therapeuticOver and over again I have read that fellow bloggers find baking very therapeutic. It's no different for me and since I have gained the confidence to use a starter sponge, baking has taken a whole new meaning. Though I used the short period for fermenting the starter, I was very pleased with the soft spongy texture of the bread and it is so true that breads that are made using starters, take on a lovely golden hue on baking. Kneading the dough too is therapeutic. Before, I would have one eye on the dough and one on the clock... waiting impatiently for the 10 minutes to get over so I could stop kneading. For me it was like exercise, which I hate so much but am compelled to do. Not that I am consistent at all. I can be on the cross trainer for a week and miss one day and am off it for 2 weeks. No wonder I don't lose any weight. Anyway coming back to the kneading, I now have the radio on in the kitchen when I am cooking. It helps me to flow through the whole process of preparation, cooking, cleaning up. So, listening to my favourite songs on East FM or Sound Asia. Both stations are wonderful. Selection of songs are great and so are the RJs. Listening to Aleem and Seema in morning makes exercising a bit more fun, gufta guu with Parveen and peppy song choice from Kamal Kaur makes working in the hot kitchen bearable.
This time I have used fresh coriander and olives to flavour the bread. It went well with the soup I had made for dinner. Tomorrow the remaining slices will turn into a nutritious sandwich.
The last few times I have made this bread, I pureed the fresh coriander. It adds a lovely hue to the bread and flavour. I have also used black and green olives and sometimes red. The choice is yours.
CORIANDER AND OLIVE BREAD
Makes 1 big loaf or 2 small ones
For the starter:
½ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ tsp dry active instant yeast
½ tsp sugar
¼ cup warm water
Main dough ingredients:
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
1¼ cups plain flour (all purpose flour, bread flour)
2 tsp dry active instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
¾ - 1 cup warm water
1 cup chopped fresh coriander
¼ cup sliced green olives
1 tbsp oil
extra flour for dusting
extra oil for greasing bowl and baking tray/ pan
- To prepare the starter, mix all the starter ingredients in a bowl. Cover with cling film and place in a warm place to ferment till its double the volume or for nearly 1½ hours.
- To prepare the main dough, mix the flours, salt, sugar and yeast in a big bowl.
- Add the starter, warm water, coriander and mix into a dough.
- Dust the work top or a wooden board with flour and knead the dough on it using the heel of your palm.
- Knead for 10 to 15 minutes using the measured oil in small amounts.
- Avoid adding too much extra flour.
- Roll the dough into a big ball. Grease the bowl with oil.
- Smear oil over the dough and place it in the bowl. Cover it with cling film and place it in a warm place.
- Let the dough proof till its double the size.Mine took nearly 2½ hours.
- Dust the work top or board again with a bit of flour.
- Grease your hands and remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the floured work top or board.
- Add the olives and knead into the dough gently.
- Shape the dough as you like and place it on the greased tray or pan.
- Let the dough rise again for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place the dough to bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or till the top is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.
- Remove the bread from the pan or tray and let it cool on the wire rack.
- Serve with soup or use it as a sandwich.
- If the dough is too sticky when you knead it, add a bit of flour.
- Use black olives or a mixture of green and black ones.
- Make the dough into small rolls.
- Shape the dough as you like.
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