Nan-E Babari


 Prep Time : 20 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! We need options. Snack options. Bread options. This flatbread has an amazing crust that uses a special trick. And it looks striking and fabulous. Perfect for the holidays. It’s delicious and provides the perfect opportunity for a humble-brag… Shut down the snarks with your prowess and knowledge. And make the perfect accompaniment to a meal. All in one go. Efficiency is key at this time of year. If you’re hosting make a couple of these a few days ahead and refresh them in a hot oven for 10 minutes when they’re thawed. Or turn up at Christmas lunch with a warm fabulous contribution that smells like heaven. The key to the fabulous colour and chewy crust is a roux-like paste called roomal that is spread onto the dough before baking. It will change your life. To make this dough easier to handle and bake at home and still get great results I have reduced the amount of water from the original recipe. Feel free to experiment with adding more water if you are a confident bread baker. To make more loaves just scale up. A little bit of math never hurt anyone…

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Christmas Gifts for the Bread Baker


Hello my lovelies! Who knew I’d be handing out advice on gifts. I’m fairly careful to make sure that I clearly signal any food related gifts that I actually want or need. I have been given some terrible cookbooks by well-meaning folks in the past. So this advice is to be used in conjunction with a little snooping or subtle questioning to make sure you’re on the right track and not doubling up on items already owned. These are all things that I use regularly and love and recommend for good bread baking at home. They vary in spendy-ness so there is something for everyone in there. To be fair I don’t yet own the last item. But I’ll take donations… Or obviously put this list out as a hint if you are after some great tools to help with your bread making! The estimated prices are in NZD. These are all things that can be picked up in stores or online (with the exception of the second hand books which need a bit of online digging).

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Pane di Mais – Polenta Bread


 Prep Time : 30 + 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 25 Minutes | Total Time : 5 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! This is a bit of a deep dive bread. An old recipe from Italy that I found while playing with traditional bread recipes. It is absolutely delicious and holds a lovely soft texture for days. It might seem like a bit of mucking around making the polenta first. But totally worth it. Modern fine polenta cooks pretty fast so it’s not a major drama. There are points where it might seem like there is not enough water but go with it. The dough ends up soft and pliable once everything is brought together and kneaded. Set aside a bit of time for this – it has three rises. If your house is warm the time will fly by. Impress your family and friends with it at Christmas. Use your leftover polenta to make polenta chips. Or just toss some parmesan and cream on top and eat it as a snack while you’re waiting for the ferment to rise…

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Toasted Sesame Baby Bao


 Prep Time : 20 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 8 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! We are mixing up our bread efforts today. Making fluffy delicious bao. Steaming rather than baking. You can get a bamboo steamer for hardly any money at any asian supermarket. Mine has two layers and a lid and cost around $12. These bao are soft and fluffy with a hint of nuttiness from the sesame seeds. It balances perfectly with the sweetness of the dough. You can shape these in the traditional bao ‘foldover’ style or just make neat round buns to slice and fill. They will look small when they have proved but they puff up even more as they steam. Use them where you would normally use a small roll or even to make a warm sandwich. The are also addictive on their own to be honest. Be careful if you have gas burners that the flames don’t curl around the bottom of the pot. Hijinks will ensue.

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