Yay! I was finally able to pull off a yeast bread – with a pretty decent outcome. After seeing my brother Manish bake bread, but weighing yeast on his fancy kitchen scale and measuring the temperature of his warm water using a thermometer – I got pretty scared by the whole deal and tried to forget about the packets of yeast I had bought. But when I came across this recipe that uses instant yeast, promises good results for a newbie baker and has 100+ comments to vouch for it, I decided to give it a try and was not disappointed. The recipe makes eight rolls, which means my family of 2.5 can consume it in one meal – a good thing because these taste best when fresh out of the oven. Encouraged by the success, I am already planning to make these with paneer or pesto or who knows…potatoes!
Recipe source – Cooking and Me (this link has the recipe explained really nicely with step by step pictures )
To make the rolls –
All purpose flour – 1.5 cups
Warm tap water – 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp
Instant yeast – 1/2 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Olive Oil – 1tbsp + 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds – 1/2 tbsp(optional)
Milk – 2 tsp
To make the garlic butter –
Salted butter, at room temperature – 6 tbsp
Minced garlic – 2 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
- In a mixing bowl, add flour + instant yeast + sugar + salt.
- Add warm water to make a dough – add the water slowly, don’t add all of it at one go, you may end up with a big sticky mess. You may not even need all of the water.
- Now add the 1 tbsp olive oil and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
- Keep the dough covered with cling wrap or a plate in a warm place.I keep it in my oven.
- Wait for 45 minutes for the dough to rise. While waiting, make the garlic butter by mixing together the minced garlic + butter + chopped coriander. Keep this in the fridge, as mine started to melt.
- Also take a loaf pan and grease it with butter or oil.
- After 45 minutes, punch the dough to remove the air and knead it again for a couple of minutes. Cut the dough ball into two equal halves.
- Spread some dry flour on your kitchen counter.Roll one half of the dough to a rectangle of 1/2 inch thickness. Spread nearly half of the garlic butter on the rectangle and roll it into a tight roll.
- Cut the roll in middle to get two rolls. Now cut the rolls again so that you have four equal rolls. Do the same with the other half of the dough. So now you have eight rolls.
- Arrange these eight rolls in the loaf pan, cut side up – don’t worry if they touch each other – that is what will give these the ‘pull apart’ thing. If you have any garlic butter remaining in the bowl, add two tsp of milk to the bowl an scrape it – spread this milk mixture on the rolls. Also sprinkle sesame seeds if you want to.
- Cover these again and keep them at a warm place for 20 minutes. They will rise a little again.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
- Keep the rolls to bake for 50 minutes at 375F. Keep an eye after 45 minutes, I used a glass loaf pan so was able to monitor not only the top of the rolls, but if the sides were browning too.
- Eat these while warm – they taste the best at this stage !
Crunchy Cookies loaded with Cumin
While I have been successful in keeping Aditi close to Indian food and cooking by making sweets such as coconut laddu, gajar ka hawla and badam peda, Indian bakes are something totally unknown to her – given that I took up baking only after landing in Canada. While she is pretty happy munching on Chocolate cookies and M&M cookies – both me and Nilesh crave for the Indian version of cookies – mostly salty and flavored with spices such as cumin and carom. I kept looking for a recipe and the one I tried was like a dream come true! This recipe produces perfect crunchy and ‘same as back home’ cookies – that made us nostalgic. To my surprise, even Aditi got hooked to these and now I am all set to try a carom (Ajwain) version. Another thing I liked about this recipe is that though egg-less, it does not use baking soda or baking powder – lesser the number of ingredients, the better I feel about the whole deal.
Recipe source – Cook With Manali
All purpose flour: 1 cup + 2 tbsp
Unsalted Butter : 1/2 cup (1 stick) at room temperature
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Salt: 3/4 tsp (The original recipe says 1/4 tsp, but I wanted them real salty so took a risk and added 1/4 tsp 3 times, tasting a pinch of dry flour after every addition, till I did not feel salt on my tongue).
Cumin/Jeera seeds: 1 tbsp
1. Take out the butter from the fridge in a big mixing bowl for two to three hours. In winters, I have tried leaving the butter out at room temperature overnight and found it perfectly soft-but-not-melted in the morning.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Spread the cumin seeds on a baking tray and keep them in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. You will get a nice aroma of roasted cumin seeds. Take these out and let them be.
2. Mix in another mixing bowl – flour, salt and 3/4 tbsp cumin seeds. Make sure you mix these real well as we want the salt to be evenly distributed. I felt an urgent need to buy a sifter – which went to my ever growing mental list of ‘buy professional baking stuff’.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together – I use my hand mixer for 2 minutes, till it is light and fluffy.
4. Add the flour (to which the salt and cumin seeds were added) and mix.I used my hands to bring together the dough. The stuff has so much butter that it should not be a problem.
5. Now roll out the dough into a sheet – about 1/4 inch thick. Try to roll it out evenly, so that all the cookies are of the same thickness.
6. Pick a cookie cutter – these are traditionally round or a square with smooth round edges. I left it to Aditi to pick something to cut the cookies and she found the smallest round lid of something that fit her hand.
7. The 1/4 tbsp roasted cumin seeds that did not go in the dough – stick them on the cookies. I again got my six year old sous-chef do it.
8. Place the cookies on a baking tray in the oven – pre-heated at 350F.
9. Bake for 10 minutes. Take the cookies out and reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
10. Put the cookies back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Open the oven door and rotate the tray. Bake for another 5 minutes.
11. Place the cookies on a cooling wire rack. They will be all crunchy when completely cooled.
I baked these cookies this Family Day – it was too cold to step outside and there is nothing more than my family enjoys than fresh baked cookies. Aditi and I often bake together – she has her opinion and suggestions around every recipe I pick. These ones are totally her kind – full of M&Ms and chocochips, soft and chewy.
Recipe source – YummyoYummy
- Take 1 cup of unsalted butter out of the fridge in a big mixing bowl. Let it be – for like three to four hours, so that it gets to room temperature. I usually bake on weekend evenings, and take out the butter to soften at room temperature while having my morning tea. At the same time, also take out two eggs if you keep them in the fridge, we need room temperature eggs.
- Whisk together 2 and 1/4 cups of All Purpose Flour, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda in a bowl. You may want to sift it, but I just mix everything together for 5 minutes with the teaspoon I use to measure. These are your dry ingredients.
- To the softened butter, add 1 cup of white granulated sugar and packed half cup of light brown sugar. It is the brown sugar that gives the cookies its soft and chewy texture, there is no way you can skip or replace it. Add 2 tsp of vanilla extract too.
- Beat the butter and sugars together for 2 minutes using a hand mixer, till it gets all fluffy and creamy.
- Add in the eggs, beat again for a minute till everything is well incorporated.
- Now add the dry ingredients, in three parts, mixing / beating after every addition.
- Now keep the hand mixer aside and using in big spoon, scrape together the sides of the bowl so that the entire dough is one uniform sticky mess.
- Add in 1 cup of M&Ms and 1/2 cup of choco chips. I had mini M&Ms and Kirkland semi sweet choco chips. You will also need 1/4 cup of M&Ms and 1/4 cup of choco chips later on. Keep them aside.
- Stick the dough in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
- When you take out the dough, you should be able to roll it in a ball, else use an ice cream scoop or a cookie dough scoop. I use my hands.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Take a cookie sheet, line it up with parchment paper.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll into balls. Space them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Using the tablespoon ensures same sized cookies. If you have a kitchen scale, you can weigh each ball for same weight.
- Get the kid hovering in the kitchen to stick M&Ms and choco chips that you had kept aside on each cookie dough ball. I asked three to four additions to each one, but mine got her own way and stuck them liberally.
- Put the cookie tray in the pre heated oven, and bake for 14 minutes. Take out the tray and let the cookies remain on the tray for 2 minutes. Place them gently on a wire rack to cool, they are soft when right out of the oven.
- These taste the best when eaten warm, straight from the cooling rack. If some remain, store them in an air tight container. I make dough balls, stick them in the freezer in a big plate for 2 hours. When they harden up, I put them in a zip lock and store them in the freezer for a month, so that I can bake a fresh small batch every weekend. Just take the cookie dough balls from the freezer and place them straight in the preheated oven.
- The original recipe says 375F, but 14 minutes at 350F worked best for me.