Monthly Archives: February 2017

Til-Gul Babka Jewish Indian bread

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Nothing is more appetizing than the smell of freshly made bread. Be it the fresh roti that is made right on the stove top or a loaf of bread baked in the oven.. it calls everyone to the kitchen and around the dining table. I am not much of a baker, I do bake cakes occasionally but it does not come to me naturally. I feel cakes are way easier than the breads, when you start baking breads, you are going closer to the science than art.

After MasterChef, one of the goals has been to bake more often and since my family is not too much into the cakes, and I like to challenge myself, I am planning to bake more breads and try new techniques.

January is one of my favorite months. This is the month of resolutions, new beginnings and many more things. One of the things is Hurda, its my most favorite thing on this face earth, and this is the time we celebrate Sankranti. This is the only festival in Maharashtra that is based on a Solar/Gregorian calendar, rest of them are all lunar calendar based. Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of Jan, and other parts of India celebrate this festival with different names, Pongal in southern India, Bihu in Eastern India, Uttarayan in Western India and Lohri in Northern India.  The common theme is great food and happiness and most of the  sweets  are made from Sesame seeds and Jaggery. Both these foods create ‘heat’ in the body and hence eaten during this winter season.

Going back to my baking breads, as you know, I love combining flavors. I had seen this sesame bread recipe on pintrest and that is also my source of inspiration today.So I decided to make this bread which is fit for the Sankrant and something new. Here it comes;

Til Gul Babka

 

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I know right, it sounds crazy but tasted yummy, if you are into sweet breads, you might want to give it a try. This recipe is quite versatile and can be easily made into a savory bread as well, all you have to change is the filling and you are good to go.

I had read about this technique of ‘Tangzhong‘ and decided to try using it with this bread. I think it definitely helped keep the bread very moist. Tangzhong is a a Japanese technique, it makes for a very sticky dough that is very tricky to handle, but thats what makes for the very soft final product.

Tangzhong is nothing else but a paste made with flour and water, you cook it to almost a roux like consistency. You cool it and mix it in the dough.It sounds so simple and it is, but let me tell you, it created incredibly soft almost pillowy bread.

I think I am so in love this technique that I think I will end up using in everything I bake. 🙂

Back to the recipe

Ingredients

Tangzhong

  • 50 g  Flour
  • 1 cup milk

Bread dough

  • 350 g Bread Flour ( about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 salt
  • 65 g sugar ( about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup warm Milk
  • 2 tsp Yeast
  • About 1 cup Tangzhong
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Filling

  • 1/2 cup Crushed Jaggery ( you can use dark brown sugar if you can not find jaggery)
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanut
  • 4 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 4-5 Tbsp ghee ( or softened unsalted butter)

Method

Making Tangzhong

  • Mix in the water and flour to form a good slurry
  • Cook it on low flame till it thickens. It should be a little less thick that a mashed potatoes. One way to check is if you stop stirring, does the mixture stays in circles and you can see the bottom of the pan
  • Take it off the heat, cover with a plastic wrap, making sure it touches the surface of the paste. This will ensure that no crust forms
  • Cool the Tangzhong to use later

Making the filling

  • Grind all the ingredients except the ghee and molasses
  • Mix the powder in ghee and molasses to make a paste

Making the dough

  • Warm up the milk and add the yeast. Leave it aside for 10-15 mins for it to foam up
  • Until then mix, Flour, Salt, sugar, sesame seeds
  • Add an egg and mix
  • Now add the yeast and milk mixture and mix for 30 secs
  • Add the tangzhong that is cooled
  • Now knead the dough in the stand mixer for 10-15 mins
  • Keep adding softened butter while the mixer is running
  • The dough will be a very wet dough, don’t worry. If the dough sticks to the bottom of the bowl, don’t worry
  • Take a greased bowl and transfer the dough.Let the dough roof for at least 2 hours.
  • I like to proof my dough in the fridge, so I can use it when I am ready
  • The dough should double in size

Assembling it together

  • Punch and deflate the dough
  • Roll it into a reactangle
  • Spread the filling evenly

Shaping the bread

  • Take the rolled log and cut it along the length with a sharp knife
  • Twist the two parts together to form a braid keeping the cut side up
  • Take a bread loaf pan that is greased and lined with a parchment paper
  • Add the dough in it and let it rest for at least 60 mins

Baking

  • Heat the oven at 350 F
  • Brush the dough with egg wash and bake for 25-30 mins in a 350F

Note:

  1. This dough was a little more than a standard bread loaf can handle, so I removed about 1/3 cup dough before shaping it
  2. If you can not find molasses, you can substitute with honey

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Pakatali Poori- Saffron- Lemon flavored bread

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I not only love to cook and learn new foods, but also love to learn about the ‘Old foods’. I feel in this era of instant and quick foods, we are missing out on some incredible dishes. We dont know how to use certain ingredients and soon those will become extinct. A lot of the dishes our gradmoms made, have never been a part of the food at our table.

I am thankful to books like Ruchira, we have access to at least a few of the Maharashtrian recipes. Its a book that is given as a wedding gift to every new bride in Maharashtra. I have used it extensively as when I got married, I did not know how to cook. I would call my mom but 1 minute call to India costed $1.90 and there was no internet. So getting cookbooks, going to the library and watching cooking shows was how I learnt my cooking.

Going back to the ‘lost recipe’, this recipe is almost on the verge of it. Today is Vasant Panchami, a day that marks the arrival of the ‘Vansant ( spring)’ season and you also worship Goddess Saraswati on this day.

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 This is a very special recipe because of Baba’s aunt used to make it, and she made it really well. I thought, why not make something I have never made before,after all Saraswati is a goddess of Knowledge, and what better tribute than a new( old) recipe. 

I have made  a couple of small modifications o the original recipe, I mixed half Rava and half all purpose flour, also rolled the poori like you roll the Chirota or Khaja ( another Maharashtrian delicacy)

It is a very easy recipe and you will find most of the needed ingredients at home. 

Pakatali Poori

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Ingredients 

Poori

  • 1/2 cup fine rave
  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Ghee ( clarified butter) melted and slightly warm
  • 3 tbsp sour full fat yogurt 
  • Pinch of salt

Syrup

  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • Saffron strands
  • Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon

Method

Poori

  • Mix the rave and APF together with salt
  • Add warm ghee and rub it well in the dry mixture
  • Add dahi to make a stiff dough. If the yogurt/dahi is not sour, you can leave it on the counter so it turns sour. It is crucial since that it what gives these pooris or breads a nice taste
  • Let the dough rest for at least an hour. If you have used only Rava, you would need to let it rest for 2 hours
  • After 2 hours, pound the dough, this is necessary to make it pliable. If you have a stand up mixer, you can use the dough attachment to do the work 

Syrup

  • Mix sugar and water and cook till its ‘2 string stage’ *
  • Heat a pan on very low flame, add the saffron strands and slightly roast them. You are just warming them and not quite roasting. Warming them makes them crumbly and hence they mix well in the syrup
  • Add cardamom powder, saffron and the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Keep the syrup on a low flame, but keep it warm. This ensures that the syrup soaks in the Pooris. If the syrup is not warm enough, it will only create a coat on the outside

Making the Pooris

  • Heat oil in a deep pan
  • You can roll the Pooris like a regular flat bread, or
  • Roll out a big poori. Make a roll and cut into 4-5 pieces
  • Flatten those pieces again to make a poori
  • Fry the poori till golden brown
  • Drain and immediately add them to the warm syrup. 
  • Ater 10-15 mins, take them out and arrange on a plate
  • If you like, you can user slivered almonds or pistachios as well

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