Tag: flour

Celebrating First Blogiversary with tartlets & a Giveaway!

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Marbled Matcha & Refried Bean Swirl Bread

I wanted to post about this bread yesterday as part of catching up on the backlog of recipes/photos I have in my drafts, but after the news of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, I just did not feel like talking about food. Of course, life has to move on, but my prayers still go out to everyone affected and hope that the guilty will be found and accordingly dealt with.

This bread is actually inspired from David Lebovitz’s blog post where he blogged about this bread during the March Japanese tragedy. And I post about it today in the hope that the people of India also show the same calm and resilience as the people of Japan. (Of course, I hope the politicians do not misinterpret this calm to mean that they can slack with their appropriate measures to avoid such tragedies in the future!)

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Mark Bittman’s No-Work Bread

A mother is a person who seeing there

are only four pieces of pie for five people,

promptly announces

she never did care for pie.

~Tenneva Jordan

I read this quote a few days back and found it so true. It sums up every mother so well! And especially mine!

Happy Mother’s Day mom! I hope you know how much you mean to me.

Love you and sorry for all the trouble I keep giving you!

 You will always be the best human being for me.

Hope one day I can sacrifice my piece of pie for you. Till then, here’s a whole bread for you!

I recently downloaded Mark Bittman’s iPhone app, How to Cook Everything. And, the first recipe that caught my eye was Jim Lahey’s No- Work Bread.  Quoting Bittman, who used to write the food column The Minimalist for the New York Times, the introduction for this bread goes as follows:

This innovation- the word “recipe” does not do the technique justice- came from Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. Jim has created a way for home cooks (and not even ones who are serious bakers) to nearly duplicate an artisan bakery loaf, with a crackling crust, open-holed crumb, light texture, and fantastic flavor. All without kneading, fancy ingredients, or special equipments.

Bittman’s description is bang on target. The beauty of this bread- it needs no kneading- you just mix everything together- sit it out in the refrigerator or outside if the temperatures are cool- take it out the next day, shape into a ball and let it bake! And you have a crusty, heavenly smelling bread. A wet dough, along with slow fermentation is the secret to its yeasty flavor and open crumb.

You do need to plan ahead for this bread. It is a 24- hour long process, but you would be in the kitchen for only 15 minutes working on it.

The method involves the bread to be baked in a covered pot in the oven. One could use a dutch oven but I do not own one. I used a crock pot. The crockpot website says that if the pot/crock is detachable you can use it in the oven. Instead of the lid I used aluminium foil. It worked for me but you should try it at your own risk!

True to myself, I goofed up while transferring the dough to the crock pot. But, you guys be careful and keep the seam up, to get a beautiful crack on the top of the bread. So that you can brag about how professional you have become at bread making!

I have made the basic version, which makes a fantastic bread, but of course, you can  be more adventurous with the  formula and use whole-wheat and other flours and different seeds to make it to your liking.

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SPINACH BREAD

Today was coffee at my house. Its always fun having these coffee meets. Get to talk and learn so much from the diverse group of friends I have. We had a new girl join us. I remember, how, about 8 months back I was new to this group. And now the group feels like family- people I can count on when I need someone here. Its always fun to cook for them- they are all so generous with their compliments! Also, it gives me a platform to not only experiment by baking extravaganzas, but to introduce my friends to Indian food. They now all know about Samosas, kathi rolls, mint chutney and I feel happy to have made them taste that part of the world. Today, though, I did not go Indian. I kept it simple with buttered garlic on a home-made Spinach bread and carrots served with tzatziki dip. For the sweet tooth there was fruitcake and I also kept some olive-cheese-pineapple on a stick appetizers. Surprisingly the latter were quite a hit with the children!

The idea for Spinach bread had been haunting me for a while. I had a bunch of spinach in my fridge and thought it would be an interesting way to use it up. Found a recipe here. I wanted to add some feta cheese but did not have any in the fridge. And cheese had to go in the bread! So instead I added some parmesan cheese. I also added roasted garlic to the dough. The bread came out very flavorful. I served the bread baked with some garlic-herb smothered butter and everyone devoured them!

Next time I will replace some of the all-purpose with whole-wheat flour – you know, make it all healthy and all ;). Would also add some powdered flax seeds! Oohh, the sound of it makes me want to run to the store and grab a bunch or two of spinach. (What would you know, we finished both the loaves at the coffee today- yes! it was that good!)

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PUFF PASTRY 101

Look at me! While ranting about trying to lose weight, losing a ring and other mundane stuff I forgot to mention about my winnings in Vegas. Ooh yes, baby, I won, gambling in Vegas. To tell you the truth, I did not forget but I was in a double mind to mention it- since I do not want to endorse gambling on such a public forum (yes, yes I am the morally right kind of person 😉 ). So why mention today. Well, the reason why I mention it today is that I put my winnings into buying a new cookbook! Well, its funny because I remember telling V before leaving for Vegas that I’ll only play for enough money to buy this cookbook that I had been eyeing for some time now (people gamble for the enjoyment, to pay debts, buy drinks, while I play to buy cookbooks 🙂 ) . And that’s exactly what happened! I won only enough to buy me that book. This was destiny. That book was in my destiny! God wanted me to have it. So even though I just played twice on the slot machine- the moment I hit my target amount I immediately encashed it. No, this time I was not going to be greedy.

A few days back, the book (that I bought from my hard earned money), arrived in a shipment from Amazon. Happy and excited, I opened the package, and behold the beauty! There it lay Sarabeth’s Bakery From My Hand to Yours Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours – in a large white colored cover with a simple yet beautiful picture of a lady whose hands are shown holding a batch of freshly made brioche in her apron! Yes, it had me floored. For the first few moments I was just flipping through the pages, feeling the smooth and crisp paper, oggling at the beautiful pictures (I am such a sucker for cookbooks!). 🙂

It was on my bed side table that night, and I read through the first few pages and instantly knew I made a good decision in buying this book. The book is designed with elegant simplicity. Her tips and techniques are what makes this book worth buying. I do wish though she had included the recipe for her famous orange-apricot marmalade that kick started her career.

Yesterday I chose to try Sarabeth’s version of Puff Pastry.

As Sarabeth describes:

With countless amazingly, thin, buttery layers that shatter when bitten into, puff pastry is the classic layered dough.

The secret to Sarabeth’s dough is that she uses heavy cream instead of water. Ok! I know what you thinking- “heavy cream! Wasn’t it fatty enough with the butter! “. But Sarabeth believes that the added butterfat from the heavy cream gives the pastry another dimension of flavor and crispiness. Hmmm.. It just means I have to gym harder!

You can use puff pastry in a number of things. It can be used in making palmiers, tarts, mille-feuille. I will be using it to make Apple Turnovers to send to V’s office. (That’s why I am not too worried about the butter and the heavy cream going in the dough- as long as I don’t have to eat them all!)

PUFF PASTRY 101

The dough should be made at least 2 days before using. It has two parts the D’etrempe and the Beurrage

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