Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?
Yup! I was the host of this month’s daring bakers challenge :) and it could not have come at a better time. This month my blog turns 3 and what better way to celebrate the occasion that doing it with homemade bread?
As many of you may already know,I have a deep passion for baking. One of my favorite baking projects is to make bread from scratch. I find it very comforting, almost therapeutic. Watching yeast bubble with excitement as it gets ready to help you make bread magic. Kneading the dough and feeling it transform under your finger tips from a lumpy mess into a silky smooth ball. Watching the dough rise. Punching it down and then forming it into whatever shape you want. A wonderful creative vent, all up to you and your imagination.
When it was time to choose this month’s challenge I just knew it had to be bread, but regular bread wouldn’t do! It is a DARING bakers challenge after all! It had to be a challenge that took bread making a step further. I put my thinking cap on and I came up with this :)
A challenge inspired by the work of Valentina Zurkan, if you have never heard of her, google the name and I promise, you will be blown away!! I gave the daring bakers two bread forms to choose from,the nutella twists that I am sharing with you today and my cinnamon sweet bread which I posted to celebrate my blog’s one year anniversary :)
Flavors and fillings: The beauty of this bread is that you can use any filling that you like, savory or sweet. In the savory category you may want to try herbs, spice mixes like zaatar, grated cheese or any other strong flavored savory filling that appeals to you. If you would rather try a sweet version, try cinnamon, coco powder, Nutella, falvored butter, marzipan, the possibilities are endless.
The dough: For sweet fillings I use the dough recipe provided here. For savory ones I use this dough. Both recipes work well for the twists required in this challenge but if you have another dough recipe you are comfortable with, you can use it.
Servings:This dough recipe makes two loaves, 16 small pieces each
1 can (400 gm) (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
3 teaspoons (15 ml) (12 gm) yeast
7 cups (1 kg) (2.2 lbs) all-purpose (plain) flour, approximately
Pinch of salt
Instead of the egg-wash use
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) milk powder
3 tablespoons (45 ml) lukewarm water
1teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) instant coffee
For the filling
½ jar (200 gm) (7 oz) of nutella (or similar)
1. Mix the condensed milk, yeast, oil, water, and eggs in the bowl of your mixer
2. Add the flour one cup at a time and knead using the kneading attachment or by hand till you get a soft dough
3. The dough will be slightly sticky due to the sweetened condensed milk, don’t worry once the dough rests it will have a wonderful consistency
4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rest till it doubles in size
5. Punch down the dough and divide it into 2 parts. Wrap one part in a plastic bag and work with the other
6. Divide the dough ball into 4 parts
7. Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter
You can use a plate or any other round item as a template if you want your layers to be identical and uniform
8. Spread the Nutella (or similar filling) on the first layer
9. Place the second layer on top of the first and repeat
10. Top with the fourth layer, this time only brush it with butter.
Note:To help with the slippery Nutella, you can place the filled layers before cutting into the fridge for 20-30 minutes, this will help the nutella to firm up. That will make the cuts and twists easier.
11. Using a knife make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles starting at the center but don’t go all the way to the outer edge.
I find that using a ruler to mark the dough makes the cuts easier and more uniform.
You can also dip your knife in flour before cutting, that helps to prevent the layers from sticking together. I have also found that a pizza cutter works well because it is extra sharp.
12. Then divide each triangle into two (2) . That gives you a total of 16 triangles
13. Gently lift the triangles one at a time and twist them
The end result will look like this, repeat for the other dough ball
14. Brush the dough with egg wash replacement
15. Allow to rest for 15 minutes during which you would heat your oven to very hot 240°C (rack in the middle)
16. Bake for 5 minutes on very hot 240°C, then lower the temperature to moderately hot 200°C and bake for 15-20 more minutes
Note:ovens do differ greatly, so the time may differ,what you want is to bake it until the under side is golden brown and the bread is baked all the way to the center. If the top of the bread is not golden brown by that time and you have a broiler (grill) in your oven. Turn on the broiler (grill) for a couple of minutes until the bread is golden brown on top. If on the other hand the top is getting too dark, consider lowering the oven temperature and covering the top of the bread with foil to stop it from over browning
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The dough for the Nutella twists can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.
The bread, once baked can be stored in air tight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or in the fridge.
Inspired and want to try other bread forms, check out this board