Friday, 30 March 2012

For the lovers of Naan bread - how to bake it at home

Today my mission is to bake my all time favourite bread, the Indian Naan bread. I'm going to take it to our church's youth evening, where we usually serve some food. My friend is cooking Dhal from lentils, so it will be a perfect companion for the bread :)It's lovely to share food as well, as we share our thoughts and our lives. Fun & Food - two basic things indeed.

This recipe is very simple and always succesful. It is essential to use good ingredients and to enjoy the baking process...and to eat them fresh! They are best on the very day of baking. And you have to be careful not to burn them in the oven, they get ready quite quickly. They are wonderfully soft from the inside, a bit moist which is ideal. I altered the original recipe a bit, changing the buttering after oven into oiling, to have a better fat consistency - and I also love the taste of olive oil. But if you prefer some salty butter, of course feel free to use it.

This recipe makes about 6-8, depends how big you make them. I dealed the dough into 8 pieces, and the breads are still quite big for one person. Double the recipe if you're planning to share the bread with a lot of friends :)When you serve them, I suggest some sauce (for example indian style cucumber-yogurt sauce or any nut spread)

Naan bread

2 dl natural yogurt (I use either thick greek or turkish yogurt and organic if possible)

2 dl water
1 tsp himalaya salt
9 dl wheat flour, or half of it wholewheat to have some fibre, gives some more flavor and makes it more filling
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp olive oil

For the buttering:

0,5 dl olive oil (or same amount melted butter)

1 tsp paprika
some cummin powder, garam masala, kurkuma or ginger powder - use your favourites!
add a hinch of himalaya salt if you wish, but not necessary

1. Mix all dry ingredients together. Heat the oven to 250°C.

2. Mix together the wet ingredients and add into the dry ingredient mixture. Knead the dough in the bowl forcefully to make it fluffy enough. Then continue forceful kneading on a floured table to get a good consistency.

3. Deal the dough into 6-8 pieces, roll them to balls. Put them on a baking sheet, cover them with a cloth and let them rest for 10 minutes. Then, make them flat with a rolling pin, form into oval shape. Make them thin.

4. Let them rest covered on a baking sheet for five minutes. Bake them in oven for about five minutes, until they get a beautiful golden brown colour on the sides. If you have kneaded them well, they should rise in the oven and look like balloons with an air pocket in the middle.

5. Mix the olive oil or butter with the spices and butter the Naan breads. Serve fresh from the oven! Enjoy.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Beautiful bagels for a beautiful life

The last time I posted something was almost two years ago. It's hard to believe that I'm back again - actually I just felt that I must continue writing this blog. Of course I've been cooking as much as before all this time, you could never separate me from the kitchen.
Last week baking these bagels (that have the honour to be my first come back recipe) changed everything. They were so delicious and lovely so that I couldn't keep the recipe only to myself. The pictures really speak for themselves, who could resist such adorable creatures as these little bagels? :)

Baking them surprised me, because I thought it would be much more complicated. Actually it turned out to be a lot of fun - especially the part of the process when you boil them in the water. It became my new favourite "home baked bread" recipe. Why to buy those bagels from market, whose ingredients are suspectable (and probably not that natural anymore), when you can experience the joy of making them yourself?

Well, I recommend you to start baking and feel the special kind of happiness that only self-made bread can bring :) And I recommend you to use organic ingredients, whenever you can. Oh and one thing, I made these bagels a bit more different from the mainstream not using only wheat flour, but making my own mixture. Turned out tasty with a good texture, and a bit more vital!

This one is a real beauty, but it "lost" its hole in the oven :D


about 16 pieces

5 dl water
50g yeast
2 1/2 tsp himalayan salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp rape seed oil or any vegetable oil of good quality
2 dl buckwheat flour
4 dl wholewheat barley flour
6 dl wholewheat flour
(1 dl oatmeal)

For boiling them

water and a big kettle
3 tbsp agave syrup
2-3 tbsp himalayan salt

For the "topping"
sesame seeds about 2 dl
oatmeal about 2-3 dl

1. Warm up the water to the temperature of your hand. Let then yeast melt into it. Add sugar, salt and oil, then add the flours and oatmeal mixing together all the time. You can add more flour if the dough stays too sticky, but remember to leave it a bit more softer than normally when you bake bread. Let the dough rise in a warm place so that it doubles.
2. Warm the oven to 225°C. Take to baking sheets and cover them with baking paper.
3. Knead the dough with some flour a little bit, then deal it to 16 pieces or less, if you want BIG bagels. Make "breadrolls", then push a hole into the middle of them and push your whole finger through and let the bagel roll a bit around your finger until the hole is big enough.
4. Boil water with agave syrup and salt (make sure there's enough water) in a big kettle. Add bagels to the water. When they rise to the surface, boil them from both sides 1-2 minutes, then move to the baking sheet. It's good to use a ladle with holes.
5. Pour the sesame seeds onto one plate and the oatmeal to another. Roll the bagels in the topping you wish, then put back to the baking sheet. Whean ready, bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until ready.
6. Eat them fresh from the oven or let them cool down. If you let them cool down, cut into a half toast them before eating. Fill with anything you like, cream cheese is the classic option but I must say that you can use your imagination - I found out they were lovely with some peanut butter, honey and sliced banana. Of course it depends on the fact if you wish to eat them with a salty or sweet filling. Then, just enjoy!