Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Kulcha and fixings


 For September, Aparna, of My Diverse Kitchen, was the Kitchen of the Month, and tasked us to make kulcha, an Indian bread, accompanied by a chickpea salsa and a tamarind chutney.  Having just finished cooking from a new Indian cookbook in August, I had all of the ingredients and techniques at hand.

First, I made the chutney.  It seemed a little thick and was definitely tart, but, it was a good compliment for the chickpea salsa.

The chickpea salsa was next.  The dried chickpeas took nearly all day to cook to a somewhat mashable consistency, but the resulting salsa was tasty with the fresh tomatoes, especially so when paired with the very tart tamarind chutney.

Finally, it was time to make the kulcha dough.  First, there was a preferment, made the night before.  No issues there.  Then, the following morning, it was time to add the remaining ingredients and let the dough rise for a final time before cooking.  Having recently, and successfully, made naan, I was ready to go.

Let’s just say that the first kulcha took one for the team.  It stuck firmly to a non-stick pan.

I went to Plan B, which was to use the naan cooking technique I had learned in August, a very similar technique, but with successful results.

However, 24 hours later, I remembered that I was supposed to sprinkle the dough with nigella seeds (stored in the refrigerator), so that was a fail. 

I didn’t screw up this challenge too badly, and the end results made a filling and delicious lunch. 


Join the Babes in September, and enjoy some delicious bread.  





Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Adventures in Slashing and Scoring


Apparently, I have a fear of scoring, although it’s not what you think.  In this particular case, I cringe when I have to put razor blade to rising dough, fearful that I will deflate the perfect loaf. 

I used to own a curved-blade lame.  After several household moves, it seems to have disappeared.  To be honest, I could never get the hang of using it, preferring, instead, to use my serrated bread knife.  Recently, I watched a video where the baker used a straight-blade lame to create beautiful designs, so I wondered if that might make the difference.  I ordered a new lame, one which allowed me the choice of a curved or straight blade.


As a problem-solver by nature, I also studied the effects of surface tension on the rising dough.  I wet the dough, which sort of worked.  Then, I floured the dough, which worked better.  In all, I practiced on four different loaves of bread, experimenting with depth of cuts and design.  No ears this time, so I need to work on angles. 

Round 1:


This loaf helpfully formed its own pedestal/stand

Round 2:


Round 3:


 This loaf attempted to create a pedestal from the top.  Not helpful.

Round 4:


Tried to score more deeply.  Flat.  No ears.  Sigh.


This was a good challenge that helped to reduce my fears of slashing and scoring.  I still have more practicing to do, however.  Elizabeth, of Blog from OUR kitchen, was the inspiring baker behind this month’s challenge.  Stop by all of the Babes’ blogs to see their beautiful scoring designs.





Thursday, July 16, 2020

BBB: Birotes Salados

July’s Kitchen of the Month is Karen, of Karen’s Kitchen Stories.  Karen challenged the Babes to bake Birotes Salados, tasty sourdough sandwich rolls,  Guadalajaran-style bolillos. The rolls have a nice flavor as well as being chewy on the outside and soft on the inside.

I did my research to learn more about these rolls, and discovered a few differences in the various recipes.  One recipe called for 212 g of water, another for 444 g.  I ended up using about 300 g.  212 g was too little, and I thought the 444 g would turn the batter into soup.  I also threw in a pinch of yeast, as some bakers indicated this was routinely done, but not talked about.  (I’m all for a bit of yeast.)

I also used the one bottle of beer I had on hand, Stella Artois.

My biggest issues were shaping and slashing.  I live in fear of deflating bread when I score it.  For the first batch, I let them rise on a tea towel, then, hoped I wouldn’t deflate them when I moved them to the parchment and slashed them.  For the second batch, I let the rolls rise directly on the parchment, and slashed them before rising as well.  Neither method really stood out as the preferred way to go.  And, the scoring was way less than perfect.

In the meantime, I have purchased a new lame, one that allows me to use either a straight blade or a curved one.  I need to practice scoring, so that is my next personal challenge.  Probably need to play with surface tension on the dough as well.

But I digress.  The rolls were delicious in spite of everything, and certainly worth making again.

Be sure to check out the other Babes to see how they fared and see their lovely, successful scoring.

If you go to Karen’s blog, you can get a copy of the recipe.  And, be sure to let Karen know by the end of July if you plan to be a Buddy.