I am not that much of a bread eater. It's strange because when I was in school/ college, I refused to pack anything else for lunch, but sandwiches, and considering I used to live on bread those days, I should have by now refused to part with it. But I guess, it rubbed off the other way for me. I don't want anything to do with it. Not that I hate it altogether, but I'm not that crazy about it either. The occasional garlic bread does the work for me these days.
Ro on the other hand, has toast every morning and I often ask him why he doesn't wanna try something else, and wont he get bored with it? This is the conversation we have every time I put forth that question:
"I would like idli, dosa or poori for breakfast, but since my wife is fast asleep during my breakfast time, I have no choice but to have toast."
Me: Do you think I work at Saravana Bhavan???? Well, you should have married a more pro-active person then, too bad I'm not. Why don't you try cornflakes, waffles or pancakes.
Ro: OK I like pancakes and waffles.
Me: Great I'll pick up a pack or two next time. All you have to do is heat them up in the microwave and you're good to go.
Ro: Oh I thought you were gonna make them for me????
Me: Wonder what gave you that idea? Remember I'm not the pro active wife.
Ro: Then I'll just stick to toast and coffee
Me: Fine by me ;)
He can toast a couple of slices of bread, but cant toast a waffle or heat a pancake?? I actually shouldn't complain because I'm not the super duper awesome wife who wakes up at 6am, grinds dosa batter, makes fresh dosa/idli and chutney and watches the husband gracefully digging into it. I'm one of those lazy brats who get Ro to even keep coffee ready for me in the mornings. But seriously, cut some slack here for me. Considering I make a fabulous (most of the time) dinner for him, toasting a few slices of bread is no ordeal?? You with me here???
Anyway, the reason I brought up bread was this...I just recently learnt the art of bread baking and I'm in love with it all over again. I'm not sure if its the baking that's making me all enthusiastic or the actual outcome, but whatever be the scene I'm slightly obsessed with working with yeast and am pretty proud of my creations. I initially started off with bread mix for the fear of working with yeast. I then decided to work with instant yeast but accidentally ended up buying active baking yeast which needed to be activated and that freaked me out. A couple (lots actually) of disasters and then I slowly got the hang of it. These sundried tomato buns, cinnamon rolls, Focaccia, bhatura and chicken stuffed buns were the successful out of the lot.
(picture inspiration from here)
This recipe was bookmarked eons ago and I must admit, after 2 disastrous trials, I got lucky the third time. The first time, the dough went straight into the bin since it dried out on me and an ugly crust had formed. The second time, I still went ahead and baked the bread, but while slicing the crust just started crumbling and the insides were not cooked. So off to the rubbish bin it was. This time, I was determined to give it my best shot and decided that if it didn't work out for me, then that's it, I was never gonna give this recipe a shot again. Luck was on my side, and in spite of the slightly screwed up beginning, I managed to get what I wanted. They were the most tastiest buns I've ever had and I cant wait to make them again. Feel free to make them into buns or loaves or whatever shape you prefer. The outcome is fantastic whatsoever.
Recipe halved from here (yields 1 loaf or 6 buns)
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Instant yeast- 1 1/8th tsp (just a little over 1 tsp)
Honey- 1/2 tbsp
Warm water- 1/2 cup
Olive oil- 1/2 tbsp + enough to grease
Garlic butter- 1/4 cup
Cheddar cheese- 75 to 80 gms (depending on your choice)
Add the honey and olive oil and rub into the flour mix, either using your fingers or with the paddle attachment of you mixer.
Change to the dough hook, add in the water and knead on low for a couple of seconds and then increase speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes or till the dough becomes smooth and pliable (and releases easily from the hook).
Add some flour or water (bit by bit), if you think the dough requires either of it. (I can proudly say that I now know how to determine this..pat on the back for me).
If you are doing this by hand, then lightly flour your work top and knead the dough for about 7 minutes.
Lightly grease a mixing bowl and the dough, cover with cling film and keep aside to rise for about 2 to 3 hours. It should have doubled in size after the proofing period. (I pre-heat the oven at a really low temp for about 5 minutes, switch it off and place the bowl inside the oven. I leave it aside for about 3 to 4 hours)
Once the time is up and the dough has risen beautifully, punch it down and knead for a couple of seconds using your hand.
Line a tray with baking paper and divide the dough into 6-7 lemon size balls.
Cover with the same cling film and leave to rise for a further 30 to 45 minutes.
You can also pre heat the oven to 175C at this point.
In the mean time, melt the butter and thinly slice the cheese.
Once the dough has risen again, brush some of the melted butter onto the rolls and bake for about 20 minutes.
Take them out of the oven brush them again with more garlic butter and place them back inside for about 5 minutes. (yes double dose...that's what I'm talking about)
By this time the rolls would be nice and brown. Leave them out to cool for about 15 minutes.
Using a serrated knife gently slice the rolls, making sure you don't go all the way through the loaf. Leave an inch gap between slices.
Brush garlic butter in between and fill each gap with the cheese.
Send them back into the oven for about 3 to 5 minutes or till the cheese have all melted.
Take them out of the oven and if there is more butter, go on and glaze them.
Serve as a side to bakes or casseroles.
Use any cheese you prefer. The more stronger, the better.
I used store bought garlic butter, because I'm lazy. Making your own is really easy. Just mix 1/4 cup of melted butter with about 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp finely chopped parsley and salt to taste. I prefer using garlic powder instead of pods because i find the garlic taste too strong.
Feel free to make baguettes instead of rolls and double the recipe for larger quantities. As a rule, I always halve the recipes of any new dish I try. It's not the best way to go about it, but it somehow works for me.