Pantzarosalata / Beetroot Yogurt Salad

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One of my recent endeavours is to try and eat more salads. As a rule, I hate salads and I am always trying to avoid them. But as a food blogger, if I can’t make tasty salads then what is the point? So I wanted one salad recipe from Greece. As always, I was looking for something easy and that can be made with ingredients easily available at home. I came across this easy and gorgeous beetroot salad and I am sure this is going to be a regular feature at home now on.

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Serves 2-3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Beetroot, medium                      3

Greek yogurt                               300 gms

Walnuts                                        10-12

Garlic cloves                                 3

Olive oil                                         2 tbsp

Vinegar                                          1 tsp

Salt & pepper
WHAT TO DO

  • Boil the betteroots for 30-40 minutes till they are cooked
  • Peel the beetroots and cut them into small pieces and set aside
  • In a blender / mixer take the garlic cloves, walnuts, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Add the yoghurt to the mixture and stir well to combine
  • Pour the dressing over the beetroot and mix well
  • Chill the salad in the refrigerator for a couple of hours
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. Ensure that you use only Greek yogurt else the salad will turn watery.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Greek dishes.

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Bobota / Simple Cornbread

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The second dish for the Greek theme is a simple cornbread. While I am not a huge fan of sweet breads, this one has the magic word in it – ‘orange juice’. Anything with orange juice works wonders for me and I immediately picked this dish. It is a quick bread and so the time taken for prep is minimal and the result is a wonderful cornbread with a subtle orange flavour.

The recipe was for a 9″ pie pan but I halved it and I didn’t have a smaller pie pan. So I baked them in mini tart tins which were waiting quite a while to be inaugurated. So I got really cute little cornbreads which were so delectable.

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Makes 7-8 mini cornbreads

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Cornmeal             1 cup

Baking powder   1/2 tsp heaped

Sugar                     2 tbsp

Orange juice        4 tbsp

Water                    4 tbsp

Olive oil                2 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Mix the cornmeal, sugar and baking powder in a bowl
  • Mix the water, orange juice and olive oil in another bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to form a batter
  • Pour into the mini tart tins till it is 3/4 full
  • Bake for 30 minutes or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Cool for 10 minutes
  • Serve warm or at room temperature 
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Greek dishes.

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Eliopsoma / Olive Breadsticks

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This week’s theme is Greek dishes and I have to make three dishes. But I was so spoilt for choice that picking only three was a tough job. But I couldn’t miss out on the breads and so I picked two breads and a salad for this week. The first is this delicious olive breadstick which is simple to bake and tastes absolutely amazing.

Ideally you would need to twist the dough a little before baking but I missed that because I was in a hurry to go somewhere and so the shapes are not ideal but it doesn’t have much of an impact on the taste or texture of the crumb. So mine tourned out more like a roll and less like breadsticks but all’s well that tastes well. Right?

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Makes 10 bread sticks

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                       200 gms

Whole wheat flour                       50 gms

Water                                            180 gms

Instant yeast                                     5 gms

Salt                                                      5 gms

Olive oil                                              1 tbsp

Black olives, pitted & chopped   120 gms

Dried thyme                                        1 tsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the flours, yeast and salt in a bowl
  • Add the water and olive oil
  • Knead for 5-7 minutes till it is a wet soft dough
  • Add the olives and thyme and mix well to incorporate them in the dough
  • Place them in a greased bowl till the dough triples in size. It should take around 1- 1 1/2 hours
  • Take out the dough and divide into 10 equal parts
  • Roll each part of the dough and twist to form a stick
  • Place on a greased baking tray, cover and set aside for 30 minutes
  • Preheat the oven at 220C
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or till the top of the bread stick is nicely brown
  • Cool slightly on a wire rack
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Greek dishes.

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Warm, Caramelized Baby Potato & Onion Salad

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While I was baking all those delicious breads last month, I was also feeling very guilty about eating so many breads all at once. That is when I decided to eat salads to kind of compensate for all that wheat. This is one of the lovely salads that I had.

The recipe is from a book ‘Diva Green: a vegetarian cookbook’ by Ritu Dalmia. It is a fun book with recipes divided amongst potatoes, pumpkins, mushrooms, greens, fruits and such others. There are lovely salads, soups and few baked dishes I have marked to try. I will post a few of them as part of my Cooking from Cookbook Challenge this month. 

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Serves 2

WHAT WE NEED

Baby potatoes, halved        500 gms

Baby onions, peeled            250 gms

Walnuts, roughly chopped  1/2 cup

Butter                                        25 gms

Brown sugar                            1 tsp

Spring onions, chopped        2

Raisins                                      2 tbsp

Lemon, medium size             1

Salt & pepper
Coriander leaves to garnish 

Paneer, crumbled, to garnish
WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the raisins in some water for 10 minutes. Drain it and set aside
  • Boil the baby potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes and remove with slotted spoon
  • In the same water, boil the baby onions for 10 minutes and drain
  • In a pan, toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes on medium heat and set aside
  • In the same pan, heat the butter and once it melts, add the brown sugar
  • When the mixture turns dark, add the potatoes and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes till they are nicely brown
  • In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, onions, spring onions, walnuts and raisins. 
  • Juice the lemon and mix well
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Garnish with crumbled paneer and coriander leaves
  • Enjoy!

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

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Saffron Buns

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I have to confess. This is part this theme and part a desperate attempt to somehow make it fit into the theme because I couldn’t do it last month as part of the mega marathon. Aren’t they cute? These are Swedish saffron buns and they are so aromatic. As I was telling you yesterday, I have this major fear of forgetting ingredients and letting them go waste. Last year my parents visited Kashmir and my mom went slightly overboard in buying saffron. When I say slightly, I mean ‘I have to gift this to every person of my acquaintance so let me buy the entire supply from the valley’ level overboard. And to her credit she did gift it to almost every person of her acquaintance (you should be friends with my mom, it is so beneficial) but she did prepare for contingencies which left her with quite a few extra cute boxes of saffron. Naturally, I was part inheritor of those boxes and so now I have around 3 boxes of saffron sitting in my fridge and staring at me every time I open it. While I know saffron doesn’t spoil easily, I am still kinda sorta uncomfortable looking at them all the time. So for the past one years, the husband has been wondering as to why all the sweet dishes in the house are orange in colour and I am yet to get through box one. 

Hence you can imagine how insanely happy I was to spot a bread recipe with saffron. I intend making his a weekl dish at home and thankfully the daughter loved it. Yay! And I am sure the husband will like it once he has them. Yes, I had them for lunch, don’t judge me. Anyway this recipe is from Gayathri’s blog and so egg free. Yum is the word.

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Makes 6 pieces

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Saffron                        a pinch

Hot water                    1 tbsp

All purpose flour       1 1/2 cups

Sugar                            2 tbsp

Instant yeast               1 1/2 tsp

Oil                                  2 tbsp

Curds                             3 tbsp

Milk                                1/4 cup + for wash

Raisins                           12

WHAT TO DO

  • Add the saffron strands to the hot water and set aside
  • Mix the flour, sugar and yeast in a large bowl
  • Add the milk, curds and oil to the bowl
  • Add the saffron water and mix well
  • Knead for 10-12 minutes till you get a soft pliant dough
  • Cover and set aside in a greased bowl till the dough doubles in volume
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 parts
  • Roll each part into a 12″ rope and twist the ends to form the ‘S’ shape
  • Transfer all the 6 portions of the dough to a greased baking tray
  • Keep a raisin at the two ends of the ‘S’ for each portion
  • Set aside for 20-25 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Brush the dough with milk just before baking
  • Bake for 20 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Let it cool for 10 minutes
  • Enjoy with some jam or butter or both!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme ‘Picnic Dishes’.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#76

A to Z Baking Around the World – A Recap

April Roundup

The April Mega Marathon, Baking around the world, was about baking 26 dishes, one from each alphabet A-Z from different countries of the world without a repeating a country more than twice. I had chosen to bake only breads for the entire month which was a thrilling and satisfying experience. Before commencing on the roundup, there are certain things I found interesting. In this one month, I have blogged about-

  • 26 Bread Recipes
  • From 22 different countries
  • 5 different types of breads – stuffed breads, bread with toppings, braided breads, decorative breads, loaves, artisan breads,
  • Using 4 different types of flours – All purpose flour, Rye flour, Whole wheat flour, Cornmeal, Buckwheat flour
  • With 6 different leavening agents – baking powder, instant yeast, wholewheat sourdough, potato sourdough, all purpose flour sponge, rye flour starter
  • Trying 9 different methods -regular instant yeast and two risings, one rising, a day old starter, 2 day old starter, an hour old sponge starter, baking in a cold oven, baking with ice cubes, baking with steam, baking with a glaze / roomal on the dough

As you can see I had a fabulous time and learned so much from this whole experience. Of course, there are other things I wanted to accomplish like using more flours like spelt, finger millet, etc. and some other methods which I had to give up due to lack of time and plan. But overall I am reasonably satisfied with this month long blogging. This is my second mega marathon. My first one was in September when I blogged about 26 different soups. Now that I think about it, the combination of soups and breads is a classic. Now, on to the round-up

A for Ajdov Kruh from Slovenia

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B for Broa from Portugal

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C for Challah from Israel

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D for Deli style Rye bread from USA

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E for Estonian Kringle from Estonia

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F for Focaccia from Italy

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G for Grissini from Italy

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H for Hungarian Bread Ring from Hungary

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I for Insalata Caprese Loaf from Italy

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J for Jamaican Hard Dough Bread from Jamaica

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K for Khachapuri from Georgia

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L for Landbrot from Germany

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M for Montreal Bagel from Canada

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N for Nan-e-Barbari from Iran

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O for Olive Bread from Mediterranean (France / Greece / Spain)

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P for Pain d’epi from France

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Q for Quick Bread (Beer Bread) from USA

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R for Rewena Paraoa from New Zealand

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S for Sourdough bread with tomatoes and thyme from Switzerland

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T for Taftan from Iran

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U for Ukrainian Christmas Bread (Kolach) from Ukraine

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V for Vienna Bread from Austria

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W for Water Bread (Pain de Agua) from Puerto Rico

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X for Xacuti Khara Bread from India

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Y for Yang Pabbang from Korea

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Z for Za’atar Pull Apart Bread from England 

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That’s it from me for now. Do check out the blogs of my fellow marathoners for some amazing baked dishes from across the world.

Za’atar Pull Apart Bread

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Today is the final day of this Mega Marathon. It has been an awesome one month with the frangrance of yeast wafting around my kitchen and sometime my entire house. It has been a month of constantly cleaning the mixing bowl and measuring cups to start the bread for the next alphabet. I was tempted to go with Zopf for this last bread of the month but the pull apart bread has been on my to-bake list for ever now. So I did some realignment and adjustment and finally came up with zaatar pull apart bread.

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I first tried tweaking another recipe and wanted to make a savory monkey bread type of pull apart in which I stuffed zaatar flavoured paneer. The taste was amazing but the pull apart kind of went fell apart. The individual rolls tasted great but due to all the butter coating the dough they simply did not stick to each other and literally fell apart. So I abandoned that and then found this recipe in which the filling was simply zaatar and olive oil. That sounded more manageable and so I went ahead with it. But I did not want to take any more risks and so I topped the dough with cheese just before going in to bake so that it holds the various pieces of dough together. In doing that I had to sacrifice the look of the bread and the rolls are not individually visible in the bread. Maybe I am better next time.

Country – England

Makes one 10″ loaf

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

For the dough

All purpose flour             1 1/2 cups

Instant yeast                     1 tsp

Sugar                                  1 tsp

Olive oil                             1 1/2 tsp

Salt                                      1 tsp

Curds                                  1/4 cup

Milk                                     4-5 tbsp

For the filling

Zaatar spice mix               5-6 tbsp

Olive oil                              5 tbsp

Milk for glaze                    2 tbsp

Mozzarella cheese           2 tbsp (optional)

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients for the dough and knead well for 8-10 minutes till the dough becomes soft and pliant
  • Set aside in a covered greased bowl till the dough doubled in volume
  • Mix the zaatar spice and olive oil in a bowl and set aside
  • Once the dough has doubled, divide it into 4 quarters
  • Divide each quarter further into 4 pieces
  • Roll out 1 of the 4 pieces into a 6″ diameter circle
  • Apply the zaatar and olive oil mix on the circle
  • Roll out the next piece and place it on the first piece and apply the zaatar mix on it
  • Repeat the process for the other 2 pieces and you will have a stack of 4 circles with zaatar mix in between all of them
  • Roll up the 4 circles together into a log and pinch the ends together to seal

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  • Repeat the process for each of the other 3 quarters of dough
  • You will have 4 logs of dough
  • Cut each log into 4-5 pieces making diagnol cuts like a ‘V’
  • Grease a 10″ round pan
  • Place all the cut pieces in the round pan with the cut side facing up
  • Cover and set it aside for an hour to increase in size

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  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Brush the top of the dough with milk or egg wash
  • Sprinkle the cheese on top
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Reduce the temperature to 190C and bake for 15-20 minutes or till the bread is nicely brown
  • Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and demould the bread and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

 

This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘Z’.

 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

Yang PaBbang

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We are almost at the end of our baking mega marathon. I was quite worried at the beginning because I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been and the strategy was to bake almost everyday. But surprisingly I enjoyed this month immensely. My routine would be to finish the day’s cooking by 7 in the morning and then start with kneading the dough. I would leave it for the first rise and get my daughter ready for school. Once I dropped her off, I would return and shape the dough for the second rise and then bake the bread and click the photos before the natural light went away. Then I would write the blog post for the day and edit the pictures. I am so used to this routine, to this extremely thereupetic alone time simply kneading the dough and feeling the wet shaggy mixture turn into a soft pliant dough, to watch in awe every time the dough rises and chew my nails nervously every time it doesn’t rise as fast, to hover around the oven till the nicely golden brown is reached and grab it out before it runs a risk of turning black. I have a feeling I am going to miss all of this. I hopefully will continue baking breads, just not so many at a time.

Today’s bread is a delightful Korean bread which is both stuffed and topped with vegetables. It also takes lesser time than other breads because it needs only one rise and is baked soon after which makes it perfect for a faster bake. The original is not vegetarian but Varada posted a vegetarian version of it. I followed the recipe except I used half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour and I changed the vegetables. I did not have capsicum and so I replaced that with some corn and olives and the result was some absolutely yummy bread which I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Country – Korea

Makes one 12″ loaf

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

For the dough

All purpose flour               1 cup

Whole wheat flour            1 cup

Instant yeast                       1 tsp

Olive oil                               2 tbsp

Salt                                       1/2 tsp

Lukewarm milk                 1 cup

For the filling & topping

Mozzarella                          1/4 cup

Onion, small, chopped      1

Olives, pitted & chopped   2-3 tbsp

American corn,  cooked     1/4 cup

Cayenne pepper                   1/2 tsp

Salt & pepper
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients for the dough and knead well for 5 minutes till the dough is soft and pliant
  • Cover and set it aside in a greased bowl for it to double in volume, around an hour or so
  • Mix all the ingredients for the filling and set aside
  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • Grease a 10″ loaf pan
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangle of 12″ breadth
  • Place 3/4 of the filling in the middle and close it lengthwise to seal the ends of the dough
  • Transfer the dough to the loaf pan
  • Top the balance ingredients on the dough
  • Bake for 45 minutes or till it is nicely brown and leave it in the oven for another 15 minutes
  • Take out and let cool 
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘Y’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

Xacuti Khara Bread

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Not surprising that I spent the maximum time trying to figure out a bread for the alphabet, X. I almost gave up and was reconciling myself to doing something other than bread when I came across the dish called, ‘Xacuti Chicken’. Upon further reading, I discovered that it is a dish popular in Goa, India and Xacuti is a spice mix used to make the chicken very aromatic and tasty. So I figured I could add that to a bread and make a xacuti bread but then the country clause of our marathon kicks in and I didn’t want to violate that. Then finally, a couple of days back an idea struck me as I was putting my daughter to sleep. These days most ideas find this time to strike because I have to be very quiet and perfectly still else the daughter wakes up at the slightest shrug. I remembered having read about the Iyengar bakery khara bread recipe at Veena’s blog and so this grand idea was born. My bread would totally be Indian because both xacuti and khara bread are from here. Yay! Purists would surely debate this culmination of west and south India but that is how creativity and innovation works, no? The bread is very aromatic and my daughter and I loved it. The husband? Let’s just say he is a purist. 😉

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It is said that time and temperature are ingredients for a good loaf of bread. While it is comparatively easier to play around with time, it is not so with temperature. Since most of the blogs and websites are from the western countries there are innumerable tips about how to keep the dough warm when it needs to rise. But there are few tips on how to cool down the dough in the excessive tropical heat to ensure it rises well. Like I mentioned yesterday, I am having trouble with the dough rising to be double its volume because of the excessive Bangalore heat. My first idea was to use room temperature water instead of lukewarm to knead the dough and that paid good dividends. Obviously using cold water is out of question but I needed to reduce the temperature further for my dough to rise nicely. I remembered reading about a wet towel leading to better rising dough. So then I hit upon an idea by which I soaked a kitchen towel in cold water and squeezed out the excess water. I covered my dough bowl with cling wrap and threw the cold kitchen towel over it for 20-25 minutes. That helped beautifully and the dough happily bulked up making the world a brighter place for me. I did not want to keep the towel on for too long because I was worried the temperature would drop too much and adversely affect my dough. I kept watch and checked every 5-7 minutes and by 25 minutes the dough rise was good enough for me to remove the towel and let the dough rise a bit more for the balance 35 minutes. 

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Country – India

Makes one 8″ loaf

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                     1 1/2 cup heaped

Instant yeast                             1 tsp

Sugar                                          1 1/2 tsp

Salt                                              1/2 tsp

Water                                          6 tbsp

Milk                                             1/4 cup

Olive oil                                      1 tbsp

Xacuti spice powder                1 – 1 1/2 tsp

Milk for brushing the dough  2 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients together except the milk for brushing the dough
  • To figure out how much xacuti spice you need, I suggest you first add 1 1/2 tsp with the rest of the ingredients
  • Hold back 1 tbsp water.
  • Taste the dough and if you think you need more, add another 1/2 tsp along with the 1 tbsp water to mix well
  • The spice tastes stronger in the dough than in the finally baked bread. So keep that in mind while tasting the dough
  • Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes by hand
  • Cover and set aside in a greased bowl till it doubles in volume
  • Take out the dough and flatten it into a rectangle
  • Roll up the dough from the short end into a tight loaf
  • Grease an 8*3″ loaf tin and transfer the dough into it
  • Cover and set it aside for an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Brush the top of the dough with milk
  • Bake for 40 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • If you tap the bottom of the loaf tin, it should sound hollow
  • Cool completely before slicing
  • Enjoy as is or with some butter!

NOTES

  1. I used a home made xacuti spice mix in which I reduced the number of red chillies used. If you are using a store bought one, then you could try mixing it with some onion powder / garlic powder / mixed herbs to tone down the hotness quotient if you wish.

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 This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘X’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

Water Bread / Pan de Agua

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We are nearing the end of the month and end of the awesome Baking Mega Marathon in which we baked dishes for each alphabet from A to Z from various countries across the world. I was not fully prepared for this marathon and was very nervous of baking and clicking and posting on the same day and having so much bread to eat. But I have enjoyed each and every aspect of this month and had an absolute ball with all that baking. Even though my fellow blogging marathoners are spread across the world, with the regular commenting on each others’ blogs, I feel like we are so close and chatting across the hall as we each bake a delicacy in our respective kitchens.

This bread marks another ‘first’ for me. It is the first time that I baked in a oven that was not preheated. I have been so used to preheating the oven before baking anything that I was surprised to see a baked dish, that too bread, could be baked in a cold oven. If you have not tried it before you would be skeptic too but the results are awesome. So do not miss out.

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I was not able to get too much information about the origin or history of this bread except for the fact that it is popular in Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and named ‘Pan de Agua’ or ‘Water Bread’ because of the differing baking method. It is a regular bread in terms of ingredients and proofing but when it comes to baking it is completely different. This bread is first kept in a cold oven with a cup of hot water below it for ten minutes. Thereafter the oven is switched on and the bread is baked. This method allows the bread to rise and gives it a beautiful crunchy crust that is to die for. The bread can be eaten as is or with butter or even used to make sandwiches.

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Country – Dominican Republic / Puerto Rico

Makes two 12″ loaves

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE WANT

All purpose flour              2 1/2 cups

Instant yeast                      1 tsp heaped

Sugar                                   1 1/2 tsp

Salt                                       1 1/2 tsp

Lukewarm water              1 cup ( See Notes)

Boiling hot water              1 cup

Milk for glaze                    2 tbsp

Cornmeal / flour to dust the baking tray
WHAT TO DO

  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, Yeats, sugar, salt and lukewarm water
  • Knead well for 8-10 minutes by hand to form a soft and elastic dough
  • Cover and set it aside in a greased bowl till it doubles in volume, around 2 hours
  • Take out the dough and divide into 2 equal parts
  • Shape each part into a 12-14″ oblong loaf 
  • Transfer both to a baking tray dusted with cornmeal or flour
  • Slash 3-4 times on the top with a serrated knife and brush the top with milk
  • Pour the boiling water in a shallow baking dish and place it in the bottom rack of a cold oven
  • Immediately put the baking tray on the middle rack and shut the oven door
  • After 10 minutes, switch on the oven at 200C and bake for 30-35 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Slice it after it has completely cooled
  • Enjoy with butter or as is!

NOTES

  1. Since it is peak summer in Bangalore, where I live, I have been having issues with the dough taking too long to rise because of the heat. So in this recipe I used room temperature water to knead the dough instead of lukewarm water which helped in faster rising of the dough. If you are baking when the outside temperature is 35C or more, it would be better to use room temperature water to knead.
  2. In order to capture maximum steam within in the oven, it is necessary to shut th woven door as soon as both the loaves and boiling water have been placed inside. So, it is advisable to have the loaves ready, slashed, brushed with milk before pouring the boiling water in the baking dish 

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘W’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75