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Once Upon a time: Cooking … Baking … Traveling … Laughing …


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BBB ~ CHAPATIS, AKA ROTIS (INDIAN FLATBREAD)

I guess I really PQ’d Elizabeth’s interest when I said I was slightly embarrassed to say what I put on my Chapatis.   Elizabeth is our Kitchen of the Month (KOM), and she’s done a totally wonderful video of making these chapatis, don’t miss it.  BUT she’s terribly worried that I may have Americanized my Chapatis by submerging them in ketchup with either a hotdog or scrambled eggs. I smiled then laughed when she took a poll for the babes to guess what I might have done to my chapatis.  I kept pretty quiet.  I didn’t put any ketchup or hotdog or egg on any of them.  Promise

Blank Slate: what shall I wear today?

Blank Slate: what shall I wear today?

In the early mists of time when I started cooking, one of my favorite cookbooks was “Diet for a Small Planet” (see told you it was long ago).  In that little book was a recipe for Plaka Paneer.  I made it … but not the chapatis to go with it. If only I’d had this recipe and Elizabeth’s super video, I’d have been authentic!  Even back then when our two boys were fairly little, 4 and 7, they enjoyed the Plaka Paneer and I made it often.  It’s time again but it must wait as we’ll be traveling again and the fridge must be cleaned out and left empty.
These seemed intimidating, hot griddle, sliding them onto a wire rack over a hot burner … and the big question … will they puff!?  Elizabeth’s “After struggling for months trying to make these…Do not get disheartened […] you will improve with practice.”  Yes, I was intimidated.
Let me tell you, these little puppies puffed right up on my dry crepe pan like I actually knew what I was doing and had made these for decades.  I squealed, I did a little jig. I went to town: roll out a disk, drop it on the crepe pan, turn and start the next disk rolling out, flip the one on the medium hot pan, finish the roll out on the one on the counter, turn and … PUFF, wow aren’t you a beauty … This is not hard. This has a lovely rhythm and a beat.
Funny thing was you could pick up a chapatis and it would start deflating, drop it on that wire rack and bingo it would puff all over again. As Aparna calls it “phulka”, all puffed up. Magic.
You will note: I reversed the all purpose and whole wheat amounts to use more whole wheat. I’m just trying to eat less refined flour. Also I used bread flour in place of the all purpose as I was out of AP.  OH, and I was out of flax, so no flax in this batch but next time there will be.
This was easy and they are wonderful. I don’t want to improve with practice, these were just perfect.  I can only hope this wasn’t beginners luck.  Many thanks Elizabeth.  My few comments below in italics.

CHAPATIS, AKA ROTIS  (INDIAN FLATBREAD)

IMG_7869Recipe By: based on “Flat Wholewheat Bread – Roti” in A Taste of India by Madhur Jaffrey
Yield: 8

157 grams whole wheat flour, 1 cup
77 grams bread flour, 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon salt
up to 1 c. just-boiled water, I had to add about 1 extra teaspoon

1. In a bowl, mix flours and salt. Add hot water gradually, stirring with a fork

Awesome mixing fork!

Awesome mixing fork!

until you have a soft dough. The amount of water will vary drastically depending on air temperature and humidity. You just have to play with it. You are aiming for dough that resembles silly putty.  Silly putty: This is the kind of word(s) that I think are so helpful when trying new recipes making bread! At least for me, silly putty really communicates because I know what it feels like from experience.
Using as little extra flour as possible, knead on a board or in the air for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and silky.
Put the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth or plate and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes to one hour.

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2. Put the tava on medium heat. Do not oil it. Put the wire rack on another burner at the highest heat possible.   Tava: I love the special tool, oh you know I do … but I also love multipurpose tools.  I was tickled to find another wonderful use for my cast iron crepe pan.  Now, my crepe pan can do crepes, pancakes, socca, and chapatis!

Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.  It seems to me, these could be made smaller and used for little bites/appetizers.   Lightly flour each one and put 7 pieces back in the bowl. Cover the bowl. Form the piece of dough into a ball and flatten it. Roll it out into a round till it is quite thin but not too thin (this is again is one of those infuriating things where you will just have to practice to find out what thinness works best for you) – about 2 mm?? As you roll out the dough, make sure it is not sticking to the board and that there are no holes. Keep the rolling pin lightly dusted with as little flour as possible and the board the same way.

Steam. Oh, och! I'm wrinkled!

Steam. Oh, och! I’m wrinkled!

3. Place the round of dough on the hot tava (griddle). As soon as you see little bubbles form, turn it over using tongs.

Now I'm blemished ... sigh ... what a fate.

Now I’m blemished … sigh … what a fate.

  As soon as there are little bubbles on the reverse side, lift the bread off the tava with the tongs and place it on the wire rack. It should puff up. Turn it over once or twice to ensure that it puffs up completely.

Ah, Cooks that blemish right out!

Ah, Cooks that blemish right out!

  Don’t be worried to see a few dark brown spots on it. (If you are lucky enough to have a gas stove, you can hold the bread directly over the flame.)

I'm a puffer! HooRay for me!!

I’m a puffer!
HooRay for me!!

4. Put the finished bread into a pot and cover it with a lid. Keep it in a warm oven. Roll out the next piece of dough and repeat til you have 8 rotis. As you put a new roti on the stack, turn the finished rotis over to keep the bottom ones from getting wet.
Elizabeth serves this bread with green chili omelettes or Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese).

What to put on them? Palak Paneer would have been ideal.

Oh, no, no. I need more, something fancy ...

Oh, no, no. I need more, something fancy …

I don’t think I Americanized them, I Italianized them with pepperoni and cheese 😉

Yeah, like a little bit of roasted butternut and onion!

Yeah, like a little bit of roasted butternut and onion!

Oh, my yes, just a touch of cheese!  I'm ready for the party.  And not a blemish in sight.

Oh, my yes, just a touch of cheese! I’m ready for the party. And not a blemish in sight.

Just for a snack don’t you know.

OK, just salted butter for this one.

OK, just salted butter for this one.

One I had plain with just butter; mighty fine indeed.
One I had with just a strip of bacon …

Now, How will you dress your Chapatis?  Get your self belly up to that stove and bake ’em some Chapatis.  Elizabeth our KOM will have one of Lein’s super-dupper badges for you and get you into the round up at the end of this month.  Check out her web site for details.

Walks to the beach can be a challenge these days but totally fun ... if you can remain upright.

Walks to the beach can be a challenge these days but totally fun … if you can remain upright.

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4 Comments

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

I know it’s hard to believe but this is not for the Babe’s, not an early BBB bread at all.  I hope that’s not too disappointing.  I will tell you I did the Babe bread for this month and did squeal and even jig a little dance – sorry Ilva.  It’s really very good, very fun and even though the thought made me shake in my boots, it was very easy .
I saw this first on David Lebovitz’s blog and was of course over awed by the look and sound. Do you ever buy a cookbook because of one recipe?  How many cookbooks have you bought without at least thumbing through the actually book or looking at a sample as an e-book.  I may have hesitated five minutes before hitting the buy button on Amazon … I may not have.  At any rate, the book is now in my library.
Now that I’ve read it cover to cover, I’m delighted and have considerably more than the one recipe that I’m over joyed with.
The bread is milder than I expected but still has a lovely rye aroma and flavor.  It’s a dense bread and so is perfect to slice thin and serve with appetizers.  I may try it next with a little caraway and when I unpack that special loaf pan to bake cocktail rye in, I’ll be trying that. Until I find that pan, wonderful with just butter and with every cheese we put on it last night.  We’ve planned to have it toasted with an egg some morning before it’s all gone. I’m right with David on the avocado and strangely enough there is one waiting on my counter … it won’t be waiting long.

Below you will find first my measure, second David Lebovitz’s measurement in parenthesis found on his blog, and finally Hans Rockenwagner’s measurement.  You can note that my grams and David’s are fairly different.  In comparing photo’s of each, it seems like the measurements worked about the same in the final bread.  Flour is a dramatically different entity around this globe.   I was baking from the book where Hans uses cups. When I use a recipe written in cups any more, I do the measurement, weight it in grams (and yes I know liquids are measured in ml, I just do it in grams and it works for me) and write in in the book or into my MacGourmet program. Next time I just scale things.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

Recipe By: Das Cookbook by Hans Röckenwagner
Yield: one loaf


IMG_7848

my measure    David Lebovitz’s measurement,     Hans Rockenwagner’s measurement
400 grams (375ml) lukewarm water, 1 1/2 cups (12 oz)
1/4 cup (80g)  honey, 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon ( I used agava syrup)
2 1/4 teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast (not instant)
450 grams (330g) whole-wheat flour, 2 3/4 cups
45 grams flax meal
1 teaspoon King Arthur Rye Bread Improver
155 grams (110g) rye flour (dark or light), 1 cup
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 cup (125g) lightly toasted sunflower seeds
Vegetable oil, for greasing the pan – I used butter

1. I deviated from the recipe here and simply added the yeast into the flours.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the whole wheat and rye flours with the salt. I used a wooden spoon. Stir the 1/4 cup (80g) honey into the flour mixture. If necessary, add an additional bit of flour if the dough is too wet, or another tablespoon of water if the dough is too dry. It should feel soft and moist, and when you touch it, your finger should just barely stick to it.

3. This is a stiff but fairly smooth dough at this point.  I don’t think I kneaded more than about 5 minutes.  I also moistened my hands fairly often by putting one palm in a bowl of water.  I can’t guess how much water this added.

4. Here I deviated from the recipe and covered the dough and placed it in the refrigerator over night.

5. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead in the sunflower seeds thoroughly, making sure that they are evenly dispersed throughout the dough.  Again I moistened one palm in a bowl of water.
Return the dough to the mixer bowl, I covered the bowel with a moist towel and then a shower cap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, took 2 hours.

6. Punch the dough down with your fist, cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.

7. Lightly grease a 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, shape the dough into a elongated rectangle, and place the dough in the pan. Cover and let rise 1 hour. (Note that it won’t rise much.)

8. About 15 minutes before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

I preheated my convection oven to 340°, placed the loaf in the well preheated oven, sprayed the top of the loaf well with the water and then gave the oven a good squirt. I turned the oven up to 350°F for 10 minutes and then back down to 340° for the last hour of baking.

IMG_7850

My total baking time was 70 minutes.

9. Storage: The bread will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature. It can be frozen for several months.

Notes:

My experience with dense whole wheat loaves tells me they are best left to cool to room temperature. It requires a great deal of patience.

Out of the oven at 1:51pm  104.4°;  at 2:45pm 141.1°F;  at 4:50pm  90.1°F;   at 7pm  72.6°F;  at 9pm  66.7°F room temperature.

IMG_7857

For the whole wheat flour, I mixed King Arthur whole wheat flour (fairly finely ground) with half Bob’s Red Mill white whole wheat (more coarsely ground).

Of course the flax seed was added by me not the real chefs.

IMG_1343

David Lebovitz:  Please note that this bread requires three risings. Fortunately, there isn’t any work to do between those risings. But allow yourself time when you make the bread. I started it the minute I woke up, and it was ready by lunch!

IMG_1346

I was thinking that next time, I may swap out a bit of the honey – perhaps 2-3 tablespoons – with mild molasses. Do make sure you toast the sunflower seeds. To do so, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and spread the seeds on a baking sheet. Baking them, stirring once or twice, for 6 to 8 minutes. Some people like to toast nuts and seeds in a hot skillet on the stovetop, which you can do instead. I tried my own idea of brushing the bread with water and topping it with seeds before baking and most of them didn’t stick. So I didn’t include that suggestion here.

I found this bread even better toasted. It made a nice lunch with ripe, mashed avocado on top, which I mixed with red onion, red pepper powder, a bit of olive oil, and some flaky sea salt.

Two days and we’ll be up with the BBBs  😉

Happy Baking!