Friday, June 16, 2017

Bake a purse! BBB in June

Another month with another Middle Eastern recipe for the Bread Baking Babes to bake; thanks Karen ("Bake my day!") for this lovely choice. The fun bread shape looks like a purse and is meant to carry around after buying it from a street cart in Lebanon that sells these. You can bake them yourself and please feel free to parade in your house and/or street! Bake these in a weekend and eat them for dinner or take them on a picnic! Bake with us, taste, post about them en sent your details and findings to Karen (bakemyday(at)gmail(dot)com) and become our Bread Baking Buddy!! Enter before the 30th of this month!

Kaak bread (a Lebanese bread with sesame seeds)
(makes 6 large Kaak)
(PRINT recipe) 

235 g milk
230 g water
2 TBsp olive oil
1 ½ TBsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 TBsp instant dry yeast
135 g whole wheat flour
490 gr all purpose flour, you may need a little more, but don’t add too much flour
1 egg for egg wash
1 TBsp sesame seeds per kaak
You will also need lined baking sheets
Mix all the dough ingrdients in a standmixer bowl and knead it until souple dough. What you'll be looking for is a malleable non-sticky dough.
Shaping; divide dough into 5 parts of 200 g (or make smaller ones about 100 g each) and ball up. The last part of dough will be smaller, but you add all the cut out circles to that one, so it’ll be about the same size. Let rest to relax and using a dough pin roll each ball into a circle approx. 18 cm diam., about 1 1/2 cm.
Place the shaped breads on lined baking sheets, be careful not to stretch the dough. Use a large cookie cutter to cut out a circle near the top to form the "handle". and loosely cover to rise another 25-30 minutes. Add all the cut-out circles to the last smaller piece of dough and shape this one like a purse without cutting a whole (make a hole with your finger and carefully open it up. Or do it as it’s done in this video )

Egg wash the breads, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for ±15-18 minutes or until golden and puffed in a pre-heated oven 200-220°C. I think they will benefit from a bit of steam in your oven. Use your preferred method; either ice cubes, boiling water in a heated pan... bake on a stone...

Let them cool on a wire rack. You can eat them like they are or make a horizontal slit in the bottom part of the purse, which you can fill with whatever your fancy.
We stuffed them with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and some vegetable "sausages"

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bread Baking Babes bake Shubbak el-Habayeb.

This month it is Karens ("Karens kitchen stories") choice and it's a great one! A delicious little bread with a slight sweet taste. It's the second time I've baked them. The first time I rolled them too thin, this time it was better, a bit thicker that made a lovely crumb. Even though I didn't make the slices right :) . It's a lovely little bread to bake along with us. So give it a try and become our Bread Baking Buddy by baking and telling us about it.

Send your findings and results to the Kitchen of the month to Karen (, check out her blog for more information. Deadline 29th of the month. Have fun baking!

Shubbak el-Habayeb
Yield: 12 rolls
(PRINT recipe)
600 g  all purpose flour
3 g tsp instant yeast
100 g sugar
225 g milk, scalded
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1/2 tsp rose water
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground mahlab
12 g salt
50 g butter, melted and cooled
about 100 ml water, added to the dough by wetting your hands as you knead the dough.
1 egg
1 TBsp water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
Sesame seeds (white and/or black)
Pour the flour into a bowl, and create a well in the middle. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into the well, and add the milk. Cover the milk with some of the flour from the sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, and let rest for one hour.
Add the eggs, flower waters, cardamom, mahlab, and salt to the mixture in the bowl and mix with your hands to form a rough dough. Turn it out onto an unfloured counter, and knead for 10 minutes.
Add the butter, and knead for 10 more minutes. While kneading, if the dough is too stiff, dip your hands in the water, and continue to knead. Continue to dip your hands in the water until you have a supple dough. You can also do this with a dough hook, adding the water, one tablespoon at a time. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm spot, covered, for about two hours, until doubled.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form them into balls. Cover with a towel or oiled plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Roll each ball with a rolling pin into a square that is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough with a sharp knife to make short vertical cuts in each quadrant of the dough. Open the slits with your hands to make sure they are cut through.
Place the squares on baking sheets (two sheet pans, prepared with parchment), six squares per pan.Cover each sheet pan with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise for one hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 220ºC) with a rack in the middle of the oven.
Whisk together the glaze ingredients and brush the glaze over the rolls on one of the sheet pans. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake the first pan of rolls for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the second pan of rolls.
(source: Jane Mason – “Book of buns”)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

BBBabes make curry 'eggs' for Easter

This month there is a delicious treat for you to bake with us. I was very pleased that our Indian Babe Aparna ("My diverse kitchen") came up with these lovely vegetarian "great balls of curry". Deep fried round balls with a superdelicious curry (recipe included) inside. How perfect to have egg-like balls for a Easter-recipe!
I made them on a Sunday for diner. I made 12 balls, that were big enough as they puff up a little in the oil. Everybody loved these a lot. Cripsy on the outside, soft bread and a fabulous curry on the inside. Thanks Aparna, that was just perfect for us! So bake fry along with us, and become our Bread Baking Buddy. Make it, fry it, eat it, and blog about it, or let us know how they turned out. Send your details to Aparna (aparna(at)mydiversekitchen(dot)com), deadline 29th of this month and she'll add you to the round up of all the Buddy Bakers, Of course you'll also receive a Buddy Badge to add to your post (if you like). You won't be disappointed with these delicious breadballs! So go and bake (fry) and have fun.

Kare Pan (Japanese Curry Buns)
(PRINT recipe)
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
300 g all-purpose bread flour
70 g whole wheat flour
70 g cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 TBsp oil
200-250 g water
2 1/2 cups diced mixed vegetables (carrot, cauliflower, beans)
1/3 cup frozen green peas
3 big potatoes
2 TBsp  oil
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 big onions, chopped fine
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
3 to 4 TBsp coriander chopped fresh (optional)
A thin almost watery slurry/ mixture of all-purpose flour and water (or two eggs beaten well)
1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs
Oil for deep-frying
You can make this ahead or do it while the dough is rising. Steam cook the mixed vegetables and the potatoes till well done. Mash them very well and keep aside.
In a largish wok, heat the oil. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and saute taking care to see it doesn’t burn. Add half the onions and sauté again it is soft and translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook them till they’re soft and mushy.
Use your potato masher, or a wooden spoon, to mash the onion-tomato mixture further. Cook until the oil appears on the edge.
Add the turmeric, chilli, coriander, cumin and garam masala powders. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring often, until the raw smell of the spices disappears. Add the mashed vegetables, salt and about quarter a cup of water. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until everything blends into a homogeneous thick moist consistency with no gravy. Mix in the chopped coriander and let it cool. Use to fill the Curry Buns. I used a large ice/cookie scoop to portion the filling out in 12, places them on a lightly floured plate until the dough was ready to be filled.
Dough / Kare Pan
Mix instant yeast and the sugar into the flours.
In a large bowl (or use your food processor/ kneading machine), mix together the flours and the salt. Add the oil and the water. Knead well, adding as much more water (or some flour if needed ) as necessary to form a smooth elastic dough.
Roll the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, coating it with the oil. Cover loosely and let it rise till double in size (should take about 1 1/2 hours or so).
Deflate the dough and divide it into equal 12 pieces. Place them on your lightly floured work surface, cover and let them rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. Get the Curry filling ready. Also get the flour slurry or beaten egg, and the Panko crumbs all ready.
Working quickly with one piece at a time, gently press down a piece of dough and roll it out into a circle about 6 mm thick. Place a generous amount (not too much) of filling in the centre and bring up the side together over the filling to shape into a ball. Otherwise, fold over into a half-moon taking care to seal the edges very well. Use water or egg if necessary to seal. (I used the ‘slurry’ that is used for the coating)
Dip the dough ball into the flour slurry (or beaten egg) and then roll it in the breadcrumbs till it is coated well. If shaping into a ball. Use your palms to gently press in the breadcrumbs. Keep aside. Quickly repeat with remaining dough pieces and filling. Let them rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. (If you have some left over filling, just make small balls coat with the slurry and crumbs and bake in a frying pan, or just heat up without the coating, a delicious snack!)
In the meanwhile heat enough oil in a wok or fryer for deep frying the dough balls. Once the oil is hot enough (185ºC), gently drop 2 or 3 of the dough balls in the oil turning them over so they brown evenly. Once they’re a deep golden brown (should take about a couple of minutes) remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon or spatula and let them drain on paper towels.
Serve them warm as they are or with sauce. They will be crisp and crunchy on the outside and a little bready on the inside with the filling.
(adapted from

Thursday, March 16, 2017

BBBabes bake raisin bread!

Did you know there are times that I crave for raisin bread, yes I just love it, and add some cinnamon and I'm a very happy camper. So this months bread chosen by Elle ("feeding my enthusiasms") turned out to be a raisin bread with cinnamon, I was very pleased/ Great choice Elle!

The raisins and cinnamon are combined in a struan style bread, this is a multigrain bread, so there is a little texture from the coarse polenta, oats and bran. There is no fat in it really, as there is buttermilk instead of milk and only some butter brushed on top after baking. This made it go dry faster, but an easy solution is to just smear some butter over your slices!

There will be buddies here I'm sure, so bake, enjoy and tell us about it. Send your details to Elle (visit her blog to find out where and how), deadline 29th of this month. You won't be sorry, it's delicious!
Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread
makes 1 loaf
(PRINT recipe)
490 g high-gluten bread flour
45 g uncooked polenta (coarse ground cornmeal)
30 g rolled oats
35 g brown sugar
4 g wheat bran
12 g salt
2 tsp instant yeast,mixed with the dry ingredients
40 g cooked brown rice
35 g honey
90 g buttermilk
± 200-260 g water (be prepared to add more if needed)
225 g raisins
50 g cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon to 2 parts granulated sugar)
36 g melted butter, margarine, or vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the salt and yeast

Add the cooked rice, honey, and buttermilk and mix together. Then add 180 g water, reserving the rest to add as needed. With your hands, squeeze the ingredients together until they make a ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and turn the ball out of the bowl and begin kneading. Add small quantities of water as needed. (or use a standmixer to knead)

Because Struan has so many whole grains, it takes longer to knead than most breads. Allow at least 15 minutes, but be prepared to knead for 20 (when using the standmixer with dough hook about 10-12 min). The dough will change before your eyes, lightening in color, becoming gradually more elastic and evenly grained. The finished dough should be tacky, not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic, rather than porridge-like. When you push the heels of your hands into the dough it should give way but not tear. If it flakes or crumbles, add a little more water.

When the dough seems ready, add the raisins and knead for 2 more minutes, until the raisins are evenly distributed.Put in the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, or place the bowl inside a plastic bag. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has roughly doubled in size.

Place the dough on a lightly greased counter and with a rolling pin, roll out into a rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface, spreading it evenly. From the bottom of the long side, roll up the dough into a tight loaf, tucking and pinching the seams into one line on the bottom. Put the loaves, seam side down, in a greased bread pan and cover and allow the loaves to rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven 180ºC. When the loaf has risen, cresting over the top of the pans, place on the center shelf and bake for about 45 minutes. The loaves should be nicely domed and dark gold. The bottom and sides should be a uniform light gold and there should be an audible, hollow thwack when you tap the bottom of the loaf. If the loaf is not ready, remove them from the pans and place them back in the oven until done. They will bake quickly when removed from the pans.

When done, brush a little butter, margarine, or oil over the top, then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, coating each loaf with a layer of cinnamon crust.

Allow the bread to cool on wire racks for at least 40 minutes before slicing. This bread makes exceptional breakfast toast and French toast!
(from “Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe” - Br Peter Reinhart)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Longest bake ever for the Bread Baking Babes this month!

And it has been nine years now that we first started baking together. And for this anniversary I picked a 'strange' bread. This recipe was stuck in my head for a while. I guess the 12 hour baking time did that. Then I wondered is this a bread? No yeast, but baking powder?! No yeast can still make real bread, think flatbread, wraps and so on. But baking powder is linked to pastry in my brain. Things like banana bread (with baking powder/soda) is called a bread in English, but for me that's a loafcake and absolutely not a bread. So I let it sink in for a while to decide if it was bread worthy or not. It is not sweet, not eaten with sweet things, even if it is a breakfast item. And it's function is a bread... I can see it like that, and so it is, and that's what we're baking.

The bread is from Yemenite Jewish origin. Clever thought out to be able to eat fresh warm bread on the Sabbath, but without having to prepare it or having to turn the oven on (as work and lighting fires is not allowed). It is quite a rich dish, so a little keeps you going a long time.

Traditionally served with hardboiled eggs (those are boiled in the bread pot), grated tomato and Zhug, a spicy hot saus.

It is still eaten in Israel, though not many people make it from scratch anymore. The fat used can be oil or margarine, which make the bread 'parve' which is important to Jews who keep the foodlaws, so it's easier to combine with meat or milkproducts (not both).
For us it's probably more important to know that the oil gives it a less fatty feel (you can use that thinner than smeared butter) and the jachnun will feel 'drier', but butter wil give an extra flavour of course.

The recipe calls for white flour, you can make them with whole wheat too (or half/half), but it will be harder to get the dough really thin.  Maybe this would work better when the fibers in the whole wheat are cut smaller. But it's up to you what fat and flour to use.
And then the overnight bake... you could if you wanted to, eat them for dinner and schedule the making early in the morning and bake during the day, but to have a 12 hour bake, means getting up quite early. I found that it is very easy to bake them whenever you have time and just reheat them in the oven before you want to eat them (makes them a bit crispier too!).
And then about the eggs, they are boiled in the pot for 12 hours, I will place 1 in the pot, just to see how they turn out, but boil the rest the next morning, because I really, really find boiled egg with green coloured rims around the yolks very unappetizing. And indeed that egg was very "well done" and we didn't eat it. TIP: boil the eggs just before you're going to eat the jachnun.

You can easily make the dough the day before, to split up the workload, leave it in the fridge, but let it come to room temperature, otherwise it will tear even more. My dough was a little cold, so I had holes in it, but in the end it really doesn't really matter, by rolling them into a  little log, all holes are gone.

I placed a layer of stale bread on the bottom of the pan, in which I baked the Jachnun. I had some stale shop bought bread, otherwise I wouldn't have used it. I saw that in some video's. It'll be nice to find out how it turns out without the bread, just using parchment paper.

After 12 hours, the bread still looked... well sort of dead somehow. I let it bake for about 3 hours more (maybe my oven wasn't warm enough). I added one egg on top, just to see how that turned out, I took it out after 12 hours.... and it was cooked, slightly green edge around the yolk, not my kind of boiled egg.
So after 15 hours I took the pan with the rolls out of the oven. I peeled off the lid and paper, and it looked very unappetizing, greasy and pale. Not at all like the picture in the book with a crispy golden top. So I place the pan bak in the oven without the lid and baked it for about 20 minutes on 200ºC in a fan oven. Well that improved a lot, the top was now golden and flaky.

We ate them for dinner, with boiled eggs, tomato, Z'hug (with less peppers and without the seeds). And some vegetable soup. I took the rolls out of the pan, the bottom ones were of course still very pale. So I took them apart and let them bake on a baking sheet in a fan oven until sort of crisp. The bread was -as expected- very heavy. A teenage boy can help to get them cleared, but in all honesty I would have preferred freshly baked naan, any flatbread or any bread really. And even if it was a nice thing to do, but I don't think these will be baked again here. Of course we have no problem putting our oven on any time of any day, so we don't have to bake our bread like this. I guess if you have been brought up with this tradition, you can probably appreciate it better.

It is an adventure bake. Wanna give it a go, be Brave and become our Bread Baking Buddy. Shape, bake, sleep, taste, take a picture, tell us about it and sent it to the Kitchen of the month (that's me this time: notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com) subject: BBBread february. And I'll send you the Bread Baking Buddy Badge in return, to add to your post if you like ánd I'll add you to the BBB Round-up, which will be on around March first. Deadline 29th of this month. Have fun baking!

(makes 6)
(PRINT recipe)
500 g bread flour (you can use whole wheat or half/half, but the dough will be harder to                                                 stretch without tearing)
25 g date syrup (or sugar/honey)
20 g honey
pinch of baking powder
12 g fine salt
± 300 g water (or more to make a springy dough)
60 ml oil (or 100 g margarine or butter)
To add later:
6 eggs
1 large tomato (or 2 smaller ones)
zhug (* recipe below)
Mix the flour, honey, date syrup, baking powder, salt and water together to form a sticky wet  dough and knead for a few minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes to let the gluten relax.

To develop gluten you now start to knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place it in a lightly greased bowl and give it a stretch and fold like this: Lift up the side of the dough and fold it over, turn the bowl and repeat this for about 7 or 8 times. Check by making a window (stretch a piece of dough between your fingers as thin as possible, if it doesn’t tear the gluten have developed as they shoot, otherwise knead or fold some more)
Cover with plastic and leave to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. (you can also leave your dough overnight, it might give more elasticity, but you have to let it come back to room temperature, otherwise it will be hard to stretch it out without too many tears)
prepare the pan and oven
You can use a (ovenproof) cooking pan or springform (about 20 cm in diameter). It’s optional to place some slices of stale bread on the bottom of the pan, this can prevent the jachnun from burning and absorb access fat. You also can place the parchment on the bottom as it is. I used the bread. Fold a long piece of parchment paper lengthwise and place it in the pan, so the ends hang over the rim of the pot.
Preheat the oven to 105ºC/225ºF and place a rack in the lowest position in your oven.
Divide the dough in 6 more or less equal pieces, shape them into a ball and leave to rest 10 minutes before the stretching begins.
To shape these rolls you have to stretch them using butter, oil or margarine.
Grease your work surface, place one piece of dough on it, grease the top and start working to make it the thinnest possible, while greasing it constantly. It is best to do this by hand, other methods (rolling pin) do not give the thinness.
When the dough is very thin (preferably like filo or strudel dough) fold 1/3 of one side over onto the dough, repeat with the other side (like a business letter). You now have a long strip, keep buttering/greasing the top, while you roll – starting at the narrow edge- the dough in a tight cilinder.
This video will show you how:

Prepare for the oven
Place three rolled logs next to each other, crosswise over the strip on the bottom of the pan. Place the other three crosswise on top of the first layer.
Grease/butter a double layer of parchment paper on one side and place on top, greased side down.
Now you can place the (raw, uncooked & unpeeled) eggs on top of the parchment paper. (you can also cook the eggs the next morning, to avoid green rims along the yolk, which I really detest)
Take a double layer of aluminum foil, cover the pot, securing the edges of the pan. Use a lid or a sheet pan to place on top of the foil. (or use a lid if available to keep it tight).
Place it on the rack in the oven and bake for 12 hours. (mine took 3 hours longer)
To crisp up the top, take lid and parchment paper off and bake in a fan oven for 20 minutes (200ºC) or until golden.
The next morning you take out the pan, place the jachnuns on a plate and serve it with the peeled eggs around them. Serve with grated tomato and Zhug (hot, spicy and garlicy dipping sauce) for breakfast.
So you now understand you have to plan this… or get up in the middle of the night. You can also bake when you like and just take the rolls out and preheat them on a baking sheet with fan oven (to crisp them up a little too).
*Zhug (traditional accompaniment; a dipping sauce with garlic, pepper and herbs)
3 dried red chili peppers, or 1 fresh red chili pepper (or 1 tsp chili flakes)
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander, ground
4 medium garlic cloves
Pinch of cardamom, ground
Pinch of cloves, ground
½ tsp salt
30 g coriander leaves (or parsley if you dislike coriander)
Olive oil, enough to make a sauce-like consistency
Place all ingredients in a bowl and crush it to a sauce in a blender or with a stick blender.
Place the Zhug in a clean jar, tighten the lid and keep in the fridge until use.
(Fridge shelf life about 2 weeks, with a small layer of oil on top)
(inspired/adapted by/from: “Breaking breads” – Uri Scheft and “Cafe Liz” (