As part of the “We Knead to Bake” project, the brainchild of Aparna who runs My Diverse Kitchen, the food and photography blog from the beautiful Indian state of Goa, here’s a Mexican-themed pull-apart loaf from the Tadka kitchens.
Aparna has planned 12 different breads for a bevy of bloggers who’ve signed on, one for each month of the year, and we will bake these sometime during the month and post them on our blogs on the 24th of each month. This month’s assignment was a savory pull-apart bread, with the filling and flavouring left to the imagination of the bakers.
Brightened up with a dollop of tomato paste, and layered with mild, deep-red Ancho chile powder, lush green cilantro and sharp, salty shreds of grated cheese, our lavish loaf was decked up with a few pickled Jalapenos on top for extra zing..and was pulled apart and demolished with glee at the dinner table.
Ancho-chile Pull-apart Bread with Cheese and Jalapenos
For the Dough:
- ½ Cup warm milk
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
- 2 Teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 Cup whole wheat flour
- 1¾ to 2 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons butter, soft at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- ¾ cup milk (+ a tablespoon to brush over the bread)
For the Filling:
- 3 Tablespoons very soft butter
- 2 Teaspoons Ancho Chile powder
- 1 cup grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 Tablespoons coriander/cilantro leaves
- 6-8 Pickled Jalapenos for topping
To make the dough - In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the ½ cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up. Put the whole wheat flour, 1¾ cup of all-purpose flour, salt, softened butter, and tomato paste in a food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times to mix. Then add the yeast mixture and the ¾ cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking,but only just as much as is necessary. Or, you could mix and knead the bread by hand.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1½ hours or until almost double in volume.
For the loaf - Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12″ by 12”. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter.
Evenly sprinkle the Ancho-chile powder, the grated cheese and the coriander/cilantro leaves. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure that it doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips. You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater.
Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut the long stack, dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks).
Butter and lightly flour a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Layer the square stacks vertically, cut sides down, into the loaf tin, nestling them in as you like, to fit the pan.
Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap and allow the loaf to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf and scatter the jalapenos.
Bake the loaf at 180C (350F) for about 35 to 40 minutes. Run a knife along the sides and then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Allow the bread to cool slightly before pulling it apart.
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