Chocolate Swirl Bread

February 27, 2011 § 5 Comments

Pssst… People…. I have discovered it – the perfect antioxidant rich breakfast that should be part of a balanced diet – CHOCOLATE SWIRL BREAD.  IMG_3229


I eat it for the abundant antioxidants ;) – and pretty please, you should too…for the antioxidants, ofcourse. These things are important.

It is also deeply darkly chocolaty – but THAT is just incidental.


I made the bread last night and we had it for breakfast today morning–  comfortingly chocolaty, but not too sweet. I had it with a cup of cold milk, warmly ensconced on the couch in front of the TV. Ah.. Saturday mornings with antioxidant rich breakfasts ;) .. sigh.. love… bliss….

Next time, I might make small braided rolls (with the added cuteness value), and skip the loaf entirely.

And here is how I made it.

For the dough:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp instant dry yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
1 1/2 +1/4 cup all purpose flour
For the filling:
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
1tbsp instant espresso granules
Water (enough to make a paste)

  • Combine the water, milk and sugar in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Stir to dissolve the sugar. The mixture should be warm (and not hot!) to touch. If not microwave for a few seconds more as necessary. Sprinkle yeast over the liquid mixture; let stand until foamy, for about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk the egg in a small bowl and set aside one tablespoon of the egg. Whisk the remaining beaten egg and salt into the liquid + yeast mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, measure out 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture will be very sticky. But if too watery, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour slowly. Mix well to avoid any lumps – this takes about 5-6 minutes.
  • Incorporate 2 tbsp of room temperature butter into the sticky dough mixture. I used my hands to do so.
  • Oil/Butter a large bowl. Turn the dough into the bowl (including all the dough sticking to your fingers if you used your hands in step 4). Turn dough once in the bowl to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel/cling wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise. The dough will double in about an hour (depending on the temperature). Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 7 minutes to form a soft, pliable dough. Transfer it back to the bowl, cover with clean kitchen towel/cling wrap and set aside in a warm place for another hour.
  • Finely chop the chocolate or break it into pieces and pulse in a food processor. Turn the chocolate mixture into a bowl and combine well with the 2 tbsps of sugar and butter, to form a slightly sticky mixture.
  • Generously butter one 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Combine the tbsp of egg set aside in Step 2 above with one tbsp of water to make an egg wash.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 12 by 16 inch rectangle, the dough should be about 1/8 inch thick. Brush edges with the egg wash. Spread the chocolate mixture on the the dough, leaving a 1/4 inch border on the two shorter sides and one of the longer sides.
  • Roll the dough up tightly, starting at the longer side without the 1/4 inch border (like a jam/jelly roll). Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Tear off the ends without the chocolate filling. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Cover with clean towel and let stand in a warm place until it puffs up (about 30 minutes)
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of the loaf with egg wash. Bake the loaf for about 25 minutes or until the tops are well browned. Take the pan out of the oven and tent loosely with foil. Place the pan back into the oven and bake for another 25 minutes or until a tester/skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean – I.e., without any raw dough sticking to the tester, the chocolate will melt and might stick to the tester/skewer.

Almost No-Knead Baguette

February 14, 2011 § 1 Comment


I am beaming as I write this .. I made a baguette! Ok.. so it was not a traditional, kneaded, labor intensive baguette. But, hey – it was nevertheless a pretty good first baguette and definitely better than a baguette from the local supermarket, which might have been on the shelves for heaven knows how long.

I followed the recipe for the almost no-knead baguette from the King Arthur Flour website. The recipe has been beautifully illustrated with step-by-step photographs in a blog post by P J Hamel on the King Arthur Flour blog as well. However,  I did not have any King Arthur Flour on hand – and I could not wait to try my hand at the recipe. So I used the all purpose flour I had on hand, and the baguette turned out quite well.


The baguette had a nice crust and a chewy soft interior with loads of irregular air pockets. The recipe requires that the unbaked formed loaf should be sprayed with water before baking. However, I did not have spritzer to spray the dough. So I  gently dabbed the unbaked formed dough with a dampened (and clean) dish cloth instead.


The yeasty dough and the baguette in the oven filled the apartment with the warm and comforting smell of fresh bread. The recipe is worth attempting just for that. By the way, did you know that there are fragrance oils, incenses sticks, candles etc in ‘fresh baked bread’ fragrance? For me however, this bread does it.

Chili Oranges

February 6, 2011 § Leave a comment


Sweet, sour and salty – this chili orange brings back to cold wintery New York a little bit of our trip to the Yucatan in Mexico over Thanksgiving break. It was a short, 4-day vacation – but oh so lovely!. I want to be back there now :(

I generally think that there are so many places to visit in this world, and such little time, that I would much rather go to a new place than revisit a place I have already been to. However, I would go back to Mexico again in a heartbeat.

One of things we really enjoyed in Mexico were green skinned sweet and sour oranges, served with a mixture of salt and chili powder. The chili powder adds a certain earthiness and a little heat, which complements the sweet and sour oranges and the saltiness from…. well.. the salt.


I did not segment the orange entirely – I removed the skin, but retained the membranes dividing the segments.  We cut the orange into bite size pieces, and tossed the pieces, together with any juices in the  bowl, with chili powder and salt. Yum!


    Garlic Basil Paneer

    February 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

    This saturday started slowly – it was around 10 in the morning by the time we woke up!! The weather outside was cold and wet with snow and rain. It made a very pretty landscape, but we were happy to stay at home – warm and dry :). The wintery weather called for some serious comfort food and the weekend mindset called for something quick and easy. This dish fit the bill. My mother used to make a variation of this dish and growing up this was a favorite with chapattis, a quick Indian flatbread.


    Paneer is an Indian cheese – mild, but creamy and smooth. We really like paneer, but most Indian recipes for paneer include multiple ingredients and many steps. But this dish is quick and easy and hits the spot – with the creaminess from the paneer, the heat from the chilies, the sweet and tart flavor of tomato and the freshness from basil. We ate this with fresh hot chappatis. This would be perfect with rice or naan as well.

    340 gms paneer (1 packet), cubed
    4 thai green chilies (we like spicy, use less according to preference), finely chopped
    5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    1 medium onion, finely diced
    2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
    2 tbsp soy sauce
    2 tbsp oyster sauce
    5 basil leaves
    1 tsp vinegar
    3 tbsp oil
    pinch of salt

    • Heat a heavy skillet with 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add the cubed paneer and fry until lightly brown on each side. Turn frequently to avoid burning. You might have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of the skillet. Transfer the browned panner from the skillet into a bowl of warm water.
    • Add the remaining 2 tbsps of oil to the skillet. Once the oil is heated through, reduce the heat to medium low and add the finely chopped onions, garlic and green chilies. Add a pinch of salt and stir occasionally, until the onions are translucent and soft.
    • Add the tomato paste into the skillet. Take care not to burn. Add 1-2 tbsps of water if the skillet is too dry and the mixture might burn. Stir frequently and cook until the tomato paste is slightly roasted (about 2-3 minutes).
    • Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and half a cup of water into the skillet.
    • Drain the water in which the paneer was soaking (see Step 1above) and add the paneer to the skillet. Pour enough water in the skillet to cover the paneer cubes. Taste the sauce to adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover the skillet and keep at a simmer for another 15 minutes.
    • Add 1 tsp of vinegar to the skillet – adjust depending on the tartness of the tomato paste used. Take the skillet off the heat. Roughly tear the basil leaves and add to the pan. Serve immediately.

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