Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cheddar Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomato Herbed Rolls - A Guest Post By Aparna Balasubramanian

Aparna Balasubramanian and her stunning photography. The truly diverse deliciousness you can see in her virtual kitchen. From Palakkad Iyer Cuisine, Eggless baking and more baking by the Daring Baker on My Diverse Kitchen. A fellow blogger I look up to, now a good friend too! One of India's most well known bloggers, I don't really need to introduce her to you, do I? 

How can I not mention her extremely useful series on food photography? Extremely well written from an absolute beginner's perspective. If you want to get started with using a DSLR, her posts are of immense help. Even if you, (like me) hate reading manuals. Kudos Aparna, you are an inspiration!

Having had an opportunity to attend one of her workshops on food photography, let me tell you she is also a great mentor and guide. If you are a blogger you will surely want to be part of Indian Food Bloggers Meet she is organizing on 2nd and 3rd August at Bangalore.

Thank you so very much for your very kind words for me (blush!) and for taking the time to do this post Aparna, its an honor!  Let me now leave you to enjoy her very flavorful Cheddar Cheese And Sun Dried Tomato Herbed Rolls.

One thing I never expected when I first started blogging over 7 years ago was that it would introduce me to a community of such great and supportive people all across the world. I never expected that I would become such good friends with many of them, and that with some friends it would go on to become an abiding friendship that would go beyond food.

Occasionally, one of my friends from the food blogging community will ask me to write a guest post for their blog and I’m always happy to do so. Suma who blogs at Cakes And More is one such friend and when she asked me to do a guest post for her, I agreed but I must tell you that I just couldn’t make up my mind about what to write.

Suma loves baking and her blog is really about more than just cakes. Apart from some really lovely cakes, a wide variety of bakes and other non-cake recipes, her blog is one of the few I have seen that has excellent and detailed posts on baking basics for beginners that demystify various aspects of baking. After much thought, I finally settled on my all-time favorite – bread!

It’s finally vacation time for my daughter. You might be wondering how she’s on vacation when schools across the country have started classes for the new academic year? She’s just finished 2 years of higher secondary and finally taking a well-deserved breather from all things academic. If you live in India, you know how tough that can get with the added pressure of not only having to do well in the final exams but also equally well, if not better in the all the entrance exams.

She’s done with all those exams for now and looking forward to a month’s lazing around and having fun before she goes off to college. That’s something that we’re trying to get used to (not), the reality that she’s not going to be with us at home except for her vacations.

Her being at home also means that she now trawls the net and my cookbooks looking for things to make, not regular cooking kind of recipes but cakes and desserts. She’s now the resident Devil’s Food Cake specialist and makes a really good one.

However when the tea time hunger pangs hit, what she wants is savoury and not sweet. The other day, she woke up in the morning and asked if I would bake her some “cheesy” bread with specifics like “Please don’t use stuff like Parmesan (she doesn’t like the sharpness of it) or those funny tasting cheeses” but “I really want the taste of cheese in it”! Cheddar, Mozarella and Paneer (Indian fresh milk cheese) are her preferences when it comes to cheese.

My daughter loves bread like I do, and our Cocker Spaniel Fudge could live on bread if we let him. In fact, every time I bake bread, you can find in the close vicinity of the kitchen or oven often sniffing the air for the aroma of bread! He invariably gets the first taste too unless the bread has something in it that’s not good for him.

So I started thinking about what bread I could make with cheese that I hadn’t made before. This wasn’t particularly easy because while my daughter isn’t really fussy about her food, she knows what she likes and doesn’t! So cheese meant garlic and herbs would pair well, when I remembered the oven dried tomatoes I might a while ago . I had been planning to make some bread with them and I thought this was a bread they would do well in.

I can tell you that my daughter couldn’t stop eating them!

Cheddar Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomato Herbed Rolls

1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp mixed dried herbs of choice (I used an Italian mix)
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
30 gm butter, soft at room temperature
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 tsp grated garlic
1 3/4 cups grated mildly sharp Cheddar cheese
1/8to 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomato*
Salt to taste**


*You can use oven-dried tomatoes as well. I make mine at home, and tend to dry them such that they are quite chewy but not leathery. I also store them as they are in glass jars in the fridge (they last for 2 to 3 months) and they become a little soft.
**Since there’s salt in the Cheddar cheese and the sun-dried tomatoes, use salt judiciously.

  • Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm milk and keep aside for about 5 to 10 minutes until it has bubbled up.

  • Put 1 1/2 cups of flour, the herbs, chilli flakes and the soft butter into the bowl of the food processor. Run a couple of times so everything’s well mixed and it looks like fine crumbs. Add the garlic and the egg and run the processor until it’s just incorporated.

  • Now add the yeast-milk mixture and knead until you have a soft and smooth dough that’s not sticky. Add a little flour or milk, as he case may be, if you need it to get this consistency.

  • Now add the grated cheese and the chopped dried tomato and knead till it is incorporated. Shape the dough into a ball, and place in a well-oiled bowl, turning it to coat the dough well. Cover loosely and let it rise until double in volume for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  • Deflate the dough gently, and divide into six equal portions. Shape each one into a ball and place on a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving enough space between them. Cover loosely and let them rise for about an hour.

  • Bake them at 200C (400F) for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool on racks. Serve them with soup and use them as burger buns or even fill them with fresh salads for a filling meal. We ate them plain with coffee.

    This recipe makes 6 medium sized buns.

    I can almost smell the herbs and the cheese, can't wait to try these soon! Thanks again Aparna for bringing these gorgeous buns to Cakes And More!



    Aparna said...

    It was a pleasure Suma, and an honour to bake these for your blog.
    And thank you for all those lovely compliments you've introduced my post with. I don't think I deserve all of it. :)

    Unknown said...

    can we replace the egg with any vegetarian substitue

    Suma Rowjee said...

    You are being very modest Aparna :)

    @Vineet - You can use 1/4 cup of yogurt in place of the egg.