Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day and Chris and Ami had called me over for dinner so in the spirit of St. Patty's I baked classic yellow cupcakes with butterscotch frosting. I will post the recipe for the frosting later when I get to my chapter on cakes. No, it's not a big secret but yesterday was my day off from baking and I still could not stay away from the kitchen and ended up baking cupcakes since, the whole ordeal was unprecedented I did not take pictures of the process and I did not make a note of the proportions, so I'll just wait for a better opportunity. I am truly lucky to have a husband who bears with my need to finish my bread baking chapter. Everyday I bake a new kind of bread and the meal for the next two days revolve on that new kind of bread. Since, he is a bread person he doesn't mind it as much. But imagine if I got stuck with a rice person. Wouldn't that be such a waste of good bread?! OK, that was me being mean. Rice people are nice too. Hey! That rhymes! OK, I am digressing way too much and this blog entry is becoming too silly so I will quit my nonsensical talk. Anyway, yesterday I made some spicy chicken curry (the way my Amma makes it) with raita and brown rice. My Amma and Acha would've been proud! Rice, yogurt and chicken curry is actually my Etta's (brother) favourite meal and when he used to come back from boarding school, Amma used to make sure there was lots of it! The chicken curry really makes me feel comfortable. If macaroni and cheese is America's comfort food then chicken curry and yogurt is my comfort food. So, that was yesterday, besides me sitting by a pot of chicken curry and hugging it like it was my mother, I also watched Fantastic Mr. Fox which is a really nice movie. It took me back to the days when I played Mrs. Fox in a small theater production.
Today, I baked super healthy oatmeal and whole wheat bread. It's crisp on the outside and soft and luscious on the inside. This is the perfect breakfast bread and would go well with honey or jam but if you want to spice things up you can do what I did. I thought that well people eat honey glazed chicken and honey is in the bread, and people add raisins to their salads which is also in the bread, so why not combine salad and grilled chicken with honey, cinnamon and raisin. I know in the pictures I try to show off my new glasses; yes, they are Beatles glasses, and one of them had Rubber Soul written on it, and I just need to tell Shilo how much I miss her. When we were kids we had this group which we thought were really cool since we were filled with angst, and we called ourselves the Rubber Soul Society. Don't laugh! We were really cool people. So there! Here's the recipe for the bread:
- 1/2 cup of instant oats (I used instant oats that had sugar, cinnamon and bits of apple in it but if you can only find the plain one add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and leave out the apple)
- 1/2 cup of boiling water
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsps of boiling water
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 2 and 3/4 cup of bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour (many people have complained that this is unavailable in Bangalore or India, if so look for Maida that is not super white but of good quality. I would think they would have this in FabIndia but my Amma said that they don't. But anyway, be on the lookout for flour that's dull but make sure it's not whole wheat, that is chapathi atta)
- 3/4 cup of whole wheat (so this is the chapathi atta)
- 1 tsp of salt
- Mix boiling water with the instant oats and let it cool for 20 minutes.
- Pour the warm water into a separate bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the water.
- Add sugar and whisk well to blend.
- Let this set for about 10 minutes till the yeast is activated.
- Add the oats, the two kinds of flour, raisins, the honey and salt to the activated yeast.
- Mix well to combine all ingredients.
- Cover with a damp lint-free cloth or plastic wrap and let it sit for 20 minutes till it hydrates.
- After 20 minutes mix the dough again for 6-7 minutes.
- Scrape the bowl and oil another bowl and place the dough into the oiled bowl.
- Cover with a damp lint-free cotton cloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 40-60 minutes.
- Once the dough has risen place it on a floured surface and firmly press the dough to expel any large bubbles.
- Hold the dough with both hands and stretch the dough pulling the sides to the bottom as if you were stretching the dough over an imaginary disc. This step is a little tricky but make sure that your palms are oiled or floured so that the dough does not stick to your hands.
- Place the dough on a lined baking tray (line it with wax or butter paper) and cover it with a damp lint-free cotton towel or plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes till the dough rises once again.
- Bake the dough at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius for about 50 minutes to an hour. Please do check on the bread from time to time as the baking time will vary from one oven to another.
- If ever you feel the center of the dough is not baked well then you can always pop it in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes on how well it has baked thus far.
- This bread is perfect when toasted so you can always slice the bread and pop it in the oven to give a light toasted flavour and texture. After which you can top the toasted bread with grilled chicken, spinach, diet or fat-free mayonnaise, honey mustard and chili powder. And there you have it a perfect, healthy and absolutely delicious open-faced sandwich!
- Or you can serve it with plain honey!