This braided date bread is quick and easy to make which makes it a great choice for when you are tight on time and can’t make individual pastries. The fact that this bread is stuffed makes it versatile. Depending on the stuffing it can make for a great lunch, dessert or sliced up it can be a wonderful appetizer for a party. It is faster and easier than making individualized portions and the best part is: the possibilities for the stuffing are endless. To get your creative juices running here are a few stuffing suggestions
All posts in category Bread and pastry
Posted by Sawsan Abu Farha (Chef in disguise) on September 25, 2013
I rarely make donuts at home. You need a REALLY good recipe, one that gives you donuts that make you forget about the calories, at least long enough to have a couple of donuts! Up until recently I didn’t have a recipe that fit that description. That changed when I cam across the recipe I am sharing today.
I was looking for recipes to use up the discard starter that results from feeding Harry. ( We call our sourdough starter Harry because when we cultured it from scratch a couple of months ago, my daughter was reading the first book of the Harry potter series and she decided to name the starter Harry) when I came across a recipe for sourdough donuts.
I have used my sourdough starter to make bread, pancakes, crepes, brownies, crackers,cinnamon rolls and every single time the results were amazing. Using a sourdough starter adds a certain depth to recipes, a layer of flavor that is not necessarily sour. At times you can’t detect any tang but still the addition of the sourdough starter improves the texture and flavor so much that now even my kids say that any recipe gets extra points if it contains Harry.
Today’s recipe is no exception.With both yeast from the sourdough starter and baking powder, these donuts are sort of middle ground between cake doughnuts and yeast ones. They are the best of both worlds if you will. So no matter what doughnut camp you’re in, give these a try. I think you will love them!
These donuts are light,airy and fluffy with the slightest crunch on the crust. Top them with some cinnamon sugar and stopping at one will really test your self control.
I divided the dough in half, I made one half on the spot and stored the other half in the fridge for a couple of days. The donuts made on the first day and those made from the stored dough were equally delicious. You can make the dough the night before and simply take these out in the morning and make a few to surprise your husband or kids on the weekend.
½ cup sourdough (you can make your own using this technique)
2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour (I usually need 1/3- 1/2 cup more to make the dough managable )
1/2 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
Prepare a pot or deep fryer for frying.
Line a tray with paper towels and set aside, you will use this for draining doughnuts.
Heat oil to 360 degrees.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda
In a bowl mix the sourdough starter, oil, buttermilk and egg.
Add the sugar, cinnamon and salt to the dry ingredients and then add them to the wet ingredients.
Bring dough together gently with you hands. Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface and turn dough on to it. Knead it gently about 3 times to help bring the dough together.
Roll out to a thickness of 2 centimeters and cut with a doughnut cutter or if you are like me, you can use a round cutter(I used my 1/2 and 1/4 cups) and a bottle cap
Fry until golden brown. Test the first one for doneness by breaking it in two and checking if the middle is doughy.
Drain on paper town. Toss with vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar to coat or top with your favorite topping
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Posted by Sawsan Abu Farha (Chef in disguise) on August 11, 2013
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 100 grams butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup cold milk
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 250 g ground beef
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- 2 cups of nabulsi cheese soaked the night before to reduce the salt and then drained for at least 1 hour(see notes for other cheese options)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or mint
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)
- To prepare the pastry:
Place all ingredients except milk into a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the milk slowly, while the processor is running until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until it’s quite smooth
Wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (you can do this the night before and leave the dough to rest over night in the fridge).
- To make the filling:
For the meat filling
- To assemble the samboosek (samosas):
Roll dough out on a lightly-floured surface to 3mm- 5 mm thickness.
- Bake or fry
To make samosas using store bought dough.
Store bought samosas dough comes in thin sheets stacked on top of each other and tightly packaged.
You can also use phyllo dough but since phyllo is thinner you will need to use 2-3 layers instead of one
One thing you must remember when working with phyllo or samoboosek store bought dough. They dry out really quickly so only work with a few sheets at a time and keep the others wrapped with a clean towel
How to fold samosas into triangles:
Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling at the end of each strip.
Follow the picture instructions on how to fold into triangles.
To seal the samosas mix 1 tablespoon flour with 2 tablespoons water and brush on the edge of the samosas in step 6 and then make the final fold
What I have found easier is to do steps 1 through 4 in the pictures above without the filling.
The result would be a little pocket that is easier to fill and less messy to handle than folding with the filling from step one
You can deep or shallow fry the samboosek until golden or you can brush them with some oil and bake them in the oven
To freeze samboosek: Arrange your filled samboosek on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months
To use phyllo:
Prepare the phyllo dough by laying out a layer, brushing it with melted butter and then topping it with another layer.
Repeat that until you get 3 layers of phyllo stacked on top of each other.
Cut the layered phyllo into 3 inch strips
Continue with the steps in the same way as explained above for the store bought samosas dough.
Nabulsi cheese is a firm brined cheese popular in Palestine and Jordan. To replace it you can use any firm salty cheese. Feta, or paneer both work well.
You need to soak the nabulsi cheese because it is very salty but once you reduce its salt content you need to drain it really well because any water that remains in it will cause the pastry to become soggy
Posted by Sawsan Abu Farha (Chef in disguise) on August 6, 2013
This month’s sourdough surprises challenge was to make cinnamon rolls. As the title already gave away, these cinnamon rolls are the best I have ever made. Actually they are the best I have ever had! Anything you can buy and I don’t care what is the name of the place you buy it from doesn’t stand a chance when compared to these cinnamon rolls. If you ever wondered what eating cinnamon clouds would be like, bake these cinnamon rolls and you will get pretty close
As with anything made with sourdough these take time, A LOT of time. As in days to make. Most of that time is spent waiting for the dough to proof or rise. There is very little active work to do.So if you plan ahead you can make them easily. The dough however gave me a very hard time on my first attempt. It was way too soft and sticky to handle. The second time around I added a 3/4 cup of flour to the dough and proofed it in the fridge. That made all the difference and transformed these cinnamon rolls from disaster rolls to the most amazing cinnamon rolls I have ever made. I have highlighted the changes I made in red.
Sourdough cinnamon rolls
This recipe makes 12 large cinnamon rolls (about 10 cm in diameter each) My advise is to half the recipe
150 grams 100% hydration sourdough starter, recently fed and ripened (when it has just doubled it’s volume is a excellent time to use it)
340 grams lukewarm water
340 grams all-purpose flour
Let this mixture sit at room temperature for 12 hours, until doubled (usually overnight.)
If your starter tends to double in less than 12 hours or you’re not going to make the final dough for a while, then keep the levain in the fridge until you’re ready to make the dough.
113 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
225 grams 3 large eggs
42 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) honey
24 grams (2 tablespoons) pure vanilla Extract
130 grams mashed potato (I recommend Yukon Gold)
195 grams (3/4 cup) buttermilk or whole milk
850 grams levain
700 grams all-purpose flour
21 grams salt
Cream the butter then beat in the eggs, honey, vanilla and mashed potatoes until well blended.
Add the milk/buttermilk and levain, mixing until blended and then gradually add the flour and salt to the bowl. Continue mixing until well-blended.
Allow the dough to rest covered in the bowl for 20 minutes.
After the rest, mix for another 2-3 minutes.
The resulting dough will be VERY moist and sticky. It is actually closer to a batter than a dough
Turn the dough out into a large, lightly-oiled bowl. Cover and allow to ferment in a cool location (55-65°F) until doubled (this should take 8-12 hours, depending on how warm the location is).
Every 4-6 hours, lift the dough to stretch and then fold it onto itself.
After the first fold I found the dough to be too soft to handle so I added 3/4 cup flour
Another thing I found out is, proofing this dough in the fridge will make your life so much easier. The dough firms up in the fridge and it becomes so much easier to handle
Towards the end of the fermentation you can ready the filling:
double the dry ingredients for extra coverage/fun
170 grams (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted.
85 grams cream or half & half
300 grams dark brown sugar
180 grams raisins (I omitted these because I consider them a blight on cinnamon rolls)
3 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) cinnamon
12 grams (1 tablespoon) vanilla extract
Combine all the ingredients until you get a soft paste
Rolling and filling the cinnamon rolls
Once the dough has finished the ferment, you can roll it out and fill.
Since the dough is so sticky, I highly recommend using a well-floured cloth or parchment paper.
What I use is a large heavy piece of linen or canvas. Thoroughly wash it,allow it to dry and then flour it and use it. My advice is to never wash it again (if for some reason, dough sticks to your fabric, let it dry and then scrape it off). It will make rolling, handling and proofing any sticky dough so much easier. When you’re done using it, simply dust off the excess flour, fold it and stash it. A piece of parchment can be used for the same purpose.
Divide the dough in half, return one half to the fridge until you are done with the first
Turn out your dough onto your floured fabric and dust it heavily with flour.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle
Spread your cinnamon/butter paste on the dough.
If you love cinnamon as much as I do, sprinkle more cinnamon on top
Roll up the dough, using the fabric or parchment to help roll it onto itself (with this dough I found that the parchment was easier to handle).
As you roll the dough dust off the flour from the under surface
Then using a piece thread, cut the rolls from the log.You can do so by sliding the thread under the log then crossing it over the log and pulling the thread in two opposite directions until you cut through the log
Place the rolls into a greased baking pan or casserole. Brush the rolls with a little butter and then cover.
Slowly proof the rolls for 12 hours (or overnight) in a cool place (I proofed mine in the refrigerator) until they have doubled.
Bake straight from the fridge in a 400°F oven for 25-35 minutes (if you have very thick rolls it may take a bit longer) or until the internal temperature hits 195-200°F on instant-read thermometer.
Once out of the oven, brush the rolls with a little more melted butter to keep them soft or cover them with a clean fabric while they are still warm. That will help lock in the moisture .
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk
6 cubes kiri cheese (or use 150 gm cream cheese)
Pulse the milk with the cheese until completely homogenous. If you find that the mix is too thick add a little liquid milk
Freezing and storage
If you’re not able to serve the rolls immediately, they’ll keep for a couple days covered and refrigerated. Gently rewarm before serving.
You can freeze these rolls. Bake them until they are cooked through but take them out before browning the top. Allow them to cool and then freeze them. When you want to serve them take them out from the freezer to the oven. 200 C for 10- 15 minutes and they are as good as freshly baked cinnamon rolls. I wrap mine individually so that I can take only one or two out but you can freeze the whole pan.
Posted by Sawsan Abu Farha (Chef in disguise) on July 20, 2013