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

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. ūüėČ

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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

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‚ÄĒas 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 Рbungee, 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 ‚Äúbread‚ÄĚ 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

Orange Sesame Seed Cake /Bread

I saw this recipe this morning and I just had to make it. A small issue I faced was I neither had lemons nor poppy seeds but the bread had to be baked.

So I replaced lemons with orange and poppy seeds with sesame seeds and I was ready! I did turn out quite good though it felt more like a cake than bread i.e. it was slightly dense and not airy & light like a bread. But it tasted well and so this is a good recipe by itself.

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Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds

1 small egg

1/8 cup oil (I used sunflower oil)

1 cup cold milk

1 tbsp orange juice (I used 100% Tropicana)

1 tbsp zest (I added another 1/4 tsp since that was all I had left of my zest)

For the glaze

1/8 cup sugar

1 1/2 tbsp orange juice (again Tropicana 100%)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C

2. Grease a pan and put a parchment paper (optional) at the bottom

3. Mix all the dry ingredients (totally 8 of them)

4. Whisk the egg

5. Add oil, milk and juice to the egg

6. Mix the egg mixture with the dry ingredients with a spatula. Don’t over mix

7. The mixture will not be too watery or too stiff. Somewhere in between

8. Pour this batter in the pan and bake for 40 minutes.

9. As the baking is in progress, mix the sugar and orange juice for the glaze.

10. Slightly warm the mixture and mix till the sugar dissolves. It won’t take you more than 2-3 minutes.

11. Once the toothpick comes clear of the cake, remove it from the oven

12. Poke holes with a skewer one inch apart and pour the glaze on the cake immediately.

13. Wait for 20 minutes before cooling it on the wire rack.

Notes

1. You can use fresh orange juice as well.

2. Nutmeg powder can be replaced with cinnamon powder

3. You can replace milk with cold water as in the original recipe. I used milk because I had it and not cold water

4. Anytime you make a cake that requires a glaze, it is an essential part and cannot be done away with. If you do not want to add the glaze then you need to increase the sugar portion of the cake else it won’t taste as good.

5. I figured I may have over mixed and hence the dense nature.

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