Sunday, January 24, 2016

Stuffed Braided Bread

One of the most difficult experiences in my life so far has been moving across the country. I left behind my family and friends, and it pretty much felt like I had left my life behind. The only thing that got me through it was, of course, my new husband. But over the past three years, Michigan has slowly started to feel more and more like home - and that is in large part due to my newfound besties.

I've been so blessed that despite having moved to the middle of freaking nowhere, I've made amazing friends. The ladies will drop in and give me donuts on a morning when I'm depressed, watch my baby so I can go out (and I actually trust them with him), and are just truly there for me. One of these lovely women is Noor. She's amazing. Aside from her friendship, one of my fave things about her has to be her homemade pizza (which she pronounces as bee-zza, so cute) and stuffed bread. I asked her if I could share the recipe with my readers, since it is so dang good, and she graciously agreed! Yay!

The hard part was when I realized she didn't actually have a recipe, and only used a clean sippy cup, a spoon, one large bowl, and exactly zero measurements to make the dough. That's when I knew it was the real deal. She humored me by pouring all of her eyeballed ingredients into my measuring cups so I could write down the recipe. 

Now lets talk bread. This recipe is so simple and straightforward, it's hard to believe that it resulted in such soft and delicious bread. It is so versatile, you can fill it with sweet or savory, meaty or vegetarian, any type of filling that you like and it will probably work just fine. I recommend the filling you try be on the dryer side (no liquid oozing out) but still moist. Fill it with cream cheese, nutella, or whatever you desire. I also used the same dough to make these adorable crescents and stuffed them with cheese sticks. The most difficult part for me to visualize while following a bread recipe is kneading. So let me describe it to you. Literally knead it (with your hands, if you are looking for an epic work out) for just around 5 minutes. You will knead to be rough with it (pun intended, haha). First combine all the wet and dry ingredients together. Keep kneading until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. Then start hitting it and punching it into the bowl (so aggressive). Five minutes from start to finish should be perfect.

I hope you all give this easy bread a try and good luck in the kitchen! Thank you, Noor, for sharing your recipe!

Stuffed Braided Bread
(Makes 8 mini braided breads)

Chicken Filling
(adapted from Fauzia's Kitchen Fun)
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken boiled and shredded
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion chopped finely
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 chopped small green chillies or 1 long (optional)
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1 cup milk

Fry the onion in melted butter until translucent and soft. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until well combined and no lumps. 

Cook for 1 minute and add milk. Cook on medium heat while constantly stirring until the milk is thick. 

Mix in the chicken, chillies, and coriander. I also added some leftover boiled corn for some yummy crunch and flavor. Remove from heat and cool completely. 

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used Sujatta chakki atta)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup oil
1 cup lukewarm milk (warmed in the microwave for 40 seconds)
1 egg (beaten for egg wash)
Sesame seeds for garnish

Mix all the dry ingredients together until well combined. Add in the oil and rub with your fingers until it is completely combined. It will be soft and crumbly and will easily clump together. Add in all the milk and knead for 5-7 minutes. The dough will be soft and pliant. All the ingredients will come together and the bowl will be clean.

Shape the dough into a ball and cover it with olive oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover the bowl with a warm towel and let it rest and rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 380º F. Shape and fill the dough.

Mini braided bread - Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Flour your surface and roll a dough ball into the shape of a long rectangle. Cut it in half for mini breads or you can make 4 long medium sized breads. Put the filling in the middle of the rectangle, leaving 1/2" at the top and bottom.

Make cuts using a sharp smooth knife or pizza cutter on the bread angling downwards. Make sure each opposite side has equal amount of cuts and matching distance between each as well. Fold each side over alternatively to form a braid on top.

Crescents -  Roll 1/4th of the dough into a circle. Cut it into fourths or sixths.

Pull out each triangle to elongate the pointy end of it. Make small cuts in the end for appearance.

Put the filling (half cheese stick) on the large end and carefully roll it up towards the pointy side. Make sure there are no holes in the roll. Pinch and seal the ends and middle carefully using a little water or egg wash to seal it. Otherwise, the filling may leak out (mainly melted cheese) or the bread may lose its shape. Once it is rolled up, you can curve it into a crescent shape or leave it straight.

Coat the bread with an egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Bake for 13-17 minutes or until light golden brown on top. Timing may vary by size. Enjoy!

Mehwish said...

Wow this looks ridiculously good! Can you pls send me some? ;) and I agree, its so difficult to leave your old life behind when you move away from family. Thank God for Skype!

Unknown said...

I want to thank you so much for the recepit, its excellent. I was so happy with the results. Very impressant

Wardah said...

Thank you Lobna!!

Unknown said...

Been meaning to look this up ever since I tried it at Maryam's house! Looking forward to making this for Eid ... u think it'll taste as good with beef ? And thank you so much for such a well written recipe, complete with pictures :)

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