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It took me so many years to get a second naan recipe on the blog and this one, with its silky, brioche-like texture and molten swirls of Cheddar cheese, is not unlike my first post from 2011. Sabaah, from Kitchen Delights, describes the Mauritian naan as being ‘one of the most famous foods sold during Ramadan’ with door-to-door sellers putting forth their products on a daily basis right throughout the fasting period. While it has now become easy and convenient to purchase any naan from your local bakery or supermarket, it nevertheless generates a feeling of contentment to knead your dough, prepare your stuffing and finally take a golden baked naan out of your kitchen oven once a while.

MAURITIAN CHEESE NAAN

Ingredients:

375g white bread flour

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 egg, room temperature

120ml lukewarm milk

50g butter, melted

50g pure ghee, melted

1 teaspoons caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

50g butter, room temperature

100g Cheddar cheese, grated

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method:

  • In a large bowl combine the two flours. Add the salt and sugar, mix well and then add instant yeast.

  • Make a well in the center, add melted butter, ghee, egg and milk and combine everything together.

  • If more liquid is needed, add warm water very little at a time, so that it does not form sticky dough.

  • Transfer the dough to a counter surface and knead for 10 to 12 minutes till dough is soft and elastic.

  • Grease bowl and transfer the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel allow to rest in a warm place.

  • Once it has doubled in size, divide dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each one into a rectangular shape.

  • Spread room temperature butter all over, then sprinkle with cheese and roll each as for a Swiss roll.

  • Now shape each roll make a spiral shape. Allow to rise for further 30mins then brush with egg wash.

  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in preheated oven at 200oC for about 20 minutes till golden.

  • Remove from oven and cool briefly on wire rack before brushing with extra melted butter. Serves 4.

Mauritian Cheese Naan

This year’s Fête du Pain was celebrated with the usual enthusiasm and grandeur with bread baking competitions held between bakeries, pastry chefs from renowned hotels as well as amateur bakers all over the island. Since its first edition in 1992, this annual event has become an integral part of the Mauritian culture, celebrating our staple food item under its various shapes, textures and preparation methods.

Who can do without the traditional pain maison on their breakfast table or in their daily lunchbox? The average Mauritian cannot honestly enjoy a hot batch of gato piments without a crusty loaf of freshly buttered French baguette just as he finds it difficult to appreciate a slice of homemade poudine dipain without leftover bread that has aged for days. Bread, under its different facets, forms an undeniable component of our eating habits, especially so with the advent of special breads on the local market such as gluten free and multigrain varieties to cater for everyone’s needs.

To mark the celebrations, I made this lot of brioche buns, light and buttery with bits of candied fruit in those cute flower-shaped brioche molds I have not used in a while. The recipe is from Blédor, the well known brand distributed by Les Moulins de la Concorde, which has been hosting the baking completion Les Duels Gourmands for the past 4 weeks to encourage Mauritians across the country to participate in the underrated art of bread baking.

BLEDOR BRIOCHE BUNS

Ingredients:

500g all purpose flour

3 eggs, room temperature

60g granulated sugar

10g kitchen salt

10g instant yeast

175ml liquid milk

150g unsalted butter

1.25g bread improver

75g candied fruit cubes

Method:

  • Combine eggs, sugar, salt, bread improver, milk and yeast in mixer bowl fitted with dough attachment.

  • Add flour gradually, mix at low speed until it forms loose, shaggy dough. Increase speed progressively.

  • Knead for about 3 minutes then add softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead to incorporate.

  • Knead until dough is smooth and slightly elastic. Transfer to a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.

  • Leave the dough to proof in a warm environment for about 1 hour until it has almost doubled in volume.

  • Pat down and lightly fold in candied fruit, then divide dough into portions of equal weight, using a scale.

  • Shape each portion into the traditional ‘brioche’ shape with a small knot on top. Place in brioche molds.

  • Preheat oven to 200oC. Leave dough to proof for another 30 minutes till it rises above the rim of molds.

  • Brush the top with milk or egg glaze and bake for about 15 minutes until well risen and golden in colour.

  • Turn out to cool slightly on wire rack, then serve warm with tea. Makes 8 large or 12 small brioche buns.

Blédor Brioche Challenge

Welcome to our April Bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. The New York Times says making it is “no casual undertaking.” Noted food writer David Lebovitz offers a recipe for a stunning version he enjoyed at Honey & Co. in London. Dean & DeLuca sells it online — for $28 a loaf. What is this mysterious bread, and is it really worth it? Take our Chocolate Babka Bakealong challenge, and find out!

Chocolate babka, a dense, rich loaf swirled with an equally rich chocolate/butter/sugar/nut filling, is a classic eastern European Jewish bread. Here in the U.S., chocolate babka has gradually spread from its native big city bakeries into suburban bistros and coffee shops — and thence to the kitchens of those of us who enjoy an interesting yeast bread project. This Chocolate Babka #bakealong offers everything you need to create a spectacular loaf. While we agree baking babka is “no casual undertaking,” it’s also attainable by bakers of any skill level — even beginner. Simply follow the steps one by one and before you know it, you’ll be pulling a couple of gorgeous loaves out of the oven.

CHOCOLATE BABKA

Ingredients:

For the Dough

1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

2 large eggs, room temperature

6 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup milk powder

2 tablespoons instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons kitchen salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Filling

1/2 cup muscovado sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup cocoa, Dutch-process or natural

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate

1 cup diced pecans or walnuts, toasted

For the Glaze & Topping

1 large egg, beaten with a pinch of salt

4 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

Method:

  • Combine all of the dough ingredients (starting with 1 cup water), mixing until everything is moistened.
  • Add extra water if necessary to enable dough to come together. Cover and let dough rest for 20 minutes.

  • Then mix/knead it until it is soft and smooth. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and cover bowl.
  • The dough is going to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it is quite puffy. Now gently deflate the dough.

  • Divide the dough into halves. Set the pieces aside, covered with plastic wrap, while you make the filling.
  • To make filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and espresso powder and stir in the melted butter.

  • The mixture will look grainy and slick. Shape each half of the dough into a 9″ x 18″, 1/4″-thick rectangle.
  • Smear each piece of dough with half the filling, coming to within 1″ of the edges. Scatter half of the nuts.

  • Then add half the chopped chocolate over each piece. Starting with a short end, roll each piece into a log.
  • Seal the seam and ends. Working with one log at a time, use sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise.

  • Be careful to prevent filling from spilling out. With exposed filling side up, twist the 2 pieces into a braid.
  • Tuck the ends underneath. Repeat with the other log. Place each log in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

  • Brush each loaf with the egg glaze. Mix the topping ingredients till crumbly and sprinkle over each loaf.
  • Tent each pan with plastic wrap, and let the loaves rise until they are puffy for about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.

  • Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 35 minutes and tent lightly with foil.
  • Bake for another 15 to 25 minutes (for a total of 50 to 60 minutes); loaves should be deep-golden brown.

  • Remove the loaves from the oven, and immediately loosen edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife.
  • Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the baking pans onto a rack to cool completely.

  • Slice babka and serve at room temperature or rewarm individual slices briefly in a toaster before serving.
  • Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days or freeze them for longer storage.

KAF April 2017 Challenge

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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