rolling it out, if at any point you feel the dough becoming warm and soft, put it back in the fridge immediately. Also work as quickly as you can so the butter stays cold.
  • During the lamination of the dough (rolling and folding repeatedly), chill the dough in the freezer and NOT the fridge. The overnight refrigeration is to be done in the fridge NOT in the freezer. Resting the dough is an important part of the croissant making process.
  • Plan ahead and make sure you do all this when you have the time for it. You will need more time than you think you, believe me. You cannot leave this and attend to something else, unless you want to set yourself for failure!
  • You also need a lot of patience to keep rolling out the dough with just enough pressure to stretch it. The rolled out dough before shaping should be somewhere between 1/4” and 1/8” thick.
  • Make sure your dough is shaped with straight lines and square-ish corners. All the time you are rolling your dough out, keep this in mind. This way you will minimise waste of dough. More importantly, the edges where there is no butter would get folded in during lamination and affect your layers. So trim off those bits if you have any of them.
  • Keep lightly flouring your work surface (not too much), just enough to keep working smoothly without tearing the dough. However, dust with a light hand or you could end up adding more flour than desirable.
  • Do not be tempted to fold more than three times. A fourth fold will give you more layers, but thinner butter layers between them, and your croissants will not puff of as much as you would like them to.


No Bake Oreo Cheesecake

A simple dessert that looks pretty and also tastes delicious. A dessert that can be made without any sweat in the kitchen. No bake cheesecakes, an elegant dessert that will look pretty on your dining table and will get you all the praise.
When i planned the menu for this week’s Thankgiving meal theme, i wanted to have a main, side and a dessert. Thank god, i was able to make all the 3 dishes and click them together, for the fesive look.
Lime and sesame seeds rice and cauliflower tikka masala were made the same day and whereas this cheesecake was made a day earlier, so it sets well and is ready for the dinner next day.
I have used labneh or curd cheese to set the cake. It didn’t need any sort of setting agent, as it is curd cheese, it will set the cake well after 4-5 hours of refrigeration. Since i have use shot glasses, the cheesecake sets pretty fast. If using a tart pan or a larger base to set the cake, do wait for 6 hours for it to set well.
I have also removed the cream part of the cookies and added it to the cheese, so you will get the taste of cookies and cream in the cake. To make it more alluring, i have also added a tsp of instant coffee! hmmm, the aroma of mesmerizing coffee in the base and creamy cheese, makes this dessert, more tempting!
Ingredients
12 nos oreo cookies
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup labneh/Curd cheese
90grams condensed milk
mini oreo cookies for garnish
Method
  • Remove the cream in the oreo cookies separately using a blunt knife. Keep it aside. Take the oreo cookies in a blender, add butter ,coffee powder and pulse to get a fine powder
  • I have used 6 shot glasses and one muffin cup to set the cheesecake. If needed you can use a tart tin with removable base  also.
  • Divide the cookie crumb amongs 6 shot glasses. I have used about 2 tbsp of crumb for each glass. There was about 3-4 tbsp crumb leftover, which was used in the muffin cup. If setting in a muffin cup, lay the cup with cling wrap, see to that some of it, hangs outside the cup, so it is easy to pull the cheesecake out after it is set.
  • Let the base rest in the fridge, while we make the filling.  In a wide bowl, add labneh, the cream of the oreo cookies, and condensed milk. Using a electric beater, whisk it all together. It wont be fluffy, it will be like a thick cream. Do not worry, the curd will set the cheesecake well.
  • If you prefer u can add some crushed oreo cookies to the cream mixture. Add 2-3 tbsp of this cream on top of the cookie crumb set in the shot glasses. After filling the 6 shot glasses, there was about 1/4 cup of cream leftover, which i filled in the muffin cup.
  • Wrap the individual shot glasses with cling wrap and let this cheesecake sit in the refrigerator and set for atleast 5-6 hours minimum. Since it is set in shot glasses, it will ready in 3 hours itself, but if setting it in a big tart tin as one cheese cake, leave it to set for a minimum 6 hours.
  • To serve, remove the cling wrap, garnish it with little cookie crumb and mini oreos on top and serve immediately.


Foccacia Caprese – We Knead to Bake#13

Foccacia or salt foccacia, is the common-known focaccia, also called schiacciata; it is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. I have already baked this normal foccacia. Foccacia Caprese is nothing but a basic Focaccia dough topped Caprese style. “Caprese” refers to something that comes from or is in the style of Capri, an island off the Italian coast near Naples. Capri is famous mostly for its villas, grottos and jutting limestone towers, and also for the salad named after it – “Insalata Caprese” whose signature is fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh buffalo mozzarella (Mozzarella di Buffala). 
This means that the topping of the Focaccia Caprese is sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, in addition to the usual olive oil and herbs that are typically used in this flatbread.
I got some cherry tomatoes for the first time  used the normal mozarella, since i forgot to get fresh mozarella. We have fresh cheese counters here in all big supermarkets, like Lulu,carrefour and Spinney’s.May be next time i will get some an try this again.
I served the foccacia along with soup for our dinner. I divided the dough and made small single serving foccacia’s. We had 4 for our dinner and i have frozen the rest of the 2. Makes a filling dinner or lunch along with some warm soup.
Ingredients
For the Dough
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 Cups Whole Wheat flour
1.5 Cups All Purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup herbed oil (recipe given below) 
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
A little more herbed oil for brushing dough (another 2 tbsp)

For the Topping
8-10 cherry tomatoes, sliced into 3 or 4 pieces
1/2 Cup Fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4” slices (i used regular mozarella cheese, almarai brand)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

For the Herbed Oil 
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp finely minced garlic/ paste
Salt to taste 
Method
Herbed Oil
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.I made 2 batches of herbed oil used one to make dough and other to brush the bread

Making the dough
  • The dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand or machine. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and herbed oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky.
  • Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume,about an hour.
  • After the required timing, Punch out the excess air out of the dough and divide the dough according to need. I weighed the dough it came around 900gms. So i divided into 6 pieces weighing approximately 150gms each. Shape them in to 5-6 inches roundels.
  • Transfer the dough to the baking tray. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.
  • Bake at 210C (410F) for about 18 to 20 minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Take the Focaccia out. Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.
  • Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
  • Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve while it is still hot. I served it for our dinner with coconut and Vermicelli soup.
Sending this to Bake Fest #29, happening @ +Priya Suresh‘s space, an event by +Vardhini Koushik , Also to Kids Delight, happening @ +Nivedhanams Sowmya‘s space, an event by +Srivalli Jetti 

No Bake Mango Cheese Cake

Baking Partners this month, Swathi chose to make Cheese cake, she gave us four recipes to choose from and i chose Sweatha’s suggestion No Bake Mango Cheese Cake from Divine Taste
Though i got all the ingredients ready the same week, but then my lil one got sick, Viral Fever for 2 weeks, so totally got tied up and couldn’t do the bake on time. Then finally last weekend, i made it for Dinner and man, we enjoyed it a lot!!!! I had to save few slices for the Click the next day, it was that yum!!

Ingredients

For Crust
1 1/2 cups digestive biscuits/plain sweet biscuits, crushed
1/2 cup  butter (preferably salted butter), chopped

For Filling
1/2 cup fine sugar or powdered sugar
3 cups thick full cream yogurt
1 cup water
1/4 Cup Chinagrass or Agar Agar 
2.5 Cups of Mango Puree, i used canned mangoes, Fresh Mangoes can also be used
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


For the Mango Glaze
1/2 cup Mango Puree
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lime juice

Method
Hung Yogurt n Paneer

  • Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth lined colander over a container and allow to drain overnight to get half the quantity thick yogurt.
  • For making Paneer, boil 2 litres of Milk, add a juice of lemon when it starts to boil  keep stirring until the whey separates completely. Add 7-8 ice-cubes, take t off the stove. Strain it over a cheese-cloth lined colander. Collect the whey completely.


Prepare the crust
  • Place all the biscuits in a sealed plastic bag (Zip loc) and with a rolling pin beat until the biscuits are powdered or use your blender to do the job.  
  • Once this is done put the biscuits in a large mixing bowl. Put in the butter and rub with your hands until the mixture is well mixed.  Alternatively, process the biscuits in a food processor until fine, drop in the butter and process again until the mixture is properly blended.
  • Remove the mixture and press it evenly into the base of an 8” deep round spring-form pan or any pan with a removable bottom or a 9” regular round pan. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for half an hour.


Prepare the filling
  • Break the china grass into small pieces and soak in 1 cup warm water for about 10 minutes until it becomes soft.
  • In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or blender place the strained yogurt and paneer cheese or cottage cheese and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer this to a mixing bowl.
  • In a sauce pan, heat the mango puree over a medium flame. Do not allow this to boil. In another saucepan place the china-grass and water mixture and stir on low heat until it melts completely, about 10-12 minutes. Do not allow this to boil.
  • After the china grass melts completely, pour the hot china grass solution into the hot mango puree, stirring all the while.
  • Slowly add the mango mixture into the yogurt and cheese mixture, stir in the sugar and vanilla extract and beat well with a wire whisk until well blended.
  • Pour this mixture over the prepared crust, level with a spoon and chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.For the Mango Glaze
  • Place all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. When it begins to boil, reduce the flame and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Allow to come to room temperature and then spread the glaze over the cheesecake with a spoon. 
  • Allow the glaze to set over the cheesecake for 2 to 3 hours or more before slicing it.  Allow the cheesecake to set for an hour or so before spreading the glaze over it.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread-We Knead to Bake#10

Recent days, i m trying to replace All purpose flour/maida in my bakes. Though not 100%, i m trying to replace 50% atleast,  with multi-grain flour or whole wheat flour. When Aparna gave us the opportunity to bake a 100% Whole Wheat bread in We Knead to bake, i didnt want to miss it, though she warned us, the dough is one of the stickiest dough we would ever handled. But then, who would not want to bake something healthy. 

I baked this bread twice, the first time i baked, i somewhat stuffed too much into the loaf tin, so next time i divided the dough and baked  a mini loaf too. Anyway’s we loved this bread and would definitely bake again.

(Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads)
Ingredients
For The Soaker:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 to 1 cup water at room temperature
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (you use even plain) 

For The Biga/ Sponge
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup milk 
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (you use even plain) 


For The Final Dough
All of the Soaker
All of the Biga/ Sponge
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup whole wheat flour (and a few tbsp. more if required)
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp honey
Method
To make the Soaker
  • Mix all of the Soaker ingredients together in a bowl until all of the flour is hydrated. Depending upon the variety of the flour you are using, you might need up to 1 cup of water for this. So start with 3/4th cup of water first and then add more if you need. 
  • Your Soaker should be somewhat like reasonably firm bread dough in consistency. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours. 

To make the Biga/ Sponge

  • Mix all of the Biga/ Sponge in a bowl and knead together well till a soft ball forms. Again you might need more than the originally suggested 3/4 cup of liquid. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. This will keep for up to 3 days.
Making the bread
Warning: This will be the most stickiest dough you would have handled.
  • Two hours before you plan to mix your dough for the bread, remove the Biga from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. You might find your Biga rising a little during this time. 
  • Divide the Biga and Soaker into small pieces (about 12 pieces each) using a sharp knife or scraper and put them in the large bowl.  The dough will be tacky and a little difficult to manage. Do not be tempted to add more flour, when it is time to, than necessary.
  • Add the remaining ingredients for the dough, except the 1/3 cup flour) and knead for about 3 minutes.  Let it rest for 5 minutes, then add as much flour as needed (if necessary) to the dough and  knead for another 3-4 minutes. Your dough should now come away from the sides of the bowl but still be a little sticky but somewhat manageable. It’s really important to not add too much extra flour during this step. 
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until almost doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). Then turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat the dough out into a rectangle with a width that just a bit less than your loaf tin. See that you do not tear the dough. Roll it up and shape into a loaf (see the video, if you need it).
  • Place your loaf in a greased and floured loaf tin (I used a 9” by 4” loaf tin) and let it rise until it is just higher than your loaf tin. Bake the loaf at 180C (350F) for about 40 to 45 minutes until the top is a nice deep brown colour and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Let the loaf cool completely (at least for about 2 hours), before slicing it. Refrigerate the loaf if not consuming immediately. I stored the bread in the fridge and made delicious cucumber-cheese sandwich with them for breakfast, next day.

Whole Wheat Savory Kugelhopf – We Knead to Bake#7

We Knead to bake, an bread baking group, kick-started by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. We are going to complete one year and it means we have learnt to bake 12 new breads this year!!! Wohooo!! that is some achievement, that too for someone who had a bad relationship with yeast!!!! 🙂 It was all in the past now, yeast is like my good friend now, we can get along anytime for a cup of tea/coffee!!! 😉
Kugelhopf is a yeasted sweet cake well known in the Alsace region of France, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, and variations of this are also found in some countries of Eastern Europe. There are many stories surrounding this bread, it will be reaaly long posst!!! The most commonly told story about the Kugelhopf is that Marie Antoinette (the same lady of the “let them eat cake” fame!) brought it from her home country Austria, to France upon her marriage to King Louis XVI. 

Since it is a yeasted cake, the Kugelhopf has a dense bread-like texture and is made from a somewhat enriched dough like brioche but is not as rich. It is considered similar to a coffee cake that might be eaten for or with breakfast, or could be part of an afternoon snack with coffee.
Aparna chose to bake the lesser known version of the Kugelhopf its savoury Alsatian version called the Kugelhopf aux Lardons. “Lardons” is the French word for bacon, and this version is typically made with onions, ham/ bacon, walnuts and herbs. I made the vegetarian version of the Kugelhopf  using carrots, corn and tomatoes along with cheddar cheese. Feel free to use any combination of veggies and don’t forget the cheese!!!!

Ingredients
1.5 Cups of Whole Wheat flour + 1/4 Cup extra (for dusting and kneading)
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
50gm butter, at room temperature
1/4 Cup + 2 tbsp milk
1/4 Cup Yogurt (replacing 1 egg)
1/2 tsp oil

Stuffing (Savory Ingredients)

1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
2 tbsp corn, i used frozen
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 cup of Cheddar cheese, chopped into cubes
2 tbsp of melon seeds

Method
  • Take  flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Mix well to combine. Then add butter, a little at a time, mix well.
  • Add the warm milk, yogurt and knead to a soft and sticky dough. Knead some more, adding flour(from the extra 1/4 up), a little at a time and just enough till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do not be tempted to add more flour than absolutely necessary.
  • Your dough will be very soft, elastic and just short of sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise until double in volume. This can take from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 
  • In the meanwhile, heat 1/2 a tsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion, tomatoes and the spice powders, saute till the rawness disappears. Next add chopped carrots and corn mix well to combine with the added spices. Let it sit on the stove for 5-8 minutes. Remove and keep aside. 
  • Grease an 6” kugelhopf mould or bundt pan well especially around the centre (or whatever pan/ tin you plan to use). I used a 6″bundt pan. Place some melon seeds in the bottom of the mould/pan. 
  • Once the dough has risen, deflate it. Then flatten the dough out and spread the stuffing over the surface, fold the dough over and then knead it. This will ensure a more uniform incorporation of the “filling”. The dough will be a bit sticky, so use a scraper to help you with the kneading. Do not add more flour!
  • Roll the dough into a longish log, long enough to fit into the mould comfortably. Lift the “log” of dough and place it in the mould in a circular fashion and pinch the two ends together to close the “circle” of dough. Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour or so, until it reaches the edge/ rim of the mould.
  • Bake the Kugelhopf at 200C (400F) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when it is tapped.
  • Unmould the Kugelhopf and let it cool on a rack. Slice and serve . Makes a perfect Brunch or Lunch with a hearty salad and warm soup.
  • We enjoyed it as such as a snack and i packed some for my hubby breakfast too and kuttu’s lunchbox. 

Black Forest Buns – We Knead to Bake#25

On the day 4, i m here with Black forest buns, hmm, yeah B.U.N.S. not cake! When Aparna announced these cuties for WKTB#25, i literally drooled on them! Who would say No when one wraps a chocolate cake in bun and drizzle it with some more chocolate on top. I wanted to bake immediately, bu then i needed a chocolate cake first. I baked one immediately, but i got devoured immediately too!!! yes, my EO loves Chocolate cakes a lot, so the first loaf i baked went to him and his friends. So, i baked another one after a week and made these buns on a weekend. 

I replaced a part of the flour with Whole wheat flour. The buns turned a bit dense, but the taste was spot on! You can use APF completely or use Bread flour and APF together. The choice is yours!!!

Ingredients

1 & 3/4 cup Whole wheat flour
1.5 Cups All purpose flour (APF)
1/4 cup chia meal
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup milk (if using all purpose flour completely, then reduce this to 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup water
50 gm/2-3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt

For the Filling
3/4 cup cherry/ strawberry jam or compote
2 1/2 to 3 cups crumbled chocolate sponge cake

For drizzling1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet chocolate chips

Method


  • Take water and milk together in a saucepan, heat it in the microwave for 40 seconds.You don’t want it to be boiling, it should be hot not boiling. Add the butter to this hot milk. Let it melt, then add the sugar to it and stir to dissolve. Let the mixture cool a bit, till that time, let us get ready with other ingredients. When i say cool a bit, i meant let it come to lukewarm, since hot liquid will kill the yeast and a very cold liquid too does the same. So,it is very important that the liquid should be lukewarm, when you touch, it should still be warm, but not scalding hot!!!
  • As usual i used my food processor to knead the dough, you can also hand knead the dough. Take all of whole wheat flour, chia meal and 1 cup of all purpose flour, yeast, salt in the processor bowl and run it in slow speed for 2-3 seconds for the mixture to mix well. Now slowly, add the milk-butter mixture to this and knead a smooth elastic dough.
  • Once it forms a sticky dough, take it out of the bowl and knead it on a flat kneading surface by adding the remaining 1/2 cup APF for about 6-8 minutes. The finished dough will still be elastic, a bit sticky when you touch it, but doesn’t stick to the surface or the bowl.
  • Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl, turning the dough till lightly coated with oil. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let it sit in a warm place, to double in volume, for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Once it doubles in volume, take it to the kneading surface again and punch it down to release the excess air. I divided the dough into two halves, just to ease the process of rolling.
  • Now place the dough on a flat surface, i used a rolling mat, and roll it out into an approximately 9 x 12” rectangle. Spread the cherry compote/ strawberry jam over the leaving a 1/2 inch all around. Sprinkle the chocolate cake crumbs on top of this. Roll the dough away from you, as snugly as possible, pinch to seal the edges.It is important to roll up the dough as tightly as possible because this dough does swell up quite a bit while baking.
  • Cut the roll into 1 1/2″ wide pieces with a very sharp serrated knife. You should have 12 pieces for the full recipe and 6 for half of it. Place each piece in a mould, you could use muffin cases also (or make collars using foil or parchment paper to fit well around each piece) and then on a baking tray. Otherwise place them in a lightly greased rectangular baking tin with raised sides or a cake tin leaving enough space for them to expand . I used flat rectangular baking tray with individual collars for each buns.If you place them too far apart, they will spread rather rise in height. Cover loosely, and allow to rise, for about 1 hour or till almost double.
  • Bake at 180C (350F) for 25 – 30 minutes, until the buns are done and nice golden brown in color. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely. 
  • Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drizzle the buns with melted chocolate and serve.
  • The buns freeze well, i froze a batch for a month and used. If using from the freezer, then wrap the buns in a foil, bake @ 150C for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Hokkaido Milk Bread – We Knead to Bake#3

Its been a Bread Baking Month, yup, i already made 2 breads, now this is the 3rd one and i have one more to go. But loving it totally. This Month for We Knead to Bake#3, Aparna chose an easy recipe, since it was croissants last month, which involved loads of butter and also lotsss of exercise, this month she thought of making it easy for us and chose to bake Hokkaido Milk Bread. 
Another bread with Tangzhong Method. The TangZhong method is to mix 1 part of bread flour with 5 parts of water (by weight) at 65°C (149 °F) to form a paste/wet dough. At 65°C, the gluten in the bread flour and water mixture would absorb the moisture and become leavened. Thus, when the TangZhong is added into other ingredients of a bread dough, it will be heightened and produce fluffier bread.

 

The Hokkaido Milk Bread is known for its soft cottony/ pillowy texture. Apparently it’s very popular bread in South Asian bakeries across the world. It is also known as Asian Sweet Bread and Hong Kong Pai Bo. Some people say this is a Japanese bread while others say it’s because the milk used in this bread is from Japan while some others have suggested its pure white colour and the texture resemble the pristineness of Hokkaido! 


Ingedients
The Tangzhong (Flour-Water Roux)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk 

For The Dough
1 Cup Wheat Flour
1and 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp Custard Powder /Milk Powder (optional)
2 tsp instant dried yeast
1 cup warm milk 
2 tbsp cream (25% fat)
1/3 cup tangzhong (use HALF of the tangzhong from above)
2tbsp / 25gm unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)


Method
Making Tangzhong
  • Mix flour in water and milk mixture well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.
  • The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon. It’s done. If you want to check the temperature of tangzhong it is 65 C/149 F.Remove from heat.
Making the dough
  • Put the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and instant yeast in a bowl and mix well with a whisk, to ensure even mixing of all the added ingredients. In another small bowl mix the milk, cream and Tangzhong till smooth and add to the Flour-Mix bowl. Start kneading the dough.  The dough will start out sticky but kneading will make it smooth. Now add the butter and process till you have a smooth and elastic dough which is just short of sticky.
  • If the dough feels firm and not soft to touch, add a couple of tsps of milk till it becomes soft and elastic. When the dough is done, you should be able to stretch the dough without it breaking right away.  When it does break, the break should be form a circle.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl turning it so it is well coated. Cover with a towel, and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or till almost double in volume.  I left it for an hour and half. (1.5hrs)
  • Place the dough on your working surface. You don’t need flour to work or shape this dough. This recipe makes enough dough to make one loaf (9” by 5” tin), 2 small loaves (6” by 4” tins) or 1 small loaf (6” by 4”) and 6 small rolls (muffin tins). Depending on what you are making, divide your dough. If you are making 1 loaf, divide your dough in 3 equal pieces. 
  • I made two batches of dough and made One Loaf with the first batch and 6 Stuffed buns with the next batch.
For the Loaf

  • Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape, about 1/8” thick. Take one end of the dough from the shorter side of the oval and fold it to the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold so it slightly overlaps the other fold.
  • Roll this folded dough with the rolling pin so the unfolded edges are stretched out to form a rectangle. Roll the rectangle from one short edge to the other, pinching the edges to seal well. Do this with each of the three larger pieces and place them, sealed edges down, in a well-oiled loaf tin. Cover with a towel and leave the dough to rise for about 45 minutes.
  • i used my Aluminum-foil for baking the bread, so rolled the dough and arranged them in the foil and left it in the oven with the lights on for rising.

For the Stuffed Buns
Ingredients
1 Cup Peanut butter chips
50gms Butter
1 tbsp Cinnamon Powder

  • After the first rise, Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Flatten each portion, apply a spoon of butter,  sprinkle Cinnamon and a handful peanut butter chips. 
  • Bring the edges together and shape them into ball.Arrange them in a Baking tray, cover with a kitchen towel and leave it to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes for the second rise.

Baking the Bread/stuffed buns

  • After the second rise, Carefully brush the tops of the rolls and the loaf with milk/cream and bake them at 170C (325F) for about 30-40 minutes  till they are done (if you tap them they’ll sound hollow) and beautifully browned on top.
  •  Let them cool in the tins for about 5 minutes and then unmould and transfer to a rack till slightly warm or cool. Serve or else store in a bread bin.

Lets-bake-cupcakes-and-muffins