Milk Bread

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This is my first bread recipe on the blog and it had to be this milk bread. You would have read about my love for this milk bread here, typical from Iyengar bakery, since I was a child. This soft and slightly sweet bread takes you to heaven when you slather generous amount of butter on it. That’s my favourite way to have this bread.

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This is a very easy recipe; just make sure that your yeast is good.  I have had a long relationship with yeast and I had my initial good days followed by a long series of disasters. But, baking your own bread feels amazing and the aroma is heavenly. I have used active dry yeast, fresh yeast and instant yeast in my previous attempts and found that I am most comfortable with instant yeast, so this is what I have used here. Good yeast is crucial to a good bread and proof the yeast before you start making bread if you are unsure.

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1 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast

3/4 cup luke warm milk

2 tbsp powdered sugar

2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee) or oil

3/4 tsp salt

2 1/4 cup bread flour or Maida.

Luke warm water as required

 

In a bowl add sugar and yeast and give it a stir. Add the luke warm milk, mix and let it sit for 5 mins till the mixture is frothy.

In a stand mixer add bread flour or maida, salt and mix well. Then add ghee or oil and run the mixer to incorporate the fat into the flour.

Then slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour in the stand mixer while mixing all the time. Follow it with required quantity of luke warm water to form a soft dough. The dough should be soft and sticky.

Knead the dough for 9 to 10 mins in the stand mixture. You can also the above process by hand, kneading for around 15 mins with the heel of your palm. Post kneading the dough should be soft and should come together as a ball. You can check the doneness with a window pane test. In this test take a small portion of dough and stretch it till it becomes translucent. If the stretched dough breaks before it could be stretched to the correct thickness then knead for some more time.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Spread some oil on top of the dough too. Cover the container with a cling film or a damp muslin cloth.

Now let the dough rest in a warm dark environment for an hour or more till it doubles its size. Do not keep checking the dough every now and then . . . let the yeast work in peace.

When the dough doubles in size, roll the dough into a log shape and place it in a greased loaf pan with the seam side at the bottom. Here, I have used an 8 inch X 4 inch loaf pan.

Now keep the loaf pan in a warm dark place un-disturbed for almost an hour for the second rise.

When the dough has risen above the pan carefully place the pan in a 200 degree centigrade preheat oven. Bake for 25 to 30 mins till you get a hollow sound when you gently knock on the bread.

Let the pan rest for 10 mins once out. Then with a knife loosen the sides of the bread from the pan and pop the bread out of the pan and onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice the bread with a bread knife when the bread is cooled.

Herb Garlic Pull Apart Bread

It’s raining . . . . and raining . . . . and raining in Mumbai.

Rains are  . . . . . getting wet, romance, love, fresh, clean, long drive, bhutta (corn with lots of nimbu mirchi), unexpected break from office, hot pakoras . . . .

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Herb Garlic Pull Apart Bread

So this time when it rains, let’s surprise our dear ones with this interesting bread which looks difficult to make, but in reality it is really simple.

I made these last week along with baked potato wedges and they disappeared quickly. This is from my old recipe book and at time I just jotted down whatever caught my fancy, so I am not sure of the source.

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Herb Garlic Pull Apart Bread

Ingredients

For the Dough:

1 – 1 ¼ cup warm milk + milk to brush over the bread

1 tsp sugar

1and 3/4 tsp instant dry yeast

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter, soft at room temperature

1 tsp garlic paste

For the Filling:

Salted butter as required

2 tsp Italian dried mixed herbs

Red chilli flakes to taste

1/2 cup grated cheese (I used pizza mozzarella cheese)

Method:

Take flour, salt, butter, garlic paste and mix well together. Add yeast and again mix well and form a soft dough with milk. The dough should be soft, pliable and not sticky. Adjust the flour/ milk as required if necessary.

Shape the dough in shape of a ball and coat it with oil. Place it in a well-oiled bowl covered with cling film for 1 ½ hour in a warm place till it almost doubles in size.

After the dough has doubled in size deflate it and a lightly floured surface shape it into a rectangle shape. It should be approximately quarter inch in thickness.

On top of this rectangular dough apply butter and evenly sprinkle dried herbs and chilli flakes. Lastly add grated cheese (I used mozzarella cheese as I had some leftover, but cheddar would be fine as well).

Now with your pizza cutter, cut this rectangular sheet lengthwise in four/ five parts to get long strips. Place these strips one above the other with the buttered side up. You don’t have to be perfect with this. Then with the knife cut the log of strips into equal squares. So, now you are left with piles of squares.

Grease a rectangular tin and place the square piles with the buttered side facing sideways and fill up the tray with square piles stacked next to each other. I used my loaf pan, roughly measuring 9” x 4.5”. After placing the squares cover the tin with a towel and let it rise for an hour or so.

Lightly brush some milk on the top and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 30 to 40 minutes till the top turns golden brown.

Note: I have used instant yeast in this recipe. If you are using dry active yeast you need to proof the yeast first and then use it. But, in my experience instant yeast is much better than the dry active yeast we get here locally. I dislike the strong odour, dry active yeast tends to gives even after baking.