Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cream Cheese and Coriander Spiced Bread


Its been a while since my first attempt at baking bread and this Sunday morning with an empty fridge staring me in my face, I decided to beat back the blues by getting out some yeast and flour. After all, it was Easter Sunday!

I also somehow got into my head to include cream cheese in whatever bread I chose to bake.....so while searching for recipes which would pander to my whims, I found this recipe adapted from the book Beard on Bread. And then I went a bit crazy....

I substituted the sour cream with cream cheese,grated cheddar cheese and fresh cream. Added lots of coriander and then remembering that lovely achaari bread loaf cooked up by J&B, spooned in a generous dollop of - hold your breath! - vathalkozhambu thokku!!! This is a fiery tamarind based gravy which is reduced to a thick consistency and it contains sun dried berries or vegetables (vatthal) which impart a distinctive flavour to it. Usually eaten with steamed rice, I had bought a bottle of this delicious Tamilian delicacy from that veritable institution - Grand Sweets - on my last trip to Chennai.

The other no-so-crazy touches to the recipe - I replaced part of the flour with wheat flour and also toned down the salt since both the pickle and the cream cheese had salt in it.

I sweated quite a bit while waiting for the bread to rise and then rise again and then finally bake. I had no idea how it would turn out and I regretted experimenting with something I was making for just the second time....

BUT, it wasn't a disaster - phew! It had a great crust though it didn't rise as much as I expected it to - I don't really think that that's because of the wheat flour since I have used a similar proportion for the poee before; I suspect the yeast - so out it goes. Its a pity we don't get smaller packets of yeast which we can use just once.

The aroma which came curling out of the oven was absolutely amazing - a mix of the typical yeasty smell of bread and the spice notes of pickle. And the taste matched it completely - a lovely mix of flavours which intensified overnight till the next day one could eat it - just.like.that. No need for any accompaniments. The oil from the pickle and the cream cheese seemed to make it really moist.



Couldnt even wait for the photo session to get over and I already had a bite out of it!


What I would do the next time around - cut down on the sugar mentioned for mixing the yeast and also cut down on the milk....I think the dough needed to be a tad firmer.
We had it with a simple masala omelet and it made a perfect Sunday breakfast.

This goes to the Bread Baking Day #8 being hosted over at Wild Yeast by Susan.
Celebration Bread and she says"For this month’s BreadBakingDay, you are invited to share your own spring holiday bread tradition, explore one you’re not yet familiar with, or start a new one".

While this is not a tradition in our home, it maybe the start of one for Easter every year; I used to get fresh buns and Easter eggs every year when I was a girl from the Anglo Indian family downstairs who doted on me and I hope my daughter does too! Here's to new beginnings then, especially in my brother's home - they have a lot to look forward this year!

Cream Cheese and Coriander Spiced Bread


Ingredients:

Wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Refined flour (maida) - 2 to 2.5 cups
Yeast - 3 tsp
Warm water - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 3 tbsp (2 tbsp should suffice)
Cream Cheese - 1 cup
Grated cheddar cheese - 1/2 cup
Indian spicy pickle - 2 tablespoons (I used vathalkozhambu thokku)
Milk - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Chopped onions - 1/4 cup
Chopped coriander - 3/4 cup

Method:

1. Combine yeast and sugar in warm water and set aside for 5 minutes or till its foamy.
2. Take a large bowl, add the yeast mixture, salt, baking soda,cream cheese, grated cheese and pickle.
3. Mix in both the flours gardually adding the milk while kneading all the time. I added the milk all at once and had to add some more flour since it became too sticky. The flour should be fairly easy to handle and not too sticky.
4. Knead well and keep aside in a warm place, covered with cling film for about 1.5 hours till it doubles in size.
5. Lightly punch it down, knead again and divide into two parts. Shape into rounds and place on baking trays or put into loaf tins and set aside covered for another 30 - 45 minutes for the second rise.
6. Pre heat the oven to 375F or 190C and bake for about 25-30 minutes; if baking both together then swap the loaf tins after 15 minutes.





21 comments:

bee said...

that must have tasted awesome. the next time you buy yeast, put it in the freezer, keeping only 1/4 cup in the refrigerator main section.

Miri said...

Thanks for the tip Bee, makes a lot of sense!

Kalai said...

Sounds wonderful!!! I can't wait to try this out! :)

Mansi Desai said...

that sounds like a einning combination! that bread would ahve tasted great Miri!

Nupur said...

Now that's the sort of bread that I would just love to sink my teeth into. Delicious delicious.

Miri said...

Thanks Mansi, Kalai and Nupur!

Dhivya said...

wow!first time u made this:))awesome

Laavanya said...

That's designer bread I tell you.. vathalkuzhambu + cream cheese! I like the tanginess of cream cheese too :)

Divya Vikram said...

wow..the bread looks too good..such an innovative idea to use vathakuzhambu

Raaga said...

that's why I love Nilgiris on RK Salai... they sell small packets of yeast for 10 bucks... I keep them frozen till I need them... now I'm going to attack a big block of yeast I bought at INA market.

This bread looks delish.

Where do you get cream cheese here?

SMN said...

hey nice and tempting recipe..nice combo

Saswati said...

awesome looking bread Miri and what ingredients....must have tasted gr8

Miri said...

Raaga, after coming to Delhi I love Nilgiris anway LOL! I lived right behind its Adyar branch and really miss it! You either get Britannia's Malai Chaska - it seems to have gone out of the market now, so I buy Kraft Cream Cheese spread and cut down the salt of the recipe - but that works for savoury stuff, haven't thought of what to do for sweet stuff as yet...

Miri said...

Thanks Dhivya, Laavanya and Divya!

Sia said...

miri, can u parcel me few slices...pretty plzzzzzzzz :)

Nithu said...

I have never tasted a spiced bread thinking that it may not be good like the sweet ones. But after seeing urs i definitely want to try. Good one...

Trupti said...

Hey Miri,
by looking at photo it doesn't look that this is ur first attempt to make bread

Meera said...

Bread looks so delicious. and how creative!! Ever since I read ur Poee recipe, I want to try it so badly. Let's see when all the stars line up for that grand event!! :-) Thanks for sharing.

Susan said...

Wow, this is really an interesting combination of ingredients. I'm not familiar with vathalkozhambu thokku but it sounds like it would make the bread taste wonderful. Thank you for participating in Bread Baking Day!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Agree with bee...yeast in the freezer is the way to go.Miri, the bread looks yummy! Am waiting for the tamarind recipe girl!

Sunshinemom said...

Very tasty looking. I too am a regular shopper at Grand sweets if I am at Chennai and their Vathalkozhumbu thokku is great...but this was innovatively used!!