Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Khaliat Nahal - HoneyComb Buns | We Knead to Bake #9

Khaliat al Nahal is known as Bee's  Hive or Honeycomb in Arabic. The bread is called so because of its shape. The buns are baked close together and traditionally they are sweet buns though we can make these savoury too.

I got to know of these buns when Aparna chose them as this month's challenge recipe. My first impression was that these were like pav buns with a filling inside. And ofcourse I opted for a savoury filling of caramelized and spicy onions. Started preparations at noon and they were ready at teatime. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy as my daughter puts it. I went for half of the recipe but next time would be going for the original quantities mentioned as the buns are addictive.


Luke warm milk: 1 cup
Instant yeast: 1.5 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 2.5 cup + 1-2 tbsp if needed
Salt: 1 tsp

Melted Butter: 40 gm or 3 tbsp + 2 tsp roughly

Milk : 2 tbsp for brushing on top
Sesame seeds : for topping

Filling: Caramelized Onions 


In a bowl, combine milk, yeast and sugar and let it sit until foamy for about 5-10 minutes.

In a food processor or in a bowl if doing manually, pulse/mix together 2 cups of flour and salt till well blended. Mix in melted and cooled butter to this and blend well.

Add in the milk yeast mix and knead to form a non sticky soft smooth dough adding remaining 1/2 cup or even more as needed to form a round shaped dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled vessel, turning once to coat and let it sit covered with a plastic wrap or kitchen towel until it doubles up for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile prepare the filling. I went for caramelized onions with spices. I sauteed the thinly sliced onions in little oil, adding salt and little sugar and once they started browning, I added seasoning to them and continued cooking till they were browned and dry and well coated with the spices. You can go with your choice of sweet/savoury filling.

Once the dough doubles up, transfer it to a counter. No need to dust the counter with flour as the dough is non sticky. Divide the dough into 2 equal halves, and each half you roll out with your hands to a 9' long rope. Divide the rope into 9 pieces of 1 ' long. Repeat the process with the other half too and you will have total 18 pieces.

Working with one piece at a time, slightly flatten the piece - the piece is long, you can shape it as a round ball and then flatten with hands- add about 1-2 tsp of filling in the centre, bring the sides together around the filling to close and shape the piece into a round ball.

Place the stuffed/filled ball with the seam side down on a parchment lined/greased 9' round cake tin.Repeat the above process of stuffing with the remaining 17 pieces and arrange them as a concentric circle in the cake tin. 

Let these pieces sit until puffy or doubled up for another 30-40 minutes under a plastic wrap.

Brush the top of the buns with milk. Top them with sesame seeds or appropriate toppings. I had only black sesame . Bake the buns in a preheated oven at 350F/180 C for about 20-30 minutes. I too these out at 24th minute. 

Cool for about 5-10 minutes in the cake tin after which transfer these carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Yummo. Let me finish mine now. Why don't t you guys hop over to Aparnas place to see they did this time?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vegan Crouu Doughnuts | Baking Partners Challenge #15

Crouu Doughnut or a cronut is a new name to me. It is actually a croissant-doughnut pastry developed by Dominique Ansel and it is said that people queue up for this half croissant half doughnut cronut. Imitations of this recipe has mushroomed almost everywhere it seems. 

Wondering why too much fuss over a nut ?  I did too till I tasted it !.

Well, this month Thanks to Swathi Iyer & Reeni we tried it out for Baking Partners #15 sourced from Bootleg Cronut. Its a lengthy 3 day recipe, but totally worth it once you sink your pearlies into the flaky pastry .On top of that I made it vegan using the base recipe provided from Vegan HeartLand, and then laminating with shortening instead of butter. It was risky, but it worked.

 I have read that  most commercial puff pastry makers go for shortening instead of butter, so I thought why not try in the home version too!. Then I read conflicting reports on how shortening gives bad taste and blah blah..

So I was on hot coals till the first bite. One bite and it was heaven.So heres my version 


Crouu- Doughnut:

Instant yeast : 2.1/4 tsp
Water: 2.5 tbsp
Coconut Milk: 1 cup warm
Sugar: 5 tbsp
Salt: 3/4 tsp
Applesauce: 5 tbsp
Shortening /Vanaspati: 6 tbsp
All Purpose Flour: 3 cups  + 1-2 cup as needed

Laminating : Shortening: 1.1/4 cups of cold vanaspati

Deep Frying: Vegetable/ Canola Oil: 2+ cups as needed

Procedure:First day Make the doughSecond Day: LamnateThird day: Deep fry


First Day: Dough:
Blitz together all the dough ingredients adding more flour as needed to get a non sticky dough, scraping the the sides of the processor. 

Gently knead/shape the dough into a round mass and let it sit covered in a well oiled vessel until it turns puffy or doubles in 45  minutes. Refrigerate overnight.

Second Day: Laminating : 
I took out the required quantity of shortening, let it cool a bit, then made it into a rectangle within 2 sheets of waxed paper and then chilled it for another 15 minutes or so.You can also add a little flour while doing this so that it sticks better and rolls out better, but I lightly dusted the wax paper with apf. 

Unwrap the dough, roll it out into a 10.5 ' square on a floured surface. Unwrap the shortening and place it on the dough so that its points are centred along the sides of the dough.

Fold one flap of the dough over butter/shortening, stretching it lightly so that the point reaches the centre of fat. Repeat with other flaps. Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.

First Turn:

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough.Press the dough to elongate slightly. Then turn the dough so that the smaller side to face you. Roll out the dough to expand the length, adding more flour as needed. Once you have a rectangle of 21 x 9 inches, fold the top third of the rectangle to the centre,and then the bottom third on top to cover it. Chill the dough for atleast 15 minutes and then turn the dough 90 degrees to resemble a book. Now comes the second turn.

Second, Third and Fourth  Turns:  

These are similar to the first one except that you have to ensure you are working along the length of the dough and chill in between. Refrigerate overnight or till frying time

For me from the second turn problems started. The shortening broke inside (may be I chilled overtime, it was sort of hard), but I continued and adjusted the chilling time with the successive turns and the fourth turn was lovely. 

Third Day: Fry Day

Take out the cold dough, let it sit for few minutes in room temp, then roll out expanding the length  or along the length of a baking sheet into 1/2' thick rectangle adding enough flour as needed to prevent sticking. Chill the rectangle in the baking sheet itself in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Take out and punch out the crouu-doughnuts,remove the punched ones onto another lined baking sheet,brush the tops with water and let it sit at room temp until puffy for about 30 minutes. You can refreeze the dough rectangle for later use as well.

Once puffy freeze these for 15 minutes before deep frying. 

Baking might not work for these as Swathi has mentioned in her post, but still I am planning to try with some dough left in the freezer.Also she describes the correct size for these pastries, but I have used my doughnut cutter.

Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep small bowl and deep fry the crouunuts on both sides at a lower heat. The correct temperature is the one when you add a pinch of flour to the oil, it sizzles up.The low heat ensures the golden brown colour of the crust and also they are cooked inside.

Drain these on paper towels till the shiny colour drains out. Prepare the glaze and also toss the crouu doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.

I went for a simple chocolate glaze.

Y U M M O. Perfect taste, Perfectly Vegan.I am surprised that apple sauce, shortening, coconut milk could result in such a tasty pastry. It was a risk well done. Ofcourse you can even go for butter if you do not want shortening. But whatever bad reports that shortening tastes crappy compared to butter is wrong. But ofcourse it might be just a mental hitch that you feel and not the real thing.

Anyways the challenge is well completed though as usual I am late in posting. But better late than never!.Enjoy the crouu doughnut :- P

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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