I love baking breads in fact I find it so therapeutic and its such a great stress buster for me that I bake a loaf at the start of every weekend!I love having variety in my breads and its such a change from the mundane plain loaf.If you observe the plain white loaf can also be baked in varying tastes!Adding sugar makes a sweet bread,honey gives a sweeter and denser taste,Indian spices create an amazing bread to be relished as a main course while tutti frutti creates the much extinct “fruit bread” which leaves children of the 80’s (like me) craving for long lost years and childhood halcyon days!
Then there are the characteristic egg breads – Brioche being my favourite but I have also seen that adding egg to normal bread dough yields a better tasting,soft,spongy and tasty bread!Just add one egg while mixing the dough and one mixed with milk for brushing the risen dough in the pan.I created a divinely delicious and healthy bread for the Challenge this month where my partner gave me 2 absolutely awesome ingredients!
October being a festival month in India all I could expect was late breakfasts of deep fried gory messes (which are generally expected) and spicy snacks served with tea which pile on pounds and rolls of fat around the middle which makes buttoning up your favourite jeans impossible for a whole month until you sweat,pant and frantically scan the Internet for a “reduction plan in 2 days”!Alas that never happens and we suffer guilt,self abuse,taunting comments from jealous souls (who worry about you getting fat rather than they learn to cook) and a low self esteem.I decided to kick that this year and concentrate on making healthier,no – fry and delicious meals for my family.I was paired with Prathima Shivraj who blogs at :
Pratima gave me the 2 secret ingredients – Milk Powder and any Leafy Vegetable!I initially thought of a dessert but quit the idea as I did not want to indulge too much in sugars.The idea of a great breakfast incited me to use these 2 ingredients in a lovely bread which actually created history as I made it for 3 consecutive days at a stretch as it was loved and appreciated by nearly all the family members at the Diwali Brunch including some family friends who graced the occasion!Thank you Prathima for giving me ingredients to use in a great way on one of the most important festivals!I used Milk Powder and 2 leafy vegetables I got for the season – Spinach and Celery!
This recipe was prepared for the Shhhhh Secretly Cooking Challenge!
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NOTE – I have used egg in this bread.If you do not want to add the egg then simply omit it and proceed with the method!Brush the loaf with plain milk before baking!This is one of the easiest breads possible.Made in a total of 3 hours (includes proofing time) deliciousness does not get better than this!You can use any greens,Onions,Garlic…the sky is the limit!
Preparation Time : 3 hours
Makes : 1 standard Loaf
For the bread :
3 cups all purpose flour (maida)
1/2 cup milk powder
4 tbsp Potato starch (optional)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
For the ferment :
2 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp sugar
For the green mix :
1 cup chopped Spinach
2 tbsp chopped Celery leaves
1 tsp Oil
A pinch of Salt
4 tbsp grated processed Cheese
Other ingredients for topping :
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp butter
Put the lukewarm water and sugar in a large mixing bowl.Add yeast and mix with a fork.Keep the mixture covered for 15 – 20 minutes till it becomes foamy and rises.This means the yeast is activated.
Meanwhile heat 1 tsp Oil and saute the Spinach and Celery leaves.Add salt and they will begin to release their fluids.ok till the fluids dry up and the leaves are wilted.Keep aside to cool.
On the activated yeast add flour,milk powder,Potato starch,sugar and salt.Mix well.Break the egg in a cup or bowl and beat it well. Keep 2 tsp of the beaten egg aside and mix the rest into the dough.Add water only if necessary as sometimes there is no need of a liquid to bind the dough as the yeast and egg are sufficient.But add water in case the dough is too dry.Mix into a firm dough which does not stick to the bowl.Grease the bowl with butter or Oil and keep the dough inside it.Cover with clingfilm and keep aside to rise for 1 hour.
The dough would have doubled in volume after an hour.Sprinkle your countertop with a little flour and take out the risen dough onto it.Punch down the dough and keep the softened butter in the centre.Fold over the corners and knead till the butter is completely incorporated into the dough.Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with clingfilm.Let it rise for another hour.Prepare a loaf pan for baking.
After the dough has risen,flour the countertop and take out the dough onto it once again.Flatten it out and place the Spinach Celery mix in between.Keep aside 1 tbsp for the top.Fold over the corners and knead the mix into the dough till well incorporated.Flatten into a rough rectangle and fold the four sides like an envelope.Then roll into a cylinder and place it seam side down into the loaf pan.Cover with clingfilm and let it rise till it comes to the top of the loaf pan.
Preheat the oven to 180°C 15 minutes before you bake the bread.Mix the reserved beaten egg with the milk and brush the top of the risen loaf with this.Spoon the remaining Spinach Celery mixture on the loaf and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
Take out and leave to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.Apply 1 tbsp butter over the warm bread.Then loosen sides with a knife and take it out from the pan..Cool completely before serving.Serve with butter or as it is for a phenomenal breakfast!