Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Herb & Cheese Pull Apart Bread | We Knead to Bake #1

I love cheese on bread. Or rather cheese on anything. Especially love the combo of chili + cheese + bread. So when I opted to join We Knead To Bake , a monthly event by dear Aparna, I never thought I would be baking a cheese bread first. But I did and thoroughly enjoyed. In fact the whole family loved it and despite my New Year Resolution to control binging, I can't see myself away from this. I had followed the recipe to the 'T' except that I used pizza seasoning and replaced half of cheddar with pepper flavoured cheese cubes which made the bread more divine.


Warm Milk: 1/2 cup +3/4 cup + few tbsp for brushing

Sugar: 1 tsp
Instant Yeast: 2 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 2 3/4 cups to 3 cups
Salt: 1 tsp
Soft Butter: 25 gm
Garlic Paste: 1 tsp

Melted Butter: 2 tbsp
Spices/Seasoning: of your choice :almost 2 tsp
Grated Cheese : 1/2 cup

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup milk with sugar and yeast and let it sit for about 5 minutes till it bubbles.

In another big bowl, mix together 2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour, salt ,garlic paste and soft butter. Add in the yeast mix and 3/4 cup milk and knead together adding more flour if needed to get a soft, elastic, pliable and non sticky dough.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl turning once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit until doubled  for about 1-1.5 hours.

Deflate & turn out the dough gently onto a floured surface and pat it into a big square.Brush melted butter on the dough and then sprinkle herbs evenly followed by grated cheese. Gently press these toppings onto the dough using the rolling pin to ensure they don't fall off. 

Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips.Lay the strips one on top of the other with the topping upwards till you get a stack.

The strips needn't be perfect. You can place the side strips in the middle of the stack to make it look neater. Using a sharp knife,divide the stack into 6 equal pieces.

Grease and flour 9' x 5' loaf pan or appropriate baking dishes. I halved the dough and baked in a smaller pan on consecutive days.

Layer the slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin.Cover with a kitchen towel/ plastic wrap and let it sit until doubled for another hour or so.

Lightly brush the top of the dough with milk  and bake in a preheated oven at 180C/ 350F for about 30-40 minutes until the top is brown and bread done. 

Takeout and cool sometime in the loaf pan and then cool completely on the rack if you can wait till then. I devoured it within 20 minutes of taking out of the oven. Didn't wait for complete cooling. :) Mine turned out a smaller loaf, and perfect for snacking. Just pull and eat. Hmm the comfort of cheese+spice+bread... 

Obviously this goes to We Knead to Bake.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Onion & Sundried Tomato Tartlets | (Rough) Puff Pastry Time

When I saw the Baking Partners Challenge for January, I loved the recipe for sun dried tomato & onion tart. It was easy peasy to make. Only 1 hinge was there. Puff Pastry. 

Puff Pastry is available in India, especially Bangalore. Only you have to buy in bulk.

 Which of course I didnt. So I opened my dusty bookmarks folder wherein I had stored all the wanted-to-do recipes and found Aparna's Apple Tartlets with Rough Puff Pastry. She had used the rough puff pastry recipe by Gordon Ramsay. I too embarked on the same and got good results.Its not exactly puff pastry but you won't be disappointed.

I didnot take good pictures with the rough puff pastry so I will be just linking the recipe to the original. The tartlets turned out great. Ofcourse I made slight adjustments here and there but still I loved it. It was also the first thing that I tried in my new OTG. 

Puff Pastry Sheets: 1 -2 thawed. (I used Gordon Ramsay's recipe via Aparna)

Onion: 3 cups thinly sliced
Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
Thyme : 1/2 tsp -1 tsp or fresh few sprigs
Salt : to taste
Sugar: 1/2 tsp (optional) (helps in caramelizing onions)

Dijon Mustard: 1 tbsp
Cream : 1 tbsp (I used chilled low fat Amul cream)

Grated Cheddar Cheese: 1/2 cup +/- 
Sun Dried Tomatoes: 1/4 cup +/-  roughly chopped.

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Cut the puff pastry sheets into rectangles and place in a baking sheet. Prick the surface of with a fork leaving the borders untouched. 

Bake for about 8-10 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned.Take out and cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, saute the onions in oil adding salt,thyme and little sugar. Sugar is optional but helps in browning fast. Also salt added at the beginning ensures that the onion sweat more and cook fast thus reducing the oil needed.

While the pastry is baking and later cooling and the onions are sweating, chop the sundried tomatoes and mix together the mustard and the cream. I used the mustardy cream very scantily as my family is not a fan of either.

Once the pastry rectangles are cool enough to handle, brush the mustard cream sauce on top, top with onions,cheese and sundried tomatoes. If you are going for bigger tarts then you can go for layers as well.

Return the tartlets back on tray and bake for few minutes or so till the cheese melts.

The melting time varies based on the cheese used and the size of the tart. I just kept for barely 5 minutes and took out as soon as it started melting. You can continue melting until the cheese is lightly browned.

Take out and enjoy warm. Perfect for tea time, but not for the calorie conscious.

Slightly tangy from the tomatoes and the hint of mustard, cheesy and crunchy onions and buttery flaky pastry will definitely make your day.

So this also goes as a late entry to Baking Partners January Challenge . Hope Swathi will accept.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chickpea, Broccoli & Tahini Salad | Leftover Magic

This salad reminded me how much I have missed using tahini. All this started with me wondering what I should make as I had few cooked chickpeas sitting in my fridge waiting for the turn. Ofcourse the added attraction was entry to NCR:Leftovers at Lisa's.A simple search and I found this recipe and used it my way.An excellent chickpea & broccoli salad with Tahini dressing!. Yum & Filling. 

Chickpeas: about 1/2 cup cooked  
Broccoli: about 1 cup
Red Onion: 1 medium chopped long 

Salt & Pepper: as per taste

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 tbsp
Tahini: 2.5-3 tbsp tbsp 
Garlic: 1 big clove minced
Soy Sauce/Tamari:1.5-2 tbsp
Water: 1-2 tbsp

Lightly steam/blanch broccoli and mix it with cooked chickpeas. You can use canned chickpeas as well which is drained.Lightly steam/blanch broccoli. It just takes few minutes. The idea is to preserve the green colour of the vegetable and not overcooking it. 

Anyway mix together the onion,chickpeas & broccoli adding salt & pepper. In another bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients of soy sauce,oil,tahini ,water and garlic. You can use a blender for this for a smooth dressing or prepare in a bowl and put an effort on your hand.

Pour the dressing on the veggies and mix well. Adjust the salt and serve with crisp toasted bread as a filling lunch or even as a side for lunch/dinner.

It can be done under 30 minutes and is definitely Yum O as Rachel Ray says. :D

And off it goes for NCR:LeftOvers @ Lisa's

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chocolate Candy | Late Sweet Start to 2013

I know we are in the second week of 2013. I know I am late. But now I am back and happily blogging. Normally I start a new year with some baked treat. -Be it cookies or cakes or anything it should be baked. I get a feeling that if I post a baked dish then I will be baking more the whole year. Of course its just a superstition which I will be breaking this year. 

How and Why?

My OTG gave up after almost 4 years of faithful (also faultful) service.So I have to break this NewYear tradition of mine. Is 13 unlucky for me. ?


Coz for me there is chocolate to lean on to and what you see a simple yet perfect chocolate bark/candy to kick start the New Year. And ofcourse my microwave is working. Mine is just the basic microwave without convection btw.

Its very simple, and took just 1-2 minutes in the microwave.


Dark/Semi sweet chocolate: 1 bar or atleast 1/2 cup +

Flavouring agents: Vanilla extract/ Orange blossom water: 1-2 drops (optional)

Crushed Cereal, cookies, chopped nuts and dry fruits, chocochips: as much as you want

Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it in short bursts of 30 seconds stirring each time. Mine took around 1 minute and 30 seconds. The time depends on the power of your microwave but make sure you dont burn the chocolate.

Spread the chocolate onto a parchment lined and preferably chilled baking sheet into a 1/4' thick square.

Evenly sprinkle the toppings onto this layer and slightly press it especially dry fruits and nuts so that it looks embedded in the chocolate.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 15 -20 minutes so as to set it fully. Actually it just hardens at room temperature. Mine did but better to chill so that it fully firms up.

Take out, break into pieces and enjoy .You can gift these neatly bundled in cellophane.

OR enjoy with icecream.

An Update: My new OTG has arrived. Can't wait to bake in it.2013 is good for me it seems. Enjoy the candy.See you soon..

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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