“In the history of art there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums.”  Janet Flanner

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring BakersSavoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread … it was a LOT of bread baking for someone who’s been off all purpose flour for a while now. Yet the Daring Bakers challenge this month made me sit up and take notice. Bread art? Huh? Why had I missed it all along?

Warning: Long post with lots of delicious bread!

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers

Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács ... bread art with the Daring BakersSo much so for being a baker and being passionate about it. I do love artisan breads and rustic whole grain breads of all sorts, but one look at The pinterest board of Chef in Disguise had me smitten. I dusted the cobwebs off, crawled out from under the rock and entered an area I didn’t know even existed! 

Whole Wheat Bread 3Not sure about the origins, but from the pins shared on the board, bread art appears to have roots in East Europe, Ukraine and Russia, though I might well be wrong. The only downside is that beautiful breads for bread art need smooth dough {read plain flour} as they involve intricate cutwork and folding etc. In the end the bread is a sight to behold!

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring BakersThis challenge is just a beginning for me;  I might well try bread art in the near future with part whole grain dough. For a first time, this was fun, although my efforts didn’t result in very stunning ‘bread art’. That said,  making the Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread was very enjoyable. They were extremely delicious too!

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers My love for savoury food meant that Savoury  Hungarian Kalács were going to happen very soon, the recipe adapted minimally from here. It’s a really nice dough to work with, and I flavoured it to add a burst of garlic and cheese. Loads of garlic and some mature cheese later, the dough smelt delicious; it was smooth and supple.

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács ... bread art with the Daring Bakers Every flour absorbs liquid a little differently and my dough wasn’t very firm. It baked fine though! I chose to keep the bread vegetarian, so adjusted fillings accordingly.Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers The original recipe for Savoury  Hungarian Kalács is a non vegetarian version and much prettier too. It shines with an almost gold hue due to the egg wash which I skipped.

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers The taste? Excellent! It was a battle to keep the kids off my precious bread! One finger gone, then another, and another… it was addictive good they claimed, the best bread ever! So cheesy and garlicky declared junior. Just one more piece begged senior! 

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daing Bakers 4The Savoury  Hungarian Kalács were declared winners! And so were the little Twisted Buns … just two of them with leftover dough. Really interesting to make, and just enough for a handy dinner for the kids. Thought I’d serve them with crumb fried chicken and a salad on the side.

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers Time wasn’t my best friend as usual, so I sliced them horizontally and grilled them into chicken sandwiches! Best sandwich ever declared the lad; I’ve never had better flavour! All was good and I was pleased at such an inspired Daring Baker challenge!

Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring BakersEgged on by the brilliance of experiment number one, I decided to use the same dough for a sweet version, albeit just half the dough. ‘We’ love sweet stuff in the PAB household, so this was fun again! I had ideas for flavours, and they reminded me of an all time favourite bread, the Povitica!Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring Bakers In went anything and everything on hand…that half tub of Nutella left over from an eggless chocolate pudding experiment, some almond nut praline in the freezer ex a recent recipe development, and some homemade bitter kumquat marmalade! Kumquats are in season {read abundance} and I LOVE using them!

Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring Bakers Even though the bread didn’t look like a piece of perfect art, it tasted brilliant. Such a great combination of flavours, sweet just right, the crunch from the pralines, the undertones of the bitter kumquat marmaladebrilliant! Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring Bakers

I was so glad I pushed my limits to try both savoury and sweet versions of bread art this month. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Sawsan. Do stop by here and check out the fab bread art the talented Daring Bakers have drawn up! Thank you too Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!


Recipe: Savoury  Hungarian Kalács & Twisted Buns your picture

Summary: These Savoury  Hungarian Kalács make great party of finger foods and are bursting with flavour. Use fillings of your choice to play around. This savoury bread is sure to please! The Twisted Buns are another variation using the same dough and filling. Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes plus rising time Ingredients:

  • Savoury dough
  • 325g all purpose flour
  • 25g Grana Padano {or parmesan}, grated
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g milk, tepid
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15ml yogurt
  • 40 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Filling
  • 50g cheese spread
  • 1 small bunch fresh oregano
  • 2 small fresh red chillies {or 1 tsp red chili flakes}
  • 50g walnuts, finely chopped
  • 75g mature cheddar, grated
  • 15ml milk {or 1 beaten egg} for wash
  • 10g melon seeds {or sesame, pumpkin etc}
  • 20 ml extra virgin olive oil to brush over


  1. Savoury  Kalács
  2. Place the flour, Grana Padano {or Parmesan}, yeast and salt in the bowl of food processor and pulse on high speed to mix.
  3. Add the milk, cloves, garlic and yogurt and knead to a smooth dough.
  4. Rest for 15 minutes, then knead in olive oil. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, seal with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for dough to double.
  5. Assemble
  6. Once the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 200C.
  7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  8. Divide the dough into two.On the lightly floured surface {or on parchment paper}, roll one half into an 10″ circle.{My tray wasn’t big enough, so I kept reserved some dough to make twisted buns with the same filling.
  9. Transfer the circle to the baking sheet and spread the cheese spread uniformly. Sprinkle over chopped fresh herbs and red chillies, followed by the walnuts, and finally the cheddar.
  10. Roll the other half of the dough to another 10″ circle and place over the first half, pressing down gently.
  11. Place a glass in the centre and cut the remaining dough 4 times, then divide each into a further 4. You will get a total of 16 spokes {refer pictures}
  12. Gently lift each spoke and twist it 3 times. Brush over with milk gently and sprinkle melon seeds over the centre. {You can always brush with a beaten egg to get a beautiful glow. I wanted to keep the bread vegetarian}.
  13. Bake for 30-35 minutes until light golden brown and firm to touch.
  14. Cool on tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack. Serve warm or room temperature.
  15. For Twisted buns, please see this image on the Chef-in-disguise bread art pinterest board {the board is a visual treat!}

Recipe: Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread your picture

Summary: This yeasted sweet bread is bursting with delightful Nutella and praline flavours, with gentle undertones of bitter kumquat marmalade. This is a winner at an tea table. Serves 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes plus rising time Ingredients:

  • Sweet dough {can be easily doubled}
  • 160g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 100ml milk, tepid
  • 5ml {1 tsp} yogurt
  • 20g unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 100g Nutella
  • 100g almond praline, coarse ground {or walnuts, chopped}
  • 50g bitter orange marmalade
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted, cooled


  1. Dough
  2. Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of food processor and pulse on high speed to mix.
  3. Add the milk, yogurt and butter and knead to a smooth dough.
  4. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, seal with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for dough to double.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 200C.
  6. Line a skillet or round tin with parchment paper.
  7. Roll the dough into a large rectangle over a floured surface. Dont make it too thin or it will be impossible to spread the filling.
  8. With an offset spatula, spread the Nutella over the entire surface, followed by the bitter kumquat marmalade, then the melted butter ans finally the praline.
  9. Begin rolling the longer length up, nice and tight to get a long rope.
  10. With a sharp knife, slice vertically down the center to get two long open end stirps.
  11. Intertwine the two, cut side facing up to make a braid of some sort. Pinch the open ends together.
  12. Wind the two together to form a circle and transfer to parchment lined skillet.
  13. Preheat oven to 200c.
  14. Place skillet in hot oven and bake for 30 minutes, until crisp, gooey and golden.
  15. Cool in skillet for 30-45 minutes before gently easing out with a fish slice or offset spatula.


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“Never doubt that a small, committed group of people with pies can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Subcommandante Tofutti

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie PiesWholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies …  come December and the Daring Bakers challenge to end 2013 was to bake whoopies. Given all the frenzied baking over Christmas, these were fun. Whoopies always are. Relaxed, super creative and ‘in sync with the holiday season‘, they were a wonderful pick to end the year!

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies

The December Daring Bakers’ Challenge had us all cheering – the lovely and talented Bourbonnatrix of Bourbonnatrix Bakes was our hostess and challenged us to make fun, delicious and creative whoopie pies! Delicious little cake-like cookies sandwiching luscious filling in any flavors we chose… What else is there to say but “Whoopie!”

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies I still remember my first whoopies, Oatmeal Nutella Whoopie Pies adapted minimally from a great recipe from Ree @ Pioneer Woman. Those were a big hit with the kids and adults alike. At the time Mr PAB did say they were oversweet. I reduced the sugar this time around. They were perfect!

Whoopie pies are a cross between a cookie and a cake (not a pie!), with two round, mound-shaped halves sandwiching a sweet creamy filling. According to Wikipedia, Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. It is also Maine’s official state treat. The traditional Whoopie pie consists of a chocolate cake and a vanilla marshmallow filling, but pumpkin and gingerbread cake is also common enough. 

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies Onto this challenge, I knew I was going to go wholegrain, so half my work was cut out. I based my recipe on the Oatmeal Nutella Whoopie Pies measurements, changing a few bits and bobs here and there. It worked quite well actually. The Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies began disappearing at an alarming rate!

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies Of course they aren’t as light, cakey and airy as all purpose flour whoopies. These are heavier to bite, more earthy, more rustic and definitely more healthy. I was glad I did the challenge pretty early in the month with red and green firmly in place. Later, each day raced into the next, the month literally galloping towards the end.

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies One look and bite into the whoopies and both kids {and Mr PAB} exclaimed, “You’ve made these before!” Bravo to good food memories! I had made my first whoopie pies back in May 2012 fresh from an invigorating trip into Old Delhi, one of my favourite places to be in. Time flies ….

It’s difficult to believe the year’s almost drawing to an end. December has almost vanished. It’s been a busy year. Being a Daring Baker is always a positive part of every year, though losing our co-founder Lis unexpectedly left us crestfallen. Knowing her, she would like the whisks in the kitchen to mix non-stop. Through these challenges, her spirit lives on.

Daring Bakers 2013 challengesThe challenges I have enjoyed through 2013 include Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter FillingSwedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes, Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk CakeMomofukus {Infamous} Crack PieSavoury Phyllo Pot Pies and Rye Cheddar Crackers & Pizza Dough Crisps.

Do stop by here and check out some real cutie pies the talented Daring Bakers are whooping with! Thank you Bourbonnatrix for the fun challenge. Thank you too Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies
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Summary: Earthy, rustic and definitely more healthy that the normal whoopies, these Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies are worth the bite. If you don’t have Nutella on hand, you could do a peanut butter or salted butter caramel filling instead. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 75g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 175 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Method:
  1. Place the wholewheat flour, oats, baking powder, cocoa and chocolate in bowl of food processor. Blend to fine mix. Reserve.
  2. Beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, egg and salt and beat again.
  3. Mix in the baking soda into the boiling water. Beat into the butter mixture.
  4. Fold in the dry mix.
  5. Measure out tbsp scoops onto a prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes / until slightly firm to touch.
  7. Cool completely on racks and then sandwich with Nutella.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“Once a Daring Baker, always a Daring Baker. It’s the best baking community on the web!”

Daring BakersHow do you begin to pay a tribute to someone who made a lot of us who or what we are today! We woke up to the tragic news that that the very largehearted & fun, the cornerstone of the best group for bakers ever created, the Daring Bakers,  Lisa passed away. With the lovely Ivonne, Lisa inspired, she cajoled, she filled in, she encouraged, she whipped us along, whisking us into a homogenous group … one of the best baking communities ever created on the web.

RIP Lis, The Queen of All Daring Bakers

Lisa Cifelli of La Mia Cucina, co-founder of The Daring Kitchen (originally The Daring Bakers) passed away unexpectedly a few days ago. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Lis, understands how much she will be missed. Her big heart, incredible sense of humor, epic emails, and mad organization skills were legendary. Bless her eternally cotton socks! {Kelly P}

Baklava with phyllo from scratch

In November 2006, Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice decided to challenge themselves to bake pretzels for the very first time using the same recipe. They each went ahead and posted about it on November 18, 2006. Having enjoyed that experience tremendously, they decided to try it again the next month, this time choosing to bake biscotti. And to make matters even better, they were joined by a few more food bloggers. As the months went by, their baking group continued to grow, until it was finally decided that this “little baking group” had to have a name and The Daring Bakers were born! The Daring Cooks were formed in 2009 as a way to learn how to become better home cooks. The idea spread like wildfire with 1000’s of people who also wished to learn more joined in on the monthly challenges.

Today, The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks span the world as bakers/cooks of all nationalities come together once a month to try something new in the kitchen!

Homemade evaporated milk for Tres LechesI am the baker that I am only because of the Daring Bakers. It’s been a steep upward climb at times. We’ve been through 18 pages of recipe for Julia Childs French Loaf  in Feb ’08. We’ve giggled & wept together, have whispered behind the scenes, gasped in horror when one of us let the cat out of the bag on twitter before the sacred posting date! What a community!

Daring Bakers 2In the spirit of this fabulous, close knit community, we’ve come together, some still with the group, some who left a while ago, and lots of new DBr’s … united together to pay a tribute to the Queen of Daring Bakers! {Thank you for doing this Kelly P} I have made some of my best food blogger friends thanks to the DBs. Lis and Ivonne created something magical on the web; something that has never been replicated!

Daring Bakers I say it to myself every month, I love being a Daring Baker! I miss a few as I struggle to cut out carbs, attempt to go wheat free, yet the temptation is always there. Looking back at previous challenges, the first one still comes to mind, as real as it was happening yesterday. Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  I was chuffed to be accepted as a Daring Baker way back in January 2008. The very first challenge was a Lemon Meringue Pie. It was the ‘dark baking ages‘ in India at the time; I was very new to meringues and such. Oh how I wept. I still remember the emails exchanged with Lis and the encouragement and inspiration she offered. My pie wept, and I with it. Thought they’d chuck me out of the group. Felt like I had failed a major!

Lis stopped by to say…  “Pure genius going with the lil hearts on the crust! Would you mind if I did that one day? :) Well I’m sorry it didn’t turn out as you intended, but it sure did turn out pretty! Welcome to the DB’ers! xoxo

The camaraderie grew as a bunch of us chatted away behind the screens, discussing challenges in loud whispers. Meeta, Jamie, Ilva, Hilda, Dharam, Val, Kelly P, Barbara, Rosa, Jasmine, Judy, Andrea, Susan, Aparna, Coco … so many others! 

Oh those days! Some of my all time favourite challenges were …

Povitica ... A Croatian Sweet Walnut BreadPovitica {one of my most pinned and visited posts}, Momofukus Infamous Crack PieSans Rival CakeFilled Pate a Choux SwansBaklava with phyllo from scratch,Stollen PuddingDutch Crunch Bread or TijgerbroodTiramisu, Croquembouche

Daring Bakers

Jaconde imprime /entremetsMango Pastel de Tres LechesGingerbread HouseBattenbergDark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter icing …and so so many more. We struggled sometimes, we conquered each time. Every  challenge meaningful.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phylloI missed posting the October challenge. I thought I would skip it, then got very tempted, succumbed past the date … and then procrastinated a little as the pictures sat in the camera. Had the post sched for this weekend. RIP beautiful lady! The Kitchen has taught me a lot!

Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo … inspiration can strike anytime, this time from another Daring Baker, Suma in Bangalore. She pinged me the other day wondering why I hadn’t done it, given that it was savoury and I love everything savoury!

Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo I am steering clear of all purpose flour in my baking, and personally have been off wheat for over 6 months in an attempt to sort out some allergies. Mr PAB too has recently joined me, so I was a guinea pig short.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo The daughter is on a diet, low carbs etc … but I could see she would love this. We love pot pies at home. The boy of course is game for anything and everything pot pie, chicken, pastry. Just churn out delicious bakes day after day… and he is a happy camper. The pies were everything good!!

[print_this]Recipe: Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo
your picture

Summary: Fun and light, these Savoury Phyllo Chicken Pot Pies are crisp and rustic! You can assemble them ahead of time, and bake them before serving.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes {plus resting time}

  • Phyllo pastry
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 160g luke warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 25g olive oil
  • Creamy Garlic Gravy
  • 45g butter
  • 20g flour
  • 180ml 2% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 45 gm shredded cheddar cheese
  • Filling
  • 250g cooked chicken, chopped {coked in Italian spices}
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 onion scapes, chopped fine
  • 2 medium bell peppers, julliened
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chiffonaded
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Topping
  • Sea salt, smoked paprika, dried oregano (for topping)
  • Brushing
  • About 1/4 cup melted butter/clarified butter


  1. Phyllo pastry
  2. Place all ingredients in bowl of Thermomix or food processor and knead to a soft silky dough. Remove and allow to rest for at least an hour. {You can chill if the weather is warm. Keeps wrapped in clingwrap for 1 week in the fridge}
  3. Creamy Garlic Gravy
  4. Melt your butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle flour over the butter and whisk together.
  5. Cook for a short minute as it bubbles, then pour in the milk. Whisk and bring it to boil, then stir in salt and garlic. Whisk until it’s as thick as honey, which should take about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese. Set aside while you prepare the components for your filling.
  6. Filling
  7. Heat olive oil in pan. Add the onions and onion scapes and sweta for about two minutes until soft. Add the bell peppers and stir fry for a minute. 
  8. Toss into cooked chicken with the basil. Mix well
  9. Fold into the creamy garlic sauce.
  10. Assembling
  11. Preheat oven to 180C
  12. Divide the phyllo dough into 16-20 little balls. 16 will make 4 small pot pies, 20 will make 5 slightly smaller ones. Roll the dough in flour lightly and keep covered.
  13. Keep the melted butter handy.
  14. On a well floured surface, take one ball at a time, and roll out as thin as thin as you can. It should be almost transparent. The dough is very flexible so shouldn’t tear. Use plain flour as required. The dough should be almost an 8″ circle. Brush with melted butter and place in baking tin with the sides hanging over. Repeat for 2 more balls of dough, brushing in between each layer with melted butter.
  15. Divide the filling into the number of pies you plan to make.
  16. Place a portion of the filling in the centre of the pastry, draw the sides in to cover the filling. Pinch to seal. Brush with butter. Sprinkle over paprika, dried oregano and sea salt.
  17. Repeat with the other pastry.
  18. Bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry is nice and golden and crisp to touch. Rest for about 15 minutes before serving {Warning: the filling can be very hot. Please exercise caution especially if serving to kids}


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The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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