Thursday, September 6, 2012

Taming the Yeast - Crusty Cheese Bread

Baking bread had been on my mind for a long time now. The first time i tried, the yeast just refused to behave , refused to rise and I ended up with some buns that were like stones : ( But I too refused to give up and went around the markets scouring different brands of yeast. With a lot of suggestions from fellow foodie friends / bakers from a popular foodie page I could manage to bake my first set of yummy buns. Take a look....

Making this set of buns gave me immense satisfaction and I decided to give bread baking another shot . This time something I picked up an easy recipe adapted from Martha Day and made a "Crusty Cheese Bread" . The original recipe had onions in it but I skipped that and instead added some herbs - oregano and parsley. And this is how it turned out...

Ingredients :

Warm water  - 300 ml

Dry active yeast - 2 tsp (7 gms) This is easily available at the grocers, or you may have to
                                          look around a bit.

Sugar - 1 tbsp

Sunflower oil - 1 tbsp

White flour - 450 gms  

Salt - a pinch

Mixed dry herbs - 2 tbsps ( I used oregano, parsley and red chili flakes )

Grated cheddar cheese - 1 cup ( keep aside 2 tbsp to sprinkle on top for baking )

Milk - 2 tbsp ( for glazing )


Put the water in a jug , sprinkle the yeast on top, add the sugar. Mix well and keep aside to rise for 10 mins. After 10 mins the mixture should have become all frothy and bubbly. If not then the yeast is not right.

In a bowl , add the flour, salt,herbs, grated cheese and make a well in the centre.Add the yeast mixture and the oil gradually, incorporate the flour and mix to a soft dough, adding extra flour if reqd.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 8- 10 mins until the dough is smooth and springy. Put it in a greased bowl , cover with a damp towel and let it rise for 1 hr or until doubled in bulk.

Once it has risen , transfer mixture to a floured surface, knock out the air bubbles by kneading the dough softly. Divide the mixture into two halves and roll out into a longish shape , like a roll.

Place on baking sheets and make diagonal cuts along the top and sprinkle the remaining grated  cheese on top.Glaze with milk.Cover and leave for another 30 mins until well risen.

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Bake the rolls for 20 - 25 mins until it becomes brown on the top.

It might seem that its a tough job to make a bread but trust me once you have done it a couple of times there will be no fear and all that you will get is sheer joy.

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