Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cottage cheese and mint stuffed bread

Its time for this month's bread for WKTB. Aparna was busy with organizing the fabulous Foodbloggers meet in Bangalore and I was miserable that I couldn't attend it. Have been reading about all the fun and learning that happened at the meet and can't help feeling sorry for myself for being so far away.

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This month, since she was all tied up, she asked us to bake a decorative bread, filled with something savoury. I really love baking bread and its so much simpler than it seems, but never thought about making a decorative one. The most creative experiment with bread was my braided bread and I wanted to try something new this time.

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Inspired by this flower shaped bread here, I decided to make that. As usual, I was running late and though I was contemplating 20 different ideas for the savoury filling, I decided on this one with paneer and mint. It has lovely Indian flavours and the bread turned out quite pretty. I thought it looked like a flower, but my son insisted it looked like the sun !

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It was quite a task to use the camera while shaping the bread. I used my phone and the pics aren't too great, but I hope it gives you an idea of how to make it

This bread is sent to Susan's Yeastspotting page.

Decorative stuffed bread
Adapted from ChefinDisguise

What you need -

2.5 cups maida / APF
1/2 cup wheat flour
3/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp instant yeast
4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
For the filling -
1/2 cup cottage cheese / paneer
1/4 cup packed mint leaves
4 tbsp shredded cheese
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
a pinch of salt

What you do with it -

In a bowl, add the warm milk, warm water, butter, sugar and yeast and stir gently
In a large bowl, add the flours and salt
Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeast mixture
Knead for about 6-8 mins till a smooth elastic dough is formed
Place in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap
Keep it in a warm place for about one and half hours or till it doubles in size
Meanwhile, crumble the cottage cheese and add the grated cheese to it
Chop the mint leaves really fine and add to the cheese
Add the spice powders and salt
Combine and set aside
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into two balls
Dust the surface with flour and roll out the ball of dough into a rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to cut the sides and get a rectangle shape
Place the filling on the rolled dough leaving about half an inch on each side
Start form the longer end and roll the dough to get a long pipe shape with the filling tucked inside
Turn the two ends towards each other and pinch the ends together to form a circle
Make slits at every 2 cms, a little more than halfway to the centre
Turn each slit to the right
Place a few sesame seeds on top and brush the bread with milk. Cover with a thin cloth and allow it to rise again for 15 mins
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C
Place the tray with the bread in the middle rack and bake for 25 mins
Brush with butter once its done.The stuffing has enough spice, but if you like, you could serve this with ketchup or a chutney

Monday, June 30, 2014

Komaj | Persian bread stuffed with dates

When I tried logging into my blogger account today, I actually needed a minute to remember my password. Either my memory is really failing me, or its been that long since I wrote a post. I know I enjoy cooking / baking and blogging, but some somehow the last couple of months, I just haven't been able to get myself to blog.

I am a part of this group called 'We knead to bake', started by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen where we are given a new bread recipe every month. The fact that I might be out of that group if I skipped another month of baking made me finally get down to baking and posting. I'm glad there is some such rule, otherwise knowing me, I wouldn't get beyond the first month.

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This month's recipe was Komaj, a Persian bread stuffed with dates. It involves 3 rises of the dough and sounded like a lot of work, but its actually quite simple. The stuffing is a lovely combination of dates, butter and cardamom. The dough also has a lot of Indian spices like turmeric and cumin. I was a bit skeptical about the combination of these very different flavours, but my love for dates made me try this and I'm glad I did !

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Have it as soon as you bake it and its wonderfully soft and delicious. The dates used are the dehydrated ones, but once baked, they almost melt in your mouth

Thanks Aparna for introducing us to this lovely bread. This bread is being Yeastspotted !

Komaj | Persian bread stuffed with dates

What you need -

Dough -
1 tsp instant yeast
1/8 cup warm water
3 3/4 cups APF / maida
2 1/2 tsp toasted and crushed cumin seeds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg (optional)
2/3 cups warm milk + 2 tbsp
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Filling -
12 seedless dried dates, chopped
1 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom
1 - 2 tbsp milk for brushing the dough

What you do with it -

If you use active dried yeast, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and keep it aside for 10 minutes till it froths up a little
I used instant yeast, so skipped this step and added it straight to the flour
Put the flour, 2 tsp of the crushed cumin, sugar, turmeric and salt in the bowl of your food processor and run a couple of times to mix. Then add the yeast, water and the egg and run the processor again, till it is incorporated.
Now add the milk and olive oil, and knead until you have a smooth and pliable dough that’s not sticky. I kneaded a little more milk that mentioned in her recipe. So added 2 tbsp of milk.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl, turn to coat the dough and then cover with a damp cloth and let it rise till it has doubled (took me about 45 mins)
When the dough has risen, deflate it and then shape into a round. Put it back in the bowl for a second rise till it has doubled (another 45 mins).
Prepare the filling by mixing together the chopped dates, soft butter and cardamom together in a bowl.
Divide the dough in to 4 equal portions, and divide each in half so you have 8 portions. Working with one portion at a time, roll each one out into a rectangle that is about between 1/4" thick. I used a cookie cutter with a flower shaped edge that made the komaj look like a little tart !
Press it down lightly to make an impression on one half of the rectangle and add a tsp of the filling there

Brush with a little water over the dough and then fold over to encase the filling completely. Use the same cookie cutter and cut the dough. Press at the edges so the filling doesn't pop out during baking

Repeat with the remaining portions of dough. I got about 14 komaj since my cookie cutter was a little small.
Place these buns on a lightly greased baking tray leaving space between them because they will puff up on baking. Let them sit for about 15 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Then brush them with a little milk / egg wash and sprinkle the remaining ½ tsp of crushed cumin on top, pressing it down a little with your fingers
Bake the Komaj at 200C (400F) for about 8 to 10 minutes
Allow them to cool slightly and serve with a cup of tea !

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