Cheesy Onion and Sesame Seed Braided Bread

The Baby kicked!

Yesterday my baby (or foetus, if you prefer to call it that way) kicked  a feel-able kick for the first time. A real knock-off one which the father could sense too. And once again I realised what they show in movies is total crap! The baby does not know what “All is Well, All is Well” is and kicking the first time can not really be defined.

I had been feeling the flutters since the last two weeks, as if I am slowly releasing an air-filled bottle deep under water and the bubbles are gushing out. Thats how the initial baby movements felt. And then I would frantically place my husband’s hand on my tummy so that he could feel it and I would momentarily stop breathing. Lest my breathing rhythm would camouflage the baby’s kick. But naah, I could just feel it inside, and nothing through the layers of the womb and skin. So the Eureka moment of “He kicked/ She kicked – for the first time” was spread out over a two weeks!

Similar thing had happened when we found out I was pregnant. Being led on by the movies, I was expecting a lightning moment where I realise I had conceived, and would tell the husband, he would lift me in his arms, we would sing a song or two and already start dreaming about baby’s names. But noh! It was a long, excruciating process where you confirm that you are really pregnant.

I had a stack of home pregnancy tests, anticipating I would miss my periods and intended to take the test the very day I missed them. Curiosity was killing me, but still we decided to wait for a day. I couldn’t sleep all night, as if it were result day the next morning. And at 4 am, I finally woke up and took the test, unable to resist it any longer. In the sleepy groggy state I waited for a second for the strip to change color. It did not. I was disappointed and came back to sleep. The husband had woken up by now, consoled me saying that we will check it again a few days later and then he went to use the bathroom. I slept.

When we woke up at 7 am, husband said to me that the strip lying on the counter had changed color. I went and checked, and it had! Very slightly, but there was a change. Duh. We had to take the test again, and till then nothing could be confirmed. And then the next day there was another home pregnancy test, and then later on the blood test at the gynaecologist, and then finally it was confirmed that I am pregnant.

All the song singing and whirling and twirling stayed in my head.

Someone may say I am watching too many shitty movies and soaps, but they are a source of education. The first time I saw the home pregnancy test was in FRIENDS and Rachel has to be thanked for it. So there you go.

Another dilemma I am now facing is when I see mothers talking to their babies in the womb. I find it REALLY awkward to look down at the tummy and talk. Sure, I have conversations with the baby, but in my head. I can’t, for the love of life, unmute myself and quote Einstein to that little tadpole like thing deep inside layers of amniotic fluid. The father talks to the little one, but it is as if he is talking to me and I am responding to what he is saying. But me saying something to my stomach in an empty room? Well, thats not happening.

I just hope that doesn’t make me any less of a mother, but I have to preserve my sanity. I am sure the baby will eventually know my voice, albeit without a woman who talks to her body parts.

Lovingly,

Rutvika

*******       *******       *******

My other love has been Beth Hensperger’s book The Bread Bible. I have made several breads from the book before like this one or this one or even this beautiful one. All three use entirely different methods and with some adjustment of flour, the bread dough shapes up beautifully. There is really nothing like home-baked fresh bread.

And when it comes filled with cheesy onion and sesame seed filling and shaped like this one here, it’s a total winner.

Braided bread

It may look intimidating in the first glance, but it is super easy to shape the bread like this –

Braiding the bread

Cheesy Onion and Sesame Seed Braided Bread

What you will need :

For the dough

  • 3/4 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 110 grams salted butter (at room temperature)
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 large egg

For the filling –

  • 4 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 tablespoon grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
  • 5 tablespoon sesame seeds + 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • rich egg glaze of one egg yolk + little milk

What to do :

  1. In a large bowl using an electric beater with paddle attachment, combine yeast + sugar + salt + 1 and 1/2 cup flour.
  2. Add milk and water and beat until creamy for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the egg + softened butter with another 1/2 cup of flour and beat until butter is incorporated.
  4. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough which releases the sides of the bowl is formed.
  5. Then turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and knead till a soft yet springy dough is formed, dusting with flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead for 6-8 minutes by hand.
  6. Place dough in a greased deep container and turn once to coat. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 and 1/2 hours.
  7. Meanwhile prepare filling. In a medium skillet, melt butter + oil. Add onions and cook till translucent and limp but not browned, or the filling will turn bitter. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and sesame seeds. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
  8. Then gently deflate the dough, turn onto a lightly floured surface. Grease or parchment line a baking sheet.
  9. Cut the dough in half. Roll one half into 18×12 inch rectangle. Cut lengthwise into three 4 inch wide strips (4×18 inch.
  10. Carefully spread filling in the centre of each strip, leaving one inch margin on all sides. Fold over the edges and pinch them together, encasing the filling. Lift the ropes and place them on the greased baking sheet one inch apart.
  11. Beginning in the middle braid each rope loosely to each end. Pinch the ends and tuck them under securely. Cover loosely with a plastic wrap and let it double, for 30 minutes.
  12. Twenty minutes prior to baking, preheat the oven to 170C. Gently brush the braid with egg glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  13. Bake for 30-35 minutes till browned on top and sound hollow when tapped. Repeat with the other half of dough.
  14. Let it cool on a wire rack.

Cutting the bread braid

Notes :

  • If using unsalted butter in dough preparation, use 2 teaspoon salt.
  • Depending on the type of flour and humidity conditions, little more or less flour is required to make a soft and springy dough. The book calls for 4 and 1/2 cups, but I had to use 5 cups of flour.
  • If using active dry yeast, use 1 whole tablespoon of yeast.

 

Bon Apetit!

Inside the braid

Chocolaty Chocolate Cake

There must rarely be anyone who doesn’t like chocolate cake. And everyone has a perfect chocolate cake recipe to go to every now and then. I think i found mine this time. I had to make two versions of it, increasing the egg content to get a moist crumb. The egg white of an additional egg did the trick.

My twelve-year-old cousin came over to help me bake the cake for another cousin’s birthday party and oh boy, we had a blast. Dipping our fingers in the chocolate ganache (icing) and testing for that perfect ‘chocolaty taste’ . I personally think, chocolate tastes better off the fingers .. What say?

Oven fresh moist cake topped with deep and dark chocolate. This is what Sunday mornings should be.

chcolate cake piece

Now the amount of chocolate ganache icicng can be varied based on personal taste, but its always good to make a little more, which can be used on ice creams later on.

For the chocolate cake you will need :

125g flour (maida)
30g cornflour/cornstarch
40g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

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Upside down apple cake with caramel sauce

Two months back I had attended a workshop by Purple Foodie on cake baking and other teatime treats. Since then all required ingredients were sitting in the cupboard, waiting to be baked. What stopped me from making any cake was the lack of a ‘kitchen weighing scale’. Baking can be daunting when you read the recipes because all of the ingredients are always measured in grams! Duh!

But a few days back, a family friend got me this teeny weeny pocket scale which measures upto 200 gms for Rs. 300. And since then my baking expeditions started immediately since i had already collected all other stuff like cake baking aluminum pan, parchment paper, silicone spatula….

Baking a soft fluffy cake generally does require eggs. Although my mom makes a very delicious rawa (semolina) cake without eggs, it is quite dense as compared to a refined flour cake with eggs.

Most recipes call for unsalted butter which is very difficult to find here in India. So I use Amul butter in all my cakes and it turns out perfect, in-fact the slight salt content gives more depth to the flavors int he cake and caramel.

This upside down apple cake recipe has been adapted from Purple Foodie workshop guide. However, the apples can be replaced with any firm fruit like pears, pineapples, musk melon etc.

cake piece

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Caramel sauce

Traditionally, we have been using some kind of a caramel sauce in all sorts of Indian sweets in some form or the other. That includes melting sugar with a drizzle of water or milk.

In this caramel sauce, the major difference is that there is no water involved at all. Hence you have to be stirring it constantly  lest it burns. Caramel is notorious for turning bitter very quickly, but being attentive in those 10 minutes while cooking , will definitely help.

Yield : 280-300 gms caramel sauce

Ingredients :

200 gms powdered sugar

90 gm butter

120 gm fresh cream

Method and directions :

CARAMEL FINAL collage

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Vegetable Enchiladas

Vegetable Enchiladas

After coming back from work and yoga on a Wednesday evening, we wanted something zesty and yet again something quick, to fill up our starving stomachs.

Enchiladas seemed perfect, cheesy and melty, with our storage already stocked with some Corn Tortillas. (They are still not available in all stores in Mumbai, but most malls stock it in FoodBazaar, Hypercity etc. )

This time, the trick was to make it look colorful, with the variety of fresh veggies available in the market.

Ingredients :

  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 1 carrot sliced vertically
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 8-10 baby corns vertically sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup spring onions
  • 1 small tomato thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 2-3 corn tortillas
  • Oil for cooking, butter for baking
  • Salt as per taste
  • Pepper, basil, thyme, some sea salt and chilli flakes/powder for flavor

I use and swear by the Kirkland Signature USDA Organic No-Salt Seasoning (http://www.amazon.com/Kirkland-Signature-Organic-No-Salt-Seasoning/dp/B002W5SDEQ) which we always ask our friends and relatives in the US to get for us. But otherwise, even the seasoning packet which comes with Dominoes Pizza works well for flavoring.

In a skillet, heat some oil and saute the onions. After about 3-4 minutes add the shredded cabbage,  carrot slices and baby corn verticals. Put a lid on the skillet ad let this cook for about 5 minutes.

In another bowl mix the sweet corn and green peas and add some water and microwave it for 3 minutes or steam for about 5 minutes, and then drain the water and add it to the veggies in the skillet.

Add some salt, and the seasonings as per taste, mix it well and put the lid back on for about 2-3 more minutes.

The filling is ready.

IMG_4836

Take a medium sized glass baking dish and lightly line it with butter.

Place one tortilla on the dish and layer it with vegetable filling and sprinkle some cheese on top. Repeat with another layer of tortilla, veggies, tomato slices, and then a generous layer of cheese. Sprinkle some coriander and it is ready to bake.

IMG_4863

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C and bake the enchiladas. Normally it takes about 10 minutes once the oven is heated, but be careful to not let the cheese particles on the sides of the baking dish to burn. (It still tastes amazingly crisp, but looks a little odd)

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Done! Easy enchiladas are ready to be eaten.

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Bon-apetit!

Cheers,

R