Soft and light, these delicious bread rolls are made from scratch and make the perfect addition to any dinner menu or party meal.
Believe me when I say, there’s nothing better than taking a batch of freshly baked bread out of the oven. Except of course, eating it. Have you ever tried baking bread at home, from scratch? I know a lot of people feel intimidated by the thought of yeast. I was a member of that club for a very long time. But I can tell you this much, if you keep a few things in mind, you will be well on your way to mastering the art of bread baking. Moreover, there are so many varieties to try.
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that I fall back on frequently to make bread rolls. It’s a very basic bread recipe and makes a great starting point, if you haven’t baked bread before.
Things to keep in mind –
- Yeast – Make sure that your yeast is viable. This is easy to do. Place the quantity specified in the recipe in a bowl with warm water and sugar. When rested for about 5 minutes, the yeast gets bubbly and frothy, signalling that it is still viable. If it doesn’t froth up, you may need to replace your yeast.
- Using warm water – Make sure that your water is warm, not hot. You should be able to keep your finger submerged in the warm water comfortably. If you cannot, the water is too hot, and it will kill the yeast.
- Kneading the dough – Kneading the dough takes a little time. You need to do this patiently. This helps build gluten fibres, which in turn will help your bread rise well.
- Resting time – Bread almost always, cannot be rushed, unless you’re making a quick bread. The time needed to rest (prove) your dough depends on the ambient temperature. Resting the dough in a warm spot in the kitchen will help it rise. If it is really cold where you are, consider keeping it by a window that gets a lot of sun or in the oven with just the light on.
Keep these vital points in mind when you’re making bread and you will see great results. Bread making gets better with practice. If your first batch doesn’t turn out spectacular, don’t worry, the next batch will be better, since you now know what to expect. So now that we’ve covered all of that, let’s move on to the recipe.
How to make Bread Rolls (Pao)
Soft and light, these delicious bread rolls are made from scratch and make the perfect addition to any dinner menu or party meal.
1 1/2 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water + 1 cup warm water (approx.) to knead the dough
3 cups plain flour / all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp olive oil
- In a little bowl, place the warm water and add sugar and yeast to it. Stir to mix a little. Let it stand for about 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the flour and salt. Mix through.
- Make a well in the centre and add the yeast and sugar solution. Mix it in with the flour. Add more warm water gradually and knead to a smooth, soft dough. (I had to use just over 1 cup of water) Once the dough comes together, continue kneading for about 5 minutes. You will find the dough gets a little more stretchy than it first was.
- Drizzle oil and knead it into the dough.
- Lightly oil the bottom of the bowl and place the dough in it. I lightly oil the top of the dough too. This keeps it from drying out. Cover and set aside in a warm spot in the for about an hour or till the dough has doubled in size.
- Knock the dough back to get rid of the air bubbles and roll to a ball. Cut into portions and roll out into smooth balls. Place them about an inch apart in a lightly greased baking pan.
- Cover and leave it in a warm spot for the second rise. This takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Brush the top of the bread rolls with some water and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
- As soon as the bread is baked, take it out of the oven, brush some butter over the top and cover the pan for around 5 minutes with a clean tea towel. This traps the steam in and keeps the rolls soft.
- Then take the rolls out of the pan and leave them on a cooling rack to cool.
- This is a vegan friendly recipe. I used a vegan butter, but feel free to use a butter of your choice.
Maple syrup, to drizzle over, to taste
So, if you are looking to add a little variety to your routine Indian meals, try this out. A lot of folks make the pooris using fresh methi / fenugreek. I didn’t have access to any, so I replaced it with some Kasuri Methi / dried fenugreek leaves. These are readily available in any Indian grocery store and keep well for months. I served this up with some Aloo bhaji, or mildly spiced Indian curried potatoes. You can find the recipe for that here. If you’d like to try the basic poori recipe, the plain one, you can find it here. If you’re a noob at cooking Indian food the potato stir fry is a good place to start. It is nothing more than a quick stir fry and if I can make it, anyone can 🙂 So don’t let the thought of cooking Indian food scare you. Give these recipes a try and you’ll be hooked.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaped tbsp natural, unflavoured yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
Oil, for deep frying
Mix the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt in a large bowl.
Place the kasuri methi in your palms and rub a little to release their flavour. Sprinkle over the flour.
Tip in the turmeric powder and mix everything together.
Add the yogurt and stir through.
Gradually add a little water and knead to a soft, pliable dough.
Add the water gradually as you don’t want to end up with a sticky dough. If the dough turns out too sticky, sprinkle a little flour over and knead it in and you should be good to go.
Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for about half an hour.
Heat the oil for deep frying over medium heat.
(To test the oil, drop a tiny pea sized ball of the dough carefully into the oil. It should sizzle and rise to the top fairly quickly. If this happens, your oil is at the right temperature. If it browns straightaway, your oil is too hot. Take it off the heat for a while and then start frying. If it just sinks to the bottom without any sizzle, your oil is not hot enough.)
Make small walnut size portions and roll to form a disc. Do not roll out too thin. (According to my mum, they need to be a little on the thicker side to puff up. I simply follow that and get brilliant results each time.)
Deep fry as you’re rolling them out. Don’t stack the raw discs before frying.
When golden brown, drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
On to my experience baking bread from scratch. In the past, using yeast overwhelmed me. I tried my hand at bread a few times a couple of years ago and each time ended up with blobs of unrisen dough resulting in brick hard bread, no, you could definitely not call that bread. Later on I learned that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Infact, I was using a brand of yeast that was known to fail; only I didn’t know that. So if any of you reading this are based in India and have tried baking bread using Bluebird yeast, without much success, you know why. Please change your brand of yeast.
This Crusty Italian Bread is something I am so proud of. Once you get the hang of making bread, its actually a lot of fun and very satisfying to see a beautiful loaf emerge from the oven. The flavor and texture was fantastic. My husband isn’t overly fond of bread, but he went back for seconds. He liked this bread so much that he had a slice after dinner with some butter. I was elated. I knew that I had done something right. I can’t wait to make this again.
Crusty Italian Bread
Recipe from: Let’s Feast
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 heaped tsp instant dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the yeast, salt and sugar.
Add the oil and the water and mix it well till the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough well. Add more flour gradually if the dough is too sticky. Knead the dough for about 7 minutes. The dough should be well knead, soft and not tacky or sticky.
Smooth it out into a ball and place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Keep the bowl in a warm place for about 60 minutes or until double in size.
Remove the cling film and punch the dough back to knock out the air.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten the dough with your hands. Roll it to form an oval shape. It should be rolled tightly and press the seam well. Repeat the process again. You should end up with an oval loaf with slightly tapered ends. Place it onto a lightly floured board and cover loosely with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven and your baking tray to 220°C.
When the dough is ready to be baked, remove the tray from the oven, sprinkle some semolina and place the loaf of bread over it, to add some crunch to the base.
Using a sharp knife, make a couple of slits on the top of the loaf about 1-2cm deep.
Spray the loaf with water and place it in the oven for 3 minutes. Repeat this step 2 more times, leaving the dough to bake for about 40 minutes after the last spray.
If you think the bread is browning a little to much or too quickly, place some aluminium foil loosely on top.
When the bread is done, take it out of the oven, turn over and tap the base of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, the bread is done.
Leave the bread on a cooling rack. Once it has cooled, slice and enjoy!!!
While most of the times, you see recipes for St. Paddy’s day all decked out in green, I’m pretty sure Irish fare isn’t all green. Do correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve never been to Ireland, but hope to travel there someday. This year, I decided to treat myself and the husband to traditional Irish food. After looking through a few sites, I knew I would have to bake some Irish Soda Bread, but I wanted something quick to go with it. I happened upon a recipe for traditional Irish Colcannon. As luck would have it, I had all the requisite ingredients. So I had picked out the side dish for the evening. Now, I didn’t have the time to make anything elaborate for the main, so I just went with some sausages. I don’t know how Irish that is, but I can tell you this, it sure made for a delicious meal.
Many of you may not know this, but I can be very absent minded at times. For example, I was so sure I had taken pictures of the loaf of bread I baked, but actually I hadn’t. The bread was very easy and quick to put together. It was different compared to the regular yeasted breads, but I was happy with the way it turned out. I made a wholewheat soda bread this time around, but I’m quite eager to try out the white bread version too. We enjoyed this bread for dinner as well as for breakfast the next morning, with a smear of butter and some homemade Nectarine jam (recipe to follow). Later in the day when I sat down to edit the pictures and blog about it, it appeared I hadn’t taken pictures of the bread at all. ***Gasp*** I know!!! In the life of a blogger, that’s an absolute disaster. I figured, I would have to skip blogging about the bread this time around, atleast till I made this bread again and captured some pictures of it anyway. That’s when I realized, I still had one lonesome slice of the bread left. So please forgive the picture of the lone slice of soda bread.
On to the colcannon; nothing could be simpler to put together. Its a nice way to mix up mashed potatoes. I simply wrapped a couple of clean, washed and brushed potaotes – skin on, in some foil and put them in the oven with the bread and it was ready it by the time the bread was done. I didn’t think the combination of cabbage and potato would work, but I was wrong. This turned out really yummy. It had some nice flavor and texture from the cabbage and the onion. Typically, leftovers of mashed potato are used in the dish. I didn’t have any, so I just roasted some potatoes in the oven to use. You could make some mashed potatoes the regular way, by boiling the potatoes instead. Do what works best for you.
Our tribute to St. Patrick’s Day was a rather subdued one. What are you doing this year to celebrate this day. Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear more.
You can find the recipe I used here.
Recipe from: Crystal’s Tiny Treasures
2 large potatoes, boiled or roasted
1/3 head of cabbage, finely cut
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Crushed black pepper, to taste
Splash of milk, as needed
Small knob of butter
Peel and mash the potatoes.
Heat a small knob of butter in a pan and saute the cabbage till done to your liking,
Mix the cabbage and mashed potato well. Season with salt and pepper. If the mash appears too stiff, add a splash of milk and mix.
Melt some more butter in a pan and saute the onion till it has softened.
Tip in the potato and cabbage mash and mix well. Check the seasonings and adjust, if needed.
I’m excited to share with you, my SRC assignment for this month. I had the wonderful Kate, who authors Food Babbles, a ridiculously delicious blog. Kate has so many wonderful recipes on her blog and that made it really hard to pick one for this months reveal. I was torn between so many treats, but not having access to an oven at the moment, helped me narrow my options down. I went with something I knew I’d love, a delicious breakfast treat, Buttermilk French Toast. I have made French toast before but never with buttermilk and I was curious. Now only recently I got to experience first hand the kind of magic buttermilk does with pancakes and I was very eager to see what it would do to French Toast.
12 slices of bread, if they’re a day or 2 old, its even better
Grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder, to taste
1-2 tbsp. butter
1/2 – 1 tsp. vanilla essence
Extra sugar for the layer of caramel
1/4 cup of raisins, or to taste (optional)
1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)
Mix warm milk and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Lightly beat up the eggs, vanilla and nutmeg and add to the cooled down milk mixture. Whisk in to mix well.
Chop up the bread roughly or simply tear the slices of bread into smaller pieces and soak it in the milk and eggs mix.
Add the raisins and stir a little to spread them through the mix.
Let it stand and soak in the liquid. In the meanwhile, you can make the caramel.
Make the caramel either straight on the baking tray, if you’re using a metal one or make it in a pot and pour into the baking dish to cover the base of it. I did the latter. Simply melt the sugar on low heat till it caramelises. Keep an eye on it as is can go from a beautiful caramel to severely burnt in moments.
When your happy with the colour of the caramel, drizzle it over the base of the baking tin while its still hot. As it starts to cool it wont spread around the base.
Note that when making the caramel, they say its better to swirl the pot rather and stir it. That’s how I’ve always done it and have never had any trouble with it.
Give the caramel a few minutes to set and then pour in the eggy – milky – bread mix. (I’m sure there’s a better term to use here 😉 but you get the message)
Sprinkle some of the slivered almonds on the top, you can also add some raisins to the topping if you wish.
Add a few knobs of butter on the top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 160ºC for about 30-40 minutes.
Here’s what it looks like before baking; all assembled and ready to go into the oven.
This pudding can either be served warm or cold. Its just as good either way.
Their goal for this month was attempting to make a New York Style Pizza from scratch at home. We love pizzas and I enjoy making them from scratch too and yet somehow, I’ve never blogged about if before. Strange, I know. I figured this would be a great way to add to my baking repertoire and I pretty much stuck to the recipe except for not using fresh basil in the sauce as it wasn’t available. But I did instead add some mixed Italian herbs to develop a better flavor profile for the sauce. I halved the recipe and made 3 pizza pies of different sizes. This was enough for dinner for 2 with enough leftover for another meal coupled with a salad.
It was a good learning experience and I can’t wait to see what this group decides to bake next. For now, here’s a peak at the pizzas I made. They tasted wonderful and I was very pleased with the fact that it was made at home and not just ordered for. One thing that I will do the next time is pay more attention to presentation. Other than that, this recipe is great.
This is the veggie one we enjoyed. Toppings include red onion rings, green peppers and corn. I used a combination of Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese.
Here’s a snapshot of the non-veg version. Toppings include red onion rings, green peppers and spicy pork sausage slices. I used the same combination of Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese for this one as well.
New York Style Pizza
Adapted from: Serious Eats
Shredded cheese of your choice – I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar
Toppings of your choice – I used Veg (Onion rings, Green pepper rings and corn kernels) and Non-veg (Onion rings, green pepper wings and spicy pork sausage slices)
For the Dough –
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp EVOO
7 1/2 ounces lukewarm water
Place the flour on your workstation.
Make a well in the center and place the yeast, sugar and water in the center.
A water gradually and work the flour from the center working in a little bit of the flour at a time, till all the flour is used up. You may or may not need all the water.
When you’ve got a soft, pliable dough, place it on one side.
Spoon the salt on the workstation and pour the oil over the salt. Rub down on it using the base of your palm.
Work the oil into the dough. Round it off to a smooth ball, cover with a damp cloth and keep aside in a warm place for about an hour or till the dough has doubled in size.
In the meanwhile you can start working on the sauce.
For the sauce –
1 (200g) pack tomato puree (non availability of canned tomatoes)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Dried oregano
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Mixed Italian herbs
Salt, to taste
A pinch of red chilli flakes
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 – 1 tsp. sugar
Heat the oil and butter in a pan.
Tip in the garlic and saute for a few seconds to release the aroma.
Tip in the onion and saute till the onions have softened.
Tip in the spices and herbs and stir it in.
Add the tomato puree and stir in. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
Season with some salt, pepper and sugar. Stir and let it continue simmering till it thickens and the flavors develop, about another 15-20 minutes. Be careful to not burn it. Check on the sauce at about the halfway mark. If you’re happy with the flavors, take it off the fire.
To assemble –
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Lightly drizzle some olive oil on the baking sheet and spread it on the pan.
Divide the dough into 2-3 portions. Roll into balls and using your fingers flatten it out to form a disc, keeping the outer edge a little thicker. Drape the dough over your knuckles and gently stretch till the crust is about 1/4″ thick.
Place on the greased sheet. Spread the sauce over it. Add your toppings and finally the cheese.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes till the cheese is all melty and has a few brown specks on it.
Take out of the oven, slice and serve hot.
Note: The original recipe has you rest the dough for about 24-72 hours. But when I did that the last time I made pizza, I was treated to a big disastrous mess in the fridge. So I made these the same day.