Giraffe Print bread is light bread with a hint of chocolate. It is a pleasure to slice the loaf and discover the patterns inside. It is best enjoyed with a chocolate spread or peanut butter. 


We are perpetually living in winters this year. Unexpected and unanticipated rain over the last fifteen days has plummeted the temperature. The brown blanket of the dry foliage has got replaced by green. Ferns have sprung up around the corners, under the big trees and in all the crevices. Nature has its own ways of healing. The dryness of winters has been compensated.

Sky laden with clouds seems to be melting and dripping causing heavy showers. A water hole made for the birds gets brimmed with fresh water. 




A jungle myna alights from a nearby tree, inspects around and dashes into the sparkling pool. 

A Grey Winged Blackbird removes leaves from the wet ground continuously till it reaches the wet mud and  is rewarded by a fat earthworm.




A drongo is nesting on the tallest Pear Tree. She sits on her tiny cup-like nest and drives away all those who perch on the nearby branches. This policing continues all day.

In our baking studio, it’s a hectic day. A Giraffe Print Bread is being baked. For bakers, the dough becomes a medium to play with and to unleash creativity. This bread is special as it requires a lot of precision. It is important to have a weighing scale.



To make the pattern, we need one plain dough and one cocoa dough.  Both the dough will be divided into four pieces. One piece of each dough will be larger than the other three. The weight of the dough may differ slightly from that mentioned in this recipe. So weigh the total dough and divide accordingly. A few adjustments in dough weight will work fine.

The pictorial steps will help to shape the bread.

















Giraffe Print Bread

Ingredients for the plain dough

  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup warm milk (1 -2 tablespoons extra)
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar/brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast

Ingredients for the cocoa dough

  • 330 grams plain dough
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3-4 teaspoons water/milk

Instructions

  1. To prepare the plain dough, mix sugar and yeast to warm milk. When sugar dissolves, add all the remaining ingredients and knead for 6-7 minutes. If the dough feels hard, add 1 tablespoon of the extra milk and another if the dough is tight.  Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove 330 grams of the plain dough. Shape the remaining dough into a ball and transfer it to a greased bowl. Cover and keep in the refrigerator.
  3. Make a paste with cocoa powder and water/milk. Knead into the 330 grams of the plain dough until well combined. Shape into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl and cover with a cling wrap.
  4. Remove plain dough from the refrigerator and keep both the bowls, one with plain dough and the one with the cocoa dough in a warm spot to rise for 45-50 minutes or until double.
  5. Divide the cocoa dough into 4 pieces.  1x90 grams (one piece)   3x80 grams (3 pieces).
  6. Divide plain dough into 4 pieces. 1x50 grams (one piece)      3x40 grams (3 pieces)
  7. Roll the dough into balls.
  8. Now we have one large piece and three small pieces for each dough.
  9. Roll out the largest piece of cocoa dough into a rectangle as long as the baking tin you are using. Working on the long side of the rectangle, roll up. Pinch to seal all the open ends of the roll.  Similarly, make rolls with the remaining cocoa dough balls. 
  10. Roll out the largest piece of plain dough into a rectangle as long as the largest cocoa roll. Place the cocoa roll on the white rectangular dough. Pull up the sides of the plain dough, over the cocoa roll. Seal all the edges.  Repeat with the remaining pieces, until you get 4 rolls.
  11. Cut all the rolls into half. You will have 8 pieces. With one sharper and one open end.
  12. Grease one 8x4 inch loaf pan. Place three small rolls in the bottom, two big rolls in the middle and three small rolls on top.  Place the rolls in such a way that the ends are alternating. Cover and keep in a warm spot to rise until double. (after placing the rolls, there will be a lot of empty space in the pan on either side).
  13. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees C  for 20-25 minutes.
  14. Let cool down in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove and cool in the rack.
  15. Slice when cold.
Recipe adapted from - www.foodieyuki.com

Linking to #BreadBakers
BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.


We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Our host this month is Kelly. She chose to bake bread with surprises inside. It is a very interesting theme.

Check out the bread with surprises here-



·                Broccoli Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm

·                Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Bread from Making Miracles

·                Cinnamon Apple Surprise Bread from Food Lust People Love

·                Giraffe Print Bread from Ambrosia

·                Leopard Print Milk Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories

·                Paw Print Bread from Passion Kneaded

·                Peek-a-boo Panda Bread from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

·                Picasso Floral Surprise Loaf from A Messy Kitchen

·                Swirl Bread from Zesty South Indian Kitchen

·                Swirl Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread (Chocolate, Garlic & Herbs) from Cook with Renu

·                Whey Watermelon Bread from Sneha's Recipe

 


 Herbed Tomato Garlic Bread has all the homegrown ingredients. The bread has a burst of flavours. The crumb is super soft. It tastes amazing when toasted and had with cheese spread or with oodles of butter.



We are living through difficult times. The world is in the grip of the worst disaster. The ongoing pandemic has thrown the world in fear and anxiety. The news of the suffering of friends, near and dear ones, of people known and unknown has created a feeling of helplessness. Staying at home has become a necessity for safety. There are lockdowns and curfews.  This is a reality that is completely unimaginable.

To quell the feeling of hopelessness that has pervaded everywhere, it is important that we resort to activities that involve and keep us occupied. Be it gardening, reading, baking, cooking, music or anything else it is important to keep occupied. Also, it is also the time to reach out in whatever possible way to those suffering. The smallest of help will also make a big difference. And keep the hope alive. Hope is a valuable tool in protecting from stress and burnout. Hope has a positive impact on physical and mental health.



It is time to pray. “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – It is a spiritual transaction with the creator of heaven and Earth.” (Charles Spurgeon)

Prayers can heal the sick, Prayers can comfort those anxious and sinking into depression. It is time to send prayers to the universe for the health and healing of the pandemic ridden world.

 It is this time that pushes us to be creative and prepare meals that are not only healthy but also use minimal ingredients and with things available around.



Tomato season is almost over and the plant has some last small size tomatoes hanging from the shaggy branches. These look like cherry tomatoes.  We decided to bake bread using all the tomatoes along with homegrown garlic. Some homemade spice mix was added to the dough.




The bread was a burst of flavours with a lovely red tinge from the tomato puree.  The crumb was super moist and fluffy. It tastes amazing when toasted and had with cheese spread or oodles of butter.

We used tomatoes with skin as the tomatoes were homegrown. If you are not sure of the source, remove the skin as farmers spray a lot of pesticides.




 

Herbed Whole Wheat Tomato Garlic Bread (Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes/small size tomatoes
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons Italian spice mix/herb mix of choice or fresh herbs
  • 4-5 buds of garlic minced
  • ¼ cup warm water

Instructions

  1. Wash the tomatoes. Cut each into four. Blend to get a fine puree. If the seeds are too many, pass through the strainer. You should get 1 cup plus a little extra puree.
  2. Add sugar and yeast to the puree. Stir well.
  3. Heat oil in a wok. Add minced garlic. Stir and turn off the heat.
  4. Take flour in a large bowl or in a large plate. Make a well in the centre. Add tomato puree, garlic oil and salt and herb mix. Gently mix everything to get a shaggy dough. If the dough feels dry, add warm water.
  5. Knead for 7-8 minutes to get a smooth, shiny and little sticky dough. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Keep in a warm area for 1- 1 ½ hours or until double.
  6. Grease one 8 ½ x4 ½ inch loaf pan.
  7. Punch the risen dough. Shape into a log.   Place it gently into the prepared pan.
  8. Cover and keep to rise until the dough doubles (almost).
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 30-35 minutes or until the loaf turns brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  10. Remove from the pan after 7-8 minutes. Cool in the rack. Slice when cold.

 

 

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread is mildly sweet, soft and very delicious.  It toasts well and has all the goodness of ripe pumpkin.



Pumpkin grows aplenty in the hills. The creeper is made to climb the roof of the houses. The green pumpkins are eaten all through the summer. During rains, when there is an abundance of growth, the creeper becomes luxuriant and spreads all around. The young shoots are eaten as green veggie. And a lot of pumpkins are left on the creeper to be ripened. The leaves wither and the plant dries once the season is over. Ripe Pumpkins are kept on the roof in the Sun all winter before snowfall. These are then used over the months.

Ripe pumpkin is gently sweet and a beautiful shade of orange. It is highly nutritious and low in calories. And, there is something about the flavor and texture of fresh pumpkin puree.  It makes a great addition to the bread. It makes the regular bread a little sweeter and richer.

Homemade bread has an appeal far beyond just taste. Making your own bread allows you to increase wholesome grains and decrease sugars and play with ingredients of choice.




I baked bread with pumpkin puree. It turned sweet, soft and delicious.




You may add a pinch of cinnamon and a little extra sugar to the dough.  Toasted slices with butter is a heavenly treat.

 

 


 

Whole Wheat Pumpkin  Bread

Ingredients

  • 2-3 slices of ripe Pumpkin (peeled)
  • 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined sugar (powdered)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • Water (if needed)

Instructions

  1. Wash and dice pumpkin. Steam or roast.
  2. If steaming, add very little water to the cooker and steam until the cooker gives out a whistle. Blend to get a smooth puree.  Do not add extra water.
  3. If roasting, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the slices in the parchment lined baking tray. Drizzle some oil. Roast for 40-60 minutes or, until a fork or a knife easily passes through. Let the slices cool. Puree.
  4. Measure 1 cup puree and reserve 3-4 tablespoon extra.
  5. Dissolve yeast in 2-3 teaspoons water.
  6.  To the puree, add yeast, sugar.  Stir and let rest for 5 minutes. Add oil and stir well.
  7. Sift whole wheat flour with salt in a large bowl.
  8. Make a well in the center. Add pumpkin puree.  Mix together all the ingredients. Knead for 7-8 minutes.
  9. Whole wheat flour drinks a lot of water. If the dough feels dry or hard, add the remaining puree. The dough should be really soft and supple. I Used 1 cup plus a little extra puree and a little water..
  10. The dough will feel sticky initially but will come together and become soft and supple. Stretch and fold a couple of times. By the end of kneading, the dough should not be very sticky but quite soft.
  11. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep in the warm corner of your kitchen for 1 hour or until double.
  12. Grease one 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.
  13. Punch the risen dough and shape it into a loaf. Gently transfer the shaped dough into the loaf pan. Cover and keep to rise for 40-45 minutes or until it reaches the rim of the pan.
  14. During the last stages of rising, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  15. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top turns golden and the loaf pan sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast.
  16. Cool in the rack. Slice when cold.
Linking to #BreadBakers


Our theme is this month  is whole grains, and our host is Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm

 

 

 Soft and tender crumb, 100% wholegrain zucchini bread has all the goodness and health benefits of zucchini. 


Every baker who loves baking with whole grains keeps experimenting and adding ingredients that make the bread healthier. Zucchini, also known as courgette, is summer squash. Zucchini is rich in several vitamins and minerals and high in antioxidants.




Zucchini does not have a pronounced flavour. This makes it a very good addition to bakes.




Zucchini has high water content and in this recipe, I have pureed zucchini and used it in place of water since that’s mostly what zucchini is made of. And I have also used the autolyse technique to make the bread softer. Autolyse is the simple method of mixing flour with water followed by a period of rest. During this resting period, the flour hydrates fully. Bran moistens and softens reducing its negative effect on gluten formation. The dough becomes smoother and elastic and easier to handle.




Zucchini lends a faint green tint to the bread. The crumb is soft. It toasts well.

Enjoy it with your favourite spread or peanut butter or simply toast it and slather it with butter.




100% Whole Wheat Yeasted Zucchini Bread (Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-size zucchini
  • 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined sugar (powdered)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast

Instructions

  1. Wash and dice zucchini. Blend to get a smooth puree. Do not add water to puree zucchini.
  2. Measure 1 cup and reserve 3-4 tablespoon extra.
  3. Sift whole wheat flour with salt in a large bowl.
  4. Make a well in the center. Add sugar, zucchini puree. Add ¾ cup puree only. Mix together all the ingredients. Knead for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Whole wheat flour drinks a lot of water. If the dough feels dry or hard, add the remaining puree. The dough should be really soft and supple. Used 1 cup plus a little extra puree.
  6. Cover and let rest for 30-35 minutes.
  7. Dissolve yeast in 2-3 teaspoons of water. Stretch the dough and add yeast paste. Fold over and add more and repeat until all is used. Drizzle oil. Knead for another 4-5 minutes. The dough will feel sticky initially but will come together and become soft and supple.
  8. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep in the warm corner of your kitchen for 1 hour or until double.
  9. Grease one 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.
  10. Punch the risen dough and shape it into a loaf. Gently transfer the shaped dough into the loaf pan. Cover and keep to rise for 40-45 minutes or until it reaches the rim of the pan.
  11. During the last stages of rising, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  12. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top turns golden and the loaf pan sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast.
  13. Transfer to the cooling rack. Slice when cold.

Note: it is my idiosyncrasy as a baker to add yeast and oil later. I feel that the dough rests, bran moistens and softens and it reduces the kneading time. Gluten strands form. This resting phase (autolyse) really helps to get a softer crumb.

 Scallion flatbreads are yeasty, delicately aromatic, flavourful and very soft. Flatbreads are best when served hot. Serve with a curry of choice or hot soup. You may cut them into wedges and serve with a dip.



Spring creates paradise on Earth. It is the season of rebirth and rejuvenation, it brings new life to Earth. The brownness of the forest floor has now transformed into a carpet of green. The bare branches wear new leaves and swing to the song of the winds. There are so many colours, shades and myriad hues all around. 



The peace of the morning has occasionally broken the song of the birds and buzz of the bees.




 The buzz and the hum all around is soul-soothing.

The vegetable patch is dominated by the green shoots of onions that have been peeping out from every inch of the ground. Juicy green shoots are aromatic flavourful and make a lovely addition to bakes, salads and bread. A bunch of fresh shoots went into flatbreads that were made yesterday.




Scallion flatbreads are yeasty, delicately aromatic, flavourful and very soft.




The dough gets sticky when you add scallions. Dust with flour when rolling out and brush off excess flour before cooking.




Flatbreads are best when served hot. Serve with a curry of choice or hot soup. You may cut them into wedges and serve with a dip.

Buttermilk Scallion Flatbreads

Ingredients

  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons unrefined sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 3 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup finely sliced scallions (green leaves included)
  • Oil for cooking
  • Melted butter or ghee (clarified butter) for brushing

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together water, sugar and yeast. Cover. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Add flour, salt, buttermilk, and mix well. Knead for 5-6 minutes to form a soft and elastic dough that does not stick to the hands or to the bowl. Add more flour if the dough is very sticky.
  3. Knead scallions into the dough. Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 40-45 minutes, until doubled.
  4. Punch the dough and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and then roll out into 6 inches round about ¼  thick.  
  5. Preheat griddle on medium heat. Add one tablespoon oil and tilt to coat the surface of the griddle. Cook each round for 1  ½ minute or until golden. Flip and cook the other side pressing with a flat spoon.
  6. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
  7. Serve hot. Brush with butter or ghee before serving.

 Linking to #BreadBakers 

Bread Bakers logo

#BreadBakers is a group of bread-loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month by choosing the theme/ingredient. This month the Bread Bakers are making Griddle Bread, a theme chosen by Sneha from Sneha's Recipe.

And don’t forget to check out all the amazing bread baked by our talented bakers. Bread Baker's Event for this month is Griddle Breads.



 Scallion Star Bread is delicious bread with a crispy outer crust and soft fluffy layers with scallions inside. The bread has an amazing taste and flavour and makes a great accompaniment to hot soup.



Sunday is for catching up on the unfinished chores, some baking and a lot of relaxation. Baking is always calming and more so when you have ample time on hand, unlike on weekdays.

Our vegetable patch is beginning to show some green specks as we are heading towards spring. The first thing that has been coming up luxuriantly are the green shoots of onions. Fresh, vibrant and aromatic shoots have been popping out of the fields in abundance. And this gave us the idea of using them in our bread.

We baked two small Scallion star bread for dinner.

This is a vegan recipe and to make it a notch healthier, we used fine semolina flour for the dough.

The bread was delicious with the flavours of the green onion shoots. It pairs well with hot soup or just plain when served warm.



Shaping the bread is interesting. The dough is rolled out into 4 circles with the filling on top of each circle. This is then cut into sixteen parts. Two parts are then twisted away from each other. Press the ends to seal.

The collage on shaping Star Bread is from  Herb and Cheese Star Bread I baked a while ago.

Once the bread is shaped, cover it with a thick kitchen towel and keep it in a warm corner of the kitchen.




Brush the centre of the bread with water and sprinkle white sesame seeds.





Baked bread is a delicious amalgamation of yeasty aroma and the flavour of the scallions between the layers. Enjoy warm bread with soup or just plain.

 


Scallion Star Bread (Vegan)

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 cups fine semolina
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons unrefined sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds

Scallion Mixture

  • 8-10 stalks of spring onion
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Pulse semolina twice or thrice in the dry grinder (do not skip this. It really helps).
  2. Take it in a large bowl. Add salt and oil and mix well.
  3. In another deep bowl, take warm water. Add sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add yeast. Stir and cover for 7-8 minutes or until frothy.
  4. Use this mixture to knead semolina. Initially, the dough will be tight and hard. Keep adding water little by little until you get a very soft and supple dough. Semolina will keep absorbing water and swell.
  5. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and keep in a warm spot for one hour or until double.
  6. While the dough is rising, chop spring onions finely.
  7. Heat oil in a wok. Add chopped onions and salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes. We just need to cook it lightly until the mixture becomes dry.
  8. To shape the dough, divide the dough into two pieces. Keep the second piece covered while working on the first piece.
  9. Divide the first piece into four equal parts.
  10. Roll out each piece of dough into an 8 inch round.
  11. Place the first round of dough onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Spread 1/3 of the scallion mixture over the round. Leaving 1-inch space around the edges.
  12. Place the second circle of dough on top of the filling. Repeat with scallion mixture. Top with the third circle of dough, repeat with filling, then top with the final round of dough.
  13. Make sure the edges are levelled. Else, trim the edges. Place a 2inch wide glass or a bowl in the centre of the top round of the dough. Press a little to get a round impression.
  14. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut through the dough from the outer edge to the edge of the glass or bowl kept in the centre. Cut sixteen equal slices ( refer to the pictures).
  15. Take two slices of dough and twist them away from each other twice. Press the ends to seal. Repeat around the entire circle. Take each pair of twisted slices and press the ends together to seal.
  16. Cover loosely with a cling film or a kitchen towel and leave to rise for 20-25 minutes or until puffy. 
  17. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C during the last stages of rising.
  18. Brush the centre of the bread with water. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
  19. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.
  20. Repeat the same with the other piece of dough.
  21. Remove from the oven. Serve warm.
Note: for a non-vegan version, replace oil with butter in the dough and use butter to cook green onions. You may use ½ cup grated cheddar cheese and sprinkle on top of the scallion mixture while shaping. Brush warm bread with butter. 

We made one-star bread with cheese for the kids. 
 

 

 

Making  sourdough starter at home is as easy as stirring together some flour and water and letting it rest. The key to sourdough starter is the wild yeast. 


To bake with sourdough, the most important ingredient is the starter. The starter is the heart and soul of sourdough baking. Making a fresh batch of starter is as easy as stirring together some flour and water and letting it sit. No mashed up grapes, no mysterious rituals. Just flour and water (we are keeping it simple).

The key to the sourdough starter is the wild yeast. Wild yeast is present everywhere. In the air, in the flour…everywhere.  Over the years, commercial yeast replaced wild yeast because commercial yeast is easier to mass-produce, easy to store and easier to use. Wild yeast on the other hand can be fussy. It needs a medium, a starter to be useful for baking. A starter has to be constantly maintained and monitored. A starter is known by different names in different parts of the world. Poolish, Biga, Levain, Mother, Sponge, Starter, Chef and Biga. These are all preferments.  Just a mixture of flour, water and yeast.

When you make a starter, do not use it until day  7. Because before that it has good bacteria, bad bacteria and yeast all fighting for the common food – flour. After day 7 bad bacteria die off, leaving behind a harmonious colony of good bacteria and yeast. A stable starter is a SCOOBYSymbiotic Colony of Good Bacteria and Yeast. The by-products of their activities bring complex flavours and aroma to the starter dough and the resultant loaves.



Sourdough Starter

Things Required

A large-mouthed glass bottle

An electronic weighing scale (with tare function)

Flour 

Water  

Day 1

25g all-purpose flour`

25g whole wheat flour

50g water.

Mix well so that no dry pockets of flour remain. Cover loosely with the lid so that the gases escape. Leave in a warm place for 24 hours.

Day 2

Add 50 g of all-purpose flour and 50 g of water. Mix well. Cover and keep in a warm place for 24 hours.

Day 3

Discard half of the starter (100 grams). Add 50 g of all-purpose flour and 50 g of water. Mix well. Cover and keep in a warm place for 24 hours.

By the end of Day3, there should be bubbles on the surface of the starter and it should look visibly larger in volume. It should feel batter like when you stir it. If you are in a warm climate, you might hear the bubbles popping when you stir it. It should smell a little sour.

Day  4

Same as Day 3. Discard half of the starter (100 grams). Add 50 g of all-purpose flour and 50 g of water. Mix well. Cover and keep in a warm place for 24 hours.

By the end of day 4, the starter should look very bubbly. It should have doubled in volume. It should smell quite sour and pungent.

Day 5 to Day 6

Same as day 3

Repeat this step 3 each day until day 6 or until the starter smells fruity, yeasty and is full of bubbles. You may test the starter. If you are in a warm place, the starter after feeding should double up in 6-8 hours.

If you feel that the starter is yet not active and ready, repeat the same feeding schedule (day 3) for day 7, day 8 and if required day 9.

A starter that is ready will become bulky, frothy, loose and will be full of bubbles. It will double in volume within 6-8 hours of feeding. It will smell sour and pungent. You can taste it too. It will taste sour and vinegary.

The feeding process works well when the ratio of starter-to-flour-to-water is 1:1:1 — equal parts, by weight, existing starter, added flour, and added water. Some bakers prefer different ratios, but this works well for me.




Storing and Feeding the Ripe Starter

Once the starter is ready, refrigerate it after fresh feeding. This is called Mother Culture. Now feed it weekly. Feeding ratios will remain the same.  1:1:1. The same quantity of starter by weight, add the same quantity of flour by weight, the same quantity of water by weight. Stir and refrigerate.

However, if you are busy and feel that for some reason you will not be able to feed the starter weekly, you may follow the fortnightly feeding schedule. In this case, the feeding ratio will be 1:4:4. That means one part of the starter, four parts of flour and four parts of water. Stir and refrigerate. 

If you are planning to bake bread, take the starter out of the fridge the night before. Then feed it every 24 hours twice or thrice until it becomes very vigorous and doubles up in 6-8 hours. Now you are ready to bake sourdough bread with your homemade starter.

An Important point here is that it is always a good practice to prepare LEVAIN to bake bread. Levain is the copy of the mother culture made specifically to bake bread. 

Take a fresh jar to prepare Levain. The ideal ratio to build levain is 1:2:2. That is one part of the mother starter, two parts of flour and two parts of water. Mix well. Levain should double up in 6-8 hours to be used for baking.




Some Tips:

Feeding the starter regularly is important to keep the culture healthy and active and to be able to leaven the dough. Weekly feeding is good practice. Set a weekly alarm for feeding.

Before baking bread, ensure that your mother culture is active and vigorous. For this take it out of the refrigerator and feed it twice or thrice once every 24 hours. Now prepare Levain. Use levain for baking bread.

 

Before going ahead with the starter recipe, weigh the bottle. Note it somewhere or with a marker, write the weight on the cap of the bottle.

After day 1 and onwards during feeding,  we will discard half of the starter keeping in mind the weight of the bottle. Let me explain. Suppose our bottle weighs 200 grams.

  Weight of the bottle - 200 grams

   Starter                        - 100 grams (after discarding 100 grams, that is half of the starter)

   Total                            - 200 +100 = 300 grams

  After discarding 100 grams starter, press tare and then add 50 grams flour. Press tare, add 50 grams of water.

Or, to simplify, discard all except 300 grams. Add 50 grams flour, 50 grams water, stir and refrigerate.

There are many variables in sourdough baking and there is no possibility to control all of them all the time. Initially, stick to a tried and tested recipe. Bake with the same recipe again and again. After you get it right and gain confidence, go ahead with your technique.

Sourdough Discard

If you are baking regularly with sourdough, you are likely to end up with a lot of discard. Sourdough discard is the portion of your starter that is removed and discarded before feeding. Keep storing discard in a large jar in the refrigerator. It can be used to make a lot of sweet and savoury bakes and pancakes.

You may check out some of my discard recipes.

Vegan Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake

Sourdough Discard Whole Wheat Crackers

Sourdough Discard Sandwich Bread

Whole Wheat Sourdough Discard Naan


 

 

 

 

 

A soft and fluffy bun dough encases the lip-smacking potato, caramelised onion and cheese filling. The buns are fun to shape and delicious to eat.




On weekends we make kids spend some time in the kitchen,  involve them and try to initiate them into the wonderful world of cooking and baking. How a recipe can be made yours by adding ingredients and flavours of choice and how  in umpteen ways one can experiment with tastes and textures is all so exciting and enthralling.




This weekend was really interesting. We made caterpillar buns. Shaping the buns was an activity that everyone loved. The caterpillar bun recipe uses a clever cutting and rolling technique to create the stripes. Some caterpillars were fat while some thin as the filling was either on the higher side or on the lower side. Amongst all the fun and frolic, a tray of caterpillar buns went into the oven for baking.




The caterpillar buns are soft and fluffy, the filling hearty and delicious. A combination of potatoes, caramelized onions and cheese can never go wrong.

You may get creative with filling and add anything that you love- savoury or sweet.

 


Caterpillar Buns

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoon oil
  • ¾ warm water
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • Some chocolate chips or black currants for eyes

Stuffing

  • 4 medium-size potatoes, boiled
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • ¼ cup broccoli florets
  • 3 cube cheddar cheese grated
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Instructions

Instructions

  1. Whisk together first five ingredients.
  2. Add sugar to warm water and stir to dissolve. Add yeast. Stir. Cover and keep for 10 minutes. It should turn frothy.
  3. Add this to the dry mix and knead. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and soft.
  4. Transfer to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that it is coated with oil. Cover and keep in a warm place for 1 hour or until double.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the stuffing. Boil cool and mash the potatoes. Heat oil in a wok and add chopped onions. After 5 minutes add broccoli florets. Add salt, cover and cook until broccoli florets are cooked. Turn off the heat. Add mashed potatoes. Mix well. Adjust salt. Add grated cheese.
  6. Punch the risen dough. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece into a ball. Cover.
  7. Work on one piece at a time. Roll out into an oval. Add  a tablespoon or more of the stuffing on one side of the rolled dough and fold the dough over the filling to enclose it.
  8. Cut strips on the other side of the rolled dough and roll all the way to the end.
  9. Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking tray. Cover and keep in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes or until the rolls turn a beautiful golden.
  11. Brush with melted butter once out of the oven. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Tender flaky crust surrounding a hearty savoury stuffing of choice, Empanadas are pockets of                                                                                deliciousness. 



My favourite corner in the homestead is the small balcony tucked under the pear tree. It overlooks the orchard and the adjoining forest. We often spot White-throated laughing thrushes removing the dead leaves from the ground and feeding on the insects hidden underneath. Sometimes the majestic Blue Magpies perch on the branches of the trees letting out raucous calls.




 And to watch a pair of Yellow-throated Pine martens galloping in the fields and frolicking around is a feast for the eyes.

Sometimes, friendly talks are exchanged with the villagers returning from the forest with their cattle. And if someone passes by around tea time, sharing a cup of tea with some snacks is a ritual. Yesterday, we baked Pizza Empanadas.




Empanadas (which mean “to wrap in bread” in  Spanish ) are a Spanish or Latin –American savoury pastries filled with a variety of ingredients that are baked or fried. Empanadas are usually shaped in half-moons. Tender flaky crust with a delicious filling makes them a  delectable treat.

Empanada dough is pretty easy to make. Though the traditional recipe has egg, I made the dough without egg. The dough does not need to be overworked and requires minimal kneading. Empanadas have become our favourite snacks. They are so versatile and you can be as creative as you want with the fillings.

 I made two batches of empanadas. First with whole wheat flour. It was earthy, rustic and filling. It made a light meal with soup.

Second, with all-purpose flour. It was delicate and flaky, a pleasure to bite into.



Tangy pizza sauce, melted cheese, mushrooms and flaky crust, it is divine!





The homemade chunky pizza sauce was made beforehand and it was quick to assemble empanadas. In fact, if you may prepare the dough a day in advance and it becomes a breeze to assemble these. 





To seal the edges, I used all three techniques. Sealed the edges with a fork, cut the edges with a serrated edged cutter and also twisted the edges with hands.




Make sure that the circles that you roll are not very thin else it may burst open while baking. Do not add too much filling. Overstuffed empanadas may leak while baking. Leave enough space around the edges while sealing so that the edges don’t open up while baking.




Pizza Empanadas (Eggless) 

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or 1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 stick ( ½ cup ) cold butter cubed
  • ¾ -1 cup cold water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar (powdered)

Stuffing

  • 1 cup chunky pizza sauce
  • 3-4 cubes grated cheddar cheese
  • 100 grams grated mozzarella cheese
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • 2-3 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Others

  • 2-3 tablespoons water to seal the edges
  • A fork to press the edges

Instructions

  1. Take flour in a deep bowl. Add salt and sugar and mix well. Add cubed butter and rub with your fingers until you get a sandy textured mixture.
  2. Add cold water bit by bit and knead lightly to get the mixture together into a dough. Do not knead the dough too much. Just get it together.
  3. Wrap dough in a cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is chilling, arrange all the ingredients for stuffing on the counter by placing the bowls of cheese, pizza sauce, sauteed mushrooms, seasoning, rolling pin, a fork and a bowl with some water.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough into two parts. Wrap one half and keep it back into the fridge while working on the first half.
  7. Divide the first half into 7-8 small pieces.
  8. Dust your work surface with flour and put one of the eight pieces on it. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and roll out into a round of about 4 inches in diameter.
  9. Place about two heaping teaspoons of pizza sauce, two teaspoons of mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon of cheddar cheese, mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon of the spice mix. Use your finger to wet the bottom edge of the dough with water then carefully pull the top edge of the dough over the filling and down to the bottom edge, making sure that no cheese or filling gets in the seal of the edges. Press down to make the edges stick together.
  10. Use a fork to seal the edges or, use a serrated edged cutter wheel to cut the edges. Alternately, you can also fold the edges.
  11. Repeat until all the pieces are used. Arrange on a baking tray. Brush with an egg wash (optional). Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Serve hot.

 

 

 Linking to #BreadBakers

Bread Bakers logo

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

This month, the Bread Bakers are baking all kinds of pizzas. Our host for the month Karen wanted us to get creative with pizzas. Remember to check out her blog Karen's Kitchen Stories for amazing bakes. 

Here are the pizza-themed bakes for the month


 

 

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