Naan (Flatbread)

 

 

Naan1

Everyone has at least one food obsession- something that you can’t say no to no matter how full you are. For me, it’s bread. Soft, fluffy, and fresh from the oven. While trying to think of words to describe the satisfaction that comes with making this bread, I suddenly had a craving for it. Considering all the ingredients are kitchen staples, making a decision has never been so easy. As I type away now, there is a bowl of dough rising  in the corner that will soon become steaming fresh naan.

This flatbread is versatile because you can eat it bare in its simplicity or pair it with some tikka masala or other saucy dish to scoop up the flavors as pictured above. You can also add a spread on it like za’atar (oregano thyme spice blend) with some olive oil and toast it for a few minutes for a fulfilling breakfast or midday snack as shown below.

Naan

Naan

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hr 30 min
  • Print

Chicken Tikka

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. Combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. You will see a thin layer of foam develop.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar together and set aside.
  3. Add the yogurt and olive oil to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Pour this into the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork initially till most of the flour is incorporated into the dough.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands for a minute or two forming it into a ball. The dough will be slightly sticky and soft. If you feel that it is too sticky, add flour as needed (I added about an extra 1/4 cup of flour).
  5. Lightly oil a medium sized bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm area for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Warm a large cast iron pan or a nonstick skillet over medium heat until very hot. Dust a clean surface with flour and separate the dough into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece into an oval shape, taking care to dust the dough with flour so that it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.
  7. Put the dough into the dry heated skillet and cook until you see the top bubble up, which should take a few minutes. Flip the dough and cook the other side for another minute or two until you see the browned spots.
  8. Remove the naan from the pan and brush generously with the melted butter on both sides. Place the naan in a towel lined basket or dish to keep it warm.

Adapted from OnceUponAChef

 

Step By Step Photos

Naan

Yeast mixed in with the warm water and sugar, notice how it is starting to foam up

Naan

Dough ready to rise in an oiled bowl

Naan

After dough is done rising, cut it up into 6 pieces

Naan

Roll each piece out into an oval shape to your desired thickness

Naan

Place the rolled dough into a heated cast iron or nonstick skillet and you’ll see it bubble up

 

Naan

Flip it over to cook the other side

Naan

After a minute or two, flip it and you’ll see these beautiful brown spots

Naan

Be creative, eat your naan in its simplicity or spread some za’atar on it

 

Comfort Classics: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

There’s nothing like a warm bowl of broccoli cheddar soup to indulge in. It goes great when eaten with bread and even better paired with nothing other than a homemade bread bowl. I first had this delicious dish at Panera Bread and learned how to make it soon after, because nothing beats fresh ingredients. I’ve also tried it at McAllister’s, yet theirs lacked the rich creaminess I had gotten used to and reminded me how much I loved this original and home cooked recipe. In restaurants, we are always limited to one bowl and if we crave another, then we would have to buy it again. If only soup was served like drinks, with free refills. On the other hand, at home, you can gladly pour yourself another bowl of this creamy deliciousness with nothing stopping you. You are limitless.

Homemade bread bowls compliment this soup like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For a quick and easy recipe that is hard to resist, check out my previous post on how to make the perfect bread bowl!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered nutmeg
  • 4 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 8 ounces (about 2 ½ cups) sharp cheddar cheese
  • Optional: French bread, baguette, bread bowls

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onions and cook until softer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the flour and stir frequently for about 3 minutes using a wooden spoon or a whisk. It will start to thicken and look clumpy as the butter absorbs the flour.
  4. Gradually add the heavy cream, whisking constantly, until smooth before each addition.
  5. Stir in the chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low heat so that it can simmer for about 20 minutes. You will notice it start to thicken.
  7. Add in the chopped broccoli and carrots. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Discard the bay leaves.
  8. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender or standing blender to puree the soup to your liking.
  9. Add in the shredded cheese and mix until melted and incorporated.

Tips:

*For quicker results you can use frozen broccoli and carrots. I always recommend fresh ingredients if the time permits for maximum flavor potential

*If desired, a healthier version can be made by subbing the heavy cream for low fat/fat free milk.

*Doubling this recipe ensures leftovers for the next day, so definitely something to ponder over

*Test taste the soup throughout the process and add more spices and seasoning if you see fitted

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Pileup of Ingredients

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Along the Way

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Enjoy!

 

 

Comfort Classics: Bread Bowls

Bread Bowl

I’ve always been used to going to the grocery store to get a fresh, steaming loaf of bread. If I wanted to fancy it up, then a trip to Panera Bread would have to suffice for my bread bowl fix (with broccoli cheddar soup of course). A world where I made my own bread seemed unfathomable, yet I soon learned it was a reality after my success with french bread. Yeast works wonders. While my bread was rising, I would lift the corner of the damp towel to impatiently check on its progress. As the minutes passed, it rose, puffed, and swelled up as if it was a water balloon slowly filling with water. Not till it made its way out of the oven about an hour later was I finally at peace with myself and satisfied. Overall, this bread was relatively quick to make and did not consist of the 4+ hours of rising that other recipes use. The actual time spent making the recipe was far less compared to the waiting period, which is manageable. A few burnt fingers were irrelevant compared to the joy from sampling a tender, fluffy hunk of steaming bread right from the depths of the bottomless bread bowl. And that was only the start of it. Wait for the Broccoli Cheddar Soup that fills it, which will make its appearance on the blog during this week!

Bread Bowls (makes 6-7 large bowls or 12-13 small bowls)

Time Prep: 20 minutes, Rising: 70 minutes, Baking: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  •  4 ½ teaspoons instant yeast (2 packets)
  • 2 ½ cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar OR honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups (18 ounces or 510 grams) bread flour
  • 3 cups (13.5 ounces or 383 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg white

Directions

  1. Combine the instant yeast, warm water, and sugar and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. You will notice it starting to bubble up slightly and foam.
  2. Add the yeast mixture to a large bowl and mix in the olive oil, bread flour, all-purpose flour, and salt using the dough hook on a mixer at a low-medium speed. Add in the flours gradually, about 2 cups at a time.
  3. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes until it is smooth. I prefer kneading it by hand for this part, because it is a large amount of dough and I don’t want the mixer to overheat.
  4. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Leave it undisturbed for about 40 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Divide the dough into 6-7 portions. Stretch each ball into a tight shape, pinch the end to seal it, and roll it around for a nice round shape.
  6. Put the dough balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush the balls with the egg white and use a knife to make an X on the top.
  7. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Brush them again with the egg white before placing them in the oven.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 F°. Place the baking sheet into the center of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. If baking one tray on the top and the second tray on the bottom shelf, switch them halfway through so that they are both evenly baked.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting the tops out and hollowing out the bowls. Using a knife, make a circular cut in the bread bowl and scoop out the bread. The outside should be crusty so do not worry about whether you are scooping out too much bread or not.
  10. Fill with a creamy soup of your choice and eat immediately.

Tips

-You can use a scale to make sure each bread bowl is similar in size.

-These are large-sized bowls so if you want more of a snack-sized one, you can make more bowls from the same recipe although they will be smaller. The bowls from this recipe will be very filling and if you plan on them being a side dish, then make 12-13 bowls from the same recipe (each bowl is about 140 grams if you are weighing them)

-The leftover bread scooped from inside the bowls can be dipped in your choice of soup. You can also make some bread pudding with it as well.

Adapted from HandletheHeat

Bread BowlBread Bowl Bread Bowl

Up next, Broccoli Cheddar Soup to pair up with these fluffy bread bowls!

 

What are some soups that you have tried with bread bowls?

Bakery Style French Bread

French Bread

I’ve been kneading to share this life-changing recipe with all of you! Nowadays with the mass production of bread, it’s rare that we get to taste an authentic baked loaf free of any preservatives. As a bread lover, I savor any piece of bread that is warm, chewy, and soft with a slightly crunchy crust. Pita bread. Bread bowls. Ciabatta. French bread. Breadsticks. Garlic Bread. The list could go on and on. It’s endless and lovely that we get to enjoy this food in so many different ways. The simplicity of this recipe along with some patience will lead to some fluffy and addicting bread. I’ve already made it twice and there will be many more to come haha.

Bakery Style French Bread

**Don’t forget to check out my tips below**

Printable Recipe Here  

Time Prep: 15 min; Kneading: 1 hr; Rising: 30 min; Baking: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons (2 packets) instant yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (or sugar)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 1 egg white

Directions

  1. Combine the yeast, warm water, and honey in a small bowl and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. You will notice that it will bubble up and start to foam.
  2. Add the yeast mixture to a large bowl and mix in the 2 cups of water, oil, salt, and flour until well incorporated.
  3. Mix in the last 3 cups of flour gradually.
  4. Knead the dough for 5 minutes on a well-floured surface.
  5. For the next hour, knead the dough 3-4 times every 10 minutes.
  6. Form into 2 large loaves or 4 medium loaves. To get a smooth shape, form a rectangular shape and fold in the sides to the middle a few times.
  7. Brush them with the beaten egg white. Slash a few diagonal lines into each of the loaves.
  8. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes or until double in size. Brush again with the remaining egg white before putting them into the oven.
  9. Bake at 400 F° for 10 minutes and then at 350 F° for 20 minutes.

French Bread

Tips:

-There are two types of yeast you will notice at the grocery store, instant (rapid-rise) yeast and active dry yeast. They function the same, but active dry yeast needs to be added to water to activate the yeast. The instant yeast, which I recommend for this recipe, can be added along with the rest of your ingredients without “activating” it first. I do it as a precaution to make sure that the yeast is good, because it is a live bacteria. If the yeast does not bubble or dissolve when mixed with the honey and water, then your yeast is too old or dead and then your bread will not rise.

-To keep track of how long you have been kneading your dough, you can write out the 10 minute intervals on a paper and check them off every time you knead.

-If you do not have a KitchenAid mixer, you can also make this recipe by hand by using a wooden spoon to mix it. It will just take longer to mix and knead, but you will have the same results.

-Kneading the dough every 10 minutes for an hour is what helps your dough become chewy. When you are kneading it, punch the dough down and fold the dough over a few times. It doesn’t have to be exact either at the 10 minute mark. As long as you knead it sometime before or after that mark , then you will be fine. A good goal to hit is coming back to the dough 6 times within the hour.

Troubleshooting

-If you notice that the dough is too sticky, in that it sticks to your hands and you are unable to knead it, then just add additional flour gradually (about 1/4 cup at a time). You can test out to see if the dough is right by taking a little piece and rolling it into a ball. If it is too sticky to roll into a ball, then you need more flour.

-Here is another good site for some great solutions to common problems at RedStar Yeast.

Recipe adapted from ItsAlwaysAutumn

Step By Step French Bread Guide

French Bread

Your initial ingredients for “proofing” the yeast. Proofing basically means that you are proving that the yeast is alive.

French Bread

When you add all of the ingredients together, the water will dissolve the coating around the yeast. Once this yeast is activated, it will work on the honey/sugar and start to foam up.

French Bread

You can notice here that the yeast has grown and is foamy. This is the proof that the yeast is active and we can now add it to our bread.

French Bread

The yeast after 10 minutes: active and foamy.

French Bread

All of the ingredients ready to mix together. (don’t worry about the shaker in the middle: yes those little pink granules are salt haha it’s just a different type-Himalayan salt) French Bread

Mixing together all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

French Bread

Your dough should be hanging off of your dough hook and not too sticky. If it is too sticky for you to knead, then add a 1/4 cup of flour or more as needed.

French Bread

Dough ready to be kneaded on a well-floured surface.

French Bread

Final step: shaping the dough and brushing it with the egg white. Don’t forget to make a couple slashes about ½ inch deep.

French Bread

The golden brown color that the egg whites give it just tops it off with a nice crunch.

French Bread

Yum! Sliced and ready to serve.

Classic French Toast

Classic French Toast

French toast used to be the type of breakfast food that I would always hear about, yet never eat. It was not because I did not like it, but because I had never tried it and so I tended to dismiss it. The first time I tried french toast was totally random. I was carpooling with a friend and we were a little late to school. Her mom had made me a piece for breakfast, which was perfect by the way because I hadn’t had any breakfast that morning. I ate it on the go and instantly loved it. I never knew how easy it was to make and after hearing the directions, I decided that I must make it myself! Definitely will be making this perfectly delicious breakfast again.

Classic French Toast

Makes: 8 slices

Printable Recipe here

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of bread
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups half and half (or use buttermilk or whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Mix together the eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl
  2. Place the pieces of bread in a baking dish and pour the mixture over them
  3. Wait 5 minutes and flip the pieces of bread to get the other side soaked
  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on a frying pan
  5. Fry each side of the french toast for 3 minutes or until golden-brown
  6. Use another 2 tablespoons of butter for the next batch, and repeat

Tips:

-For every 4 eggs, add 1 cup of liquid- half and half, buttermilk, or wholemilk

-If you want it to be more cinnamon flavored, add another teaspoon

-For other variations, you can also add a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

-You can cut the bread in slices for french toast sticks