Give Us Today Our Daily Bread: Easy Spelt Loaf

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The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…

Bread Making is one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”
M.F.K.Fisher, The Art Of Eating

 

And I couldn’t agree more.  I absolutely love bread making. For me the entire process is one of the most satisfying experiences in my kitchen. Right from kneading the dough (which I must admit I love doing with my hands) to knocking it down,letting it rest and baking it.Gentle bread aromas wafting through the house as I wait impatiently for my loaf to turn into that wonderful golden brown. A perfectly made loaf for me is a euphoric sense of accomplishment and gratification.Now it’s another story how antsy one gets  once the bread has been baked, as I just can’t wait long enough for it to cool and devourer it.

I had some Spelt flour which I had picked up on a trip to Dubai last year and had been wanting to experiment with this ever since.

Some Facts about Spelt:

Now mind you this grain is not gluten-free as it a form of  ancient wheat, all though the gluten content is lower and hence better tolerated by those who are gluten sensitive (This is my own opinion as I do have Gluten Sensitivity)

Packed with nutrients,this grain is much in demand and is making a huge comeback.Spelt has high water solubility, so nutrients are easily absorbed by the body making it easy to digest. It is high in protein (significantly higher than wheat), higher in B complex vitamins, and spelt is high in both simple and complex carbohydrates. Spelt’s nutty flavor doesn’t just taste good, it has so many other nutritional benefits that are amazingly good for you.

TIP WHILE KNEADING SPELT DOUGH:

The gluten in Spelt is pretty unusual, while wheat flour that needs a lot of kneading to strengthen gluten to give bread structure, the gluten in spelt breaks down fairly easily. So just make sure not to over knead this flour.

Well enough said about Spelt flour and now for the recipe for this wonderful Bread. Please do try it out. I have made this a couple of times now, with some not so great results. This time however it came out just perfect.

Go ahead and bake some ,I’m quite glad I experimented with Spelt flour.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 grams Spelt flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon  Active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 300 ml Luke warm water
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • Pumpkin seeds(optional)

METHOD:

  1. Pre heat  the oven to 200 C
  2. Activate the yeast by mixing it in about 100 ml water and the sugar.
  3. Once the yeast is activated mix the spelt flour, yeast, salt and remaining water and make it into a smooth dough .I like to use my hands. Please do ahead and do this in a mixer with the kneading attachment.
  4. The dough will be soggy so you could add a little more oil and mix till smooth.
  5. Place this in a glass bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let this rest for about an hour.
  6. The dough will have doubled in size within the hour.
  7. Knock down the dough.
  8. Now place this dough in a bread tin that has been lightly greased.
  9. Make deep cuts on the surface of the dough.
  10. Cover again with a damp cloth and let this rest for another hour.
  11. Sprinkle with some flour and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 34-40 minutes.
  12. Remove from the tin when done and place on a wire rack to cool.

Happy Baking dear friends!

Cherry Tomato & Oregano Foccacia

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  “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” – James Beard

 

This wonderful Cherry Tomato is my first bake from the wonderful book that I received when I bought my Kitchenaid Artisan Standup Mixer in Dubai last year.Well I have experimented with lots more from the book,just haven’t got around to posting these beautiful recipes. Well I’m quite a recipe book junkie. Aren’t we all?Most often bed time reading lands up being recipe reading.I just love browsing through the multitude of recipes and images and of course make notes of what’s next on the baking agenda.Sometimes the lists are endless and don’t even get to even half of the recipes.

The Kitchen aid recipe book has an assortment of various recipes,ranging from  Sauces, Pasta dough recipes, Breads of all kinds,Pastries and Pies and lots more. These images have been in my folder for ever so long.Well that’s just a normal day in the life of a blogger I guess. I sometimes worry that I may suffer from ADD.I probably bake one thing,I’m editing images of another recipe and well land up blogging about something totally different.Well what matters most is that I do post all the recipes that I try out.So here goes.

This Focaccia is an easy recipe to follow and does not require much skill at all.I’ve used cherry tomatoes and some Oregano and flavoured it with Olive oil and sea salt.Nothing beats the taste and smell of warm and fresh bread out of the oven.So worth the effort!

Warning: Won”t last long as tastes delicious, hot out of the oven.Highly recommend baking two loaves at a time:) Happy Baking!

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Makes 2 Loaves: Ingredients:

  • 30 grams Yeast (Instant or Active Dried)
  • 400 ml Lukewarm water
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 800 grams All Purpose Flour(Maida)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 125 ml Olive oil
  • 12 small cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried Oregano
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil and sea salt for garnish

Directions:

  1. Mix the yeast in the lukewarm water.Stir in the sugar and let it rest for 10 minutes or until foamy,if using active dried yeast.
  2. Stir in the Olive oil.
  3. Mix the flour and salt in the mixer.
  4. Use the dough hook to knead and gradually add in the yeast.
  5. The dough should be soft.
  6. Knead for 2 minutes.
  7. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave it to rise for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  8. Knock down the dough and add in the dried Oregano.
  9. Divide the dough into two equal portions.
  10. Roll each portion into circles.
  11. Place them on a greased baking tray.
  12. Make indents with your fingers in each circle.
  13. Push a cherry tomato into each indent.
  14. Cover again with a damp towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  15. Pre heat the oven to 200C.
  16. Drizzle the dough with Olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt.
  17. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Challah Bread with Vanilla & Chia seeds

 

 

Mother’s hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever…

Happy Mother’s Day lovelies!

 

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It’s but natural I write this quote as it felt like just yesterday that my son was  really little and only five. How time has flow by and that little one is now eighteen and quite an  independent adult. He is down from university for the summer and yes it’s baking mania in my kitchen!

He’s away at a friends and I’ve been baking up a storm tonight. Started off with a batch of double fudge brownies and then was just aching to try this Challah recipe that keeps wanting to be made. I’ve adapted this one from my lovely Kitchenaid cookbook that I received, when I bought my food processor last year. Now the recipe calls for using the dough attachment for kneading ,all though I’ve just used the hand technique. The recipe called for vanilla pods which I’ve substituted with regular vanilla extract and have used chia seeds instead of poppy seeds. You may even use sesame or sunflower seeds if you like.

Challah: An easy and straight forward Jewish bread most often made during the festivities.The pure, simple, unadorned word challah means “a loaf of bread.The braided challah, which is made with eggs, is the Jewish Sabbath‑and‑holiday bread. Continue reading

Za’atar & Buttermilk Cluster rolls

 

 

Good Morning!

The dear son has arrived on summer holidays and it’s a Bakathon (Baking Marathon) of sorts in my kitchen once again. A fussy eater as a child, he is now happy to sample a variety of cuisine, breads and bakes from my kitchen. I had baked up these easy and fool-proof Buttermilk Cluster rolls a couple of days ago.

These work great as an accompaniment with Dinner or can be served by at breakfast as well. I’ve used up some Za’atar that I had around but you could use any other topping of your choice. Sesame, Onion and sunflower seeds do equally well for this recipe.

Za’atar:

Za’atar (zaatar) is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs frequently used in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas.

It is often mixed with olive oil and spread on bread; sometimes this is done at the table, other times the mix is spread on the bread rounds which are then baked. Za’atar also serves as a seasoning to sprinkle on vegetables, salads, meatballs or kebabs.

Trust me these warm rolls out of the oven are quite a show stopper and delicious in every bite.

Go ahead and bake some up today!

Cluster bread watermark Continue reading

Moving from Dubai and Mumbai Ladi Pav

 

 

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A big hello and a warm welcome from my kitchen in Mumbai!

Well it just seemed like yesterday that the dear husband accepted the offer to re locate to Mumbai. We’ve had a pretty nomadic or perhaps a gypsy like existence  so to speak for many years now.I’ve been happily globe trotting along with him and making my home in Dubai, New Jersey and Toronto these past 23 years. So when a move was on the cards once again, it took me by no surprise and that to shifting to Mumbai got me feeling ecstatic and overjoyed!

Well lets put it this way, I’m quite the Mumbaikar at heart,grew up in the city and know every nook and cranny and could probably walk down many of its alleys with a blind fold. Of course  the thrill of being reunited with both sides of the family and friends would just be amazing!So it seemed that the winds of change were blowing our way once again.It was time,yet once again to bid adieu to these golden sands of Arabia, a place that I’ve called home for over 15 years,leaving back wonderful memories and friendships that I will treasure for years to come..

The move happened early November last year and yes it’s already been four wonderful months in the city. With the first few months being chaos ridden, primarily awaiting our household effects to arrive, looking for an apartment to actually moving into one, my life now has returned to some semblance of order.

And my kitchen in Mumbai has been officially open for sometime. Oh yes and I’ve been baking away especially since I’ve managed to bring along my wonderful Samsung oven from Dubai. This blog post is  a special recipe as an ode to city that I now live in and have come to love too. I’m sharing my recipe for a Mumbai Ladi Pav, which literally translates into a slab of bread. These soft pav’s are just delicious when they come out of the oven and can  be eaten with butter or most often with a snack ie Pav Bhaji (Vegetable with Pav) Vada Pav (Potato balls with Pav) Kheema Pav (Mince with Pav)

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Well I just baked a batch and I doubt they will last to go along with anything else. The dear husband can just eat plain ladi pav. My personal favorite is a warm, soft pav just out of the oven and slathered with butter!

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Oh well here you go with this recipe. And now that the kitchen is up and about I hope to be baking and posting more often.I’m looking forward to this new journey in Mumbai and while I cannot change the direction of the winds,I can always adjust my sails in that direction for now.

Shukran Dubai,

Hello Amchi Mumbai!

Mumbai Style Ladi Pav

Ingredients:
• 3 ½ cups All-purpose Flour
• 1 ½ cups Lukewarm water
• 1 teaspoon active dried yeast
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 ½ teaspoon melted butter
Directions:
1. Measure out the lukewarm water and add the active dried yeast and add the salt and honey stir and keep aside.
2. The yeast should become frothy in about 15 minutes.
3. Now add the yeast to the flour and knead well for at least 10 minutes.
4. Don’t panic if the dough seems very sticky. It should come together if you continue kneading it for about 10 minutes.
5. Once well combined add in the melted butter and knead further for 5 minutes.
6. Knock down the dough for about 5 minutes.
7. Cover this dough with a damp cloth and let this rise for at least 1 hour.
8. Lightly deflate the dough and form 8 equal parts.
9. Form each into round balls.
10. Grease and dust a baking tray with some flour and lay the balls on this tray.
11. Lay 4 dough balls in a row.
12. Keep these covered with a damp cloth again for an hour.
13. Pre heat the oven to 205 C.
14. Place the tray in the middle rack and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
15. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
16. You may wish to rub some butter on each of the rolls once they are out of the oven