Sunday, 15 March 2015

Getting in the Easter mood...part II

As promised in my previous post, today I am going to share more recipes for the pre-Easter brunch we had on Saturday. Bagels, Knäckebrot and bread spreads....

Our whole family love bagels, here in Spain you will hardly find bagels around and so one day I decided to do them myself. I tried different recipes since we moved to Spain and recently I found one recipe which really works the best. The recipe comes from Martha Stewart and is actually a soft pretzel recipe.

I did it couple of times now in pretzel or bagel shape and am always very pleased with the outcome. Bagels and pretzel have one very special step in the preparation, which is putting them in a lye bath (Laugenbad) before the actual baking, to grant this very special crust we all know. This recipe is done with beer, which I think speed up the whole raising process and was the first time that I was using beer for a yeast dough, but it works just perfect....


Soft beer bagels

  • 1 package dry yeast (7 g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 60 ml warm water
  • 30 g butter room temperature
  • 500 g flour (I am using strong bread flour)
  • 220 ml beer room temperature
  • 50 g backing powder
In a small bowl mix together salt, sugar, yeast and water. Let is stay for 5-10 minutes till foamy and you can smell the yeast. In a big bowl sift the flour add the butter and mix it with your hands till butter is incorporated into the flour. Put the beer to the yeast mixture (be careful it will foam) and stir briefly. Add beer-yeast mixture to the flour and knead a dough, it might take you couple of minutes. Put the dough back to the bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes or till double in size in a warm place.
Preheat your oven to 180C. Line your baking sheet with baking paper and grease it with bit of olive oil. Knead the dough for couple of seconds and share it in 12 equal pieces. Shape the dough pieces in pretzel or bagel shape and put them on the baking sheet, cover them with the kitchen towel and let them rest for additional 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile put water in a bigger pot and bring it to boil. Once the water starts boiling, add very carefully the backing powder...not all at once!...as it will over foam. Take one bagel at the time and put it in the hot water, let it there for couple of seconds, take it out and put it back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle it with sea salt and / or sesame seeds and bake for 15-20 minutes, till golden brown.


Knäckebrot
  • 100 g flour
  • 100 g oatmeal
  • 100 g sunflower seeds
  • 50 g flax seeds
  • 50 g sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 ml water
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a big bowl mix all the ingredients together, you shall get a rather wet dough. Line your baking sheet with baking powder and grease it with some oil. Put your dough on the baking sheet and distribute the dough as thin as possible about  the whole baking sheet. Wet you hands with water for smoother process. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Take it out of the oven, let it cool for couple of minutes and break it in pieces.


Knäckebrot can be eaten with anything, they are crunchy, nutty and very healthy. Having them instead of a bread once in a while is always a hit in our house, especially when it is homemade. I prefer having it with some bread spread, which I usually would serve to it. Here two very easy bread spreds, which are done in minutes and are going very good with Knäckebrot...

Feta and black olives spread
  • 1 package feta cheese (200 g)
  • 3-4 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 garlic glove
  • handful black olives
  • salt, pepper
Crumble the feta cheese (with your hands or a fork) in a bowl, add yogurt, crushed garlic and roughly chopped olives, mix together. Season with salt and pepper.

Carrots - Cottage cheese spread
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper
Peel and cut the carrots in big chunks and put them in a food processor, let it go for couple of seconds. Add cottage cheese, splash of olive oil, salt and pepper, give it another go, till all combined.



The brunch was lovely and the Easter pre-run very successful. I think I can relax for now and wait for Easter to come. Have fun to try the recipes and hopefully you would like them as much as we do.

Enjoy!

P.S. The recipe for the cookies and cupcakes can be found in my previous post (here)

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