“We have so much, too much, that we can buy, yet the basic labor of doing, the making with our own hands, is what enlivens us and makes us feel human." Dan Lepard

Monday, 1 September 2014

Whole Wheat Oats and Almond Cookies | Egg less Baking

 It was a rainy Sunday. It poured and poured. Then it cleared a bit and the Sun shone, throwing a massive rainbow across the sky. The clouds came together with greater vigour. It thundered and rained again. This interplay of clouds and the Sun restricted the kids indoors. Multiple rounds of indoor games happened but that did not kill the boredom. Home work was completed, words games played, cupboards arranged…..the day seemed too long. Hunger pangs kept coming and were satiated. It was then we decided to bake some healthy cookies together.

It was great fun for the kids who helped in cutting the cookies. 

This is how we made Whole Wheat Oats and Almond Cookies-

Whole Wheat Oats and Almond Cookies | Egg less baking
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
¾ to 1 cup powdered sugar depending on your preference for sweetness
¼ cup almonds
½ stick butter
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
A pinch of salt
In a deep bowl, cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add vanilla essence.
Whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda and salt.
Add flour mix to butter sugar mixture and stir with a spoon. The mixture will resemble bread crumbs.
Add 2 tablespoon milk and knead till the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky. Add 1 teaspoon milk only if the dough feels dry.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Take walnut size balls of dough and flatten them. If you want cookies with clean edges, use a cookie cutter or a lid of the bottle. Press firmly on the flattened dough.
Arrange cookies on the baking tray about 1 ½ inch apart. The cookies will expand while baking.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. The cookies will bloat and then flatten while baking. The cookies should brown uniformly. Turn off the heat and transfer the cookies to the rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.
This recipe gives about 30 cookies.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Weekends are always relaxing. With little worries about deadlines and less running around there is always a lot of spare time for personal work. While lopping the wayward branches of trees, we came across a heap of leaf skeletons. We were enthralled as much as intrigued to see how beautifully the skin had come off revealing an intricate network of veins that make up the structure of the leaf and transporting vital nutrients to the plant. We started picking them up carefully, selecting the ones that were not damaged for using them as bookmarks. 

A good downpour left the surface of Earth wet and sweet smelling. Water collected in the leaves shone like gems as the rays of the Sun fell on them….a strong gust of wind had them all rolling down and falling in unison like a freak meteoric shower.

I made Cinnamon Coffee Cake. 

A simple and lovely cake that is easy to bake and great in taste.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Adapted from www.cooks.com 
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ stick butter (50 gms or 4 tablespoons), melted
½ cup sugar (reserve 2 tablespoons sugar to sprinkle on top, powder the rest)
½ cup milk
1 egg
3 teaspoons baking powder (scant)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line one 6 inch round cake pan.
Whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and salt.
In a deep bowl mix butter, milk, egg and powdered sugar.
Add dry ingredients and stir till you get a smooth lump free batter. Do not over mix.
Pour in the prepared pan. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoon sugar. Bake for 25 minutes.
Insert a skewer to test for doneness. Cool in the rack, slice when cold.

My notes: 3 teaspoons of baking powder looked too much to me. But the cake rose very well and tasted very good. The crumb was light, airy and a little dry.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Multigrain Flaxseed Bread | Vegan Baking

A jar of flaxseeds was discovered in the kitchen while cleaning the shelf. I remember that they were bought after reading the health benefits of flaxseeds and vowing to incorporate them in diet on regular basis. Having used regularly initially, the jar got pushed back almost out of sight till it was discovered.

 In a bid to consume them while they were still fresh, I baked a healthy bread for breakfast using flaxseeds.

Flowers blooming in our backyard present a lovely contrast to the post monsoon greenery.

Multi Grain Flaxseed Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white oats
1/3 teaspoon flaxseeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
Dissolve sugar in warm water.
Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt and flaxseeds. Add oil. Add ½ cup water and mix. Add more water till dough comes together. Knead dough for 8 to 10 minutes and keep adding water if it feels dry. Knead till dough becomes soft and elastic.
Place dough in an oiled bowl. Turn around so that the dough ball is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep it to rise till it doubles or for about 1 ½ hours. Punch down the dough and knead for about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to the floured counter.
Oil one 8 ½ x 4½ inch loaf pan. Roll out the dough into a rectangle not bigger than the width of the pan you are using. Roll the dough towards you, tightly. Pinch seams to seal. Place the roll in the greased loaf tin with the seam side down.
Cover it with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 50 to 60 minutes or till dough rises ¼ inch above the lip of the pan.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Bake for 40 -50 minutes or till the top turns golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Cool in the rack. Slice when cold.

Linking to Vegan Thursday 
Submitted for Yeast spotting 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Tutti Frutti Bread

Yesterday while shopping for groceries, we saw a pile of tutti frutti bread in the bread section. My daughter stood there inspecting the lot with great interest. I could very well anticipate her next move. She came to me with a loaf in her hand and asked me if we could buy it. “How about baking it at home?” I asked. “Promise?” she said. “Done!”

Tutti Frutti bread invokes childhood memories. As kids, we loved the bread with colourful pieces of chewy tutti frutti embedded in the slices. We would sometimes pull out and eat tutti frutti first and then enjoy the slice. Tutti frutti bread tasted best with a generous coating of butter.

I had to keep my promise and my hunt for the recipe took me here and here. I adapted the recipe minimally according to the ingredients I had at home.

This is how I made Tutti Frutti Bread
Tutti Frutti Bread 
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons custard powder (vanilla flavor)
5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons milk powder
1 ½ teaspoons instant dry yeast
½ cup tutti frutti
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
¾ cup warm water
Dissolve sugar in ½ cup warm water. Stir in yeast.
Whisk together flour, custard powder, milk powder and salt. Add butter and oil. Mix well. Add tutti frutti.
Add yeast mix and knead. Add water according to requirement and knead for about 10 minutes. Dough will be hard and sticky, keep adding water and knead till it becomes soft and elastic. It will take another 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Turn the dough so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and leave to rise till it becomes double its size. The time for dough to double might vary. It took 3 hours for the dough to double in size.
Knock down the dough on a floured counter. Roll out the dough into a rectangle not bigger than the width of the pan you are using. Roll the dough towards you, tightly. Pinch seams to seal.
Grease one 7 inch x 3 inch loaf tin. Place the roll in the greased loaf tin with the seam side down. Cover and keep it to rise for 1 ½ hours in a warm place or till it rises ½ inch above the lip of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes till the top turns golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast.
Remove from pan after 5 minutes. Cool in the rack. Slice next day.
My notes – Too much of sugar in dough makes yeast sluggish. The dough took 3 hours for bulk fermentation. Make sure your dough doubles no matter what time it takes. Second rise also took 1 ½ hours. I had to heat the oven mildly and place the dough in the oven to rise.

Submitted for Yeastspotting 


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Whole Wheat Yogurt Sunflower Seed Loaves

 We woke up to a bright sunny morn this Sunday. This is the best thing that could have happened after three days of incessant rains. Slushy outside, damp and clammy inside. Everything soggy – from biscuits to mood. Too much of anything is not good.

 Buttery flowers of Golden Champa (Michelia Champaca) suffuse the morning air with the heavenly aroma. The tree is in full bloom.

My son stops every time he passes underneath the tree pointing at the grape like fruits. His grapes are actually the fruits of Champa.  Wild bees have made home in the broad leaves of Champa. Some intricate cut work in the leaves indicate the presence of caterpillars that have been gorging on the juicy leaves on their journey to become a moth or a butterfly. We strain our eyes to spot one but in vain. They camouflaged beautifully and perhaps watching us from some corner.

 A rainbow stretched across the sky grows faint while the raindrops sitting on the leaves gleam as the rays of the Sun fall on them. Everything looks so fresh and lively.

During monsoons, light meals suit the system. I made Whole Wheat Yogurt Sunflower seed bread to go with a simple veggie.

 Yogurt makes bread soft and spongy.

Whole Wheat Yogurt Sunflower Seed Bread
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup thick yogurt
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
2 ¼ (1 package) teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup to ¾ cup warm water
1 tablespoon  flour to sprinkle on the loaves
1-2 teaspoon olive oil to grease the bowls
In a large bowl, dissolves sugar in half cup water and add yeast. Cover and keep for 15 minutes.
Add whole wheat flour, salt, yogurt and oil and beat until smooth.
Add all-purpose flour to get a firm dough.  Turn onto a lightly floured counter and knead till the dough becomes smooth and elastic. This will take about 6 to 8 minutes. Add more warm water if required.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and let rise for one hour or until doubled.
Punch dough down, turn onto a lightly floured surface. Stretch and sprinkle sunflower seeds. Turn and repeat. Cut it into two equal parts. Roll each part into a ball. Roll it till smooth and then stretch and fold the top shaping dough into a boule. Transfer the boule onto a greased baking tray. Cover with a kitchen towel. Leave it to rise for 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
Sprinkle each boule with all-purpose flour. Make a diagonal slash about ¼ inch deep on the surface with a knife or a blade. Keep the blade at 45 degree angle to make slash. Bake immediately after slashing.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or till the top turns golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool in the rack. Slice next day.

Submitted for Yeast spotting 

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