“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

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 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 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Egg less Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Chunks

Recipes that have a history always have an appeal. Don’t we treasure the recipes of our grandmothers and mothers and proudly call them “family recipes”? Each one of us have a treasure trove of family recipes which we pass on to the next generation with great pride. These recipes are precious and need to be preserved.
Recently I came across a recipe – Grandma Margery’s Egg lessChocolate Cake.

 I loved the fact that it is a family recipe. And the fact that it is egg less turned out to be a bonus. I baked this cake with some changes. I used whole wheat flour. I did not have chocolate chips. I used chocolate chunks instead. The cake was delish. It was moist and full of chocolate chunks. It tasted great on the second day.

I baked the cake in a regular square tin and one very small one in a bowl for my daughter to take to school.

This is how I made Egg less Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Chunks

Egg less Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Chunks
2 cups whole wheat flour (level)
1 ½ cups sugar (adjust sugar according to taste)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk*
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup chocolate chunks (chop two dark chocolate slabs into small pieces) or chocolate chips.
* if you do not have buttermilk, take 1 cup of milk, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar and stir. Let it stand for 15 minutes. Use. 
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease and line one 7 ½ inch x 7 ½ inch square cake pan.
Whisk together whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sifted cocoa powder.
Take butter and sugar in a big size steel bowl. Add boiling water and cover for 5 minutes. Stir till sugar dissolves. Add vanilla extract. Add buttermilk.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix till well incorporated. Do not over mix.
Fold in chocolate chunks / chocolate chips. Reserve some to sprinkle on top.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chunks/chips.
Bake at 200 degrees C for 12 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for another 45 to 50 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and remove from the pan after 5 minutes.
Cool in the rack. Slice next day.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Broa - The Portuguese Bread

A quick trip to the hills happened last week. Hills become heaven during monsoons. Springs spouting forth and becoming gurgling streams and murmuring brooks dot the beautiful landscape. We saw a small shop selling local produce. I could not resist buying coarse cornmeal crushed in a watermill. Water mills were so common some years ago. Now it is a rarity to spot one. Water mills still exist in the interior and remote villages. On our way, we were amused by the kids bathing their buffaloes in a large water body fed by a spring.

Having bought fresh corn meal, I baked Broa – The Portuguese bread
Broa is regarded as the National Bread of Portugal. Broa is unlike American corn bread in that it uses yeast as the raising agent. Broa is made from a mixture of corn meal and wheat or rye flour. The word Broa comes from the Gothic word “brauth” that means bread. The bread has a hard chewy crust and dense soft crumb. Broa is traditionally had with Caldo Verdo (potato, kale and sausage soup)
We had it with sweet corn mixed vegetable soup.

Broa – The Portuguese Bread

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup warm milk
¾ cup hot water
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Take corn meal in a bowl. Add hot water and milk. Stir. Cover and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
Whisk together all-purpose flour and salt. Add olive oil.
Add to the lukewarm cornmeal mixture. Add honey and knead for 6 to 8 minutes to get a smooth and sticky dough. Transfer to an oiled bowl and turn it over so that the dough is coated with oil. Cover and leave to rise for 1 ½ hours or until double in size.
Turn the dough out onto the floured counter and knead it lightly. From a ball of the dough and place it onto a greased baking tray sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave it to rise for 45 minutes or until very puffy.
Preheat oven to 232 degrees C. Spritz the loaf with water and make four slashes about ¼ inches deep on top. Slide the baking tray inside the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 204 degrees C and bake for another 15 minutes or till the top turns golden brown. Remove from the oven. Remover from the tray after 5 minutes and cool in the rack.
Slice when cold or next day.

Submitted for Yeastspotting 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Rustic Potato Loaves | Vegan Baking #Twelve Loaves

It’s a cool and silent night with incessant rains over the weekend. Ears are now attuned to the pitter patter of the rain on window glass, ledge and on leaves. The murmur of water spouting out of the drainpipe is soothing and sleep inducing like a lullaby. Eyes heavy, we turn off the lights to retire for the night. Barely had we slipped into the sweet slumber when the boisterous croaking of frogs shredded the silence of the night. “Must be a bull frog”, muttered my daughter, miffed up at being disturbed.
Next morning we discovered a multitude of toad spawn firmly and safely enclosed in a jelly in our pond. Bare stems of a curry leaf plant close by revealed some fattened caterpillars and some more butterflies in the making.

 Warm aroma of leaf mold suffuses the air as we carefully tread on the wet ground to check the movement perceived behind the bushes  and lo!……..we discover a majestic crow pheasant foraging in the mound of leaves and multifarious  vegetation that springs up after rains.

 This is the second Crow Pheasant sighting of the year.

The yeasty aroma of freshly bread makes me rush back to the kitchen where my Rustic Potato Loaves are being baked for the dinner.

Rustic Potato Rolls
The recipe is from Leslie Mackie, from the book Baking with Julia. I have adapted the recipe from here.
In the recipe, the rolls are baked in a baking stone. I have used my baking tray. The recipe has a spoonful of dill added to the dough. I have added oregano. Loaves have to be transferred to the baking tray with great care. They should be placed seam side up.

4 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 medium size potatoes (Boiled, cooled and mashed)
2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup warm water plus a little more (reserve water from boiling potatoes)
1 teaspoon dry oregano or mixed herbs or fresh herbs of your choice
Dissolve yeast in ½ cup warm water. Add mashed potatoes, oil and salt.  Add flour 1 cup at a time. Knead well. Keep adding water if required. The dough will feel dry initially but will come together soon. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes till supple, soft and slightly sticky but not wet.
Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. It may not double in size, but will rise noticeably.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
Punch lightly and cut the dough into two equal halves. Take one half, flatten, start rolling from one end until almost to the other end, stretch gently, dust its edges with flour and finish rolling. Roll back and forth to taper the ends. Repeat with the other piece.
Place dough on a parchment paper, seam side down. Cover with a kitchen towel, leave to rise for 20 minutes.
Before placing the baking tray in the oven, throw three ice cubes onto the oven’s flour, shut the door.
Roll the dough onto greased baking tray carefully, seam side up. Slide in the baking tray. Throw in some more ice cubes. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or till the loaves turn golden brown. Turn the loaves so that they are evenly browned.
Remove from the oven and cool in the rack.

Linking to Vegan Thursdays  and Yeastspotting and Twelve Loaves
This baking adventure of bread and summer herbs is for our #TwelveLoaves August challenge!


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