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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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.

 

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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!

 

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