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 | Traditional Savarins with Crème Patisserie : Daring Bakers – you win some, you lose some!

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Traditional savarinsSavarins. It was the Daring Bakers time of the month on the 27th. I missed posting. Missed not because I didn’t complete the challenge, but despite baking very early in the month, something didn’t quite work out right. I lost the steam to post it. Yet, as a part of this fantastic group, I have a larger responsibility so here goes. Better late than never I guess!

Traditional savarins 3

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

Traditional savarins Time to share something that didn’t quite work out right, yet was pretty to photograph. Also time to ponder why. You win some, you lose some. I often lose some but that doesn’t reach my blog. The amount I experiment at home gives me huge ground for failure. Thankfully you are not at that receiving end as who would like to read about the ones that went wrong?

Traditional savarins I loved baking these. The dough seemed good too, maybe didn’t pass the windowpane test. They came out looking rustic pretty. I made half the recipe suggested. Even half made loads of mini savarins. Where did the problem lie? Not sure what I did wrong, and why things went astray, but the savarins refused to ‘drink up‘!Traditional savarins

Traditional savarins I soaked the little ones in an Orange Spice Tea Syrup, then filled the centres with pastry cream. Some were topped with balsamic strawberries and others with candied kumquats. They looked irresistible. 

Traditional savarins 6We ate them. They were OK. The kids didn’t ask for seconds immediately. Quite perplexed at the fate as they were rather dry inside. Maybe I should have dunked them in hot spiced tea syrup.

Traditional savarinsI reserved the larger ones for later. They went into a filter coffee syrup, hot this time, and I had plans for Tiramisu Savarin. I was sure I had figured out the issue. Sadly I hadn’t. The blighters didn’t drink up the coffee and get soaking good! For a paired pastry cream, I had lofty ideas. I added some espresso and homemade irish cream to the pastry cream and whipped up some delicious Tiramisu pastry cream.

LFP Day 4 DOFDidn’t hit the ball out of the park. At all. The good bit was that I used the little savarins for a food photography 30 day exercise I was part of with Neel @ Learn Food Photography. So many savarins on hand ensured that I had something to shoot for 3-4 days! The above pictures explore depth of field {f2.8/f11/f22}. Today is the last day of the exercise. It was a fabulous learning experience.

Traditional savarinsDid I regret that the savarins failed? I did feel sad, but didn’t regret it. No! Baking is always a learning experience, this was just a little steeper! I might not try the recipe again since it was quite involved. You can view it here, and I am sure you will have better luck. A lot of Daring Bakers certainly did. Check them out here.

Traditional savarins

Balsamic Strawberries with basilI have included the Crème Patisserie recipe below, and balsamic strawberries too. It is one that I make in the Thermomix and it takes me all of 7-9 minutes. You can try making it the traditional way keeping the ingredients the same. It’s a yum recipe. I put it to good use on the Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Fallen Gateau. Was delicious!

 

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

Baking | Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse … rustic bread with caramelised onions, walnuts, dehydrated tomatoes and mozzarella

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”
Robert Browning

Millet & Whole Wheat French FougasseMillet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse … this bread is like music to my ears; a celebration of all things ‘breadily‘ good! Rustic, earthy, chewy … good to grain! Warmer days are here. Feels like we missed spring somewhere along the way and landed up in summer. The days can only get hotter as the mercury hits 32C. At times like these, yeast is my BFF, performs beautifully, making me want to experiment endlessly.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse We had a beautiful wholewheat soda bread that Sangeeta made while we drove from Pune to Baramati for the vineyard visit. I think I ate most of it, greedy me. It was bursting with earthy flavours of whole wheat and sun dried tomatoes. The whole wheat was stone ground and you could tell because of the texture. It had been given a good dunking of extra virgin olive oil too.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse Bread like this makes you wake up and notice how good whole grain can get. Plain flour just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. The more I see plain flour breads on menus across eateries and in stores, the worse I feel. Whole grain is good and it’s a good choice to opt for.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse 4Someone once told me that the luxury of plain flour bread is the way to go. You can eat salad and maybe soup on the side, other greens and veggies to tank up on fibre, and yet not feel guilty about ‘white bread’. I beg to differ.

BreadWhole grain isn’t a punishment. Get used to it gradually and it might be difficult to return to plain flour. It’s a choice you have, and a good one you might make especially if you have young kids with changing palettes.  Make a gradual change and you’ll be surprised at how they jump to fresh home made whole grain bread.

Dehydrated tomatoesSun-dried tomatoes are a wonderful addition to breads. My last experience of store bought ones from Fab India was pathetic. I didn’t have time to make some, so figured the Philips AirFryer could help a bit. I have now begun caramelising onions after Abha mentioned it to me one day! Great discovery! 1 tsp of oil for 1 sliced onion is all it takes, and a few minutes.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse In went sliced tomatoes tossed in olive oil, dried herbs, garlic and some sea salt. Can say YUMMM? Just wonderful… it took about 15-20 minutes as I experimented on different settings but was thrilled to get just what I wanted. I always have a batch bottled in the fridge now.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse The fougasse is as rustic as it gets. You will find a selection of French Fougasse, this flat French bread, on my blog as we love it at home. I began with a plain flour bread, graduated to part pain flour, part whole wheat, and this time did a version with some sprouted ragi flour / millet.

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse Rustic, moorish, and delicious! If you are a new to whole grain breads,  the earthy flavours will gradually grow on you. It’s a dough that takes well to additions. Roasted garlic, roasted bell peppers, salty olives, sun dried tomatoes, caramelised onions, feta, fresh herbs, nuts {I particularly like walnuts in here} but let your imagination lead you.

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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...