This post has sat in drafts for a very long time. I have no clue why it took that long but all is well… Been a bit scatter brained , but that’s not unusual either. The usual activities of soccer and gymnastics and the seasonal prep of FRC begins. Maya, on the other hand has been the most unburdened of the lot as she explores the backyard like a new-found babe – after days of rain and blah weather , the sun gods decide to shine on us . You could see this gorgeous streak of black, shiny fur dashing about as she chases squirrels that have peeped our after a couple of weeks. And she makes the most of it. Streaking about or snoozing in the sun. She does make me en her sometimes ! Abundant energy and abundant love .. always .
Gorgeous day and I realize, I have about a dozen drafts – nope, honest not kidding, atleast a dozen drafts sitting in the folder waiting for their turn in the sun. And I shall oblige to the best of my ability.
Been to Panera bread? It’s like this secret joint for all bread lovers to unite . Much before the active baking bug bit me ( quite honestly it has not been too long, but lets just say for timeframe sake barely 18 months or so) their neatly arranges loaves of bread and near tumbling brown fresh-baked ones from the basket were so inviting and tempting for me. Almost irresistible that I would inevitably come home with a couple at least. Well they are now too, albeit now, I use my discretionary powers and bring a couple more of the new ones as well to try their flavors. LOL! One of their creations would be this Jalapeño cheese focaccia bread – a tiny piece of marvel with generous pepping of fresh jalapeño peppers. Yum – O ! It’s like a sirens call for A1. He could never resist it and could polish a couple if not for mom’s “look”.
Been wanting to try something akin to that one for sometime , and also wanted to incorporate fresh garden grown herbs in it. While I believe this was originally baked way back in early 2014 when I was starting out to look at yeast and not turn the other way ( been in the drafts folder too long ), baked it a couple quite a few times after that with ever pleasing results !
And here we go….
Prep time : 20 min
Dough resting time : 60 – 75 min + additional 25 min
Bake time : 25-30 min
White whole wheat flour : 2 cups
All purpose flour : 1 and 1/4 cups
Brown sugar : 1 and 1/2 tsp.
Salt : 1 and 1/4 tsp.
Garlic salt : 1/4 tsp. ( optional, but recommended)
Instant yeast : 2.25 teaspoon/ 1 sachet
Olive oil : 2 Tbsp.
Very warm water : 1 and 1/4 cup
Fresh garlic cloves : 8-10
Fresh mint : About 1/4 cup of leaves
Fresh Cilantro : 1/4 cup of cilantro
Jalapeño Peppers, green fresh : 2 – 3 big
Red chili flakes : 1 and 1/4 tsp.
Olive oil : 3 Tbsp.
Preparing the Dough:
If using a stand mixer, I initially like to attach the paddle attachment and mix everything and then switch to the dough hook for kneading.
Add both the flours, salt and sugar and whisk well. Add the dry instant yeast (Since we are using the dry instant kind, we do not need to activate it. However if you are unsure, then proof the yeast in the warm water with sugar.)
Add the 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then the very warm water and mix it well.
Switch to the dough hook and now knead it very well till you get a smooth dough. The dough is very soft and smooth. Not overtly sticky. If required add a tbsp. or so of extra APF to bring it to the desired smooth consistency.
Oil/ Grease a container . Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in size ( 60-75 min). I simply spray the container of my mixing bowl and let it rise in it.
(Tip : During winter times/ colder weather , turn on the oven initially for a few min. When it hits a temp of say 150 F, turn it off. Once you knead the dough, place it in the warm oven for about an hour. It will help in making the dough rise faster.)
Preparing the Herb, Jalapeno Pepper & Garlic Spread:
In a toaster oven, line a baking tray with aluminum foil . Arrange the cloves of garlic and jalapeño and drizzle about a 1 Tbsp. of oil and roast it on high. Mine hit the maximum at 450 F, so I used that setting for about 8 min or so.
You want these roasted well and not blackened, so do keep an eye out and prep according to the toaster oven.
Let this cool for a bit. Add these along with the fresh herb mix and remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil, pulverize in a food processor / blender to from a coarse paste.
Add the chili flakes, mix, scoop and set aside. This will form the top layering for the bread.
Prep and Baking:
In about 60 min or so, the dough would have doubled in size. Gently deflate it.
Prepare a heavy baking tray by lining it with baking sheet or parchment paper. Generously mist/ spray/layer it with olive oil.
Dump the deflated dough onto it. Using your hands work it to form a nice rectangle / oval, about an inch or so in thickness.
Cover it so it is prepped for the second rise where it will rise a bit more for about 25 – 30 minutes to yield a slightly puffy look.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 F.
Once the dough is ready, using 2 fingers gently poke all over the surface of the bread. You are forming indentations and not tearing the bread dough apart.
Using a pastry brush if desired, spread the herb, and spicy pepper mix on the surface.
Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until it is nice golden brown on the top. Do not over bake please.
Serve warm bread with a drizzle of olive oil /herb oil. Best eaten warm.
Go ahead, the focaccia bread is warm , inviting and I bet it’s a siren’s call for you too.
Fresh herbs, Cheese and Jalapeno bread – Eggless, No-Knead and Super Delicious!
It’s a beautiful day in NC. The sun has given us a bit of respite and the weather seems to bring in the summer showers. The sky is filled with pregnant clouds – that’s how I visualize it. New life begins with showers 🙂 And my Hibiscus, the yellow one bloomed cheerily. The patio is filled with pots bursting with life – and my pride and joy of herbs and more. The fresh herbs beckon me to do something in the early hours of today- especially as my angels ( sometimes troublesome 3’s ) are fast asleep and I have this morning hour to myself.
Just myself and a cup of ginger chai.
Just myself, a cup of ginger chai and a humming bird.
Just myself , a cup of ginger chai, a humming bird and a curious brown breasted rabbit !
Oh the wonders !
And I walk in to the kitchen to see the remains of the pantry cleaning. Hmm I still have a few cupful’s of the self rising APF. What do I do? I bake of course 🙂
Snipping away the fresh herbs , gives me an idea. As is always the case, a bit of this and a bit of that goes into this effort and creation.. The result is beautiful!
An absolutely fragrant and moist loaf of rustic cheese and herbs bread baked to near golden perfection, filled with goodness of fresh herbs and spiced with jalapeños and pepper, flax seed laden and oh so irresistible ! Try this one, I am sure you will not be disappointed.
Self rising flour is All purpose flour with baking powder and salt in it. So this recipe omits salt.
I used a mix of grated Cheddar cheese, Habanero and Mexican cheese blend. Already loaded with salt, hence no extra salt was added in this recipe.
No eggs in this recipe. But you can substitute the flax seed mix I used for 2 eggs.
No egg wash too, Instead, I chose milk and butter wash and broiled it for 550 for 3 min.
The baking was at 350 for 50 min. Please keep an eye on your oven . I would recommend tenting it with an aluminum foil at the 30 min interval and bake it further.
I gave the bread the milk and butter wash and then did the tenting ,baking and broiling.
Bakes : One 9 by 5 inch loaf
Self rising flour APF : 2.25 cups
Baking soda : 1/2 tsp
Shredded mix of cheddar , habenaro, pepperjack and mexican cheese blend : 1 cup
Fresh or Preserved Japaleno slices : chopped, 1/4 cup
Fresh herbs mix : 1 cup
Butter milk : 1.25 cups
2 Tbsp flax seed + 6 Tbsp warm water : ground ( substitute for 2 eggs)
Olive oil : 3 Tbsp
Red pepper flakes : 1 tsp
Black pepper powder : 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp
2 Tsp of milk + 1 tsp of butter for wash if desired
Pre heat the oven to 350℉.
Spray a loaf pan with grease and flour it as well to prevent sticking of the bread.
Sift the APF self rising flour and baking soda together and set aside in a wide bowl.
To this add the dry seasonings and spices you are using as well the 3/4 of the fresh chopped herbs and stir it in.
Now add in the grated cheese and stir it in as well.
Add in the 3 tbsp. oil and run your flingers through the dough to distribute it.
In a coffee grinder or spice grinder , first make a meal out of the flax seeds – grind as finely as possible. Then add about 6 Tbsps. of warm water and blend it together to get a thick creamy mix.
Add the flax seed mix and butter milk together , homogenize and then add it to the dry mix to and stir it in well.
The dough is going to be a shaggy dough !
Empty it in to the prepped bread pan, add in the remaining herbs mix on the top.
Bake it for 350℉ for 45- 52 min. After the first 30 min or so, loosely tent an aluminum foil on top of your baking pan . This will help the bread to bake more evenly.
Gently wash the top with a mix of milk and butter if desired at this stage.
Finally broil it at 550 ℉ for 2 min or so to finish off with a nice brown color.
Cool it out in the pan for a few min and then gently remove it from the pan to let it cool on a wire rack.
Once cool, slice and serve with a dollop of butter or just like that!
And one that can be made in a jiffy and not the store bought one?
Oh did I emphasize the yummy , tasty lip smacking part again…???
Alright then off we go on to this journey about how this one came about. Well North Carolina’s sweltering heat can make even the best of the well intentioned people not to venture into the cooks creation place aka kitchen.
Impromptu awesome company..check
red wine .. check
Near bare pantry .. check..
But rummaging through yielded …
Garbanzo beans – small can
Dried garlic – yes dried up garlic .. sigh !!
Jalapeños – preserved kind
red pepper flakes
Simple becomes exotic
Drain the can of cooked garbanzo beans. and reserve the water as a just in case requirement.
Add 2 tbsp of sundried tomatoes with the some of the oil it has been preserve din.
Add about 4 garlic pods – even though mine were sort of dried up and in sorry looking state, it just dry roasted them and added it in to give in the flavor.
Add in 2 tbsp of the of sliced Jalapeño preserves
Blend it .Simply blend it.The idea is for this to be fine ground as much much as possible to infuse the hummus with their flavors.
Add in the drained garbanzo beans, 2 tbsp of tahini paste and blend till it smooth and creamy. ( real creamy = faster consumption in my house )
That’s it . No seriously that’s it. Adjust the salt level if required before the final spin in the blender.
Dump content s in a bowl,add in a dash of olive oil and red pepper flakes ( or anythings else of choice ) .
And watch it disappear with a bowl of Pita chips or or bread. Seriously good! Beats the pants off any store bought hummus ..
Prep time : 10 min Process time : 10 min Consumption time : 10 min ( ha ha told ya!)
Shelf life : should stay for a week , but I have never got the opportunity to test it. Serves : 4-6