Last week, it was raining in Gurgaon!! Rains in winter is not a rare occurrence, in fact we were waiting for it, for some time. The rain ensures the cold stays. The cold ensures we go out for picnics for all of February! And what better than equipping yourself with a versatile recipe that makes you whip up batches of all different kinds of delicacies that tastes great when hot from the oven, or cool to room temperature. And I am teaching you three variations right here and now, but really the world your pickle. Go mad and play with the dough to your heart’s desire. It’s a full proof recipe, wherein I will put across many tips and tricks to get it right always!
Majorly the recipe is very simple. All we are doing is making an all APF dough, then dividing the dough enough to get various different forms of bread. I am making ½ of the dough in a sweet form, while the other gets a savoury taste. Now this is a basic recipe I use pretty much always to make a host of other things, like hot cross buns or fruit bread or just simple white sandwich bread loaf. Its 100 % vegetarian, and we don’t use any eggs as well. The dough is simple to put together, all you need are the following ingredients-
5 to 6 cups of Maida or All-purpose flour (APF)
500 ml of milk, lukewarm to touch
3 tsp of instant yeast
2 tsp of baking powder
2 tbsp of vinegar
3 tsp salt
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
In the lukewarm milk, add honey and mix well. Now sprinkle in the yeast and let it proof for some time till it awakens and is frothy and smells a lot like bread.
In another bowl, mix 4 cups of flour with salt and baking powder. Mix and keep it aside for the yeast to get frothy.
Now mix both liquid and dry ingredients, start mixing the dough. Once you can’t see much of liquid milk left in the bowl, add the vinegar and olive oil and another cup of flour. Mix and knead till you get a nice dough which is not very sticky, but soft and supple, and springs back on touch. This is the time when you preheat the oven for 2 mins and then promptly switch it off.
Now take greased bowl, keep the ball of dough in the bowl and cover the top well with olive oil. Now take it inside the warm, but switched off oven and let it proof and come to life for 2 to 3 hours. The oven really helps in giving a warm climate for the dough to rise, in this cold winter day. And trust me, it would do better than the closed cupboard you used to use earlier. Trust me on that.
Now once the dough rises and proofs, you have a decision to make. I made half of it into cinnamon rolls and other half into a large pizza, which was good enough to feed an army of 4-year olds.
½ a stick of butter in room temperature
2 tsp of cinnamon
4 tbsp or more of brown sugar
A tsp of vanilla extract
Mix all of these together in a bowl and set it aside to marry each other.
Roll out the dough in a rectangle, which is not more than ½ of an inch thick. Now apply the paste of cinnamon and sugar as evenly as possible. And then roll the dough to form an even log. Cut the log in half and then make ½ an inch-thick marks to create beautiful cinnamon rolls. Transfer the cut rolls in a buttered oven proof dish and let it rise for 40 mins in a closed and switched off oven.
Bake the rolls in a preheated oven, at 180 degrees C, for 20 to 25 minutes, until it turns a delicious golden colour, and is cooked all the way through.
For baking it on the day of the picnic, I have a trick for u. First, the night before, you can always create the rolls, place them in a greased bowl and tightly pack it with cling film. Now without keeping it in oven for 40 minutes to proof, refrigerate it overnight. On the day of picnic, put it in a warm, yet turned off oven for 40 minutes, before baking. Bake and serve freshly made cinnamon rolls, while it is still warm. Brush the top with more melted butter, as it comes out of the oven.
Alternately, steam the buns instead of baking it, the night before. And reheat the buns slightly before packing it for picnic. Steaming these buttery cinnamon rolls provides another texture to the dish. You can even have the steamed buns cold, it would still be pillowy soft and decadent. Steam the buns in a full boil for 20 minutes, till the flour becomes translucent.
Take the other half of the dough and flatten it out on a sheet pan. Oil the pan generously so that nothing sticks. Then place the flat dough on the pan and push and pull to fit the cookie pan completely. Set it aside for resting for 30 minutes.
Assemble the pizza topping and pizza sauce. I most often then not, mix great amount of dried herbs in ketchup to make the sauce. Taste as u go.
Now apply a generous amount of sauce on the uncooked pizza dough to coat well. Cover it with cut vegetables of choice, and cover the veggies with cheese of choice. I prefer processed cheese and gruyere if I am serving the pizza cold. If I am serving it hot, straight out of the oven then I prefer fresh mozzarella and gruyere with a good sprinkle of parmigiana. But I am a cheese geek, you definitely don’t need to be. Top it with whatever cheese u have or fancy.
Bake for 25 minutes in a moderately hot pre-heated oven to have a melty gooey soft and yet so delicious pizza, which is a great cross between the bready and thin crust pizza your neighborhood
Enjoy the picnics.. Cheers!!