Baking | Savoury Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; Sweet Yeasted Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread… bread art with the Daring Bakers

“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!!

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Baking | Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies … healthy sweet pies with promise

“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!!

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

Baking | Tribute to The Queen of All Daring Bakers, Lis … and Savoury Phyllo Chicken Pot Pies #tributetolis #daringbakers

“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!!

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

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