From breaking to baking bread: 6 recipes to ace your #quarantinecooking game
Bye bye Dalgona, hello sourdough
Breaking bread with our friends and loved ones may be a thing of the past (for now), but in our attempt to keep ourselves occupied, and happy during the lockdown, we’ve turned to the next best thing — baking bread.
Dalgona coffee has been dethroned as the most popular lockdown trend, and steaming baked goods emerging from the oven have swiftly taken its place.
If I was given the opportunity to create a dream scent to spritz around my house, it would, hands down, be the smell of freshly baked bread. It’s the smell that wafts into your car, trying to shake your already-on-edge resolve, when you drive past a bakery.
It’s warm and comforting, like the security blanket you couldn’t do without as a child. And of late, the periodic appearance of my favourite carb on my feed has helped freshly baked bread become my constant craving.
So, for all those who are in the same bread basket as me, here are some recipes for savoury baked goods, that will keep your snacking urges at an all-time high.
White bread, for the classic girl who finds pleasure in small joys.
Sourdough for the experimenter (read: show-off).
Hotcross buns for those aching to go back to the good old days.
Eggless cheese biscuits for the snackspert.
The perfect pizza base, for the girl, who like us, is missing her pizza delivery guy more than her parents.
And of course, the flakey, buttery crowning glory of the bread world, for the overachieving baker — le croissant.
6 recipes for baking bread and biscuits at home
Photo credit: Pixabay
White bread: understated but never underrated
Humble in appearance, ruthless on the midriff, but perhaps the most comforting food on the planet, it’s the understated but never underrated star of pantries.
Nothing beats a warm buttered toast with a cup of chai, as you’re watching the sunset. Nothing. Plus, its versatility is unmatched — hummus, Nutella, cheese, salsa, literally anything on toast, tastes good. More reason to get started with baking bread during lockdown.
- 500g strong white flour (a little extra for dusting)
- 2 tsp salt
- 7g fast-action yeast
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 300ml water
- Mix flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture, then add the olive oil and water, and mix well. If the dough seems a little stiff, add another one to two tablespoons of water, and mix well.
- Put dough on your lightly floured work surface and knead for around 10 minutes.
- Once the dough feels satin-smooth, place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for one hour until doubled in size or place in the fridge overnight.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Punch the air out of the dough and pull the dough in on itself, then gently mould the dough into a ball.
- Place it on the baking parchment and let it sit for an hour until it has doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 220°C.
- Dust the loaf with some extra flour and cut a cross about six cm long into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack, and cut into slices.
Photo credit: Tommaso Urli/Unsplash
Sourdough: say hello to the #instastar
You have not arrived as an aspiring food blogger until you’ve posted a boomerang of yourself ripping apart a home-made loaf of sourdough.
But perfecting the chewy texture, and crisp crust of sourdough, potentially the gold medal of home baking, is no mean feat.
You’ll have to work hard as this week-long process of baking bread is sure to test your patience. The rewards however, are worth the wait.
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup starter (stir before using)
- In a glass bowl, add water and yeast. Mix the yeast into the water and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients for the starter. Mix well until everything is incorporated.
- Wrap the bowl with clear wrap, making sure that you haven’t tightly sealed the bowl. Let the starter breathe a little and keep it in a dark place at room temperature. Stir every twelve hours until making the dough. The starter will rise and shrink each day and you should see bubbles, which means that the yeast is being activated.
- On day five, combine all ingredients into a bowl, knead for twenty minutes until dough is stretchy yet doesn’t stick to your hands.
- While the dough is being kneaded, store your starter to use later. It can stay in the fridge and be fed once a week with a teaspoon of sugar. To replenish your starter, simply add one cup of flour and half cup of water, mix, and place it back in the fridge. Leave it out overnight to get to room temperature before preparing the dough.
- Place kneaded dough into a large floured bowl with a towel over the top, then sprinkle flour and let it rise for twelve hours.
- Place risen dough onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes. Place it into a medium bowl, sprinkle flour and let it rise for another four hours.
- Preheat oven to 250°C.
- Flip the dough onto a parchment paper, and transfer the dough and paper into the oven
- Score the top of the bread (scoring means slashing bread dough before baking with a sharp knife).
- Place a lid on top and bake for 30 minutes.
- Take the lid off and bake for another 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Transfer onto a cooling rack and let it rest for an hour. Knock the bottom of the bread to listen for a hollow knock.
Photo credit: Jasmine Waheed/Unsplash
Hotcross buns: for a stroll down memory lane
One a penny, two a penny…you guessed it. It’s hot cross buns.
These sweet, spiced buns with a drizzle of butter are what our childhood fantasies were made of.
Fulfil your fantasy of bringing your nursery rhyme illustrations to life with this mouth-watering recipe by Chef Sanjana Patel of La Folie, Mumbai.
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 140g cold water
- 6g salt
- 20g sugar
- Orange or lemon zest (from 2 oranges or 4 lemons)
- 15g yeast
- 40g milk
- 50g candied orange or apricot
- 50g raisins
- 50g chocolate chips
For the cross:
- 50g flour
- 40g water
- 15g milk
- 1 tsp oil
- 100g orange juice
- 100g sugar
- Take 1/4th quantity of the flour, mix it with the cold water and yeast. Keep mixing for 10 minutes, add the butter with the orange or lemon zest after three minutes. Add salt in another three minutes.
- Knead the dough until it’s stretchy and elastic.
- Add the fruits and the chocolate chips and mix slowly.
- Take the dough out into a tin, cover it with a cloth and let it prove (proofing (also called proving) is a step in the preparation of yeast bread and other baked goods where the dough is allowed to rest and rise a final time before baking) for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into equal balls, dust with flour to ensure that they don’t stick onto the surface when you roll them.
- Place them on the baking tray with a distance of three fingers between each dough ball. Let them rest for an hour to an hour and a half. Four by six would be an ideal tray.
For the cross:
- Mix the milk and oil.
- Put the flour into a bowl, add the milk and oil mixture, and half a cup of water, and mix with a whisk.
- Pour the mixture into a piping bag.
- Make a cross across each bun using the piping bag.
- Put the baking tray into the oven and bake at 200°C for ten minutes, and at 170°C for another 10 minutes.
- Mix the orange juice with sugar and glaze it on top of the hot buns.
Recipe: Chef Sanjana Patel/Instagram
Cheese biscuits: thrice as nice
Crunchy, buttery and cheesy — the holy trifecta of savoury baked goods.
The best part of this recipe for flakey cheese biscuits? (Other than the fact that it’s eggless)
We don’t need to worry about getting crumbs all over our clothes because where do we have to go anyway?
- 150g all purpose flour (maida)
- 150g parmesan cheese (grated)
- 150g unsalted butter (cut in cubes)
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- In a bowl, add the flour and butter. Rub the cold butter into the flour till it resembles bread crumbs, it’s okay if small pieces of butter remain solid.
- Add cheese and chilli flakes to the flour and butter and mix till it combines to form a ball.
- Roll the dough out to form a log, wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or until firm.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut the dough log into pieces (one-third of an inch in thickness) and place on a baking sheet. with about an inch between each biscuit.
- Put the baking tray in the freezer for ten minutes. Place in the oven straight from the freezer and bake for twelve-fifteen minutes or until golden.
Photo credit: Valeria Boltneva/Unsplash
Croissant: the big flakey buns have arrived
The only food that tastes good when recreated by airlines.
The breakfast bread of champions. The crescent shape, buttery, flakey pastry is the moon of our lives, and the sophisticated foreign wale uncle of breads.
Not the easiest to make, this attempt at baking bread requires dedication, patience and a certain je ne sais quoi.
- 225g flour
- 15g yeast
- 125 ml milk
- 115g butter
- 1/2 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Poppy seeds (optional)
- Sieve 200 grams of flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Cream the yeast with milk and pour onto the flour. Cover and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes.
- Melt 25 grams of butter and mix with egg and salt. Add it to the flour to make a smooth and soft dough. Leave to prove for an hour.
- Divide the remaining butter into three parts. Roll out the dough into a rectangle and put one part of the butter in flakes on two thirds of the rectangle leaving half an inch on the sides.
- Fold it into thirds and refrigerate for half an hour and repeat this process twice, and use the remaining two parts of the butter and then two more times without the butter.
- Rest the dough between rolling and folding.
- After the fifth time, keep it in fridge for 40 minutes. Then, cut into triangles (as many as possible) and roll like a crescent. Allow them to double in size.
- Brush with egg, sprinkle poppy seeds and bake at 218°C for 15 to 20 minutes.
Recipe: Sucheta Sehgal
Photo credit: Chad Montano/Unsplash
Pizza dough: it’s all about the base
If the photograph above has made your eyes well up with yearning, then we are definitely on the same page.
No one should ever be made stay away from their favourite food for long, but in the present scenario it’s the only responsible thing to do.
So here is how you can make the perfect pizza base, and make this lockdown a tad bit bearable.
- 7g active dry yeast
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 cup warm water (45°C)
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 230°C. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let it rest for five minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll it out into a circle. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker’s peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Let baked pizza cool for five minutes before serving.