Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan from Chef in Disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. For this month’s challenge, she chose to take bread making a step further. Not only are we going to make bread from scratch but we are going to form it into beautiful forms. I can assure you that you will feel proud of yourself when you take them out of the oven. The challenge may seem complicated and intimidating with all the steps but believe me it is not, it is actually very easy.

Both bread recipes provided in this challenge are recipes Sawsan got from family friends years ago. The bread forms are inspired by the creations of Valentina Zurkan. You are free to use any filling you like, savory or sweet. In the savory category you may want to try herbs, spice mixes like zaatar, grated cheese or any other savory filling that appeals to you. If you would rather try a sweet version, try cinnamon, coco powder, Nutella, etc. The possibilities are endless.

CINNAMON SWEET BREAD

Ingredients:

For the Dough

1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water

3/4 cup (180 ml) warm milk

1 large egg, room temperature

1/4 cup (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) butter, softened

1/4 cup (60 ml) (50 gm) (1-3/4 oz) white sugar

1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt

3-1/4 cups (780 ml) (450 gm) (16 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) cardamom, optional

For the Topping

1/4 cup (60 ml) of milk

1 tablespoon (15 gm) (1/2 oz) sugar

Between the Layers

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) (1/4 cup) (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) butter

4 tablespoons (60 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) cinnamon

1/2 cup (120 ml) (100 gm) (3-1/2 oz) sugar

For Drizzling

1 can (400 gm) (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Method:

  • In a bowl whisk egg with milk, water, sugar, butter and yeast. In another bowl sift flour with salt and optional cardamom.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead until smooth. Place the dough in a bowl brushed with some oil.

  • Cover the dough with a wet cloth and leave it in a warm place to double. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter. Brush the first layer with butter.

  • Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Place the 2nd layer on the 1st, repeat the brushing and sprinkling. Do the same with the 3rd.
  • Top with the 4th layer, this time only brush it with butter. Using a knife make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles.

  • Make cuts that go 2/3 of the way in the middle of each triangle. The cuts should not reach the base of the triangle nor the tip.
  • Take the tip of each triangle and insert it into the cut you made, pull it from the underside. Arrange triangles on a baking sheet.

  • Pinch the two angles at the base of the triangle together. Roll a piece of dough into a rope, then form it into a small coil shape.
  • Place it in the center where the heads of the triangles meet. Brush with milk. Allow the shaped dough to rest for 15 minutes.

  • Heat oven to very hot 500°F/240°C/gas mark 9 (rack in the middle). Bake for 5 minutes on very hot 500°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
  • Then lower the temperature to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and bake for 15-20 more minutes until golden brown.

  • If you have a broiler (grill) in your oven, turn on the broiler (grill) for a couple of minutes until the bread is golden brown on top.
  • Take out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rick and drizzle with condensed milk while it is still warm.

NUTELLA TWISTS

Ingredients:

For the Dough

1 can (400 gm) (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil

1 cup (240 ml) warm water

3 teaspoons (15 ml) (12 gm) yeast

7 cups (1 kg) (2.2 lbs) all-purpose (plain) flour

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) milk powder

3 tablespoons (45 ml) lukewarm water

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar

1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) instant coffee

Pinch of salt

For the Filling

½ jar (200 gm) (7 oz) of Nutella

Method:

  • Mix the condensed milk, yeast, oil, water, and eggs in the bowl of your mixer. Add the flour one cup at a time.
  • Knead using the kneading attachment or by hand till you get a soft dough. The dough will be slightly sticky.

  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rest till it doubles in size. Punch down the dough.
  • Divide it into 2 parts. Wrap one part in a plastic bag and work with the other. Divide the dough ball into 4 parts.

  • Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter. Spread the Nutella filling on the first dough layer.
  • Place the second layer on top of the first and repeat. Top with the fourth layer, this time only brush it with butter.

  • Make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles starting at the center, do not go all the way to the outer edge.
  • Then divide each triangle into two. That gives you a total of 16 triangles. Gently lift the triangles out one at a time.

  • Twist them and brush dough with egg wash. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Place oven rack in the middle position.
  • Heat oven to very hot 500°F/240°C/gas mark 9. Bake for 5 minutes on very hot 500°F/240°C/gas mark 9.

  • Then lower the temperature to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and bake for 15-20 more minutes.
  • If you have a broiler (grill) in your oven, turn on the broiler (grill) for a couple of minutes until golden brown.

  • This dough recipe makes two loaves, 16 small pieces each and can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.
  • The bread, once baked can be stored in air tight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or in the fridge.

DB February 2014 – Beautiful Bread

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