I am on a bread-baking spree! I still love cakes, both eating and baking them, but ever since I discovered the joy of baking bread successfully, I’ve been on a roll. I now want to explore all the various kinds of breads there are and want to be good at baking all of them! After the Masala Spinach Bread and the Hot Cross Buns (and Pita bread and Pizza dough that I haven’t blogged about here), I decided on trying a savory bread that I’ve been eyeing long before I even began baking it. The picture of this bread, on one of my favorite blogs (love the writing and the pictures) has stayed with me for months now. So last Saturday, when I was home alone working on a corporate film script, my mind wandered (like it always does) and I let it go back to the blog, where I dug out this recipe and began work on it. Sun-dried tomatoes are one of my most-favorite things and the fact that I decided to use my precious Waitrose Sundried tomatoes for this bread, says a lot about my feelings for it.
Between my work and letting the dough prove and rolling it out, I had soft pillowy rolls of Cheddar and Sundried tomato-pull apart bread ready and out of the oven by tea-time. Despite not being too hungry, I wolfed down one roll after another of the pull-apart bread and kept going back for more. This is one of those things you shouldn’t be home alone with. I carried the bread to a movie-night at a friend’s place and going by the Mmmm, Wows and and ‘you should open a bread bakery’, half of the bread was gone. Some even reached for it after the delicious dinner. Of course I was pleased!
While I was very happy with the texture and softness, my bread didn’t have the reddish and done appearance of the original. Since I was trying to mimic it, I wanted to get it absolutely right. So the next evening when I baked the bread (again), I made some minor modifications to it and did everything to duplicate the appearance of the original (except the grape-bunch design). This time the bread was full-flavored and I could taste the cheese, as I bit into the rolls. It takes a great deal of self-control not to go ahead and eat all of it at one go (believe me it is possible), but I am happy to report that I spread the eating over four days of breakfast and shared it with the better-half.
What You Will Need
For the Dough:
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
25 gm butter, soft at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp extra milk to brush over the bread
For the Flavoring:
15 to 20 gm melted butter
2 tbs crushed garlic
2 tbs sun-dried tomatoes chopped into little bits
Red chilli flakes to taste
Paprika – 1 tspn
Oregano – 1-1.5 tspn
3/4 cup grated Cheddar Cheese (2 tbs more to brush over the bread)
How You Make It
- Take the warm milk in a mug, dissolve the sugar and the yeast and set aside for the yeast to bubble up.
- In a large bowl, soft the flour and salt together. Add the softened butter and with your hands rub it into the flour.
- Add the yeast and milk and knead with your hands for a good 5- 10 minutes, till the dough comes together and you can shape it into a ball.
- Grease a large bowl with oil and place the ball of dough in it. Cover with cling-film, place a wet kitchen towel over the cling-flim and set aside the dough to rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours till it has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile heat the remaining butter, add the crushed or minced garlic, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the Paprika, and the chilli flakes and turn off the stove.
- After the dough has doubled in size, punch it to let the air out. Then add the melted butter and spice mix, add the Oregano and cheddar and knead until all of them are mixed into the dough. Shape into a ball, cover with cling-film and the wet towel and set aside to double for another 30-45 minutes.
- Punch the dough again and roll them into small balls and shape into whatever form you fancy. Grapes, Honey-comb etc. Place on a greased baking tray and set aside to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 180 C.
- Once the oven’s heated, place the tray in and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Take it out if the oven and let cool for atleast 30 minutes before you dig in.
- You could eat this with salted butter or dip it in some flavored olive oil. I enjoyed it the way it was.
Someone recently told me (not necessarily in the context of baking) that no matter how much you love someone or something, you need to take breaks from it/the person to ensure your love stays healthy. I am going to apply this to baking and will take a break from baking cakes and turn to baking bread for sometime. Inspired by my favorite food writer David Lebovitz’s visit to Beirut, my next bread will be flavored with Zaatar.