Wow it’s been 14 months since the last post. It’s interesting how the pursuit of resources (read earning for your living) to pursue your passion (read cooking/baking) often engulfs you and you don't actually pursue your passion!
But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been cooking. If there is one thing that keeps us sane among the vagaries of life, it is food. The medium of sharing our culinary experiments and adventures, however, has expanded beyond this blog, namely Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I have just about become more active on social media. Well, after a lot of initial hesitation like anything else I do.
However, the blog is special for many reasons. A lot of recipes are associated with events and when we think about them, it takes us back to all the excitement, goof-ups, road trips, events…basically all the little things that make our lives fun.
So we have decided (again) to consciously revive this food blog. Last weekend, we made some pesto pinwheels. In one sense, it feels full circle as attempts to bake bread when we were in the US really spurred us to post more on the blog then. Now that we’re in India, the smell of bread has pretty much had the same effect on us. So here’s to a new and hopefully more sustained inning J
1 ¼ c maida (all purpose flour)
1 c aata (whole wheat flour)
½ c + ½ c and another tbsp. water*
3 tsp vital wheat gluten**
¾-1 c pesto sauce (we used homemade but store bought is just as good)
2 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp melted butter.
* the amount of water depends on the extent of kneading and if you’re using machine versus hands to knead. The idea is to use as less water as possible to make nice, smooth dough that doesn’t stick to your hands after kneading.
** we’ve realized that maida and aata, particularly aata in India have less gluten content than most all purpose flours available in the US so it is good to add some gluten for some spongy, porous bread.
- Take ½ c lukewarm water and add sugar to it. Then add the yeast granules. Cover and let it rest for 10 mins. The water should be frothy, which means the yeast has ‘woken up’. If it isn’t, stop immediately and get a fresh batch of yeast and repeat.
- In a stand mixer (hands are just as good) with the dough hook attachment, add the flours, salt, gluten, olive oil and mix it dry for a few seconds. Then add the yeast water and knead for some time.
- Add the next ½ c water and knead some more. You’ll have to scrap the sides with a spatula and knead again a couple of times.
- Keep kneading (5-6 mins.) until you have a nice, smooth dough without any dry spots. The dough shouldn’t stick to the hook and when you press it against your fingers, it should (more or less), come off cleanly without sticking. Add the remaining 1 tbsp water only if the dough is too dry. If the dough is too wet and sticky, try kneading for some more time. If it continues to be sticky, add some flour.
- Remove the dough from the mixer, shape it into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover it with a wet kitchen towel and let it sit for 2 hrs or until double in volume.
- Remove the dough and release the air gently. On a floured surface, roll it into a rectangle (about 15” x 8”). Basically, the rectangular sheet should be at least ¼ inches thick.
- Spread the pesto uniformly on the sheet, leaving an inch gap on all sides.
- Now roll the dough into a cylinder and cut pinwheels with a knife.
- Place the pinwheels into the final baking dish. Make sure they’re separated by at least an inch.
- Cover with a wet kitchen towel and let it rise for another 1.5-2 hrs or until (nearly) double in volume.
- Preheat oven to 200C. Place a rack in the lower third.
- Remove the kitchen towel and apply melted butter wash to the dough.
- Place the baking dish into the oven and bake for 12 mins. Then lower oven temperature to 180C and place the dish in the middle rack and bake for another 10-15 mins. You could even broil it for a minute from the top.
- Remove from the oven.
- Dig in! These are had best when they’re hot.
The pinwheels came out pretty well. Thanks to the gluten, they were soft and quite porous. Overall, quite soft, pillowy and delicious. Give it a try. Nothing beats baking bread and sharing it with your loved ones. I think we’ll be doing it more often.
And posting here more often too, hopefully!