Friday, 15 August 2014

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Carrot Bread

There were some fresh carrots lying in the fridge and some wilting spinach in the freezer. There had to be a way out to use them before the carrots loose their crunch and the spinach its life. However, stir fry or salad or sandwich was definitely not on my mind. Not being a vegetable lover, I had to think of something to camouflage the goodies and feed myself and my family. Bread it was and what better way to have a complete meal along with a bowl of soup! A wonderfully healthy and wholesome bread made with 100% wholewheat, goes well even with your faborite dip or a fresh and fluffy Spanish Omelette! 

2 1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1/2 cup carrot puree (boil the carrots, drain and reserve the water, and puree the carrots in the blender)
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk powder
1 tsp vital wheat gluten (optional; you can use 1 egg optionally or skip it)
1 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
100 ml lukewarm water (use the liquid in which you boiled the carrots for maximum health)
2 tbsp olive oil plus more for greasing

For the filling
1/2 cup spinach puree
5-6 slices of cheese
2-3 tbsp coriander and garlic paste (blend together in the grinder)
1 tbsp your choice of seasoning (I used a mix of cumin powder, coriander powder, and pinch of homemade garam masala)
Salt to taste
1 tsp olive oil

Prepare the filling first. Mix all the ingredients except the cheese slices and keep aside. If you feel it is too watery, drain the liquid and keep it in a bowl for use in some other curry or gravy. 
In a bowl, take the warm water (feels confortable when put on the back of your wrist or 40-45 degree celsius measured on the food thermometer) and dissolve 1 tbsp sugar. Add the yeast and mix thoroughly. Let it stand for 10 minutes undisturbed until frothy and foamy. 
In another bowl, mix together the flour, milk powder, salt, wheat gluten, and remaining sugar. Now slowly add the frothy yeast liquid and start mixing the dough with a spatula in one direction till all the liquid is absorbed. Now add the puree and start kneading with your hands. It will feel very sticky and messy at the beginning. Add the oil and continue kneading while adding some extra flour if required. Do not add too much flour. The dough needs to be smooth, non-sticky, and elastic but will still be a little soft and moist as for wholewheat we need to keep it moist. Oil the dough on the outside and loosely clingwrap it and keep in a warm place to rise for about 1-1.5 hours or until doubled. 
  Now roll out the dough on a clean and lightly floured surface into a rectangle. 
Arrange the cheese slices on top unevenly and fill up the spaces with the spinach puree. Start rolling in towards the other end, pinching the edges as you go.

Now grease two loaf tins and line them with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into half and keep each half in the prepared loaf tins. 
Cover and keep aside for 1-1.5 hours or until doubled. While nearing towards the end of the proofing time, start pre-heating the oven at 180 degree celsius for at least 10 minutes. Slice thin long strips of capsicum and arrange on top alternating with slices of cheese. 
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until browned on top and the tap sounds hollow and the internal temperature is between 80-100 degree celsius (on the higher side). 
Remove from the loaf tin immediately and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. 


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