Happy New Year! Hope you all had a wonderful time with your family and friends last year. And I hope that your 2016 is better and grander than 2015!
My 2015 was full of first times. First time skiing a black diamond slope (and actually surviving it!). First time hiking a 14er…more like 4 14ers in a day ‘cos we crazy like that. First time buying a home. First time visiting Iceland (I can’t wait to visit again!). First time starting a company. It was nice to tick off a lot of things that I wanted to do this past year but none of these came closer to this feeling of happiness and contentment I felt after what seemed like a long time.
2014 was a very rough year for our family as we lost someone very special. It was hard to get out from under that dark cloud and feel anything in life was worth fighting for or living for. It took time to get out of the funk but I finally came out of it. In 2015, seeing a lot of my friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and visiting my family in India for my brother’s wedding made me realize that all we need is human connection and social interactions to experience constant joy and happiness. Family and friends made my 2015 one of the best years of my life. And I hope this trend continues in 2016!
Some of the memorable moments of 2015
This year, I am also excited to work on my food business – cooking classes, catering, blogging and food photography. There is a lot I want to do but I also have to remember to be grateful for what I have, remember to take out time to hang out with friends and family and remember to breathe and enjoy the ride! 🙂 One of the first recipes, I wanted to post on the blog is this seeded boule recipe I made from the book, Seven Spoons, by Tara O’Brady. She is one of my favorite bloggers and her food photographs and writing are as beautiful as the food she prepares.
There is so much involved in baking a bread but fear not, Serious Eats article on science of bread making to the rescue!
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the bread making process but once you make it, I can promise you will be hooked. There is nothing better than freshly baked bread out of the oven..the sweet, earthy aroma fills up your kitchen, your home and warms up your soul 🙂
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups water, lukewarm (~95F)
- 3 tablespoons mixed seeds (black and white sesame seeds, flaxseeds, poppy seeds)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
- Fill a measuring cup with 2 cups of lukewarm water. Put yeast in it and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, mix the flours, salt and dried rosemary.
- Pour the contents of the measuring cup in the bowl. Attach the dough hook and mix at a low speed. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed lightly and knead for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer, use a silicone spatula to mix the contents together and then, lightly knead the dough by folding it a few times on itself, so that it starts to feel stiff and not sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lightly wet towel.
- After 30 minutes, fold the dough using the following process: With sweeping motion, grab handful of the dough from the bottom of the bowl and fold it over the top. Turn the bowl and repeat the process, pulling from bottom and folding on top. This stretching and folding process will create elastic gluten strands and form a nice structure, making the bread light and chewy.
- Flip the dough over so the seam side is down and smooth side is up, cover the dough and repeat the folding process 2 more times, waiting 30 minutes between each time.
- After the last folding stage, cover the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature for 12 hours.
- Uncover the dough. Lift the edge of the dough, stretching it and then, gently letting it fall. Turn the bowl and repeat 4 more times, deflating the dough. Cover the bowl with kitchen towel and keep aside for 15 minutes.
- Flip the dough onto a lightly floured board or surface. Fold the dough in half 2 or 3 times, knead quickly for 30 seconds and check to see if it springs back when you touch it.
- Form the dough into a tight ball by tucking the edges under with cupped hands. Sprinkle with 3/4 of the seeds, roll the dough around until its coated. Put the remaining seed mix in the large bowl. Place the dough (seam side down) in the bowl. Cover with a towel and let it rise for 1 hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 500F. Place a dutch oven or a 10 – 12 inch cast iron skillet in the bottom rack of the oven. Take the skillet/pot out of the oven (very carefully! potentially using both oven mitts and kitchen towel)
- Slip your hands under the dough carefully and lift it out of the bowl, and drop it in the hot skillet (seam side down). Without touching the pot, use a serrated knife to quickly score the bread (about 3 scores 1/2 inch deep)
- Put the oven mitt back and place the skillet in the middle rack of the oven.
- If you are using a dutch oven, cover it with lid. If you are using a cast iron skillet, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Fill a measuring cup with water and fill the baking sheet with this water. Essentially, you are trying to create steam action so that the bread forms a nice crust (this happens in the initial stages of the bread baking). In case of dutch oven, you are using the lid to cover it so the steam is trapped inside and you don’t need a baking sheet with water to create the steam.
- Turn the heat down to 475F and bake until the bread is golden brown about 30 mins. If you are using a dutch oven, remove the lid half way through about 15 mins into the cooking process.
- You can insert a thermometer in the middle of the bread. If it reads 200F, the bread is done!
- Use the oven mitts to pop the bread out and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with butter or without..either way it is purely divine!
If you do make this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below, or take a picture and tag it #thetoastedspice on Instagram! I’d love to see what you made. Thank you!