Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Garlic and Chili Focaccia



It's amazing that bread is made with the same four basic ingredients - yeast, flour, water and salt, but there are a hundred of ways of baking it. The results vary with different methods used and impress you every now and then!

This one was made with a batter that's impossible to knead as it is soupy, you actually pour the batter into the tin. The bread is surprisingly light and moist. The taste of the bread was great with just the flavor of extra virgin olive oil which I had used to grease the pan.  I usually prefer toasting my bread but this one baked in a cast iron pan, was perfect straight out of the pan!



This recipe for Rosemary Focaccia  is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book, The Bread Bible. One notable thing about this recipe is the dough consistency and the way it is 'kneaded' using a stand mixer. Of course there are plenty of high hydration recipes for foccaccia and ciabattas, but they mostly involve the stretch and fold method and a longer rise. But this one is simply kneaded for 20 minutes in the stand mixer and it is amazing to see how the batter goes from soupy to melted mozzarella kind of stage! (will post the pictures and videos soon )I don't think you can work with this kind of dough as effortlessly and as efficiently without a sturdy hand mixer. I use a Kitchen Aid 5 quart one . If you have a stand mixer, do give this a try! 

If you are new to baking, try my online classes for beginners. For more details, click here!

Rosemary Foccacia (adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Beranbaum)

 Maida 390 grams
Instant yeast 3/8 teaspoon
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons water / 442 grams , at room temperature
1.5 teaspoon salt ( the original recipe uses 3/4 teaspoon in the dough plus more as topping) 
3/4 tsp sugar
Extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (divided use)
Fresh rosemary 2 teaspoons
Sea salt - 1/4 teaspoon


Method
  • In the bowl of the stand mixer, using the paddle attachment on low speed, combine the flour and the yeast. 
  • With the mixer running, gradually add in the water, mix just until the dough comes together. It will be very soupy now.
  • Increase the speed to medium (#4 KitchenAid) and beat until the dough turns into a smooth, shiny ball , this may take about 20 minutes. (the stand mixer is sturdy enough to go on for this duration!) In fact, I was engrossed in writing something and forgot to turn off the mixer, so this step was more than 25 minutes for me.
  • Add the sugar and salt and beat until well incorporated, about 3 minutes.
  • Using an oiled spatula, scrape the dough into a well greased dough rising container. The dough now will look like melted mozzarella indeed as Rose says!
  • Cover and let rise for about 4 hours or at least until double. Mine took 1.5 hours to double. 
  • Grease a sheet pan ( ideally 12x17 inches) very generously with around 2 tablespoons of the oil. This is super super important or your bread will stick to the pan (like mine in the pic below) I used one 12x14 pan and another small cast iron pan.
  • Pour the dough into the sheet pan. Grease your hands well and spread the dough as thin as possible without tearing it. If the dough resists, let it relax for 10 minutes and spread it again. Try to maintain the bubbles in the dough as much as possible.
  • Cover the pan with a large box . Let the dough rise until it doubles, about 1-1.5 hours. 
  • Preheat the oven to 250C 1 hour before baking. 
  • Once it doubles, drizzle the remaining oil on the dough. Oil your fingers and dimple the dough deeply. Sprinkle the salt and rosemary (if using) on top. I used some garlic and chopped fresh red chilies.
  • Bake around 20 minutes or until the top is a deep golden color. The baking time may vary depending on your oven. Be careful not to burn the bread as it is spread thin and the oven is super hot.
  • Remove from the oven and drizzle more olive oil on top and serve immediately! 

Enjoy the delicious, crisp bread with a moist and chewy crumb! The remaining bread in the cast iron pan (picture below) had an even more beautiful crust, it was amazing! 



DISCLAIMER:*This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and buy through the link, I will earn a tiny commission on the same. I only recommend products which I have used and found good or those I would buy for myself.

You will be paying the same price as mentioned on the website, there will not be any variation here. This commission will help me with me costs of running the blog and channel and bring out more videos for you. Your support will be greatly appreciated!




Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Online class Announcement - Baking for Beginners.



Have you always wanted to learn baking but not sure where to start? Did your baking experiments from Googled recipes fail to deliver?
No worries, my online sessions are designed to help you discover the joy of baking right!

 I am planning to do these online sessions in July, the dates are not fixed yet. I will email you the details shortly.

Session 1 - Introduction to baking .
Ovens - an overview, your options.
Tins, tools and ingredients the beginners set
This session will help you shop for your basic set up.


Session 2 Deliciously Easy Recipes. 
Eggless Chocolate Cake
Eggless Chocolate Chip cookies
You will learn how to read a recipe, how to prepare for it and then bake. Learn how small details make a great deal of difference to your baking!

Takeaway
Your basic baking set up to help you start the right way and get fabulous results
A confident you ready to try more recipes
Recipes from session and all handy information in printable format via email
Plus - A surprise bonus recipe

I am running an online survey and participants of this survey will be able to enroll for these sessions at a discounted fee of Rs.500 only. You can find the form here.

https://forms.gle/6DpC5ju1DfpxP6QT8


Prior registration compulsory. Classes can't be split up for a pro-rated fee.


Looking forward to your response, thanks in advance for your time and help! Please also share this form link with friends who may be interested in baking. 




Saturday, May 30, 2020

What Keeps Me Going!





I started blogging in 2010 and uploaded my first video on YouTube (My YouTube Channel Cakes And More - Baking For Beginners!) in 2015. Since I thought blogging itself was effort, I was in for a big surprise! Making videos is humongous time and effort, being on YouTube is tough! Good content and video production per se is just one small part of it, the rest requires resilience, patience, both hard and smart work on a different level altogether. OK, so I did make some 100 odd videos, crawled my way to 1.25 Lakh subs. which is a huge thing in itself considering what it took the camera shy me to just stand in front of the camera and talk! 

 I have learned a couple of lessons along the way, and probably would do things very differently if I had to start today. The path has undoubtedly been arduous, but what has really kept me going is the feedback and comments I get from my readers and viewers. This is what I will cherish, for years to come. And it will always bring a smile on my face, gladden the heart and yes, make me (more than a bit) misty eyed too! 


Here is a compilation of some comments I have received on the blog and channel. These priceless medals of honor are more than anything I could ask or wish for. Below are some compiled from emails, messages, blog, channel comments and Facebook comments from fellow bloggers and readers. Am not sure if I deserve these though! Thanks all the same for these comments and for taking time to leave them for me. 

A BIG THANK-YOU!



  • "Excellent informative video. You have a flair for teaching. There is a dearth of information on practical issues, such as chosen and elaborated by yourself. Electronic companies should learn from you. Good job Suma.  "



  • Most straight forward answer on can I substitute ghee for butter. Tried Google, Reddit and Quora to no avail. Also learnt a couple of things as bonus as well. Most fruitful 9 mins I have spent today. Thank you 


  • "Amazing presentation. Learned a lot in a short amount of time. My favorite type of YouTube  videos.  "


  • "Best introductory video on baking!"


  • "Thank you for this tutorial. It's so easy to understand even for a newbie like me. Absolutely marvelous and you've brought me to a whole new world with my oven. Thank you so much.  "


  • "Excellent info! Exactly what I wanted to know. Your videos are very informative. Thanks :) "



  • Thank you sooooo.... Much.... After almost 3 years... I now know how my oven can be preheated.... All other videos never gave such detailed info and this type of demonstration.... Thank you -
  • U r here feels me my search stops to what i wanted  

  •  Great video! This is the first time seeing a wide skillet used as a double boiler so intuitive and resourceful. I won't have to waste more money on kitchenware :D


  • Beautifully explained, very informative, genuinely appreciated, thank you so much for making this video!

  • Thank you for this. I always thought that you had to have a tempered glass bowl and sit it over the saucepan to act as a double boiler. This method is very easy and convenient! Thank you!

  • I love her! She's a great teacher very detailed and easy to understand!

  • Thanks for your easy,clear voice and narration,all steps are easily understandable.regards

  • You are savior and I deeply appreciate the details in which you have gone to explain the tiny bit nuances of the microwave, baking. Thank you. KP

  • Thank u Suma. u really explain very well..n u make it easy to understand every single detail. that's great

  • Mam your videos are really helpful I was just beginning with baking and i was confused that what materials should i have your video helped me a lot thank u very much👍

  • Thank you so much for this! You have no idea how important this video had been to me. I recently started oven baking, and the tins, measurements and all have been so confusing. I feel a little relieved and confident now.

  • That was genuinely helpful, wasn't easy to find proper use case differences. Thanks a lot!

  • Hi Suma, your series of videos about beginner tips are really motivating. I had a series of mishaps and I gave up baking for quite some time now. I came back searching for how to pre-heat a convection microwave and I saw your video. I realized what I did wrong. I have seen almost all your beginner videos now and I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to making my next baking attempt

  • Thank you, very useful information, no-nonsense , comprehensive and simple!

  • Very useful I can just imagine how much homework n effort u put n to bring this type research videos Thank u sooooooomuch mam keep up d good work God bless u. Mona Pinky

  • Way to go Suma Rowjee. Really happy for you. And you totally deserve it for the kind of knowledge you share with your readers. Those are not just recipes with ingredients and instructions, but a conversation with a baker. Personally I love your style of writing. Your posts are not about the recipe, it's a theory class on baking. And no overkill of pictures. This doesn't distract the reader from focusing on the main stuff. Keep up the great job of sharing knowledge than mere ingredients and method. Kudos fellow blogger!  Cheryl Rajkumar, Blogger@ Kitchen Kemistry.  

  • Suma is one of those excellent bakers whose recipes never go wrong. Her knowledge of baking can be seen in her blog. Love going back to her blog again and again.  Sayantani Mahapatra, Blogger @ A Homemakers Diary
  • I'm quite overwhelmed seeing your dedication to details, you painstakingly explaining each step in words and pictures . This kind of dedication is something else and I felt I had to write to you to tell you what I felt. I'm always anti-cream cakes, a. too many calories and b. too much effort, but i promise you, if I ever want to make one, I shall make one of your recipes, because your writing gives me the confidence that I shall get it right  Nandita Iyer. Food Writer, Nutritionist. Blogger @ Saffron Trail 
  • I adore your work and your blog.  You help budding bakers so much.  Way to go! Nisha Sarda, Blogger@ Spusht
  • The reason I gained confidence to fall in love with baking is you Suma Rowjee...have always loved to read your blog and follow it  Amrita Gill, Food Blogger @ Sweet And Savory.
  • Awesome Suma. This is so detailed, well thought and penned down and shows the amount of effort you have put in to bring together the basics of baking. The fact is a lot of us are just regular home bakers and many recipes fail due to oversight, over confidence, at times negligence. I loved the way you emphasize minute points here Mallika Sibal, Blogger @ Veg Bowl
  • These Wednesday posts are a must read for all the newbies who really want to learn to bake. You will not get such a dedicated teacher and who wholeheartedly believes in spreading knowledge. Though am not new to baking cant help but follow your posts. So much information!  Vijayanthi Nayak
  • You do know you're an amateur baker's angel, right? Your recipes are awesome and your tips help a lot! Archana Ravishankar
  • Hi Suma, what an amazing way of sharing, teaching...so organized and systematic...you don't take things for granted! You start from the beginning...thumbs up! Vivien D'Gama Rose
  • I would say this every week that you post. I totally appreciate your generousity in sharing. Kudos  Sujatha Narasimhan
  • Thank you Suma for this awesome write up ...have tried quite a few recipes from your blog and all have turned out as I expected!! Divya Silviston
  •  Suma u are a superhero.  Azad R Naaz  
  •  I owe you so much Suma, u don't even know! Its literally helped me every step of the way!  Katherene Deborah Abel @ Ms.K Cupcakes
  •  Yours was the first blog I stumbled upon when I hit a google search couple of years back and I have ever since dutifully gone back to your blog plenty a times. Love the detailed analysis of each recipe at your blog.  Vidya Lohith
  • Suma Rowjee, I just love your blog! I started my first steps in baking following your blog!  Indu Muthu
  • Wonderfully written!!! many a times when in distress, your recipes have bailed me out!! Bless u agaian and again and thanks a million from the bottom of our hearts from the entire HBGIEES . Annie Thomas
  • Wow, what a beautiful blog you have there, Suma!! I am so impressed by your blog. I wish to learn to bake. I am a complete newbie and I think I have found the perfect blog to get started. Rujuta Vaishampayan
  • Stumbled on your blog accidentally. Was totally impressed by everything esp the way you have simplified baking bread. The rare time when i have read, really read a blog from end to end over two days:) Kalyani Kal
  • You are a boon to the baking world esp beginners! That's a fab job u r doing! Had come across your blog long back while I was looking for baking supplies and read your posts about the basic baking. Very informative esp where a lay person in baking is concerned! Let someone else here refute the fact!  Rajashri Manoj @  All Thats Baked
  •  What I love about your write up is that your primary focus is to share knowledge than to exhibit any other skills. This can only come from your confidence in what you know. Being a self-taught baker myself, I understand this is a wealth of information gathered from painstaking research. And to share it so freely... Smriti Rajesh
  •  Thank you so much!! You have unravelled many mysteries for me Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. For us trial and error bakers with no formal training, your post comes as a Godsend ! God bless you! Reshma Nooh
  • Very well written start to the basics. Clear, Concise and informative. As I regularly conduct baking classes for beginners. I, too, say some of these things to them during the class. But having them all written down is great. Will share your blog and these tips with my students too. It definitely helps to get your ABCs right. Thanks Suma, the way you are writing the posts with so much detail and emphasis on getting the basics right is fantastic. Just by attending your Wednesday class I think a lot of basic problems and queries will be answered.  Shivangi Daga @ Sweet Nothings
    •  Thank you so much..Your style of writing is so good..Its as if we are having a conversation with you  Shyamala Shivshankar
    • Suma, this is brilliant. Beautifully compiled and well explained, a fantastic source of learning. Thank you, again, for doing this for us on the Guild - KP Balakumar, Founder, The Home Bakers Guild
    • Suma, love love love your blog for this. Your posts may be long, but simple and easy to understand.  Stella Verghese
    • Lovely post with so much intricate details... The very same reason why I love your blog. Thanks a lot suma. Anitta Venkatesh
    • Suma, your posts and blogs are written keeping in mind a novice.... this is so helpful. Thanks and keep on blogging. Saraswathy Natarajan
    • Suma, you are doing a fantastic job with your blog. It is so informative. When I started the baking saga,your blog has helped me a lot!  Lakshmi Menon
    • Am a follower of your blog and have tried out many breads from there. The family loved them. Your write-ups are the best and give great insight on why we do what we do. Thanks for that.  Akila Ramachandran
    • Congratulations Suma. You have been reaching out and inspiring lot of people through your wonderful blog...If I remember right I have been following your blog for over 2 years now and have been truly enjoying reading your posts. Thanks for a very informative blog  Madhur Rao @Deliciaso
    • I've always loved to go thru your blog with the splendid  write up & your passion for baking comes thru...You are doing a amazing job! I never miss any of your blog post...Keep the good work going. Jayashree Srinivas
    •  This blog is Bible for wannabe bakers like me. It has so much of useful information. You make your writings interesting and also u 'dust' it with your latent wit! May you keep writing more and more about cakes! We all love you! Latha Mohan
    • Great work Suma. It shows in your blog as to how much you love to bake and you are so nice about detailing it to the readers too.  Oogandhavalli Srinivas
    • Thank you for sharing priceless information otherwise acquired by endless trial and error , reading several blogs and books and sometimes snooping into in house baking expert's secret informations who refuse to share their tips. Biby Tresa Philips
    • I have attended many classes for baking but still i guess i didnt know proper basics but now I am damn clear what is baking, What ought to be done and what not to be done. Thank you very much. Sundari Dhana
    • Well written recipes with clear step-by-step instructions, preparations/mise en place, without any ambiguity! Reading them will make you feel the same joy as trying them out Thanks Suma and keep up the good work! Janani Lakshminarayan.
    • Whatever you want to bake, you'll find an easy, tested recipe at Suma's blog. Along with all the tips and tricks that you're gonna need. Ruchira Ramanujam, blogger @Tadka Pasta.
    • This (An Introduction to baking) is by far the most basic and much needed gyan / learning for the newbies and others. Really well-written with self-experimented experiences and the tiny things that you've detailed, Suma Rowjee your just great. I understand you have a family to run but taking that pain to help the readers, is just awesome. I have read this in your blog before, but read it again to reinforce somethings into my mind. Hugs!  Radhika Radhakrishnan
    • Instructions down to super micro level.. wow.. Thanks so much Suma!  Monisha Sharma.
    • Excellent work, thanks a lot, you inspire the beginners. Anuradha Rajkumar
    • Thank you for making it sound a little less intimidating for beginners like me. Thank you. Veena Appaiah
    •  Suma I have always admired you for your knowledge and sharing and it grows deeper!!  Vibha Ganesan
    • Have tried quite a few recipes from your blog....never failed ..Thanks Sagarina Datta
    • What a beautiful post. So much of information. Really appreciate your effort and the willingness to share  Jyothi Venkatesh
    •  It was wonderful to read your blog. I aspire to bake professionally some day, but i am unable to find a proper guide or a mentor from whom i could learn these skills.I struggle for basic knowledge of how to bake in a microwave. After reading your article "An introduction to Baking- For new wanna be bakers", I am truly delighted. Now,I atleast know what things are required and something that i could refer to learn gradually. It was practical and not theoretical like cook books. Ansha Tare


    • One thing I like the most about your blog is you really thought about beginners and made every thing go step by step. A BIG thanks for starting a blog  Ami Shah!
    • You will make a fabulous instructor. Its really nice how much you get into details. Archana Kalyanpur Kumar. Blogger@ The Yum Factor
    • Excellent Suma Rowjee! It's not only the recipe and the write-up, but also the pointers you've considered discussing. It would make anyone understand the recipe and the hows and whys of it.  Lathadevi Sivakumar
    • Your blog is a treasure trove of baking info! So much to learn and so selflessly shared with the world! Thanks much and here's to more blogging and baking!  Shobha Ramanathan Ravi
    • HELPFUL to the last letter!!!  Gitanjali kaul
    • Ur a Wikipedia on baking!  Rinku Datta
      • You are super good at whatever you do.  Ashwini Surya 
      Thanks again and please do stay connected. Your comments and hearing from you keeps me motivated, makes the effort so worthwhile!


      Much Love,
      Suma Rowjee