Thursday, March 23, 2017

No knead jalapeno cheese bread

Mystery stories and baking are my perfect comrades on afternoons that don't demand hustling to get dinner on the table at 7, which anyways, always ends up 9. It's especially of benefit, when the author of this new series, you've just begun(which your boss so graciously lent you;-) creates settings for the deepest darkest murders in cozy bistros amidst platters of warm croissants, and stars a chief Inspector who "stands in the light because he knows where the darkness is." Hmm, even my novel reading has started preaching to me.

In all the engrossing twists and turns of your new read, you feel the call. To create and to eat. Because you are truly, maybe always, very hungry. Is this a general phenomenon or am I just specially inclined that way? Please. Let's not answer that.

It's then you also come to the rather appalling fact that you haven't made an appearance over here in almost a month. I digress. And have no real explanation. Though I promise, I may demostrate today something which might dazzle the socks off you, or maybe your loaf pan. So keep the socks on and stay for the rest of the show. Please.

I didn't have to do much trolling for this. It appeared on my Facebook feed, as a gift, like answered prayer, which is, in fact how God talks a lot to me these days. It works. At least you'll see that in the remaining part our discussion. 

A block of sharp cheese is the only item I needed to make a grocery run for. Any and all remaining components are pantry essentials, plus the two or three can't-live-withouts permanently occupying space in my overflowing Indian cupboard. Thus, without much ado, I brought cheddar bread to light.

When I say a mere 9x 5 loaf vaunts a delirious amount of rich flavor, in no way is it exaggeration. There are a number of reasons the bread is as desirable as it is. First, let's get out of the way the truth that there is nothing mounds of cheese can't and will not make right. Two, with those gleaming  golden shreds, a few red jalapenos go a tremendously long way, amping up on the fierce, thereby adding more finetuned dimension. Third, the synthesis of onion, garlic work in unison with the touch of chaat masala, yielding to a final production so vibrant that has your kids and those you may or may not decide to share with begging for a soon second show. 

I tweaked the original cheddar bread to have it salute, somewhat strongly to my tastebuds.You too, should sync any breadmaking fantasy you may be occupying this very minute and bring it to fruition right now, right here. Like those glutenesque visions of  parsley, sage and cubed swiss?  Slices tucked with powdered chicken bullion and parmesan? Flavored and on fire with quatro Mexican cheese and rings of habanero? It's the dive in and experiment sort of instruction, where many things which spin your mind, belly and very orbit delivers an end that's undeniably good.

There are a lot of things this yeast bread recipe boasts. A fluffy, dense interior, carrying enough air pockets that make it springy to the touch. A credible hardy crust conveying an impressive sandwich bread reminiscence, and compels you to have even those end wedges that nobody wants. Moreover, there is practically no need to knead( like the play?). Why, all this wonderbread truly needs is a cape.

It's a recipe for those days where you desire a little bearing, the oomph/ push required to steer you right, and a dueness to a clear sense of accomplishment. It could very well solve many of the world's problems. Or maybe just yours.

Finally, I'll wrap up this brief baking class, and often, to your chagrin, my soul broodings. It's worth it. So go on, it's yours now. The basic no knead that might be a fundamental part of your life. That should in itself be much bread for thought. 

Do we hear angels sing?

A cupful of sharp cheddar is more than enough to give the loaf the punch it needs without having it taste like Cheetoes. Which probably wouldn't be a bad thing either.
It's the strawberry jam  that did it. Smeared on thickish pieces of bread, you have no way escape. It made me take down 3/4 of my first loaf. Of course, I made a second batch, coz you have to feed the children;-)

(Adapted from King Arthur Flour's no knead cheese bread)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion, fried to a light brown
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic, lightly browned
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • 2 ½ tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 red jalapeno, sliced into thin rounds(seed if needed)
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup milk(at room temperature)


  • Lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix with hand or on lowest setting of mixer, whisk together onion, garlic, flour, chaat masala, yeast, jalapeno and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk cheese, eggs and milk until blended. Add this to the dry ingredients.
  • Beat for a final 2 minutes on medium speed.
  • Scoop batter (it will be thick) into prepared pan. Cover and allow to rise for approximately 1 1/2 hours- 2 hours.
  • Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and serve warm
  • The bread top browns quickly, so tent with foil about 20 minutes into baking.
  • And for those of you asking," What is chaat masala and where have we seen it before?". Click on the colored type and find out. Still wondering? It's what you've been missing all your life, seasoning that brings to life just about anything it comes into contact with. I urge you. Buy!

More breads~

Last year~

"As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in Him."