Constraints are a secret weapon that we can use to give ourselves a little creative boost when we need to take things to the next level.
Out of adversity comes creativity and the courage to try things that we otherwise would never even dream to. It helps us to stretch our boundaries and learn about our capabilities.
Since I have been out from home, all my challenges in the blog world were naturally on a hold. I missed on some absolutely amazing bakes with most of them being in my 'Must try' list for some time.
Baking Partner's challenge for this month, is Bread baking using Tangzhong or Scalded flour method. Unheard words...it was the same for me!! Had to read the drafts over and over again to understand these new techniques. I chose on trying my hands on the scalded flour method of Bread baking. I reduced the recipe to one-third, being apprehensive of the result. Since I am not a big fan of plain breads, I decided to try my hands on a stuffed braided bread.
This is when the constraints leapt at me, all at once!! Firstly, being the time constraint. The entire process in itself is not difficult at all. The time and patience consumed is in the wait. There is a 3 hour wait before we get to bake the bread with simple steps in between. With power failure, a daily routine in Allahabad, I had to start the process at 4 in the morning so that I can bake my bread before the electricty goes.
The second constraint was the availability of ingredients. I had to change the bread flour to all purpose and the Instant yeast to Active dried yeast.
Having figured all this and prepared to kickstart, the last constraint crept in! My kitchen weighing scale refused to work, and since all measurements were in gms, I was left with nothing to start. I was almost ready to give up when the thought and will to convert the measurement into cups came in. I used my mobile to google and convert.
With all this going around, I was naturally very apprehensive of the end result. The bread was made and most importantly the pictures were taken before anyone was allowed to eat! Amma(mother-in-law) helped me take the pics by getting some very pretty flowers from her garden. Finally the first bite was taken and praised for the softness and yumminess. Being a very harsh critic of my own bakes, I loved the amazing softness of the bread and the extra huge chicken filling!!
Ingredients: I have used 1/3 of the original recipe
and adapted to my requirements
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp milk powder
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 tsp active dried yeast/ 1 tsp Instant yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup boiled boneless chicken, shredded
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 1/4 cup grated processed cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Cheesy Chicken Filling:
Melt butter in a pan on medium heat and add flour while stirring well. As soon as the flour gets a brownish hue, add warm milk and stir well to remove any lumps. Let it cook and thicken. As the sauce thickens, add salt and pepper to taste. Add grated cheese and stir well till incorporated. Now add the shredded boiled chicken. Mix well.
Take flour in a bowl and pour boiling water, all at once. Stir quickly with a fork. It will be a doughy lumpy mixture. Set the dough aside for 5 mins to fully absorb the heat and moisture. Cover with a cling film or plastic and allow to cool for 1 hour.
Take 1/4 cup warm water, add a tsp of sugar and sprinkle the active dried yeast. Allow to bloom for 5-10 mins till it becomes foamy. If using Instant yeast, skip this step.
Sift flour, milk powder, sugar and salt on your working surface.
Make a well and add the yeast mixture/Instant yeast.
Add the scalded flour mixture and gradually add enough lukewarm water to make a sticky dough. (If using Instant yeast, water required may be little more)
KNEAD FOR 10 MINS until smooth and elastic(use a watch/clock, if necessary)
During kneading the dough needs to be thrown on the working surface every few mins to improve its strength. You may feel the dough sticky throughout and may feel super tempted to add more flour, but have PATIENCE. If you keep kneading, the dough will become smooth. Remember 10 mins of hardwork will result in the most softest bread baked at home!
Knead in butter till incorporated.
Form dough in a round ball and keep covered with a moist muslin cloth in a bowl. Allow to double in size which will take an hour.
To test if dough has risen well, poke a flour coated finger in the middle of dough and take out. If hole remains, dough is ready and if it springs back, the dough needs more proving.
Punch down the dough and roll in an oval shape. Place the filling in the center. Now with the help of a knife or pizza cutter, make cuts all along the sides. Make sure the cuts are even numbered.
Fold the top and bottom part of dough and starting from one end, start braiding each pair of strip (overlapping)till you reach the end.
Place the bread, very carefully on an aluminum foil covered baking tray. Cover with damp muslin cloth and allow to rise for another hour.
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius and bake the bread for 30-35 mins or till top gets browned well.
Check this video link for braiding bread.
I have also updated the blog with some braiding steps.
- You may add any other filling of your choice and make it vegetarian too.
- I have used boiled chicken but you can use roast, tandoori or shreds from any prepared chicken dish too.
- You need to ensure that the filling is relatively dry to avoid excess moisture tearing the bread dough.
- You may brush the braided dough with some milk to get that rich brown colour. For better results use half cream and half milk.
- As soon as the bread is out of the oven after getting baked, brush it with some butter to get that lovely shine and soft texture.
Sending this recipe to Bake Fest#17 brainchild of Vardhini
This recipe is being sent to the amazing ongoing event called 'Yeasty Feasty' by Kolkata Food Bloggers where all the members are going to present their droolworthy yeasty bread creations. To make this event more exciting, food bloggers all over are invited to send in their yeasty bakes. Please read the rules and other details here to participate.