Shital's-Kitchen: July 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Garlic Bread Sticks

Every time I make pasta for dinner, my husband would like some garlic bread as an accompaniment to dip in garlic infused olive oil. And like everyone would do, I would just apply some garlic butter on a slice of bread or baguette and would grill it. That is so quick and delicious too. But, we love soft, warm, bread sticks from Olive Garden. Those are just the best!!

So while I was making a batch of Pav Bread last week, I tried to experiment and make one garlic bread stick. OMG! it was just amazing. Snehanshu was ready to give my a best baker award that day :) for not only making perfect pav breads every time, but also making this soft garlic bread stick. I am not much of a baker, but hearing that your picky husband likes this a lot and approves of this recipe, definitely means something. :) I was on the top of the world that day!

So this time with my pasta, it was not just easy store bought bread with garlic butter. Instead, warm, soft, garlic bread sticks to surprise my dear husband :)

To make around 16 bread sticks.
Start with 1+1/4 cup warm water (100F) in a large bowl. Add 1 packet dry active yeast (2+1/4 tsp.) and 2 tbsp sugar. Mix and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
Add 3 tbsp. melted butter, 1 tsp. salt and 3 cups all-purpose flour.
Mix together to make a sticky dough.
Lightly dust your clean counter. Empty the dough and knead it for 8-10 minutes. This is the most important stage to create gluten, and make the dough elastic.

To test if the dough is ready: lightly poke the dough, if it springs back, the dough is well kneaded.

Keep in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rest for an hour.

Here is the dough doubled in size.

Punch and knead the dough again for 4-5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 16 equal parts.

Roll to form an 8in rope.

Lay in a nonstick baking tray or well greased and dusted tray keeping 1 to 1 1/2 inch space in between.

I have two 13in x 7in trays with lids to keep them covered. 
Cover and let them rest for 45 min to an hour.

Bread sticks doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450F. Never keep the bread in a low temperature oven. Preheating means getting the oven temperature and air inside to 450F. This will ensure that the bread is evenly baked. If your oven does not indicate the temperature, set your oven to 450 F and keep it on for at least 10 minutes before putting the bread sticks to bake.

Bake them in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. They should turn golden brown within 10 or max to 12 minutes. Keeping the bread in for a long time may result in bread sticks turning hard.

Remove from an oven and place the tray on a rack.

Quickly apply butter on them and sprinkle garlic powder or garlic salt on them while still hot.

Pull each stick apart and serve immediately.
If you do not want them to stick to each other, keep them 2-3 inches apart from one another before proving.

Serve with garlic and herb flavored olive oil.

Wrap in cute brown paper bags for your guests.

Enjoy these deliciously soft bread sticks!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kesar Malai Peda

Wishing all my Muslim friends a very Happy Eid and wishing all my Hindu friends a very Happy Shrawan month! May all your Wishes fulfill soon!!

Peda is a soft milk based sweet and is very popular amongst all. In fact, Pedas are of so many different type and textures, that it is hard to decide which one is the favorite. In the peda making process, milk is boiled till the moisture is evaporated leaving behind milk solid that is reffered to as MAWA. This Mawa is then mixed with sugar and garnished with nuts. Doesn't that sound easy? Yes, it is very simple, but sometimes it is tricky to form a good Mawa. These pedas are so soft, that each of these is individually placed in a paper cup and served. They are sometimes difficult to hold too :) Malai Pedas are specially close to my heart. My sister and I share lovely memories of these.

This recipe was a successful trial to recreate the taste and texture of those soft, sweet, memories. If you like Malai Pedas, you should try these soon.

To make around 12 Malai Pedas

Boil 1 liter (5 cups) milk in a non stick pan stirring continuously. 
Here is my Robot stir (a battery operated device) to stir milk for me :)
When all the moisture from milk evaporates, the solid remains which is smooth in texture. Since these malai pedas have a granular texture, it is important for milk to curdle slightly. This curdling can take place by adding a tiny bit of acid to the boiling milk. 
Citric acid, Alum, or Cream of Tartar can be used to help form granular mawa.
In this recipe, I used 1/8 tsp. alum and 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (tartaric acid) after the first boil.
(You could use 1/8 tsp. citric acid mixed with 2 tbsp. water adding little at a time.)

Alum is a white rock or powder used in purifying water or in pickles. A very tiny bit of alum can be consumed. Please keep this away from reach of children. 
Alum can be easily available at any India Grocery store as Fitkari. Alum powder is also available at Walmart in the spice aisle.

Cream of Tarttar is found easily in any American grocery store n a spice aisle.

As water evaporates, you will see these granular milk solids remaining. Stir continuously.

Add few strands of saffron for color and flavor.

Stir till water completely evaporates. Remove from heat.

Add a tsp. of cardamom powder.

Mix well and let the mixture cool almost completely. 

Use 1/2 cup powdered sugar. I like to use this organic powdered sugar better than confectionery sugar. Confectionery sugar contains cornstarch which is not permitted during Hindu fasts. This sugar does not contain cornstarch, rather has tapioca starch :) I was indeed so happy to see this. 
(You could also powder regular sugar in your grinder to form a powder.)

Mix 1/2 cup sugar into almost cool mawa mixture. If your Mawa is warm, sugar might start to dissolve and would melt your mixture. Be patient.

Grease you palm with some ghee. Divide the mixture into 12 parts and roll them lightly into small balls.

Garnish with chopped almonds and pistachios. Serve!

Celebrate with this Delicious, Soft, Sweet!