Saturday, January 25, 2014

Focaccia Caprese | We Knead to Bake #13

Focaccia is a rustic Italian bread with just olive oil and herb toppings. But currently you can go for your choice of toppings and this make it less distinct than the ever popular pizza. But definitely there are differences between the pizza and focaccia. Focaccia is thicker than the thick crust/stuffed/whatever type pizza we order and this makes it more spongier. It also has more oil kneaded into the dough and then brushed on top whereas the pizza uses oil only on the top. Well, focaccia can be used a base of pizza also and unlike pizza can be served cold also.

Thanks to We Knead toBake #13, I tried out Focaccia Caprese, which is a focaccia topped with caprese salad or tomato, mozarella and basil.I am a big fan of caprese salad as its very easy and loved it all the more atop the focaccia.I went for half the recipe and turned out 2 smaller focaccia which were polished off the same day by 3 of us.


Instant yeast: 1 tsp
Sugar: 3/4 tbsp
All Purpose flour: 1 and 3/4 cup 
Vital Wheat Gluten: 1.5 tsp (optional) (added to apf to get a substitute for Bread Flour)
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Olive Oil: 2 tbsp+ more for brushing dough
Warm Water: 1/2-3/4 cup (I used barely 7 tbsp )

Herbed Oil:
Olive Oil: 2 tbsp
Garlic Minced: 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli Flakes : 1/4 tp +/-
Dried Oregano, Dried Basil: 1/4 tsp each
Salt: as per taste

Ripe Tomatoes: 2-3 thinly sliced into rounds
Mozarella Cheese: Used almost 3/4th of Amul Mozarella (200g)  pack , cut into 1/4" thick slices
Fresh Basil: 1/4 cup chiffonaded + more for garnish

Make the herbed oil first by whisking together all the ingredients in a bowl.Keep aside.

Put yeast, sugar, flour,salt and oil in a bowl and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Add 1/2 cup of warm water - start with 4 at a time -and  knead until you have a soft elastic dough which little short of sticky.

Shape it into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning once to coat. Cover and let it rise almost double in volume for about an hour.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll out each portion evenly into 5" x 7". Odd shape is acceptable as it is a rustic bread.

Transfer to baking sheet. The dough will shrink a little. Use fingers to push it out and make sure its evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for another 20 minutes. Lightly oil the fingertips and press into the dough creating dimples in it.

Brush the surface with olive oil. bake in a preheated oven at 210c/410f for 18 to 20 minutes (mine took 18) till it starts to turn golden brown. 

Remove the focaccia from the oven and turn up the heat to 230C

Drizzle herbed oil over the focaccia bites and evenly arrange some slices of cheese over the bread,leaving little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and sprinkle chopped basil. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.

Drizzle more herbed oil and return to oven for 5 to 8 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.Slice and serve warm or room temperature.

Perfecto. Next time I will try to replace the apf with whole wheat flour along with vital wheat gluten. Lets see how it turns out. Meanwhile have a sneak peak at Aparna's where she explains the difference between focaccia and pizza beautifully and who all enjoyed the focaccia.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Creamy Caramel Pudding | Magical taste

After the Coffee buns I thought I will continue my 2014 journey with another sweet dessert. This one is a pudding and I love such things.They can be both baked and stovetop and the one I am about to post is a stovetop one and is starch based. I have use the recipe from Food & Wine for making this yummy one. 

Milk: 2 cups
Cornflour: 3.5 tbsp
Salt: small pinch

Sugar: 1cup

In a bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of milk with cornflour,vanilla and salt until smooth.

In a thick bottomed saucepan, combine sugar with 3 tbsp of water and bring to boil.

Cook in medium heat undisturbed until a deep amber caramel forms. Remove from heat. It will continue to cook even after this and turn deep in colour.

Whisk in the remaining 1 and 3/4 cup milk , 2 tbsp at a time. Use a wooden spoon as caramel will not stick to wood.

Put back on medium heat and stir until the caramel is dissolved. Simmer this until it thickens. This will take just 1-2 minutes or generally under 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in the milk+cornflour paste and put back on medium heat. Cook stirring until it thickens for about a minute or so. Scrap the pudding into 4-6 bowls and chill for atleast 2 hours or serving time. 

Serve garnished if you like by adding coloured sprinkles.

A creamy and tasty pudding. The cornstarch can be replaced maybe with plain/vanilla custard power if you prefer. I actually was looking for some starchy taste or something like that as the recipe uses almost 4 tbsp of cornflour but I was happy with the taste. The key is to ensure that the sugar is no burnt while making caramel. It continues cooking even after removing from the heat and this requires our constant supervision Thankfully mine turned perfect -very caramelly and perfect. I love caramel and this one was perfecto.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Koffiebroodjes - Dutch Coffee Buns for Baking Partners #19 | Happy 2014

You should definitely start a new year with a sweet dish. The sweetness will be there till the end of the year.Or atleast the memories of the beginning moment will linger through. Thats what happened with the delicious Dutch Koffiebroodjes that was suggested by Kaveri for Baking Partners #19

The coffee buns are dutch version of the cinnamon rolls stuffed with pudding or custard or choice of pastry cream, coated with a glaze and served as an anytime snack- especially mid morning with a cuppa. I had followed the recipe adapted by Kaveri which is eggless and it turned out excellent as usual. I went for 1/2 of the recipe as given below.

All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups
Instant Yeast: 1/2 packet OR 1 & 1/8tsp
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Softened Butter: 1.5 tbsp  + melted butter for brushing on top
Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp
Warm milk: 6-10 tbsp

Raisins/Craisins: a handful or more soaked in warm water for 15-20 minutes.

Thick Custard : Any choice of pastry cream or custard

Strawberry Jam mixed with 1 tbsp of warm water


Soak raisins/craisins in warm water for 15-20 minutes, drain & keep aside.

In a big bowl, mix together flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add in softened butter and vanilla and mix well.
Add the warm milk little at a time an knead to a smooth dough. 

Though the source recipe mentioned 10 tbsp for half of the recipe for me it took just little over 6 tbsp to get a moist, slightly sticky and dry looking dough. I didn't add more milk as the dough had formed and kneaded it few more minutes to get atleast smooth looking dough.

Cover the dough with a wrap and let it sit until doubled for an hour or so. Here it took me more than 1.5 hours to get the dough to look double. But I proceeded with the recipe.

While the dough is rising, prepare the pastrycream or custard for spreading. You can use any choice of pastry cream. I used the regular vanilla custard with custard powder. You can prepare this with the instructions given in the pack but with half the quantity of liquid. 

For this half recipe, I prepared vanilla custard by boiling 3/4 cup of milk with almost 3 tbsp of sugar, adding the paste of 2 tbsp of custard powder with 2 tbsp of milk to this hot milk and stirring on medium  heat till thickens a bit more than required. 

Once doubled punch down the dough, knead again and divide it into two portions -rather than 3 aas in the source.
Roll out each portion into an approximate 8" x 8" square.You can freeze one portion for later use.

Spread the custard on the dough leaving border of an inch on all sides.Sprinkle the raisins atop the custard .
Roll the dough to form a cylinder with the seam side down.Cut into equal slices of an inch or an inch and half.

Place the slices on a baking sheet. Cover and proof for another 30 minutes.
Brush with melted butter and bake until golden brown around 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F/180C

Mix the jam with warm water and brush the rolls with this after taking out of the oven.Cool, and glaze again another time.

Serve warm with a cuppa.

Excellent custard buns which definitely enhanced the new year atmosphere in house with the vanilla aroma.Lets hop over and see what others baked for Baking Partners First challenge of 2014

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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