Homemade Non-Naan Bread

My whole family loves naan bread.  We love it with Mediterranean food, as pizza crust, or just with hummus. So yesterday, I thought I would try making it at home. I was probably a bit too ambitious and tried to double the recipe I used from Half Baked Harvest. Since the bread in this recipe is baked in a cast-iron skillet, I was in the kitchen for a while, standing at the stove. I also made quite a few mistakes during my preparation.

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The dough before I mixed the yogurt/milk/yeast mixture into the flour mixture.
The first part was easy. Proof the yeast for 10 minutes, and mix up the flour and other dry ingredients.

This might be where I made my first mistake. I did not have Greek yogurt in the fridge, just plain yogurt, so that is what I used. Maybe I should have gone to the trouble of draining the plain yogurt to get the Greek-style texture.

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The dough was very, very sticky! I don’t like working with sticky dough, so I added a little flour to make it more workable.
Maybe the moisture of the plain yogurt threw off the proportions of the rest of the ingredients.

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My biggest mistake! Expecting these uncooked flatbreads NOT to stick together. I thought sprinkling each side with flour would keep them from melding together but it didn’t work. 
Next time, I will definitely keep them all separated. I don’t think there is enough room in my kitchen to put 16 naan breads on a flat surface, so I will make a smaller batch.

Since my two little piles had collapsed together into a mass of dough, I just oiled my palms, pulled off a hunk of dough, and patted and stretched it using my hands into a rustic-shaped bread with an estimated 1/4 inch thickness. I think my estimate was a little off though. Then, into the skillet they went. After cooking the second side, I brushed the top with olive oil and sprinkled coarse salt over the bread.

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The finished product! They are nowhere near perfect but at least, they got made!
My kids loved these!  “They taste like pancakes with salt on them, Mommy!” Um… no, I don’t think they’re supposed to taste like pancakes… but I’m glad you like them anyway! Hence the name of this post: Homemade Non-Naan Bread.

What did we do with these? For dinner last night, we ate them with Korean BBQ (Bulgogi) and fresh lettuce from our garden to make a kind of Korean BBQ flatbread. The Korean BBQ was very easy. I might write up a separate post for that. For lunch today, I turned them into cheesebreads with Havarti and Provolone for lunch. Tonight for dinner, I made a pasta casserole and I used the naan left to make garlic naan. And now the naan is all gone. Boy, that was fast!

I think my next attempt at these I will bake them. It is much easier to bake 16 at once than 16 one at a time!

-Lynn

Note:this is the look I am aiming for. 😊 more work to be done!

  

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My Mom’s Pan de Sal

I had always thought that pan de sal means “bread of the morning,” but it actually means “salted bread.” This is interesting because these rolls are anything but salty. They’re sweet, covered in breadcrumbs, and are really yummy for breakfast, lunch, snack, or as a corned beef sandwich.

Usually, my mom will either make me some of her pan de sal or she and my dad will go by a Filipino bakery and pick up a brown paper bag full of hot pan de sal just for us. There are also other goodies that they will pick up for us, but that is probably a whole other blog post!

My mom is out of town for the next few months though which means no pan de sal unless I go by the bakery myself. I barely have a chance to go grocery shopping, so my next option is to try making pan de sal myself.

I used my mom’s recipe, which starts the dough out in a bread machine. I was so glad for that. I didn’t have much motivation to make bread by hand yesterday.

 

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This is our monster bread machine. It takes up a ton of space but only makes a 1.5 pound loaf. Eventually, I want to get a bread machine that makes a 2 pound loaf.

The dough was very sticky when it came out of the bread machine after the dough cycle was done. I should have added more flour to the dough before I tried to cut it into pieces. I didn’t realize that I didn’t place them on the pans the right way.

The rolls are supposed to look like they have been cut off of a dough log, so their tops should be flat.

The rolls after 30 minutes of rising time. They probably could have used a little bit more rising time, 15 – 30 minutes longer.

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My 2-year-old daughter was helping me make the pan de sal. She made more of a mess than helping me, but that was okay. I was glad that she wanted to hang out with me. This is her little bit of pan de sal dough that she got to help me make.

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The rolls weren’t as puffy as I would have liked them, but as usual, my kids didn’t care. They love homemade bread in any form, good or not so good. You don’t want these rolls to get too dark, a light crust is best.

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Hot pan de sal is yummy with butter, or cheese, or anything else you can think of to put on it. Eat them right out of the oven!

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I decided to try some homemade Meyer lemon curd on the pan de sal. Delicious! Probably my favorite way to eat pan de sal though is toasted with a slice of cheese inside, until the cheese is melty.

My Mom's Pan de Sal

  • Servings: around 20 rolls
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 envelopes yeast (I used my bulk active dry yeast, so it was 4½ tsp yeast)

Method:

Place ingredients in bread machine in the order specified by manufacturer. Use the dough cycle. The dough cycle on my machine is about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Transfer the dough on a lightly greased and floured surface. Stretch and form into a log. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Slice every 1-1½ inch intervals. Coat each slice with breadcrumbs. Lay on sliced side on baking pan, 1 to 2 fingers apart. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 25 minutes.

I will probably be trying this recipe again soon. Especially since I have now made it for my kids and they know I can make it. I get requests from them all the time to make something. Just today, Matthias was asking me if I could make macarons again! I should have told him, “You don’t know what you are asking of me, my child!”

-Lynn

Baking Bread: Hawaiian Sweet Bread Part 2

Our bread machine is dead. Well, not all dead, but mostly dead. Josh was making this incredible coconut bread in it the other night. Our breadmaker always makes a lot of noise during the mixing cycle. Usually, we can just leave the breadmaker alone in the kitchen to do its job. Not this time.

There was a lot of ruckus in the kitchen during the mixing cycle. Then… there was a loud crash from the kitchen. The breadmaker had been working so hard and rocking all over that it had fallen off the counter! Some flour ended up on the floor, but that was it for the actual damage to the bread dough. This is the 2nd time the breadmaker has fallen off the counter. After the 1st time, the breadmaker was fine and the bread was salvageable.  This time though was a little different. The dough was still salvageable, but the bread pan would not sit in the breadmaker properly and the lid would not close all the way. So Josh had to babysit the bread machine through the mixing cycle. Fortunately, the bread maker made it through the rest of the cycle without any other mishaps.

The coconut bread loaf collapsed in the middle, but it still tasted really yummy. My kids loved it, and Josh used it to make his lunch. I even liked it and I am not a big fan of coconut. I think it is one he will have to make again.

But it will have to be made from scratch because I think our bread maker is done. Unless we want to stand there and babysit it every time we bake bread in it.

I think it might be a while until we can get a new one. So in the meantime, this means making bread from scratch! It’s a good thing it doesn’t scare me as much as it used to!

I wasn’t very happy with my 1st attempt at making Hawaiian Sweet Bread, so I HAD to try it again. I’m weird that way. If I don’t get something right, I have to try it again until I do.

My 1st loaf of Hawaiian sweet bread collapsed in the middle and was underdone. I was so sad!

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This didn’t seem to bother my kids any. The whole loaf was gone in about 2 days. A quick toast in the toaster oven, slather on some peanut butter, and we were good.

Here is my second attempt. This time I made two loaves and only one pan of rolls. My loaves browned a little too much; I like the color of the rolls better. I don’t think the color of the loaves though will deter anyone from eating them. Uh oh, guess I will have to make this again! I haven’t checked if my loaves are done in the middle. I am hoping they are!

Two of the rolls are gone already. Hmm… maybe next time, I should just make the dough into all rolls and call it a day.

-Lynn

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Note: I’m sorry I didn’t get to take prettier pictures this time. 😦

 

Baking Bread: Hawaiian Sweet Bread

My oldest son loves the King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls that you can buy at the grocery store. Sometime last week he asked if I could try making those rolls. He has a lot of confidence in my ability!

I actually had a hard time finding a recipe that would work for me. I ended up using a recipe from Taste of Home.  It makes a triple batch and uses potato flakes. I really wanted to use the potato flakes to help make them soft. I don’t have any pineapple juice on hand, but I did have mango nectar, so I used that instead. And I needed to make a large batch because I have a feeling that these will disappear quick. I am even hoping to give some of it away, but I am not sure if that will happen!

This bake took me about 4 hours total to finish. I took a lot of pictures, so this post will have quite a few of those.

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I was going to need all my counter space so I used one of my cabinets as a recipe holder.

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My mango nectar, whey, and water mixture. I still have whey from when I made ricotta last week, so I used whey instead of milk.

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My candy thermometer once again came in handy for getting the mango juice and milk mixture up to 125 degrees F.

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The mixture begins with only 3 cups of flour so after adding the mango juice and milk mixture, the batter was very runny. I am glad I didn’t try to use my handheld mixer for this! The batter would have ended up all over me! Mixing the batter by hand worked fine.

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The dough after adding 4 cups of flour. It came together very quickly.

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My spatula wasn’t up to the challenge of stirring the dough! It broke! Fortunately, it was a clean break and there weren’t any spatula pieces left in the dough. I guess I should have used a wooden spoon or a sturdier spatula.

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This dough got sticky pretty quickly once I started kneading it. I think I added maybe 1/4 up of flour more than in the recipe. This is after about 6 – 8 minutes of kneading.

Here are the pics of the rise progression of the dough. This dough was a monster! This is probably a good thing though since I needed the large amount of dough to make 3 batches of bread.

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The dough is ready to be split into 3 parts. It was pretty easy to work with at this point. I think this is my favorite part so far of breadmaking. Getting to shape the dough.

I made a 9 x 13 pan of larger rolls, which I am hoping to use for sliders for dinner tomorrow, a loaf pan for sandwich bread, and some mini rolls to taste after baking. I let them rise for another 45 minutes once they were shaped.

Two of the pans after the 45 minute rise. I had already put the mini-rolls in the oven to bake and I wasn’t able to get a picture of them.

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The pans ended up needing the same amount of baking time. 20 – 25 minutes. The mini-rolls needed to be moved to the top rack though for about 2 minutes. They were too pale after 20 minutes and needed browning.

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One of the mini-rolls. These were definitely soft and fluffy! I don’t think they are EXACTLY like the Hawaiian rolls from the store, but they still taste pretty good! I think they might need a little more salt, of all things. I think I will probably try pineapple juice next time and see if that makes them closer to what I am thinking.

My kids keep asking if they can have some of the bread so I know that they approve! It’s nice to have such willing taste-testers even if I don’t think the recipe came out quite like I wanted!

-Lynn

UPDATE: In case anyone tries this recipe as a sandwich loaf, I just wanted to let you know that the loaf WILL need longer in the oven than the rolls! I would probably bake it for about 25-30 minutes instead of 20-25 minutes. My loaf had a collapsed and underdone middle.

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Baking Bread: Sourdough French Bread

Making bread is fun!

That is certainly not what I used to think though! Working with yeast scared me. And working with sticky dough even more!

Today’s bake is a sourdough french bread that I could use to make garlic bread.

I found a recipe for Sourdough french bread at Taste of Home.

I owe a lot to Taste of Home magazine. Reading through this magazine and then trying the recipes that looked interesting (and a few of its fellow magazines like Simple and Delicious and Light and Tasty) is how I learned to cook.

I had no idea how to cook when I got married 14 years ago. Yes, you should feel bad for Josh. I had many disasters!

We’ve come a long way since then. And even Josh knows how to cook now. He’s been busy working overtime for the past week though so I’ve been trying to make yummy dinners for him when he gets home. Not today though. Today we are going to our nephew’s birthday party! And we are bringing garlic bread.

I started my dough around 10:30 AM today.

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My dough is all ready to rise for the next hour and a half.

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This is about 20 minutes into rising time. I turned my oven on to 250 degrees F for about 5 minutes so that the dough would have a happy place to rise.

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This is my dough after an hour and a half. This is a beautiful thing to see!

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The dough was a little bit sticky but not impossible to work with once I got it out of the bowl.

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I’m still learning about how slashing dough works. I might not have slashed these deep enough. Also, the lower loaf is a bit odd-looking. Since the dough was a little sticky, I had a hard time shaping it the way I wanted.
One thing I learned that I definitely need: a bench knife.  The crinkle cutter just doesn’t get all the dough off the wooden table I use for making bread.

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I ended up with gorgeous-looking loaves anyway! Instead of using a cornstarch wash as the recipe states, I just brushed the tops of the loaves with egg white.

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This looks like a good crumb.
I think I was finished with the loaves by around 1:30 to 2 PM. Not too bad on time.

My boys were actually disappointed that I was turning these loaves into garlic bread! They wanted to eat it just like it was. In fact, they kept trying to finagle more slices to “taste test.”

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This pic doesn’t show how soft these loaves are. After I sliced them in half, I wanted to pillow my head on them!
I spread on some butter and sprinkled garlic salt and grated parmesan on each half loaf. Hopefully, I didn’t go overboard with the garlic salt. I probably should have just gone with garlic powder! Two of my middle children didn’t mind the garlic salt though. They loved it. My oldest told me it was too salty. As long as the kids eat the bread, I’ll be happy. There will be 12 children (all family) at the party after all! That’s a lot of little mouths! That many children makes for a lot of fun. 🙂

-Lynn

Baking Bread: Pretzel Buns

I have been wanting to make pretzel buns for ages! I’m glad I finally got to, and I used a fabulous recipe from A_boleyn’s website. The dough was so easy to work with. My kids were very excited when I told them I was making pretzel buns. We have only had pretzel rolls twice from a bakery. Once from Bread and Cie in Hillcrest that were wonderful, and the other time from Vons that were okay (my boys still ate them up). Josh has also made pretzel buns before. They tasted great but ended up a little flat. My pretzel buns actually ended up a little flatter than I wanted but they were still slice-able (is that a word?)

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My dough after proofing for about an hour.
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I loved playing with this dough! I will be making it again. 🙂
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My dough balls weren’t perfect. I might have to weigh my dough balls next time so that I end up with more uniform sizes.
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The hardest part was poaching the buns in the boiling water and baking soda solution. I had not floured my baking sheet very well so the buns were sticking to the surface. My buns deflated a bit on the way to the pot. Next time, I will probably add more flour to the dough at the first knead to get the right consistency. I think I will also make my dough balls smaller! The small buns baked up the nicest and roundest.
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My buns baked a bit unevenly but they were still good. We used the buns to make ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Thank you to A_boleyn for sharing her recipe with me! I am very happy with this bake. Any issues I had with it were due to my inexperience. I will know better what to do for next time!

-Lynn

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Baking Bread: Brazilian Cheese Bread

I have been borrowing cookbooks like crazy from the library. One of my recent borrows is the cookbook, Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson. I’ve taken to placing post-it notes at each recipe that I want to try and one of them was her recipe for Brazilian Cheese Bread. I was able to make this bread on Friday, but I haven’t had a chance to post about it until now. I do have a few bakes scheduled for today, but before I go tackle those, I wanted to post about these little puff balls of chewiness.

Here is a recipe for Brazilian Cheese Bread at Simply Recipes. I haven’t tried this particular cheese bread recipe but I probably will soon. I love anything I have made from Simply Recipes.

I can’t seem to find the actual recipe I used online anywhere. This is probably because it is from a published cookbook.

Some issues I had with the recipe from Simply Nigella:

  1. The batter was really, really runny. I think this might be because I didn’t bring the milk up to enough of a boil before adding it to the tapioca flour.
  2. I had one child who did not like the cheese bread. I think for him it was a texture thing.
  3. I ended up making about 90 of these breads instead of just 50 like the recipe said.
  4. I don’t think the breads puffed up as much as they should have.

 

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I have quite a few bags of gluten-free flours in my fridge. Tapioca flour is a lot like cornstarch!

Josh and I went on a gluten-free diet for about a month sometime last year. So I had to buy gluten-free flours. Once we were off the diet though, I was left with flours that I don’t use very much taking up space in my fridge! This is one reason I made the macarons a few weeks ago. My goal for the next month or two is to use up these flours. Who knows though; I may end up buying a few of these flours regularly!

 

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This is the consistency of my cheese bread batter before I added the milk mixture from the stove.

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This is after I added the milk. It was very, very runny!

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The cheese bread on the baking sheet and in the oven.

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My cheese breads all puffed up after baking. But… some of them didn’t stay that way. Some of them went flat after baking!

The texture of these was a little odd and took a bit of getting used to (very chewy!), but they were kind of addicting! In fact, I had little people (and one big son who is taller than I am) coming into the kitchen every few minutes to take one or two to snack on. I think they lasted maybe two days. They were really, really chewy the next day, but that didn’t bother my kids any. They still ate them up with lunch or as a snack. The cheese bread also toasted up decently in the toaster oven and regained its crispy exterior.

I will definitely make these again! I will try a different cheese next time and use a different recipe. I also need a recipe that doesn’t make quite so many!

-Lynn

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