Raisin Yeast Water

Once you bake breads with instant / active dry yeast for a reasonable amount of time, it is a natural progression to baking with sourdough. When I read about sourdough, I was fascinated to know that you actually can bake with just flour and water as a starter. I started my usual fanatical search for ​information on sourdough and one thing led to another and I chanced upon baking with yeast water. It absolutely blew me away. I discovered that baking with yeast water is not as popular as baking bread with sourdough or yeast but it is as fascinating and has myriad possibilities as you can imagine.

What is yeast water? Yeast water is water fermented by using fruits / flowers / dry fruits / leaves which can then be used to bake bread. This yeast water lends a fantastic flavour to the bread. It can be used as is i.e. replacing the water quantity in a recipe with yeast water or it can be used along with a sourdough starter. You can make yeast water with a variety of items. Raisins is the easiest since it contains a significant amount of natural sugar. You can also make yeast water with apples, orange, plums, apricot, mint, strawberries, etc.

Strangely there is not enough information online about yeast waters or there is a secret cove that I am yet to discover. Here is whatever I have managed to find out. I will try and keep updating this page with new information based on what I read and also what I observe with my experiments.

I tried to make yeast water with raisins but I was unsuccessful the first time. Next I tried with apples but that was not successful either. Then I tried with raisins again and this time I finally struck gold. I have very few pictures because I took step by step pictures the first couple of time but was disappointed with the results. So I did not click much during this attempt which was finally successful.

HOW TO MAKE YEAST WATER

WHAT YOU NEED

Container

Raisins

Water

Container

  • It can be a plastic or glass jar. Ensure it is transparent so that you can observe the activity within.
  • The size of the jar needs to be such that there are few inches space above the raisins and water for the gas to build up

Raisins

  • The raisins should be preferably organic because other raisins may have sulfur coating which prevents fermentation
  • Ensure organic raisins do not have oil coated on them. That is again detrimental to making yeast water

Water

  • It is ideal to use filtered water
  • Tap water can contain chlorine and will block fermentation and so should not be used
  • To use tap water or chlorinated water, leave it open in a vessel for 24 hours and the chlorine will dissipate and it can be used after that

 

WHAT TO DO

  • There is no specific quantity to make yeast water. It is better to start small. We need the water quantity to be twice that of the raisin quantity. If you are using 1/3 cup of raisins, you will need 2/3 cup of water
  • Choose your container after determining the quantity of raisins and water so that there is some head space in the container for gas build up
  • Wash the container well / sterilize it
  • Place the raisins and water in the container and shut it tightly
  • Set aside for 24 hours
  • After that, shake it 2-3 times everyday and degass it twice a day.
  • Degass means to open the jar for a few seconds and shut it again tightly. Preferably degass at the same time everyday
  • Initially the raisins will be at the bottom of the jar
  • After 3-4 days, all the raisins will rise to the top of the water in the jar and the water will change colour to brown
  • There are three indicators to know that the yeast water is ready – all the raisins have risen to the top of the water, when you shake the jar there is a visible fizz and the strong smell
  • This can take anywhere between 4-6 days depending on the quality of the raisins, water and weather.
  • It can then be used for baking bread
  • It can also be stored in a refrigerator after straining the raisins out for around a month
  • Feed it a spoon of sugar / honey once in 10 days to keep it going
  • While baking, you can also use the raisins in the bread or it can be discarded

Check out a couple of pictures I managed to get of my raisin yeast water

 

I will be posting my bread with yeast water recipe soon. Hope you like it and give it a shot.

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Banana Flittas

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One advice I would like to give people who are yet to be married is that to look for someone with similar taste in food. A surprisingly lot of time and effort in your life is with regard to food – buying, making, eating. If you don’t agree on that, it is not going to be easy. Trust me. You’ll thank me later. It has taken us nearly a decade to find a middle path and now we have the daughter’s taste to consider which is very likely to disrupt the equation we have painstakingly worked on to cause equal grief to both of us. 

Usually I am of the opinion that fruits should not be cooked but should be had raw and with its skin whenever possible. I do enjoy my orange cake and banana bread (but the bananas are overripe and so shouldn’t count. Right?) but little else. So I was kind of skeptical to make these banana fritters or flitaas as they are called in Jamaica. But once I did, the husband and daughter loved it so much that they are trying to make me promise to repeat this as often as I can. I am so torn between my principles and the demands of the family. Sigh! Well, I did like it too!

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Recipe adapted from here

Makes around 10

WHAT WE NEED

Bananas, ripe, medium                    2

All purpose flour                                1/2 cup

Sugar                                                     2-3 tbsp

Baking soda                                          A pinch

Ground cinnamon                              1/4 tsp

Salt                                                         A pinch

Oil                                                           2 tsp

Milk                                                        1 tbsp

Oil for deep frying
WHAT TO DO           

  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying
  • Mash the bananas well in a bowl and set aside
  • Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
  • Add 2 tsp oil and the milk to the mashed bananas
  • Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and combine to form a smooth, wet dough
  • Drop spoonfuls of the dough in the hot oil and fry till golden brown
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the bananas. You need to taste and adjust to your preference
  2. An option is to roll the deep fried flittas in some cinnamon sugar to give it an additional level of flavour and sweetness 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Dishes from the Carribean’.

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Coconut Rock Buns

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During the past week in Mumbai, I accompanied my mother and daughter to many friends’ homes for the ubiquitous Navrathri vethalapakku. The norm is to invite ladies of family and friends and present to them some beetle leaves, beetle nut, turmeric, coconut and fruit. Some people go the extra mile and give additional gifts as well and I got some amazing stuff this time. B what ended up happening was that, at the end of five days, we were buried under a coconut hill. We got so many coconuts from all the houses we visited which was compounded by the fact that the daughter asked for them when she didn’t get one leading to total coconut chaos. 

My mother made me take 6 coconuts (grated, thankfully) back to Bangalore and now I am using it across dishes even in those we don’t usually add them. The only good thing is that the husband loves coconut and is a very happy soul these past few days. So when I read about coconut’s popularity in th Caribbean cuisine, I was thrilled. But I found most recipes using coconut milk and not simply coconut as is. Then I found this coconut rock and I figured I had to make it. I added more coconut than the dish needed but that only ended up making it more flavorful. I also increased the proportion of sugar which worked out well. I also added the sweet cherries on top to give the Iyengar Bakery feels to the husband who was thrilled. So, I managed to hit many birds with one stone, or should I say rock. Yay!

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Recipe adapted from here

Makes 8 rock buns

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                1 cup

Butter, unsalted                  1/4 cup

Sugar                                     1/2 cup

Raisins                                   3 tbsp

Baking powder                    1/2 tsp

Ground nutmeg                   1/2 tsp

Ground cinnamon               1/2 tsp

Egg                                           1

Vanilla                                     1 tsp

Milk                                          4 tsp

Coconut, grated                      1/4 cup + 2 tbsp

Water            

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat 1/2 cup water, add the raisins to it and cover. Once it plumps up, drain the water and set aside. It should take around 10-15 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 190C and grease a baking tray and line it with parchment paper
  • Using fingertips, rub the butter with the flour till the mixture gets a sand like texture
  • Add the sugar, raisins, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and coconut and mix well to combine
  • Mix the egg and vanilla in anothe bowl and then add to the flour mix
  • Add milk and mix well to form a dough
  • Use a spoon to drop the dough on to the baking tray. Since it is to be rocks, the shape need not be well defined 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes till done. Broil for 2 minutes to get the golden brown colour on top, if needed
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Dishes from the Caribbean’.

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Peanut Porridge

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I just finished a mega marathon of Protein Rich Dishes but I am clearly not over it. My theme for today is ‘Dishes from the Caribbean’ and what do I pick? Another protein packed dish. This one is so simple and delicious, not to mention easy to make with most ingredients readily available in your kitchen. It is a breakfast dish but I had it for lunch and felt content for the next 4-5 hours. This is surely getting into my breakfast roster.

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This peanut porridge is popular across all of the Caribbean. It started out as street food and is very popular with vegetarians. It has now gained popularity at restaurants with locals and tourists alike. There are different versions to make it – with condensed milk, evaporated milk or coconut milk.

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 1-2

WHAT WE NEED

Quick cooking Oats                            1/2 cup

Raw peanuts                                        1/2 cup

Wheat flour                                           2 tsp

Cornmeal                                               1 tbsp

Condensed milk                                    2-3 tbsp

Ground cinnamon                                1/2 tsp

Ground nutmeg                                     1/2 tsp

Water                                                       1 1/2 – 2 cups

A pinch of Salt 
WHAT TO DO

  • Heat 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt 
  • Grind the peanuts in to a fine powder and set aside
  • Grind the oats into a fine powder
  • Mix the ground oats and peanuts in a bowl
  • Add the cornmeal and wheat flour and mix well
  • Add 1 cup of water and stir to form a smooth paste
  • Pour this paste into the boiling water and mix well to ensure there are no lumps
  • Simmer and let it cook covered for 6-7 minutes
  • Stir frequently to avoid the porridge sticking to the base of the vessel
  • Add the condensed milk, nutmeg and cinnamon 
  • Mix and simmer for 2 minutes
  • Serve warm with some fruits for a wholesome tasty breakfast
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. If you only want a mild sweetness to your porridge, add 2 tbsp of condensed milk else add 3 tbsp
  2. The porridge will be slightly runny immediately after cooking but will thicken when let to cool
  3. You can replace the water with part milk 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Dishes from the Carribean’.

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Protein Rich Dishes Recap – Mega Marathon BM#80

Sept roundup

We come to the end of another Mega Marathon when we blog for all days of the month except Sundays. The theme, as we know, is Protein Rich Dishes and I have showcased 26 different proteins of which 25 are vegetarian. This is my third Mega Marathon after –

September Cooking Carnival 2016 where I posted 26 different soups; &

A to Z Baking around the World where I blogged about 26 different breads, one for each letter of the alphabet.

The research for this topic taught me a lot about the nutrition in various ingredients that I was not previously aware of. I discovered new tasty dishes to get my daughter her daily protein fix and I enjoyed making and devouring some fabulous dishes. Here is a recap of all the recipes this month –

Sprouted Mung Soup

Karamani Kuzhi Paniyaram
Beans Parupu Usili

Hummus

Dal Khichdi

Rajma Masala

Black gram dosa with black gram chutney powder

Roasted Chana Dal


Amaranth flour Pizza topped with Broccoli 


Mushroom Egg Rice

Peas Paneer Paratha

Corn & Tomato Crostini with Cashew Cheese

Thai scented Asparagus Soup

Spinach Dosa

Cashew Cheese

Honey Roasted Almonds

Dry fruit Milk / Masala Doodh

Chia Seed Cookies

Flaxseed Malaga Podi

Poppy seed Waffles

Mor Kozhambu

Goan Egg  Curry

Spelt flour & Spinach Loaf

Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats

Quinoa Chocolate Mug Brownie

Ras Malai


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    Ras Malai

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    This is the last post for this mega marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’. I can’t believe how quickly the month went by and I am so glad that I successfully completed my third mega marathon in a row. My protein for today is my favourite, that I was saving up to be the final post to finish with a flourish. I was not able to decide what dish to make with paneer. The choices are too many and I love all dishes that have paneer in it. So I kept postponing making this dish till it was time to go to Mumbai for my week long vacation. I completely forgot that I was yet to cook the 26th dish and made a distress call to my mom. She, as usual, made a million suggestions in under a minute and confused me more than ever. Then, as I was reading and drooling over Valli’s post (our boss lady, for the uninitiated), I figured it has to be a paneer based Bengali sweet and since mom makes an awesome Ras malai, I finally decided on my dish.

    Mom has these phases where she masters 2-3 sweets and feeds them to everyone who visits our home for a 2-3 month duration. Then those are forgotten for the next 2-3 dishes. Her Ras Malai phase happened just as I got married and so I wasn’t a frequent beneficiary though I remember her stuffing the husband with it during our first Diwali. She was only too happy to make it again, especially after I mentioned that the husband is a huge fan. ( I might have exaggerated a bit). So this is my mother’s dish and her recipe. I helped her with most things but all my cooking and food blogging experience was not sufficient for her to trust me with the kneading of the paneer. Mothers! 

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    Protein – Paneer

    Serves 7-8

    WHAT WE NEED

    Milk (to make the paneer)                      2 litres

    Lemon                                                         2

    Water                                                           1 litre

    All purpose flour / maida                        1 tbsp

    Milk (for the soaking paneer)                 2 litres

    Sugar                                                           200 gms +60 gms

    Saffron                                                        a pinch

    Almond and cashew slivers for garnish

    WHAT TO DO

    • Heat 2 litres of milk in a large vessel till it comes to a boil
    • Simmer and squeeze the juice of the lemon on to the milk and mix well
    • The milk will separate into fat and whey (greenish liquid) 
    • Transfer the fat / paneer to a cheesecloth and tie it. 
    • Let the balance whey drip out of it. It should take approximately 2 hours
    • Transfer the paneer to a large plate and knead it for 15-20 minutes
    • When you make balls from this paneer, it should be whole and soft and without any cracks. 
    • Then it is done else continue to knead for another 3-4 minutes
    • If it is your first time, it is better to add 1 tbsp of all purpose flour while kneading the paneer. This ensures that the paneer doesn’t scramble when cooked
    • Heat the water along with 60 gms of sugar
    • Divide the paneer into small balls and roll them into balls. 
    • The paneer balls will expand once cooked and soaked in milk which needs to be considered before deciding the size of the individual paneer balls. 
    • Press the balls to form discs 
    • Once the water is hot, transfer the paneer balls in batches to the water and let it cook
    • After 2-3 minutes, carefully flip the paneer disc and let it cook on the other side
    • When the paneer starts turning pale in colour, around 5 minutes, remove it from the water and set it aside
    • The milk for soaking the paneer can be done simultaneously in another large vessel
    • Heat the 2 litres milk till it is reduced to half its quantity 
    • Add the 200 gms sugar and saffron strands and let it cook till the sugar is fully dissolved
    • Add the cooked paneer balls to the milk 
    • Serve chilled and garnish with almond and cashew slivers
    • Enjoy!



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    This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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    Quinoa Chocolate Mug Brownie

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    So I am back home to Bangalore. Like every time, I am back with some amazing memories with my family and friends, lots of promises made about keeping in touch and visiting at leisure, a reasonable break from mother chores of feeding and putting the daughter to sleep, suitcases bursting at their seams thanks to my shopping excesses and very tired legs thanks to all the meeting and shopping. Finally, after so many years, I am at peace with the fact that Bombay is no longer home and I am a guest here after all.

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    Today’s dish is a quick microwave mug cake. I never bought a microwave but always end up getting on my kitchen counter thanks to the house owners. I use it rarely and that is when I am sleepy and tired and need a quick fix. This brownie worked perfectly for my ‘cranky after a flight’ daughter and me. It tasted warm and fudgy which, in the cool and rainy Bangalore weather, seems like a blessing.

    Protein – Quinoa

    Recipe from here

    Serves 1

    WHAT WE NEED

    Quinoa flour              1/4 cup

    Sugar                           1/4 cup

    Cocoa powder            2 tbsp

    Oil                                 2 tbsp

    Milk/ Water                2 tbsp

    Pinch of salt

    WHAT TO DO

    • Mix all the dry ingredients in a mug
    • Add the oil and milk to form a dough
    • Microwave for 1 minute and check to see if it is done i.e. springy on top and gooey inside. Else microwave for another 20 seconds
    • Enjoy!

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    Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats

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    Overnight oats is another item that has been on my to-do list forever. I am so glad that I finally got to tick it off. I have been trying various combinations with it and most of them have been quite successful. Whenever I have these oats for breakfast, I don’t feel hungry for longer hours and is perfect for rush mornings. The dish for today has cocoa and chia seeds with a splash of honey, dash of nutmeg soaked in milk and topped with bananas. I tried a similar dish with coconut milk instead of regular milk and that was delicious as well.

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    Protein – Oats

    Recipe adapted from here

    Serves 1-2

    WHAT WE NEED

    Rolled oats                    3/4 cup

    Milk                                1 cup

    Cocoa powder               2 tbsp

    Nutmeg                           1 tsp

    Chia seeds                      1 1/2 tbsp

    Banana                            1

     

    WHAT TO DO

    • Mix all the ingredients except bananas in a jar
    • Cover it and refrigerate overnight
    • Add additional milk in the morning if the oats has become too thick
    • Top it with banana slices
    • Enjoy!

    DSC_1218This is my post for the Mega Marathon for the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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    Spelt flour & Spinach Loaf

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    My original plan for this Mega Marathon was to bake 26 protein rich breads. But I did not find the time to do that and then I modified it to protein rich bakes. Finally I figured I would showcase different vegetarian proteins because quite a few vegetarians I know are tired of the question, ‘What is your protein source?’ But I wanted to have at least one bread in the list. When I saw that spelt flour is protein rich, I knew I had to bake with it.

    Remember that Spinach dosa I made last week? I had some of that purée left and needed to use it somewhere before I left for Mumbai. So the idea of a spelt flour bread with spinach was born. I baked it the last day before leaving and so it had to be a quick bread and not my usual yeast bread. 

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    Whenever I try a new recipe and make modifications to it, my thought is ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ And then I plod on trying to cook it. This time the results were good but the bread was a little dry. It works great with some butter / cheese. The next time I plan to try it with a 2 tbsp more spinach puree / oil to make it a loaf that can be eaten as is. 

    Protein – Spelt flour and spinach

    Recipe adapted from here and here

    Makes one 7″ loaf

    WHAT WE NEED

    Spelt flour                    1 1/2 cups

    Salt                                1/2 tsp

    Baking soda                 1/2 tsp

    Honey /maple syrup  1 tbsp

    Coconut oil                    5 tsp

    Spinach puree            1/2 cup + 1 tbsp

    Quick cooking oats      2 tbsp

    Sunflower seeds           1 tbsp

    WHAT TO DO

    • Preheat the oven to 175C and grease a 7″ loaf tin
    • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt
    • In another bowl, mix the honey, oil and spinach puree
    • Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients to form a dough
    • Shape the dough into a loaf and transfer it to the loaf pan
    • Sprinkle the oats and sunflower seeds on top
    • Bake for 30- 35 minutes till golden brown on top
    • Let it cool for around 20 minutes before cutting it
    • Enjoy with some butter / cheese!

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    Goan Egg Curry

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    Any decent cook needs to have tried and tested recipes for classic dishes which are used so frequently that one can make it in her sleep. I have been searching for a fool proof egg curry recipe for quite a while now but somehow the recipes I tried so far failed in one of the key criteria – husband and kid should like it, has to be easy to make, should not involve tough to get ingredients. Finally I found this one and it has succeeded on all three counts. Except coconut milk, all ingredients are usually always available in my kitchen and thanks to my everlasting love for Thai curries, I have coconut milk as well. If you don’t have coconut milk, increase the grated coconut quantity by 3-4 tbsp and add regular milk. 

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    Protein – Egg 

    Recipe from here

    Serves 3-4

    WHAT WE NEED

    Coconut milk                    1/2 cup

    Tamarind paste                      1 tbsp

    Green chillies                          2-3

    Cumin seeds, roasted             2 tbsp

    Dried red chillies, roasted    2-3

    Coriander seeds, roasted       2 tbsp

    Poppy seeds, roasted              1 tbsp

    Coconut, grated                       3/4 cup

    Garlic cloves                            6

    Chopped ginger                      1 tbsp

    Oil                                             1/4 cup

    Onions, finely chopped         2 cups

    Curry leaves                            2 sprigs

    Tomatoes, finely chopped    2 cups

    Garam masala                         1 tsp

    Turmeric powder                   1 tsp

    Eggs, boiled & shelled            6

    Salt

    Coriander leaves to garnish

    WHAT TO DO

    • Grind together the grated coconut, ginger, garlic, green chillies, roasted cumin seeds, roasted dried red chillies, roasted coriander seeds and roasted poppy seeds to a fine paste
    • Heat oil in a pan and add onions and curry leaves
    • Cook until onions are translucent and add the tomatoes
    • Cook till the oil separates, around 6-7 minutes
    • Add the ground paste, garam masala, turmeric powder and salt and cook till the oil separates again
    • Add two cups water and cook till it boils
    • Simmer for 10 minutes and add coconut milk and tamarind paste 
    • Let it come to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes
    • Add the eggs and garnish with fresh coriander 
    • Serve hot with rotis or paratha
    • Enjoy!

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    This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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