My new found love seems to be bread-making. The freshly made, warm, non-chemical infiltrated bread can't be beat. And who doesn't love the yeasty-toasty aroma the kitchen fills up with while baking? I've been enjoying trying out different recipes and practicing my techniques. Bread making is deeply therapeutic and satisfying. If you have any pent up frustration from work or whatever other things life throws at you, take it out on the dough and knead it out! After the first couple of failed attempts, I've got it down pretty well now. The most important thing to bread making are finding the right balance of flours, kneading the dough really well and giving it time! Yes, I used to get very impatient earlier and not let the dough rise enough or slice the bread too fast after baking - both of which will result in dense, sticky loaves. Once you get past that, you'll realize that the basic technique to making bread is pretty much the same - activate/proof the yeast, add flour, knead, let rise, knead again and bake.
I had bought a copy of Homemade Bread - Popular Kitchen Series a few months back. It's a great little magazine that explains bread making techniques in detail and has some great recipes anyone can try at home. I've tried a few now, some with my variations, and they worked out great. A few days back, I took a recipe for a basic loaf and made smaller sandwich rolls with some oomph. Jalapeno-parmesan rolls were great to make quick sandwiches - especially for lunchbox. Husband likes them because sandwiches are are easy to eat at work. With a fried egg in between, they make for a great brunch. There's lots of flavor in the bread itself, so anything you stuff in between will taste great. The recipe is very adaptable - you can add a myriad of things to the dough, like olives, onions, sun-dried or regular tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, herbs, any other cheeses you like. Let your creativity go wild.
Jalapeno-Parmesan Sandwich Rolls
1 Cup warm water
1 Packet active dry yeast
2 Teaspoons sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour (APF)
1 + 1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese
3-4 Tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno - adjust depending on your preference
Olive oil for greasing
Corn flour for dusting
- Add active dry yeast and sugar to warm water and set aside for 10 minutes or until the mixture is fully frothy. Don't heat the water too much else the yeast will just die.
- Once frothy, add salt, olive oil, APF, 1 cup of whole wheat flour, cheese and chopped jalapeno and start kneading. Add whole wheat flour little by little if the dough is too sticky. Only add enough so the dough doesn't stick. You want a soft, pliable dough ball.
- To really get the gluten working, stretch the dough with the heel of your palm and fold it back. Knead so for 10 mins. Then cover the dough and let it sit for an hour or so or until the dough doubles in size.
- Punch the risen dough and knead again for another 10 mins. Make 6 equal portions of the dough and roll them round or slightly oval.
- I prefer using my giant dutch oven for bread baking, but use any thick bottom pan you have. Grease the bottom with some olive oil and dust with a little bit of corn flour. Place the dough balls with some space in between and brush them with oil. Cover and keep aside for another hour. They should rise.
- Preheat oven at 425F and bake the bread for 35-40 mins or until golden brown.