A warm sunny bread for the cold days , that is what this loaf is. The color of the loaf itself brings a smile to the face. This lovely pull apart loaf is meant for sharing, just get everyone around the table and dig in. Serve it with a bowl of soup , salad, some spicy curry or just by itself as a snack.
But right now with the mercury plummeting a hearty bowl of stew is what I will pair it with .To be fair I should be thankful, our winters are very mild. But living in southern California does spoil one a little bit. As soon as the temperatures go below 70°F, we don our sweaters and wrap a scarf lazily around the necks to boot. Now it is quite probable that we might still be wearing flip flops 😉 . You see we are scared that the warm clothes won’t see the light of day other wise.
Coming back to the bread – this bread was something I had been contemplating for some time. It reminds me of Methi Tepla , the delicious spicy flat bread from Gujarath and the Chinese Cong You Bing, the scallion flat bread. My son told me that it is the hungry caterpillar ! Now I did not quite see that.. It is pretty, it has sections and well I guess I can see a bit of caterpillar there.
Guess from this angle it does look like a caterpillar a bit .. Maybe if I had folded each sections it would have been more of a caterpillar. Well that is another project for another day.
Back to the bread – the wonderful golden yellow color comes from turmeric and it was a fun bake . the scallions add the bit of crunch and keep the bread very moist. I like to serve it with curries, instead of Naan. I have added a little cumin to give it a hint of smoky flavor, and it did go very well with the other flavors.
There isn’t any secret to making this. Once your bread dough has risen, punch down and roll out into a rectangle. Spread the herbed butter evenly on top. Slice, stack in the loaf pan and bake. Here it is in pictures 🙂 . You could roll it out much thinner and make more sections. But since my plan was to serve it with a Spicy Chicken Stew – I made these about 1/4 inch thick.
Don’t worry if the pieces do not stack tightly. As it rises the dough fills in the gaps creating interesting visual elements.
You could use a store bought bread dough for this recipe. The dough recipe here uses about 1/3 whole wheat flour and is very lean. The moisture from herbs and the butter between the slices acts almost like steam injection during baking and creates a lovely oven spring. The resulting loaf is soft and airy.
Don’t you wish you could just pull out a piece too ??
So here is the recipe …
- 170 g WW Flour ( or 1 1/2 C)
- 330 g AP Flour (3 C )
- 300 g Water (1 1/4 C)
- 10 g Yeast (1Tbsp)
- 1 Tsp Honey
- 10 g Fine Sea Salt (2 Tsp)
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Cumin Powder Optional
- 50 g Unsalted Butter (1/4 C)
- 1/2 C Chopped Scallions
- 1/4 C Chopped Cilantro
- 1 g Salt (1/4 Tsp)
- Warm the water to 110°F, or just warm to touch. Pour about 1/4 C of water into a small bowl and mix the honey in. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes in a warm place. The yeast should become active the the solution should become frothy. If not discard and try again.
- Take The the flours in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, turmeric and the cumin powder to it. Mix well. Make a well in the center and add the yeast solution. Start kneading by slowly mixing the flour to the yeast solution. Add more water as necessary. Once all the flour has become moist knead for about 10 minutes till the dough turns soft and pliable. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let it rest in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Soften the butter and add salt and the chopped scallions and cilantro(or your favorite herbs). Mix well and set aside.
- Lightly grease the loaf pan (8.5 X 4.5 or 9 X 5) and set aside.
- Punch down the risen dough and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin roll the dough out into a rectangle of about 12 inches by 18 inches. Spread the butter mix evenly on top. Cut the rectangle into long strips, such that each strip is a little less wide than the size of the loaf pan. Stack the strips and slice them in quarters. Arrange the pieces in the loaf pan so that each of the pieces sit vertically. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until almost doubled.
- Place the rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 375°F (190°C). Uncover the loaf and place in the oven. Reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake for 30 minutes, or until done. When baked the bread will barely begin to brown on the top.
- Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before taking out.
- Separate the individual slices if freezing.
- US cup measurements are used.
- Volume measurements are approximate, it could change depending on the ingredient brands, and measuring techniques used.
- I have used a 9 X 5 loaf pan. When using other sizes change the bake time accordingly.
- Use your favorite green herbs in this recipe. Mix in finely chopped green chilies for an extra spice surprise.
- Use unbleached, unbromated flour, preferably organic.
If you are using a stand mixer
- Activate the yeast
- Mix all dry ingredients int eh stand mixer bowl. Attach the dough hook and mix for low for 15 seconds.
- Pour in the actvated yeast and the water. Mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes for the ingredients to be combined well.
- Turn off cover , the bowl and rest for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Mix in speed setting 2 (or medium or the manufacture’s recommendation for dough setting) for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough on to a kneading surface. Knead a few times and form into a ball.
- Proceed as in the recipe.
Or find it all in my collection of bread recipes !