Last Saturday I made cheesebread for my daughter and one of her best friends who kindly consented to model for me. I am trying my hand at portraits and super energetic kids are amongst my favourite subjects! I was silly enough to give them a basket ball and suggest that they just do what they would naturally do. They did.
During the next half-hour or so I was running all over the concrete park called ‘eco-garden’ (probably referring to the few green patches here and there), chasing them with the rather heavy sigma lens. I had to stop and tell them that I wasn’t shooting a motion picture, just a still, to slow them down! My daughter complained that for the number of pictures I had clicked the ‘good ones’ were few. I explained to her that the professional word for this kind of photography is ‘photoshoot’. What it means is that the client gives an hour of his/her time for one or two pictures. A portfolio shot obviously means more time, many changes and different locations.
Coming back to the cheese bread, my daughter has been pleading with me to make her this one for a long time. The kids complain that they are ‘ipso-facto’ vegans as I never make anything with cheese or paneer any more. I do not impose my views on them and am content with my children being vegetarian and eating eggs too, or my husband being non-vegetarian. The ‘ipso-facto’ thing happens only because it bothers me to cook two dishes instead of one. Since most dishes that are native to India are usually/naturally vegan it is easier for me that all of us become ‘vegans by default’, if not ‘by choice’. It took Jr.H’s pressure and Jr.P’s doctor’s advice to bake them their favourite bread.
Recently my son was down with fever which resulted in some weakness, and the doctor told him to include a lot of calcium in his daily food helpfully adding that I could include paneer, cheese etc. in his food to make it tempting. I am not going to get into the scientific rut just because I feel milk is not a necessary addition for a calcium rich diet. Having trained them to have milk and milk products for so many years, it will be a very harsh thing to wean them off at this stage. Someday they may realize the fact and choose what is best suited to them but till then, I believe they are entitled to their choices, at least once a month in the form of cheese or paneer and daily in the form of milk. This means that the blog will feature a few ‘dairy rich’ items every month henceforth.
I am kickstarting by revisiting thecheesebread I made sometime last year. It was a tasty bread but I tried a slightly different version this time just to try and improve what was done earlier. I think this one is definitely tastier because the kids loved it and polished off their plates real soon, and because my neighbour, M Aunty could not stop with one slice:)!
I also made a vegan potato filled bread as I did not want to gape at them as they hogged. The potato bread was too much for one person and we had it today for breakfast as well. My daughter gave me one of her spontaneous, generous complements saying my breads these days, are definitely looking so much better than the one at bakeries. My husband says the bread tastes better than it looks, but that is open to criticism on both counts, the pictures as well as the taste! I will stick to my daughter’s opinion! What do you think?
Here are the recipes on how to make them.
If you would like a plain milk bread just omit the cheese in the cheese bread. I served the cheesebread warm as I suppose molten, flowy cheese is always more tempting than cooled cheese. I used APF this time as Jr.H wanted to show off the actual bread to her friend. Generally I use whole wheat flour from Aashirwaad Atta.
Dish: Cheesebread and Potato filled bread (Replace cheese with potato masala and milk with water for the potato filled bread)
Makes: One large loaf
490g – APF
1tsp. – sugar
1 tsp. – salt
1 tbsp. – Active dried yeast
1/8 cup lukewarm water
About 4-5 cubes of Amul cheese (I think cheddar makes a better choice than mozzarella)
OR 1 cup potato masala for the potato filled bread
2tbsp. – melted butter /vegan butter for the potato filled bread
1 cup – milk and 1/2 cup extra if needed / water or almond milk for the potato filled bread
For the potato masala please see the recipe here. I used my paratha filling without dry fruits.
Mix the yeast and sugar in the water and set aside to froth – about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the flour with the salt in a big bow.
Heat a cup of milk to lukewarm and add the melted butter.
Make a well in the center of the flour, add the milk and the yeast and mix with a wooden ladle or hand to form a sticky dough. Add milk a tbsp. at a time if the dough is dry.
Turn onto a floured work surface and knead using the stretch, fold and quarter turn method, doing this til the dough feels smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and proof till it swells to twice its former size.
Deflate gently and spread the dough into a flat square. Spread the grated cheese in the centre of the dough leaving an inch around the sides. Sprinkle the potato masala evenly and fold into thirds pinching the ends. Roll the dough back and forth gently till smooth. Proof in a greased baking tray for half hour. It will appear puffy at the end of it.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 deg. Celcius till brown and hollow at the bottom. Took me about 35minutes. Time taken may vary depending on the make of the oven.
You may glaze the bread with butter or milk or water but I generally skip the step.
For the potato filled bread, simply replace the cheese with potato masala.
I braided the cheese bread but made the potato bread into a ciabatta style loaf.