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
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
- 50 g Flour
- 1 cup milk
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- Heat the oven at 350 F
- Brush the dough with egg wash and bake for 25-30 mins in a 350F
- This dough was a little more than a standard bread loaf can handle, so I removed about 1/3 cup dough before shaping it
- If you can not find molasses, you can substitute with honey