Oats Honey-Lemon Loaf and Footlongs

Two teenagers and their friends to boot! That’s a bagful of healthy appetites. Now what does Mommy do? She bakes a country style, country SIZED loaf! When my boys saw it, they termed it the ‘Pop of all loaves’! IMG_20140701_115533_wm We made some hearty open foot-longs/bruscetta with it. IMG_20140702_112901_wm The wisest thing I did was steal a bite with a quiet cuppa before the madness began! IMG_20140701_120141-1_wm OATS HONEY-LEMON LOAF

Ingredients

All purpose flour/Maida 2 cups
Whole wheat flour/aata- ½ cup
Oats- ½ cup
Instant Yeast- 1 Tsp/Fresh Yeast 10 grams
Honey- 1 Tbsp Salt- 1 Tsp
Butter – 1 ½ Tbsp
Milk- ¾ cup
Lemon Juice- 1 tsp Warm water- ¼ cup
Grated cheddar cheese- 1/2 cup

  1. Prove the yeast – add the honey to ¼ cup of warm water. Mix well. The water has to be just the right temperature- not too hot because that will kill the yeast not too cool because the yeast won’t prove. Drop some on the back of your wrist and it should feel warm there. Add the yeast and rest covered for 10-15 minutes. The yeast should froth like soapy bubbles. If it doesn’t, throw the mix and start afresh. Proper proving of the yeast is vital to getting good bread!
  2. In a big bowl, take the flours, oats and salt. Mix.
  3. Once the yeast has bloomed, add it to the flour and mix well with a wooden ladle.
  4. Add the lemon juice to the milk and let it stand for a minute. Add it to the flour-yeast mix. Once well mixed, knead the dough well using your hands. It will be sticky to start with.
  5. Add the butter and knead for another 10-12 minutes. It will now become a non-sticky, soft and pliable dough.
  6. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film, or a kitchen towel and rest for 11/2 to 2 hours. The dough should double up. The time actually depends on the weather conditions-if very hot, it doubles sooner than the 1 ½ hours. This is the first prove.
  7. Remove from the bowl once the dough is doubled and gently knock out the air.
  8. To get this big, flat loaf I put it flat on the baking tray.
  9. Cover with cling film or a kitchen towel taking care to that they do not touch the top of the bread. Leave to rise again for about 45 minutes. This is the second prove.
  10. When there are 20 minutes to go, pre-heat the oven at 200C.
  11. Brush the top with milk, sprinkle some oats and grated cheese (I used cheddar)  and bake for 20 minutes, till the top browns.  If doing in an oven with two elements, please keep both on. The bread should sound hollow when you tap on it.
  12. Slice when fully cooled. IMG_20140702_112956_wm

FOOTLONGS/ BRUSCETTA

Ingredients

Mixed vegetables finely chopped- 2 cups (I used red, yellow and green peppers, corn and mushrooms)
Onion,chopped fine- 1 medium
Garlic, minced- 1 tsp
Tomato ketchup- 1 tsp Oil- 1 tsp
Mixed herbs- 1 tsp Salt- 1 tsp (or to taste)
Grated cheddar- 1 cup (or more if you want cheesier)
Garlic Butter- 2 Tbsp salted butter + 1 tsp minced garlic\

Heat oil in a wok and keep the heat high throughout. Add the garlic and onion. Stir and add the chopped vegetable. Season with salt,pepper and mixed herbs. Stir in the ketchup. Remove from heat.

To assemble

Cut the loaf into long strips Brush the top of each foot-long with garlic butter and layer with the vegetable mix.
Top with grated cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for about 10 minutes till the cheese melts and the bread gets toasted. Serve fresh out of the oven. IMG_20140702_113025_wm IMG_20140702_113425_wm

A simple focaccia- my first bread ever!

THE FORGIVING FOCACCIA- a Baking Beginner’s Delight

The first bread I ever baked! And it remains my favourite to date 😀

Fresh Basil and cherry tomato focaccia

‘Mom, it smells like an Italian kitchen in here!!’, yelled my 13 year old in abandoned joy.
And I felt like joining him because I was baking my first bread-ever!!
The first prove and the second prove were periods of anxiety.Have I the right yeast! Am I doing it the right way!
(If those sound like alien terms, don’t you worry- they were strangers to me  till a month back!)

Eventually, when we bit into it, it was the best focaccia we’d ever had,soft inside, a hint of crunch on the outside.And I was a happy Mamma (Mia)!!

I call it ‘The Forgiving Focaccia’ as it is almost impossible to go wrong with it! A perfect start for your baking journey as it was for mine 🙂

Here is the super-simple recipe. The recipe is inspired and simplified from my friend Priyanka Chakraborty’s recipe here

For the focaccia dough
2  cups – All purpose flour  (Maida)
1 ¼  tsp dry yeast or ½ teaspoon Instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk/chhas/taak (at room temperature)
¼ cup just-warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil

For the topping

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mixed herbs – oregano,basil,rosemary and garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
4-5 cherry tomatoes halved or a large tomato, sliced
A few leaves of fresh basil

Prove the yeast – (Now what does that mean? Here you go) Add the sugar to ¼ cup of warm water. Mix well. The water has to be just the right temperature- not too hot because that will kill the yeast not too cool because the yeast won’t prove. Drop some on the back of your wrist and it should feel warm there. Add the yeast and rest covered for 10-15 minutes. The yeast should froth like soapy bubbles. If it doesn’t, throw the mix and start afresh. Proper proving of the yeast is vital to good bread!
In a big bowl, take the flour and salt. Mix well.
Once the yeast has bloomed, add it to the flour and knead the dough with the buttermilk. It will be sticky and it is meant to be like that.
Add the Olive oil and knead for another 10-12 minutes. You will have a soft and manageable dough now.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film, or a kitchen towel and rest for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dough should double up. The time actually depends on the weather conditions-if very hot, it doubles sooner than the 1 ½ hours. This is the first prove.

Making bread at home Remove from the bowl once the dough is doubled and gently knock out the air.
Roll it out into a large recrtange,square or circle as desired and place on to a greased baking dish.
Cover with cling film or a kitchen towel taking care that they do not touch the top of the bread. Leave to rise again for about 30 minutes. This is the second prove.
When there are 20 minutes to go, pre-heat the oven at 200C.
Make dimples on the surface of the bread, gently with your fingertip, so that you don’t deflate it. Drizzle olive oil generously, filling up the dimples made over the surface of the focaccia.
Sprinkle some dry herb mixture and garlic powder (or a tsp of garlic crushed fine) Brush with oil all over the surface with gentle hands.Stick the cherry tomatoes into the bread.

making focaccia at home
Bake for 20 minutes at 180 C, till the top changes colour slighty. If doing in an oven with two elements, please keep both on.
Remove from over, sprinkle some shredded basil leaves and bake for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack for 8-10 minutes, slice and serve fresh out of the oven.

Focaccia Caprese

  1. This dough keeps well in the refrigerator too. I cling filmed it tight and put it in last night. This morning, removed, got it back to room temperature and baked. Works well 🙂
  2. Baked bread can be sliced , wrapped in paper towels and frozen in ziplock bags. Before using, thaw and put into a hot oven for 10 odd minutes and it is as good as fresh 🙂

A look at the lovely crumb. The crust is nice and crunchy and the insides, very soft!

Focaccia Basil and cherry tomatoes
And since I made this, I am totally and absolutely bitten by the baking bug and am baking almost thrice a week!

More madness to follow!

Cheers and Happy Baking! 😀