It’s all the baking I seem to be doing these days. Considering all the people around me seem to be on a low carb, or no sugar or no this and all that blah diet, nobody wants to eat dessert.
I’ve been majorly craving a cherry tart. But vie no one around to share my calories with here. And if I take a few slices around, there are bound to be eyebrows raised and questions asked etc. Delhi is coming across to be an extremely unfriendly city.
My boys tell me I’m biased. That I’m feeling the pain because I’m missing Mumbai so much. That, my friend is true. I miss the smell of the sea. The smell of the rotting stuff at low tide. I miss the incessant rains. I miss the company of my friends. I don’t mind slumming it in Mumbai in the local trains or barging in to a line to buy a whole lot of bhajjias. I am unable to do that here.
I’m keeping my spirits up by baking bread. That I know will be eaten without any guilt. And Relished.
Oh, and you read that right.
Avocado oil. It really is a thing. So, when the good folks from Black & Green Extra Virgin Avocado Oil contacted me, I had to ask if this was a pressed oil or a flavoured oil. A flavoured oil would’ve been just carrying the mild aroma.
But hey, this is a pressed oil. The avocados are grown in Kenya, so obviously they are the buttery, soft, black avocados. And those I understand are pressed and the oil extracted. Because each avocado yields a small amount or=f oil, the number of avocados needed to produce a litre of avocado oil are a lot. Hence the expense.
The oil is extracted in the company’s orchards and a certain quantity is retailed in India. So, I tried the 250 mils bottle.
It’s just lightly aromatic and silky smooth. Darker green and more viscous than extra virgin olive oil, it also has a very high smoking point. So, you can also cook with it. You cannot cook with extra virgin olive oil, but this oil, you can take it to way beyond 180C. In fact, you can even temper your dal or stir fry your vegetables with this.
Also, a spoon full of this oil on an empty stomach is really good for your body’s wellbeing.
Extremely versatile, you can even use this oil as a therapeutic oil. We use almond oil and apricot seed kernel oil for good skin. Ill be trying this as soon as the weather turns a wee bit colder.
It is definitely worth trying out and including in your diet. The benefits definitely outweigh the cost.
I made this vegan bread with a vegan pesto and braided it with the Winston Knot. SO basically, you need to make 6 ropes, keep 3 ropes on one side and 3 ropes the other. Just simply braiding the ropes carefully yields such a gorgeous pattern.
What you need to do is practice on twine first.
Else, just make a simple roll, chill the roll, cut from the centre and then entwine like rope and wrap around a bowl to bet a round braid. Totally your patience level. Ill add pics of both. Both breads look amazing o the dinner table. Especially when you’ve guests to impress. This is best eaten the day you bake it. In fact, shape the bread and place it in the fridge. Then just an hour before you your guests arrive, place it in the oven to bake.
The best way to welcome dinner guests at your home is with that aroma.
I made this vegan, because I had almond milk. And I wanted to see if that would make a difference. The bread was not like the milk bread. But the bread was soft. So, you can skip the almond milk, and if you’re not vegan you can easily replace it with regular milk.
The pesto was made with avocado oil and nutritional yeast flakes, feel free to use your regular pesto. Almond powder to give the body that real parmesan would give.
I added red bell pepper just because I wanted the pop of red in the picture.
Avocado Oil Pesto
½ cup washed and dried basil leaves
¼ cup coriander /parsley leaves
20-25 garlic coves
2-3 tbsp avocado oil
1 small red bell pepper-deseeded and chopped
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes or grated
¼ cup almond powder or 25-30 almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the basil, garlic, red pepper, parsley and almonds/ almond powder in the processor jar.
Pour most of the oil in a steady drizzle and whizz till the almonds and greens are almost pasty.
Add the cheese and season to taste. Once you remove it to a bowl, add the remaining oil to cover. Allow to chill in the fridge before you begin kneading the bread dough. I always leave the garlic like its finely chopped , not ground.
Vegan Enriched Bread
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp instant dry yeast
1 cup almond milk
Place the flours, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast knead with the almond milk till the granules of sugar dissolve. Keep kneading till the ball of dough comes together. Add the oil and knead till the dough is smooth, elastic and stretches well.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover and chill in the fridge.
I use a large canvas sheet, 1m by 50 cm to roll out the dough. Its easier to roll up dough using a canvas /cotton sheet. Just like you make strudel.
The braid first.
Once the dough has doubled in the fridge in about 4-5 hours, sprinkle some flour on the cotton sheet or work surface and roll out the dough to a rectangle almost 24vinches by 18 inches. Spread the pesto out leaving about an inch and roll up the dough to a log. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove and cut from the centre lengthwise. Starting from the centre, lift and twine like a rope.’
Place on parchment paper around a bowl and tuck the ends under.
The Winston knots.
After the dough is doubled and chilled, divide it into 3 balls. Roll out to almost 20 inches by 12 inches. Divide the pesto and roll up.
Chill the three ropes for at least 2 hours.
Slit the ropes in the centre to expose the cut side and get 6 ropes.
Place the ropes on a parchment paper and make the Winston Knot. That braiding needs a video that ill be putting up soon. Were trying to perfect the art of making videos.
Set aside 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180C. bake for 30-35 minutes and allow to cool. You can pour some more oil over before serving. I love to brush over the remaining pesto when the bread comes out of the oven.
Serve with a gravy and vegetables. The bread soaks up the flavours of your dish. Or just slice it up and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.
Slice the bread and stash it in the fridge. Toast it or eat it like that . Bread can be your best friend. Comforting , warm and happy. Goes with every cuisine and a necessity that you can not ignore.
Face it , bread makes the world better. Baking it and breaking it with your family and friends.
Go ahead and share the calories.
You can buy the Avocado oil from the Instagram account linked above or purchase from amazon by clicking on the picture below. And do read up on the benefits of using avocado oil.