Baking | Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse … and a focaccia too #comfortfood #vegetarian #bread

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!”
James Beard

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar FougasseWhole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse … nothing can be as comforting as the smell of bread baking. Nothing! And this bread took me by surprise. Rustic, nutty, earthy, full of flavour, great texture and a good bite. I couldn’t ask for anything more in fresh bread, and fougasse is one of my all time favourites.

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse Googling for whole wheat focaccia took me to a NY Times feature by Martha Rose Shulman. Recipes for health as it was aptly marked, Shulman says of this bread “What’s called focaccia in Italy is fougasse in Provence. Fougasse, though, is often shaped like a leaf, which is easy to do and very pretty. The nutty, toasty whole grain bread is irresistible.”Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse I couldn’t agree more. If you’ve visited my blog on and off, you might have noticed my love for the French Fougasse. I love the rustic appeal it offers and the fact that you can stuff it with pretty much whatever you like and the flavours call your name. Roasted bell peppers, gouda, fresh herbs, nuts etc. Leaf like in appearance, this flatbread is moorish!

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse

French Fougasse with Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Garlic, Walnut & Mozarella 6The one on top is a  Millet & Whole Wheat Fougasse and below it the French Fougasse with Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Garlic, Walnut & Mozarella 

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse It was just the therapy I needed this Monday! The day began like a nightmare! Broken toilet flush 6am. Reversed the car to drop the kids to school and heard a massive THUD! 7am … The engine underplate had broken while wading through the ‘rivers of North India‘ the previous night. When it rains, it really pours; the city was flooded! Thankfully got the kids out of my way and to school, to come back home to find I had run out of cooking gas! {Yes we still have cylinders}. Decided to spring clean and walked straight into a sharp corner which narrowly missed my eye. Blood poured down the side of my face! Mr PAB was in Hong Kong … and I could have wept!

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse Bravely I did not! I decided to bake bread instead! What a good decision. Nothing like some yeasty dough to drown your sorrows into. It worked like magic. And the recipe came out amazingly good! I could visualize the bread loving younger teen take a deep happy breath as he entered home from school. “You’ve made bread!!”, he’d exclaim, stars in his eyes!

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse That is enough to mend a bad day! What I didn’t visualise was how much the dieting diva, carb cutting daughter would love it. I made half of the dough into fougasse and saved the rest for another day {it refrigerates well for a day or two}. With garlic flavouring the dough beautifully, and walnuts and cheddar making it divine, the bread was history as soon as the teens got home!

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse Recipes like this are seriously therapeutic. I forgot about the car, fixed the broken loo, got the gas going. Left the car for Mr PAB. He would come back and take over everything! I was born to bake, and I was loving it!! The smell of dough rising and bread baking is enough to make the soul happy! 

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse With the good verdict on the fougasse, I pulled the remaining dough out of the fridge the next day and patted a focaccia into shape. That came out yummy too. Got stuffed with everything I had on hand, ending up as sandwich for dinner.Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Focaccia

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

Baking | Easy Same Day Focaccia … with some wholewheat too #comfortfood

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
James Beard

Whole wheat foccaciaFocaccia … bread that comforts. Just simple bread is good enough sometimes. I am constantly torn between my two crusty favourites, the fougasse and the focaccia, both flatbreads that are hearty, chewy, flavourful and earthy. Breads that bring alive words by Robert Browning “If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.Ottolenghis foccacia is one of my all time faves.

Whole wheat foccacia I needed to bake something soothing, something therapeutic. I lost a very dear maternal uncle over the weekend. He was the glue that held my mothers side of the family together. Intelligent, largehearted, a disciplinarian, always there, often intimidating, brutally honest, sometimes scathing, but a place we happily headed to year after year to spend two months of the summer vacations. It was routine, and we loved it as kids.

Lucknow mainHe passed away in Lucknow, the city of the Nawabs, over the weekend. That left a deep void, and restlessness. I knew I had to bake bread. I find comfort in food. It gives me an escape. Bread especially. Getting the dough going, seeing it rise, punching it down and then popping it into a hot oven. Always comforting and therapeutic.

 Whole wheat foccacia

Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. Focaccia is popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and salt, and sometimes herbs, and may be topped with onion, cheese and meat, or flavored with a number of vegetables.

 Whole wheat foccaciaI remember making a similar focaccia when the tsunami struck Japan. Roasted Garlic Focaccia for the Fukushima 50‘. Those days were devastating even though we were miles away from Japan. The images that rolled over and over again made life look so vulnerable. I had a helpless feeling then and yes, I baked bread.

Whole wheat foccacia I added a little whole wheat to the dough this time. The recipe yields two loaves, or two round breads. I baked one for lunch and left the other to slow rise in the fridge. Baked it the next day. Worked fine. I like to flavour the dough. Garlic and herbs are normally part of my dough as I love the depth they lend.

 Whole wheat focacciaDepending on time on hand, roasted garlic is my first choice. If not, then I throw in some garlic cloves and the Thermomix blends them in with the flour. You can add minced garlic instead. If you love garlic like we do I mean! Else just skip it!!

whole wheat foccaciaThe rest is pretty much your palette to play with. Once dimpled and looking pretty, give it a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Then dress it up! You can either sprinkle on some fresh herbs and sea salt, or like me, load the bread a wee bit more. I like to add sliced red onions, olives, jalapenos, pickled peppers, cherry tomatoes, even nuts.

whole wheat focacciaI have two Victoria sandwich tins which are perfect for my bread. It’s a nice accommodative dough and the end result is always rewarding. A focaccia sandwich is the perfect answer for any left over bread.  Stuff it with balsamic roasted veggies, a relish, cheese, slices of salami. I sometimes grill it too.

 

Don’t miss a post Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

 

Baking| Ottolenghis Brilliant Focaccia … doesn’t get better than this!

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.”
M.F.K. Fisher

Ottolenghis FocacciaIt was bread baking day. Sometime days are like that, now rather rare, and with a relatively ‘free’ day comes the urge to make bread. Chatting with Sangeeta on FB, she was sipping her morning tea, me already on my second coffee and the laundry whirring annoyingly, I was hit with a ‘bread baking feeling . By afternoon I had a brilliant Focaccia bursting with flavour yelling to get out of the oven!Ottolenghis FocacciaThe bread recipe caught me by surprise. In my head I had a slightly quicker bread, something which would just do a single rise, yeast & all. I turned to one of my all time favourite books, Ottolenghi, The Cookbook but didn’t read the recipe thoroughly though …Ottolenghis Focaccia I always heel ‘happy’ when I read the book – so much quality food, fresh produce holding the key to the end result, recipes from the heart, colours and flavours that leap out of the pages … and photographs that tantalise the tastebuds! Even if I don’t cook / bake out of it, it keeps me strangely satisfied!Ottolenghis Focaccia I weighed the ingredients, added the water … and took a double take! This was just the starter, or a preferment! There was going to be LOTS of bread! For some reason the elder teen rejects bread these days because of her diet, cutting back carbs etc, yet the rainy weather had me in a bread baking frame of mind!! I wanted to bake real bread, slow bread … not a quick, non yeast bread!Ottolenghis Focaccia Thankfully the trusted Thermomix is always at hand and takes the work out of kneading. There was plenty of rising to happen. First the preferment, then the 1st rise, then some folding {almost like rough puff pastry}, then some more rise. All this folding and rising resulted in a delightfully nice dough… and in turn, a delightfully nice bread!Ottolenghis Focaccia I baked half on day one and punched down the other half and refrigerated it for day two. NICE!! It was even better the next day with a third slow rise in the fridge … and ‘bubbly and squeaky‘ as Dorie Greenspan would call it! It’s a beautiful dough to have in the fridge. Both days the bread didn’t last long… quite an addictive bake!Ottolenghis Focaccia Even the dieting diva loved it and couldn’t stop nibbling. It’s no nice and chewy she declared! That’s the beauty of Ottolenghis recipes…they ALWAYS deliver. The kids had focaccia sandwiches for dinner that night with chicken salami, homemade pesto and mozzarella. The verdict – ♥♥♥!Ottolenghis FocacciaThe dehydrated tomatoes from Fab India were SO disappointing; I’m not going back there in a hurry! On the other hand, the queen olives stuffed with pimento from Leonardo are absolute winners. That jar’s not safe once it’s open … you cannot keep away from it … delectable! So is the Leonardo Gold Olive Oil that I slathered on top … it just made the bread sing!!Ottolenghis FocacciaIt’s a bread I am going to make often. I like that it baked even better the next day, so maybe the next time I leave it in the fridge for a slow overnight rise. Bread baking days are here again … and I’m loving it!! I am also excited as I have a sourdough starter from Sangeeta on my counter {it’s alive and bubbling I think} and I can see more bread in the coming days!

Other recipes from Ottolenghi on PAB

Ricotta and Spinach Roulade
Dried Cranberry & Walnut Bread
Chargrilled Broccoli Salad
Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting
Olive Oil Crackers
Preserved Limes
Milled Nut Flour Macarons with Dark Chocolate Ganache
Individual Cherry & Plum Clafoutis

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

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