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!

 

Challah watermark

 

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

What a Bagel: Easy Breakfast Bagels

Breakfast bagels watermark

 

My family is quite the breakfast kind of people.Well most weekdays are a quick brekkie on the go with the usual porridge, fruits, parfait or perhaps just some toast.Weekends are however special. “I’d like a big breakfast please”,is what most often my dear son would request and this is when we pull out all the stops and cook up a storm.This would usually consist of eggs made into omelets or scrambled,sautéed vegetables or hash browns,bacon or sausages and of course homemade  bread that I may have made earlier on.My hubster loves to freeze the bread I make,”It lasts longer and there’s always some when you want it” is his take,all though I prefer to have bread when it’s fresh and hot out of the oven.

I miss my son pottering around the kitchen egging me to bake up something for him.A few weeks before he left for university he said,”Mom how about baking some bagels”?Now I’d been putting off the bagel making process thinking they were way too complicated to attempt and why even bother when you get perfect store-bought ones?Right?

Oh how wrong have I been!

The health conscious and fitness maniac that he is,would often hand me a package containing the bagels and read out all the ingredients that were in it.Emulsifiers,Bromides,Improvers,Food additives and what not.Names that not only difficult to pronounce ,leave alone digest. So on my sons’ persistence and the ramblings ,on what actually went into commercial bagels and breads, did I cave in and decide to bake  a batch.Now I have been baking bread for quite sometime ,but hadn’t gone around  the bagel making process.Oh well how difficult can it really be? And  decided to give the bagels a try.

As with most bread the key ingredients in this recipe are flour,yeast,sugar and salt.And bagel topping of course like pumpkin seeds,onions seeds ,sesame or even a sprinkling of cinnamon works just as great. Most recipes call for strong bread flour,all though I’ve used good old All Purpose and quite happy with the consistency.While kneading the dough don’t worry about it being too hard as this recipe does use a limited amount of water and hence it would seem a tough dough.

Bagel Collage

The key to a good bagel is the boiling of the bagel prior to baking,this sets a good crust.A word of caution, do not over boil.This recipe calls for approximately 30 seconds on either side.Once boiled make sure you drain the bagels well and then sprinkle them with your favorite toppings and go right ahead and bake them.

 

 

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These bagels are so very worth the effort and trust me you will never reach for a store-bought one again.Homemade bagels have now become a delightful treat at our breakfast table.After all who wouldn’t want a fresh and warm bagel right out of the oven? Toasted of course ,with some butter or slathered with cream cheese! Ah just bliss! Nice and crusty on the outside and warm and delicious on the inside.

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Do bake some today!

Go ahead and follow this step by step recipe and you will be delighted with the results.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dried yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

Glaze:

  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon water
  • sesame seeds,Pumpkin seeds, Onion seeds or Cinnamon powder

Directions:

  1. Add the yeast to a bowl and pour 1/4 cup of the lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar.Stir the mixture and keep aside.It should get very frothy in about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Combine the remaining water and flour, the activated yeast ,remaining sugar and salt and form a smooth dough.
  3. If the dough seems hard,you may add about 30-50 ml warm water and knead for about 10 minutes.
  4. The dough should be pliable ie smooth and elastic and not hard at all.You may dab your fingertips in warm water and smoothen out the dough.
  5. Oil a bowl and add the dough and turn it around to coat it with oil.Wrap the bowl with cling film and leave it to rise in a warm place for at least an hour.
  6. After it has risen for an hour,punch down the dough and knead further for one minute.
  7. Divide into 8 rolls.
  8. Lay the dough balls onto a well floured surface for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Then flatten each dough ball gently and make a hole in each and widen them a little bit.
  10. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest further for 10 minutes.
  11. Heat water in a wide pan.Add 1 teaspoon sugar and bring it to a boil.
  12. In the meantime grease a baking tray and Pre heat the oven to 200 C for about 20 minutes.
  13. Drop each bagel into the boiling water.Boil on each side for about 30 seconds and flip it over and repeat the same.
  14. Remove the Bagels and lay them on a kitchen towel to drain well.
  15. Whisk the egg white and water well.Brush onto each bagel.
  16. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings.
  17. Bake in the center of the oven for about 22-25 minutes.
  18. Transfer and cool on a wire rack.

Note: Bagels are best eaten within a couple of days of baking.However you may freeze them and toast as and when required.

 

Olive Foccacia-Hot off the oven

Dear son’s request for dinner tonite was some cheese Ravioli(store-bought).I haven’t yet tried my hand at making fresh pasta from scratch.One day,some day is what I keep saying.Certainly on my “to try out”list though.I thought a nice garden salad with some black olives would go well with the pasta.Actually I saw a fair amount of the olives and wondered if it was that time of the year again to get down some bread baking.

I love baking this Olive foccacia and its been awhile since I made it.One of the best breads you could possibly eat.This one’s a family favorite.You could always play around with the ingredients and use some variations:

  • Sun dried tomatoes and herbs
  • Garlic and Rosemary
  • Green olives and garlic

I personally love black olives…so Olive foccacia it is.If you do use garlic please be careful with the amount you use and it can make the bread pretty pungent.Olive paste is a good alternative,however fresh olives just gives it a wonderful fresh flavour.

This post is actually dedicated to a very dear friend Rohini.Thanks Ro for sharing this wonderful recipe with me.I remember learning to make a sun-dried foccacia with her many years ago. She now lives in Melbourne with her family and I sure miss our foodie times together.As you follow the recipe you will notice that I”ve used Weetabix in the dough.This is a great addition to this bread as it makes it high in fibre,healthier and wholesome.I like the bread slightly thickish,however you could always make it thinner so it results in a crisper foccacia.

Some Important Tips on baking Olive Foccacia:

YEAST:

  •  I’ve just used some DCL(brand name) active dry yeast.Please ensure the water is lukewarm.Any hotter than that will kill the yeast.
  • Whisk the yeast and the water well.Cover this mixture and let it rest in a warm dark place for at least 15-20 minutes.I usually keep it in my un heated oven.
  • You know the yeast has fermented well if you see a thick frothy foam on top of the cup.

OLIVE OIL:

  • Please use a liberal amount of olive oil while knocking down the dough.This will make the final product soft and light.

KNEADING AND KNOCKING DOWN THE DOUGH:

  • This is a very important step.At first the dough had to be kneaded well.Once it has rested for at least an hour.You can add the olives and you literally have to knock down or punch this dough

 

 

Happy Bread making dear friends and thanks for reading my post.If if have an interesting ingredient that you would like to add to this foccacia,please do and I’d love to hear about it.I do hope this bread will be baked in your kitchens as well.It’s delish to say the leaast.And I doubt I’m going to have any remaining for dinner tonite…my son’s dipping a slice into some olive oi and devouring it.

With much love from my kitchen to yours…untill Ipost again.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200 gm plain flour
  • 2 Weetabix biscuits
  • 1 cup (lukewarm water)
  • 11/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped olives,plus some extra for the topping
  • 1 tablespoon dried Oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  1. Crush the weetabix biscuits and add it to the flour.
  2. Add the yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water and whisk well.
  3. Keep the yeast mix in a warm and dark place for 15 minutes.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil,salt and the yeast to the flour mix.
  5. The consistency of the dough at this stage will be soggy.
  6. Knead the dough well.Cover witha damp tea towel and let it rest for about an hour.
  7. Knock down the dough and add the chopped olives,pepper and dried oregano.
  8. Add the remaining oil as well.
  9. Again let this dough rest for about an hour.
  10. Grease a baking tray and shape the dough into a thickish oblong.
  11. Add the chopped olives and brush with oil.
  12. Bake at 180 C for about 25-30 minutes or till the crust is a medium brown.