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

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

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

Vienna Bread

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It is surprising that there are more choices for bakes in alphabets like F, V, W which one would consider as tougher as compared to H, J, etc which were thought to be easier. I actually had a choice between 2-3 different breads for V and W which I did not expect when I started out. So I picked breads in which I got to do something different, something new that I have not done before. So, I picked Vienna bread for today which involves making a sponge and resting it an hour before starting on the dough. I have baked with instant yeast and with sourdough but this, I found, was somewhere in the middle and thought it would be interesting to see how this shapes up. The sponge, at the end of the hour, was so frothy and alive that I knew I would get a good loaf. Thankfully I was not disappointed and I got a nice crust and chewy crumb. Do try it.

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Vienna bread is a type of bread that is produced from a process developed in Vienna, Austria, in the 19th century. The Vienna process in part used high milling of Hungarian grain, cereal press-yeast for leavening, and care and thought in the production process.

In the 19th century, for the first time, bread was made only from beer yeast and new dough without old dough. The first noted or applauded example of this was the sweet-fermented Imperial “Kaiser-Semmel” roll of the Vienna bakery at the “Paris International Exposition of 1867”. These sweet-fermented rolls lacked the acid sourness typical of lactobacillus, and were said to be popular and in high demand. A shortage of beer yeast for making sweet-fermented breads developed when beer brewers slowly switched from top-fermenting to bottom-fermenting yeast, so the Vienna Process was developed by 1846. 

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Country – Austria

Makes two 10″ loaves

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE WANT

For the sponge

Lukewarm water                                 1/4 cup

Lukewarm milk                                    1/4 cup

Instant yeast                                          1 tsp

Sugar                                                       3/4 tsp

All purpose flour                                   1/2 cup

For the dough

Sponge, above

All purpose flour                                    1 cup

Unsalted butter, melted & cooled       2 1/2 tbsp

Salt                                                             1 tsp

Milk for glaze                                           2 tbsp

Caraway seeds / poppy seeds/sesame seeds to sprinkle

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients for the sponge to be smooth and creamy
  • Cover it with cling wrap and set aside for an hour
  • After an hour, the sponge would be frothy and alive
  • Add salt, butter and flour to the sponge and knead to a smooth dough
  • Cover and set it aside for 2 hours till the dough doubles in volume
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and shape each part into an oblong
  • Set it aside for an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 230C
  • Slash the loaf 3-4 times with a serrated knife or blade
  • Brush the top with an egg wash or milk wash
  • Sprinkle with caraway seeds / poppy seeds / sesame seeds
  • Reduce the temperature to 220C and bake for 10 minutes
  • Reduce the temperature to 190C and bake for 25-30 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Let it cool completely before slicing
  • Enjoy!

 

NOTES

  1. While baking, I noticed that the edges were brown at the bottom after the first 10 minutes itself. So I poured 1 cup of water in a baking dish and kept it in the bottom rack of the oven below the bread. This helped slowing the baking of the bottom till the rest of the bread was baked. If you face a similar issue, you can use this trick else bake the loaf as is.

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

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

Sourdough Bread with tomatoes and thyme

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It is said, there comes a day in the life of every bread baker, when you make a successful sourdough. Finally that day is here for me and I have a beautiful bread for it. I tried making the sourdough starter thrice before and had to abandon it each time when the smell was too much to bear within a day. Disheartened I gave up till I met Gayathri who encouraged me and also answered my dozen silly questions and made me patient enough to wait to get a beautiful sourdough. And life looked up! I will write separately about actually making the starter. It has been amazing trying to bake with the starter and I am glad to get reasonably good results. 

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It is not exactly known how sourdough bread came about. One of the oldest sourdough bread was excavated in Switzerland dates back to 3700BC but the origin of sourdough bread is supposed to be thousand years earlier most likely in the Fertile Cresecent ( Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, etc.). Sourdough was the leavening used for bread production for most of human history. Baker’s yeast is only 150 years old. Isn’t that absolutely fascinating?  Sourdough remained the usual form of leavening down into the European Middle Ages until being replaced by barm from the beer brewing process, and then later purpose-cultured yeast. Bread made from 100% rye flour, popular in northern Europe, is usually leavened with sourdough. Baker’s yeast is not useful as a leavening agent for rye bread, as rye does not contain enough gluten. French bakers brought sourdough techniques to Northern California during the California Gold Rush. For simplicity sake, I will assign Switzerland as the country of origin for this bread.

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Country – Switzerland

Makes one 8″ round loaf

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Cherry tomatoes                 12

Thyme sprigs                        2

Sourdough starter                100 gms

Whole wheat flour               100 gms

Water                                       60 ml

Salt                                            4 gms

Cayenne pepper                     1 tsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the starter, flour and salt and set aside for 30 minutes
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and pluck the thyme leaves from the stem and dice them finely
  • Mix the cherry tomatoes, thyme leaves and cayenne pepper with the flour mixture 
  • Stretch and fold the dough every 15 minutes for an hour and a half
  • Cover it with cling wrap and set aside for 5 hours
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface and shape it into a ball
  • Keep it covered with cling wrap in the refrigerator overnight
  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Transfer the dough to a baking tray
  • Slash the dough on top 3-4 times and bake for 15 minutes
  • Reduce the temperature to 230C and bake for 10 minutes
  • Remove the loaf and brush the top with clarified butter / ghee
  • Reduce the temperature to 210C and bake for 5-6 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Cool completely before slicing
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use 2 tsp of dried thyme
  2. Stretch and fold means lifting one side of the dough and folding it over the opposite side. Every 15 minutes, stretch and fold one of the four sides of the dough in rotation.

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 This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter S.

 

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

Rewena Paraoa

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Rewena bread is a traditional Maori baked bread, known as Rewena Paraoa. The Maori are indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Paraoa is the Maori word for bread. The word rewena comes from the root word ‘rewa’, which is a potato. Rewena bread is made with fermented potato instead of yeast, which gives the bread a firmer texture. Rewena is usually eaten hot with butter, jams or golden syrup.

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The rewena needs to be made around 2 days in advance. I diligently set the rewena in action but I was not rewarded with too many bubbles as it should have. Yet, I bravely kneaded the dough and prayed hard to the bread gods and also started looking out for an alternative in case this did not work out. Thankfully I was reasonably rewarded with a lovely crumb and crust. Later I figured that I had reduced the quantities in the recipe significantly and hence did not get a perfect result. But the bread is so aromatic and flavourful that I have vowed to redo this one in larger quantities and enjoy it immensely! Also this was the first time I tried to use a stencil on the loaf for a bit of design. I didn’t get anything more than the daughter’s toys. I should hopefully have a better stencil next time round. If you are trying out this recipe, I would recommend at least doubling the quantities I have used to get optimum results.

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Country – New Zealand

Makes one small loaf

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

For the rewena

Potato                      25 gms

Water                       40 ml

All purpose flour   40 gms

Honey                       1 tsp

For the dough

Rewena as above

All purpose flour       100 gms

Salt                                1/4 tsp 

Honey                            5 gms

Dried rosemary           1 tbsp

Lukewarm water         40 ml

Instant yeast                 a pinch
WHAT TO DO       

For the rewena

  • Peel and thinly slice the potato
  • Cook it in the water till it is of mashable consistency
  • Mash the potato in the water and add additional water to make the total weight 55 gms
  • Set aside to cool
  • Once cooled, add the flour and honey and mix to form a dough
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling wrap and leave it for 48 -60 hours
  • In the first 24 hours, you will see the dough transform to a batter like consistency and few bubbles in the rewena
  • The next day there will be more bubbles and the rewena is ready for use between 48 and 60 hours 

For the bread

  • Mix all the ingredients for the dough and knead well to form an elastic dough
  • Set aside in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap till it doubles in size
  • Punch it down and let it rise again for 30 minutes
  • Take out the dough and shape it as a round shape and transfer it to a greased baking dish
  • Set it aside for two hours
  • Preheat the oven to 220C with a baking tray inside
  • Add 5-6 ice cubes to the baking tray
  • Bake for 10 minutes and turn the baking dish around 
  • Reduce the temperature to 200C and bake for 20-25 minutes or till the bread is dark brown
  • Let it cool completely before slicing
  • Enjoy with a dash of butter!

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This is my post for the mega marathon under the letter R.

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

Quick Bread – Beer Bread

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I tried quite a bit but could not get a yeast bread with Q or maybe I didn’t look hard enough. So I decided to do a bit of ‘jugaad’ / compromise and do a Quick Bread from Q.

Quick bread is any bread leavened with leavening agents other than yeast or eggs. They can be prepared quickly without requiring the time-consuming skilled labor and the climate control needed for traditional yeast breads. Quick breads include many cakes, brownies and cookies—as well as banana bread, beer bread, biscuits, cornbread, muffins, pancakes, scones, and soda bread.

Since I have done quite a few quick breads in the past like banana bread, muffins, pancakes, etc. I wanted something a little different. Coincidentally the husband had to make a sudden business trip to Mumbai and my brother is forever asking me to send him some breads. Since the husband had to travel right on time for my brother’s birthday, I simply had to send him a loaf. Due to lack of time, I figured the quick bread would be the best option to send my brother a loaf plus cross off an item on my mega marathon list. That is when I came across the beer and cheese bread. Voila! That would be perfect for my beer loving brother and finally may entice my husband to like bread too!

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Country – USA

Makes one 8″ loaf

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                   1 cup

Baking powder                       1 tsp

Salt                                            1/4 tsp heaped

Garlic powder                         1/2 tsp

Sugar                                         2 tsp

Cheddar cheese, grated         1/2 cup

Beer                                           120 ml

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Grease a loaf pan well
  • Mix all the ingredients, except beer in a large bowl
  • Add the beer and mix to combine
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan
  • Bake for 40 minutes or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes
  • Unmould and cool for 10 minutes before slicing
  • Enjoy!

 

NOTES

  1. You will enjoy the bread only if you are a beer lover, else you will find it a little bitter
  2. I used Hieneken beer. You can use any brand you like
  3. I wanted a golden brown top and so I ‘broiled’ it for 2 minutes at the end just for the colour

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This is my post for the mega marathon under the letter ‘Q’.

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

Pain d’Epi

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This is another item off my bucket list. My bucket list, in a nutshell, is baking breads and adventure sports – bungee, sky diving, para gliding and the like. This bread was the first one I finalized on my list of bakes for this month. While I was baking this bread, the husband and I had another conversation about our Europe vacation. We do this every three months or so when one of us decides we need a vacation to Europe and the other one plays it down. Finally, we would agree that the daughter is too young to enjoy or remember the trip if we went now and so we should wait till she is 5 and then plan the trip.

This time, the husband went off script and said that whenever the Europe trip worked out, we should eat at the local Saravana Bhavans (South Indian hotel chain) of the European cities. Now, I do not know if SB had restaurants in Europe but why take a chance. So I categorically told him, he could do exactly that but I would happily gorge on breads and cheese. He asks me -“How long can you survive on bread and cheese?”  So I ask him, “How long have you been married to me?” Really! Asking me this in the middle of a bread marathon is hilarious!

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Pain d’Epi is a type of artisan bread which is often made at French-style bakeries. epi is the word used to describe the flower of a wheat stalk and pain means “bread” in French. The bread consists of a series of yeast rolls which are interconnected to look like a stalk of wheat. Commonly, bakers use baguette dough to make epi loaves. A good quality baguette dough will create a bread with a thin, crackly crust and an airy, creamy crumb inside.

During the holiday season, epi bread is often available in the shape of a wreath, so that it is more decorative. Like many other varieties of French bread, pain epi tastes best when it is fresh. A loaf of epi bread can be used much like baguettes would be used. It may be set out with cheese and other spreads, packed into a picnic lunch.

Country – France

Makes one 12″ stalk bread

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Lukewarm water                               1/2 cup

Instant yeast                                       1/4 tsp heaped

All purpose flour                                1 cup + 4 tbsp

Salt                                                        1/2 salt

Oil for greasing

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients, except oil, in a large bowl
  • Knead well till the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes by hand
  • Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover it with cling wrap and set is aside to rise to double its volume, around 1 hour
  • Roll out the dough into an 8*6″ rectangle
  • Fold the 8″ sides to the middle and fold the 6″ sides on top of that and set aside for 30 minutes
  • Stretch the dough into a 12″ rope and place it on a greased baking tray
  • Cover and set aside for 45 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 250C with a baking dish full of water at the bottom rack
  • Take a pair of clean scissors and cut the dough from one end at 45 degrees angle, not fully through, resembling a leaf and place the cut leaf to one side
  • Cut the next portion of the dough and place it on the other side and continue cutting the dough at same intervals and place them on alternate sides
  • Bake for 30 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Cool and serve
  • Enjoy with melted butter or any dip of your choice!

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NOTES

  1. While the bread looks complicated, it is actually very simple and makes a wonderful dinner centre piece. I could achieve this in my first attempt and so you know that is easy.
  2. Tear off a ‘leaf’ and dunk it in your favorite dip for a delicious snack

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

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