Tempering Chocolate – The Easy Way

Chocolate is one of the best things in the world. I don’t know anyone who hates chocolate or simply dislikes it. People love different types of chocolate or chocolate in different forms. Chocolate gives us happiness, gives us satisfaction, gives us a happy high. I can keep raving about chocolate but what I really want to tell today – that is on the World Chocolate Day that chocolate is something that helps us through thick and thin like literally when you are upset you eat chocolate, when you are happy you eat chocolate. At least that is with me because I am an emotional eater. Leaving my disorders aside and coming back to chocolate. Chocolate is great to eat but complicated to work with. It is such a versatile ingredient but Chocolate in its pure form is very moody. Or rather it easily gets affected by things like temperature, humidity, water and more. So even if this is a widely written topic, I would like to share my experience on it, because I will be writing on how to temper chocolate in hot and humid weather and most importantly at HOME.

Storage: Firstly depending on what part of India you are in, it is going be hot and worse it is going to be humid. Mumbai is both – hot and humid. So if you want to work with chocolate at home, it is a bit challenging. I will stress on the fact that you will need an air conditioner. You do, there is no option. Mainly because when you see international websites and videos, they mention “keep chocolate at room temperature” their room temperature is 22 C and our room temperature is 30 C. So hence the complication begins. But I would strongly advise not to keep the chocolate in the refrigerator. NO. The reason simply being temperature change especially massive temperature change is not good for chocolate. And condensation after removing the chocolate from the fridge is going to make things worse. My suggestion: After opening the packet of the chocolate, wrap it with plastic wrap and store it in a cool place at (our) room temperature.

Types of Chocolate: There are two types of Chocolate – Couverture and Compound. Couverture is high quality chocolate which contains cocoa butter as its fat content. This is the chocolate to use if making chocolates, truffles or rather anything. I absolutely recommend couverture because of the quality, taste and finish. The result tempered couverture chocolate gives is this shiny chocolate with the perfect crack in it. Compound is a cheaper quality of chocolate, the fat used in the chocolate is vegetable oil and not cocoa butter. It is definitely easier to work with. But lacks the quality, taste and finish. If you are buying your chocolate for a cheap price it is probably because it is compound. I really want to stress on the fact that if you are making chocolates or using chocolate for baked goods, please buy good quality chocolate. You will realize the difference in taste, texture and quality once you start using a good quality chocolate. The brand I prefer and probably the best pastry chefs in the world swear by and which is available in India is Callebaut. I will say that the price is probably a little on the higher side but if like me and many others you prefer quality over quantity then you know Callebaut is the right choice. Always check the ingredients list on back of the packet to see what type of chocolate you are buying. If the fat content says cocoa butter it is couverture and if it says vegetable oil or any other type of fat it is compound.

Tempering:  If you see Wikipedia on tempering chocolate, ” Chocolate tempering, a method of increasing the shine and durability of chocolate couverture” Tempering chocolate is one of the vitally important things to do if you are making chocolates, truffles, bonbon, chocolate decorations or more. It is also one of the complicated techniques to do. Chocolate when made, it is made in the ideal temperature. Every type of molecule is perfectly aligned and chocolate is in its perfect form. But then comes the transporting, the storing, the buying and the getting it home part. All these changes, changes the look of the chocolate. So to get back the perfect form we need to temper it. Tempering is melting the fat crystals in the chocolate, and then rearranging it back by adding stabilized fat crystals into it. Hence stabilizing it altogether, which gets us the chocolate back in its perfect form.

Basic idea is – melt your chocolate hence melting the fat crystals, lower the temperature, add stabilized fat crystals and set it – and it is done. Now there are various ways to do it – machine, seeding, tabling, adding cocoa butter and probably more. Machine does the traditional way of melting the chocolate max at 45 C, lowering the temperature till 22 C and then increasing it till 31 C by doing so it forms the stabilized fat crystals. Machine is obviously not the choice here, nor is  seeding and tabling. Seeding and tabling is when you melt chocolate and then add already tempered chocolate which can either be from your packet or if you have a tempered chocolate because it will contain the stabilized fat crystals which will stabilize the remaining one. But as I mentioned before because of the different temperature changes that chocolate goes through from various stages from packaging and buying, even though its tempered it doesn’t remain the same. Especially in India where temperature varies from region to region. So the fool proof method of tempering is adding cocoa butter.

I use Callebaut Mycyro Butter. It is simple, it is easy and it WORKS!

Adding Cocoa Butter: Melt your chocolate by not exceeding more than 45 C for dark and 42 C for milk and white. I use the microwave by giving it 10 seconds bursts. After every ten seconds I keep giving it a good stir. Please don’t go beyond 45 C or else you will burn your chocolate. After your chocolate is melted, go to your room where air conditioner is switched on at 21 C. Keep slowly stirring the chocolate till it reaches 31 C. Do not over stir or you will crystallize the chocolate. Once the chocolate hits 31 C. Add 1% of cocoa butter of your total chocolate weight. For example if you are melting 1 kg of chocolate use 10 grams of Mycryo. Stir till it melts and is incorporated.

Do the test: Take a parchment paper or back of a spoon and dip it in the chocolate. If it sets in 5 minutes with a sheen on it. You have done it! The chocolate is tempered. Now use the chocolate as desired.

Remember always set your chocolates in an air conditioned room between 21 – 22 C. Do not set it in the refrigerator as it when stored in (our) room temperature it will soften and form condensation. When set in an air conditioned room it will stay normal when stored in (our) room temperature.

If you want to see a video tutorial: http://www.callebaut.com/en-US/chocolate-video/technique/tempering

If it works for you, then join the club. If not, don’t loose hope. Keep trying, till you get it right. I have tried all the techniques numerous times till I finally found the right one. I suggest you do the same.

Advertisements

Peaches & Plums Tart

I love fruits. I can literally stuff my face with fruits all day. I like to call them desserts from heaven. Taking these small tokens of deliciousness and using them to make different types of desserts is so satisfying. I love to work with seasonal fruits. Monsoon brings the arrival of Peaches, Plums, Cherries and more. So using Peaches and Plums I have made an extremely simple rustic yet soul satisfying dessert – Peaches and Plums Tart. This style of making a tart is rustic and easy. We wont be making it in a tart shell but rather with puff pastry.

Puff pastry which was this difficult thing to procure in Mumbai, is now readily available in all supermarkets at a decent cost. I always keep a pack in my freezer. If used and stored right this can last you a while. I would suggest buying a packet and keeping it in the freezer because this helps you churn out crowd pleasers in a matter of minutes. You just need a good savory or sweet filling and you are sorted.

You can also make puff pastry and store it in the freezer. The process though long and tedious is not the issue, but the issue is the weather. If you are in a hot and humid city like Mumbai. You need to make in a room with AC. Or else it will be very difficult to attain the desired results. Coming back to the tart: the best thing about this tart is that it needs no measurements, it is almost like cooking, you taste the filling, you add more ingredients accordingly. I have given an approximation of the quantity of ingredients but you can use less or more as desired.

Peaches & Plums Tart

Ingredients:

  • 3 Peaches
  • 3 – 4 Plums
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • Puff Pastry, thawed

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • Cut the peaches and plums in to thin slices. Drizzle honey on it and mix. Start with one tablespoon of honey and keep checking for sweetness. Stop when you reach the desired sweetness.
  • Cut a portion of thawed puff pastry and roll it into 4 inches by 10/12 inches thin rectangle.
  • Poke holes using a fork into the pastry sheet. Then using a pastry brush, brush the egg on to the sheet.
  • Imagine a 1.5 cm border around the sheet. Leaving that much space, start placing the fruits one by one. If you have juices from the fruit left in the bowl do not throw it away.
  • Close the border onto fruits and brush the border with egg.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or till risen and brown.
  • After the tart is done, taking a brush, brush the leftover juices on the fruit.
  • Serve warm.

Notes:

  • If you are using puff pastry for the first time, I would like to point out that puff pastry is not like a pie or cookie dough where you can re-roll and use the trimmings because it is made in such a way that it forms layers of dough and butter. Re-rolling will damage the layers thus making it not rise. So cut only a portion because you will be rolling it thin. The portion you will cut will double/triple up when rolled so cut accordingly.
  • Store the remaining puff pastry wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer. And whenever need be, you can remove, let it thaw and then use it.
  • I have used Peaches and Plum, you can use any other fruit you want. The concept is to keep it simple, rustic and tasty.
  • You can use sugar instead of honey.

Sourdough Country Bread

Valentine’s Day special series – Sourdough Country Bread.

I love breads, I love baking them, I love eating them. Since my run in with the process of making of a Sourdough, I am totally in love with it. I feel the earthy, old school feel to it, is pure pleasure. And don’t get me started on the flavor. The best bread you will ever taste. It has its own distinct flavor profile, which you will not get in any regular commercial yeast leaven breads made from just flour and water. That is the beauty of sourdough bread. It is made from just flour, water, salt and obviously the sourdough starter. But the result is just mind blowing.

But as the Sourdough Bread has its own beauty and flavor. It has also has its own mind and mood. It is a very technical bread. The method though seem to the point, is a bit complex in the beginning, but once you get a hang of it. You will get better. Don’t be upset or give up if it doesn’t come out perfect the first time, or the second or the third, you will have to be patient with this bread, with the starter, with the whole process. It is time consuming but the results are worth it.

Firstly to even begin planning the bread, you will need a sourdough starter, for which the recipe is here.

Secondly, I will be doing a Tartine Bakery inspired Country Loaf. The method is called a wet dough method where the hydration of the dough is 75%. This bread has a great depth of flavor and you use your leaven at a younger stage where it still on the milky smelling side and not reached the sour smelling stage.

Third – After going through the recipe, go on YouTube and search for Tartine Country Loaf and see as many videos as you can. There is no point of me posting pictures of the method, because the videos will make more sense. They help a lot. But don’t just see one, see as many as you can.

Fourth – you will need a dutch oven to get the perfect loaf, unless your oven has an option of infusing steam while baking. Dutch oven will create the perfect steam, which in turn will create the perfect crust. If you are really interested in baking bread regularly buy a banneton for the final proofing of the bread. It gives it the perfect shape, the rustic look and it is a good investment.

Now finally the recipe  –

img_20170125_203938_837

 

Ingredients –

  • 450 grams all purpose flour
  • 50 grams whole wheat flour
  • 350 grams water
  • 100 grams leaven
  • 10 grams salt
  • 25 grams water

Method –

Start the leaven –

  • One day before the making the dough, discard 85% of the starter, the recipe says you need only one tablespoon for the leaven but mine is usually more than that. Feed your starter 70 grams all purpose flour, 30 grams whole wheat flour and 100 grams water. And set it aside for at least 7 – 10 hours. Ideally do it in the night, so the leaven will be ready to use in the morning. You also need to see take the weather in mind. If you are living in Mumbai, like me, where it is usually hot. During the summer it will only take about 4 to 5 hours for the leaven to be ready to use. Hot weather means faster yeast activity.
  • To check if its ready – It should have risen from its initial stage. It should smell milky and not sour and vinegar-y. If it smells sour feed it again and use it after 2 -3 hours.  For the final check, take a spoonful of starter and drop it in a bowl of water, if it floats its ready and if it drowns, then its not.

Dough – 

  • If all the things check out and your leaven is ready to use. You prep for the dough.
  • In a bowl weigh the 360 grams of water and add the leaven. The remaining leaven is your starter now, don’t discard it, continue feeding it.
  • Mix the leaven in the water till its partially dissolved.
  • Add the flours, and mix it with hand till there is no dry flour remaining. Cover it  with a kitchen towel and leave it for 30 minutes. This is called the autolyse period, basically good time to increase the gluten development.
  • After 30 minutes – add salt and 25 grams of water. Mix by pinching the dough between your fingers. Keep mixing and pinching till it forms a nice dough. Remember it will be wet and sticky as its a wet dough.
  • Now we do the SF – stretch and fold. Transfer the dough in a separate bowl, wet your hands, and pick the dough from one side and stretch it (softly) and fold it on the other side. So it should be a total of four SFs on all four sides. That will be one turn. Cover and let it rest.
  • Bulk Fermentation – For the next 4 hours, keep doing the SFs every 30 minutes one full turn each time. As the time will progress you will see the dough getting smoother, stretchy and tighter, showing the development of gluten and gas in the dough. If the dough is till loose, continue it for one more hour.
  • After 4 hours, transfer the dough on a clean surface/counter. Do not flour it before. After the dough is on the counter. Sprinkle some flour on the top of the dough and with a dough scraper lift the dough and put the flour side down.
  • Sprinkle flour on top and around the dough. With the help of the dough scraper, shape the dough in to a tight round by taking the scraper and pulling the dough towards you from down. Same time twisting it and making it into a round with your hand. (Hence the video for reference).
  • Do it a few times and don’t over do it, or else the top of the dough will tear. You will have to the shaping all over again.
  • Bench Rest – Cover and rest for 30 minutes to give the gluten some rest.
  • After 30 minutes your dough should be thick like a pancake especially from the edges, then its ready to shape. If it is flat and tapered from the edges, re – shape it one more time and give it a 30 minute bench rest.
  • Generously dust flour in the banneton.
  • For the final proofing – sprinkle flour on top of the dough and invert flour side down. That will be the top of the bread. Now shape it according to your banneton, mine is oval, so flatten the dough a little in to a rectangle. Make sure you don’t flatten it a lot or all the air will escape.
  • Stretch the sides of the lower part of the dough which is towards you. Roll the top, pinching the side turned with every turn. After rolling it fully, pinch the seams together, and give it a gentle roll, shaping it into an oval.
  • For round shaped banneton – Make a rectangle, fold the bottom half way to the center. Fold the right side on the left and left on the right side, like an envelope. Finally cover seams with folding the top side. Pinch the seams and invert it and with the sides of your palm rotate the dough from down creating circles, thus shaping it into a round.
  • Generously sprinkle flour on the top side of the dough. Invert the smooth flour side on your hand and place it in the banneton, seam side should be facing upwards. Sprinkle some more flour on the top. Cover and let it proof for 4 hours or leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • If placed in the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature before baking.
  • 20 minutes before baking – preheat the oven to 230 C and put the dutch oven with the lid inside the oven to preheat.
  • After 20 minutes, carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven. Gently invert the dough on a parchment paper, score the bread, and carefully without burning your hand, place it in the dutch oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on, this creates the perfect the steam, which therefore creates the perfect crust. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and bake for 20 minutes more for the crust to turn a beautiful golden and auburn color.
  • When baked, remove from the oven, remove it from the dutch oven and then let it cool on a wire rack for an hour. I can only wait for 30 minutes before I start slicing the bread and eating it.
  • The exterior of the bread will have a nice crunchy crust. The interior should have these webs which is basically the air bubbles in the bread created during the process. The web should consist of big and small bubbles. It will be a little chewy compared to the commercial yeast leavened bread but that is how it supposed to be.

You can see the webs in the bread I made below, though it is not where I want it to be, but as I said the process is slow and it will take time to perfect this bread. So don’t give up.

img_20170125_211956_181

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

Valentine’s Day is upon us. This year I will be showcasing the desserts I love. I will either be posting tried and tested recipes, which I have baked time again and have never disappointed me or I will be giving a special twist to my favorite desserts.  People declare their love for their special someone. This year I will declare or showcase my love for my favorite recipes and my special someone is going to enjoy eating them.

I am starting this series with the light and refreshing Lemon and Rosemary Loaf Cake. I love tea cakes. Their flavor profile is so simple, yet they are so delicious. Simplicity takes the cake sometimes (literally taking the cake in this scenario). The cake is pretty much very simple to make. My family loves this cake so much its over in one sitting. So don’t expect any leftovers if your family also loves desserts like mine.

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf

 

Ingredients –

Cake –

  • 135 gms butter, melted
  •  215 gms castor sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Few Rosemary Sprigs, chopped
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla
  • 170 ml milk, room temperature
  • 235 gms all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Candied Lemon Slices –

  • 1 lemon
  • 100 gms sugar
  • 150 gms water

Lemon Syrup –

  • 100gms sugar
  • 150 gms water
  • Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Method –

Cake –

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 7in x 3.5in loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.
  • In a bowl sift the flour and baking powder.
  • Using a stand mixer – mix sugar, eggs, lemon zest, rosemary and vanilla until well combined.
  • Alternate adding the flour and milk, one third at a time to the sugar and egg mixture. Mix well.
  •  Add the melted butter in the end. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes on 180 C.
  • Keep checking the cake after 40 minutes whether it is done by poking a toothpick inside and it should come out clean.
  • As the cake is baking get ready with the Candied Lemon Slices and Lemon syrup.

Candied Lemon Slices –

  • Cut thin slices of a lemon.
  • In a saucepan add sugar and water. Let it come to a boil.
  • Add the lemon slices and let is simmer for about 20 minutes or till the water is almost evaporated.
  • Remove the slices and let them dry on a plate for 5 – 10 minutes.

Lemon Syrup –

  • In a saucepan – add sugar, water, lemon juice and rosemary. Cook on medium heat till the mixture is thick for about 5 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook it as it will reach the soft ball stage and wont be a syrup consistency anymore.
  • Strain the syrup and keep it ready.
  • When the cake is baked. Remove from the pan and while its hot pour the warm syrup on it. Let it cool. Arrange the candied slices on top.
  • Cut into slices and serve warm with a cup of tea.

The Sourdough Starter

Recently my new found love is baking bread. Bread is such a simple yet a complex thing to bake. But I am not talking about your regular commercial yeast leavened bread. I am talking about the ancient old technique but tastes out of this world bread. The process is long and time consuming. But once you harness it, then the long and time consuming process becomes therapeutic. The results are mind blowing. A slice of bread wont taste the same again. From the bland and no flavor regular loaves that we regularly eat to this wonderful, rustic looking, packed with immense flavors bread is what you will crave everyday. So how do you get this bread – the main ingredient – Sourdough Starter.

Sourdough Starter is a starter with wild yeasts which are already present in the environment. They enter the starter and start producing the wonderful flavors that blow your mind when you eat the bread. I wont go in the scientific reasoning as even I don’t know much about it. But I am learning. I will begin with the most basic know-how. How to start the starter, how to continue feeding it – yes feeding it because it is a living breathing organism that you are giving birth to (well not literally giving birth, but you get the idea). You will have to take care of it every day, well almost.

Here how it goes –

Ingredients –

All purpose Flour

Whole Wheat Flour

Water

Method –

To begin first you need to understand the ratio of the starter which will be constant throughout – 1 : 1

Equal amount of Flour and Water. So if you are taking 100 gms of flour, you mix 100 gms of water. I tend to divide the flour to a ratio of 70:30, between all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. You can go ahead with 100% all purpose flour also. But the whole wheat works for me better. So I take 70 – 75 gms all purpose flour and 30 – 25 gms of whole wheat flour.

Second take a good clean plastic/glass medium to large size container with a lid, which will also fit in your refrigerator.

Day 1 – In a bowl you take 100 gms of flour 70:30 all purpose flour : whole wheat flour. Add 100 gms of water. Mix. Cover and leave it aside for 24 – 48 hours at room temperature. Mostly you will see some activity within 24 hours thanks to our Mumbai weather. As the wild yeast start accumulating in the starter, it will show tiny bubbles and will have a vinegar-y smell.

Day 2 – First feed – As the yeast are living organisms, and as all living organisms need food, so you know what needs to be done. Yeast feeds on the sugars in the flour and release carbon dioxide, which makes the starter or dough rise and create beautiful air holes or webs in the bread. If you don’t feed the starter enough, the yeast will die and so will all your efforts. So it is extremely important to feed your starter everyday.

For the Feed – Take the starter and discard 3/4 of it away. Add 100 gms of 70:30 Flour and 100 gms of water and mix, cover, and leave it at room temperature.

Now you will ask why do you discard 3/4 of it away. Because if you don’t, then you will keep feeding 200 gms of flour and water everyday, and then at the end of the week you will have more than a kilo of starter, and end of the month more than 5 kilos. So to keep it in a decent quantity, you discard at least half of the starter every time you feed it.

Day 3 – Feed – Same drill – Discard 3/4 – Add 100 gms of 70:30 Flour and 100 gms of Water. Cover.

Day 4 – Feed.

Day 5 – Feed.

Keep feeding till you notice the starter to double in size in six hours. Then you can use the starter.

How to use the starter – Feed the starter the previous night and use it in the morning. And make sure you have some starter left to continue feeding it.

What to do when you are not using the starter – Feed it, keep it for an hour at room temperature and then leave it in the refrigerator.

Few points here –  In cold temperature the yeast becomes dormant. It doesn’t die but the activity levels are really low. You do have to feed it once a week, to make sure it stays alive.

For that you remove it from the refrigerator, after 1 hour, don’t discard the starter just add the feed. Let it do its work. Then from second day onward, discard and feed, leave for an hour and store it again in the refrigerator.

After being dormant, I don’t use the starter immediately. I feed it a few times to get it really active.

Smell –

The smell of your starter is really important.

It will be smelling vinegar-y, alcoholic and probably really bad. Eventually it should subside with regular feedings.

Ideally the starter should smell milky and flowery especially after you feed it. But it should smell the same when you add it to the dough. A little sour smell is fine, cause it is supposed to be a sourdough. But very little.

Feed the starter for at least 10 days before using it. If the temperature is too warm and you see a skin forming on the starter or the smell getting bad. Feed it every 12 hours or maybe more.

For reference please see YouTube videos to get an idea on the process.

I assure you once you start this process, you are going to love it. You will see a whole new side to the bread world that you probably knew existed but being a part of it is a different feeling altogether.

So start your starter and I will post a bread recipe within ten days so you can use it.

Just to let you know my starter is now 6 months old. There is a bakery in USA whose starter is 67 years old. So I hope you understand the commitment you are getting yourself into. Nevertheless if you are an ardent baker especially if you love to bake breads, I think this is something you need to have in your pantry.

20161127_223302

 

Gingerbread Doughnuts

Recently I was one of the few chefs who was talked about it in the article by Mid-day regarding baking Christmas goodies. They wanted something revolving around Gingerbread and hence I told them about Gingerbread Doughnuts. While we were talking about Gingerbread, a very good question was asked and that was – What makes the dish – Gingerbread. I realized the concept was very simple – to anything if you add ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice. Replace the castor sugar with brown sugar to add in a little bit of nutty flavor. And oh! you have a gingerbread dessert. It is pretty simple. Honey or molasses is also added to enhance the flavor.

I absolutely love anything Gingerbread, cause I love spiced up dishes. Gingerbread somehow brings out a different taste altogether. This year, I thought lets change things a bit and not bake the regular cookies that I make and go for Gingerbread Doughnuts. They are very easy and takes a little bit of time, as I am doing yeast – leavened doughnuts. But other than that they are a perfect treat for this festive season.

img_20161203_131755

Gingerbread Doughnuts

Makes at least 2 dozen of regular size doughnuts

Ingredients –

  • 2.5 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 teaspoon all spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 55 grams butter, room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Oil, for frying

Coating –

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Method –

  • In a stand mixer bowl – take the warm water, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast and mix until the yeast is dissolved. Keep it aside for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a bowl mix – flour, both the sugars, baking powder, salt, ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice.
  • When the yeast is active, it will become foamy, add the yolks, butter, and vanilla. Mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute.
  • Keeping the speed on low, keep adding the flour with a big spoon. After adding half of the flour, shift to hook/dough attachment and add the remaining flour. Mix for 3 – 5 minutes on medium high.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
  • After 1 hour, knead the dough and roll it to an 1/2 inch thick height.
  • If you want small bite size pieces, cut them with 1 inch round cookie cutter. If you want the original doughnut shape – cut it with one 3 inch cookie cutter and then 1 inch cookie cutter to cut the centers. If you have a doughnut cutter, then you know what to do.
  • You can re – roll the remaining dough and cut them.
  • Let the doughnuts rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil till its 180 C. Fry the doughnuts for 30 – 45 seconds on each side or until brown.
  • After removing, let them sit for 2 minutes on tissue papers and then coat them in cinnamon sugar.
  • Serve warm.

Notes –

  • You can add / delete the amount of spices in the dough according to your taste.
  • If you don’t like too much cinnamon in your dessert avoid the coating of cinnamon sugar and just coat them in plain sugar.

Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread

As I have mentioned in the previous post – I am in the holiday mood and I absolutely love baking during this time. So mixing my current obsession bread and my long lasting obsession of baking Christmas-y goodies, I have made Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread – which is a cross between cinnamon roll and bread. It looks amazing. The major reason I wanted to make this was because I love the way it looks. It looks complicated but it is extremely easy and takes very little time.

Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread

Bread

Ingredients –

  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 40 gms butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 3/4 cup slightly warm milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Filling –

  • 2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 30 gms butter, softened

Method –

  • Warm 1/4 cup water in a cup, make sure it is not hot. Add a tiny pinch of sugar, and the instant yeast (instant yeast and dry active yeast are different, please check the package). Mix until yeast is dissolved and leave it aside for 10 – 15 minutes till it is foamy.
  • Using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment combine 40 gms butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix for 1 minute. Add the yeast and then the flour. Mix for 5 – 7 minutes till the dough is elastic and check the gluten development by doing the window pane test.
  • If you are kneading by hand, then mix in the same format but knead with your hand for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Window pane test – take a small piece of dough and stretch it. It should stretch without tearing, forming a thin layer and if you see it against the light it should feel like you are looking through a fogged glass.
  • After the test, rest the dough in a bowl for 1 hour or until double in size covered with plastic wrap.
  • In a small bowl mix the cinnamon and sugar, and keep it aside.
  • After an hour, shape the dough again, weigh and divide it in to four portions.
  • Take the 1st portion, roll the dough until its thin and place it in a greased cookie sheet.
  • Brush soft butter on it and generously sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.
  • Roll the 2nd portion of the dough, and place it on top on the 1st. Repeat the butter and cinnamon sugar. Continue layering by rolling the 3rd and repeat butter and cinnamon sugar. Roll the 4th and place it on top.
  • Taking a plate or a big bowl, lightly place the round side on it, to indent a large round, so you can cut the excess dough and make a proper circle with a knife.
  • Taking a 1 – 2 inch cookie cutter, make a slight indent in the center but make sure you do it lightly.
  • With a knife cut equal 16 portions, starting from the outside of the indent line till the outer end, leaving the 2 inch round center as it is. Take two portions and twist them outward individually, joining them at the end.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining butter of the filling and as soon as the bread is baked, brush the top lightly with butter.
  • Serve warm.