April Mega Blogging Marathon #75 Round-up - Bakes from Around the World


This was my first Mega Blogging Marathon ever and I must say much that it was exciting and resulted in a host of scrumptious bakes, it was a huge commitment and required plenty of dedication. I joined the group only mid-March so I really didn't have a lot of time to spare to bake ahead. From no activity on my blog in the past 5 years to 26 days of non-stop blogging, this marathon gave me a giant push to get back into blogging..very quickly :D When I emailed Valli of Spice Your Life to sign up for this event, she was little hesitant as I'm totally new to the marathon, but she agreed and signed me up. I'm glad she did! :)

I've learned so much on this awesome baking journey this month. Its amazing how cuisines across the world have similar bakes known by different names with slight changes in the way they are made. The amusing part was reading up on the history of the particular bake. From the scandalous Rigo Jancsi to the people-oriented Indian Ladi Pav, its been a very enlightening marathon.

If you missed a few or all of my posts, here is a round-up of all the 26 bakes in Alphabetical order. Brace yourself for a feast for the eyes, and if you try any of these bakes...a feast for the tummy too! 



A for ANZAC BISCUITS - AUSTRALIA





B for BASBOUSA - EGYPT



C for CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS - FRANCE



D for DAMPER BREAD - AUSTRALIA




 E for EMPANADAS - MEXICO








G for GRISSINI BREADSTICKS - ITALY







 I for INDIAN LADI PAV - INDIA 




J for JOULUTORTTU - FINLAND





M for MACARONS - FRANCE




N for NANKHATAI - INDIA 


  O for ORANGE OGURA CAKE - MALAYSIA



P for PINCA - CROATIA





R for RIGÓ JANCSI - HUNGARY


S for SCONES - UNITED KINGDOM




T for TOTTENHAM CAKE - ENGLAND




U for UGNSPANNKAKA - SWEDEN 




V for VIENNESE FINGERS - AUSTRIA




W for WHOLE WHEAT HERB BREAD - ITALY




X for XIAODIANXIN - CHINA











And we are done! Phew, now that I look back I wonder how I got through this one. Very happy that I got an opportunity to do this because otherwise I don't think a marathon of posts would have ever crossed my mind. 

Now excuse me while I go unwind and not think about turning on my oven for the next month or so... (not happening!!) and if you know me you should know my oven and I are the best of buddies. 

Do check out all the other wonderful, spectacular bakes by my fellow marathoners in the round-up links below my post. Don't blame me if you go into a baking frenzy  :D 





Z for ZOPF – Swiss Braided Bread - Day 26


We are on the last day of the Mega blogging Marathon!! I can't believe I actually baked for 26 days straight :D I don't even know how this month flew by, but I do know I've gained a few pounds eating bakes from around the world. And another few pounds from just drooling over all the gorgeous bakes from my fellow bakers!

Z for ZOPF – SWITZERLAND





Zopf or Züpfe is a buttery brioche like bread popular in the Switzerland in all of its 26 cantons. Switzerland is very diverse in its culture as well as cuisine. Each canton has its own specialties but the Zopf remains popular throughout. The name Zopf is derived from its shape, and literally means “braid” or “plait”. Traditionally eaten on Sunday mornings, this loaf is next only to the popular Swiss cheese, chocolates and watches. Its shaped differently in various parts of Switzerland but for most part its braided.

History:

I found this interesting piece of history here and felt compelled to quote. Read on. 

"Its origins are fairly unclear and surrounded by many legends, some gloomy, others cheerful. Apparently, in ancient times, women used to accompany their deceased husbands into the tomb and the spirit world in order for the married couple to be reunited in death. Thankfully that dark tradition was abandoned and replaced by a new, less barbarian one. Instead of being forced to perish with her man, the widow only had to cut off her hair (usually a plait) and lay it in the grave, alongside the body of her late spouse.

Still later, the practice of offering one’s hair as sacrifice was abolished and a braided loaf was used in place of the tresses. But as there is no real proof of that custom, it is more likely that butterzopf saw the light of day in a less morbid way.

In 1256, the first bakers guild was formed in Basel, and not long after, a few more were formed in various cantons in the Helvetic territory. During the 15th century, this delicacy became very popular, as it used to be given as gifts on special occasions such as Christmas and New Year. It was even offered as a token of love or to seal a promise of marriage. Since its existence has been corroborated and documented since 1430, it is most probable that it is a Swiss invention. Nowadays, the Swiss continue the tradition of bringing a “Zopf” to their hosts to mark special occasions (public holidays and feast days).”

How’s that for some fabulous history huh? :D Now onto the bread. Its light, soft and buttery with a glossy crust.




You will need:
Makes: 1 small loaf
Recipe adapted from here

1 ¾ cups All-pupose flour plus 2 tbsp
1 tsp Dried yeast
½ tsp Granulated sugar
½ cup Whole milk plus 2 tbsp
¾ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk plus 1 tbsp of milk for brushing the top

Warm the milk. Add the sugar and yeast, let stand for 10 minutes until frothy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour salt and butter. Add the yeast mix and combine on low speed. Switch to a dough hook and knead until the dough comes together into a ball and is silky and smooth. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours.




Punch the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 3 and roll each piece into a long rope. Braid as shown below.




Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and allow to double in size, about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash, taking care to cover evenly.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.




Let cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy! 

Stay tuned for the Mega Round-up of all our bakes from the past month :) 





Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

Y for YANGPABBANG - Onion Bread - Day 25


I've had so much to do this past week that I couldn't get this bake done on time. The first time I've been late in this challenge!! I was hoping not to be late anytime during the marathon but well, life happens. 

Y for YANGPABBANG - KOREA





YangpaBbang is a savory Onion Bread native to Korea. While researching for recipes with the letter Y I came across this post for Onion Bread on Aeri's Kitchen. It looked simple and anything with onions definitely has my attention. I adapted the filling part to suit our tastes and we had an awesome, incredibly soft and smooth savory bread to relish. 

Aeri mentions that all-purpose flour, bread flour or cake flour can be used. I have never ever baked bread using cake flour so this was quite interesting. Cake flour yields beautiful tight crumbed cakes,I figured it would be great to get the same texture in bread. So I used Cake flour in this recipe. Cake flour is available easily here in the US but if you can't find it where you live, all you need is 2 ingredients to make it - all purpose flour and corn starch.

Cake flour: 

Measure out 1 level cup of All-purpose flour. Remove 2 level tablespoons from the measured flour. Add in 2 level tablespoons of corn starch/flour. Sift once and you have Cake flour. Measure and use as needed. 






I made these Pesto Parmesan Scones using cake flour and the results were fantastic. Now onto YangPabBang

You will need: 
Makes: 1 large loaf
Recipe adapted from here

For the Dough:

2 1/4 cups Cake flour (if using All-purpose/Bread flour use only 2 cups)
3/4 cup Whole milk, warm
2 tsp Active dry yeast
3 tbsp Unsalted butter, softened 
2 tbsp Granulated sugar 
3/4 tsp Salt 

For the Filling:

Onions are the star of this bread. All other filling ingredients are entirely up to you and can be adjusted to suit personal tastes. 

1 cup red onion, thinly sliced 
1/2 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 cup Grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp Dried oregano 
1/2 tsp Red chili flakes
1/2 - 3/4 tsp Salt 
1/2 tsp Black pepper powder 

1 tbsp Heavy cream 

Combine the filling ingredients except the heavy cream, in a small bowl and set aside.




To make the dough:

Combine all dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low and slowly add the warm milk until it forms a wet dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-high for about 8 minutes until dough is silky smooth, elastic and breaks away from the sides of the bowl. 

If you don't have a mixer, combine ingredients in a large bowl and then knead by hand. 

Shape the dough into a bowl ad place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1-1.5 hours or until double in size. I proved my dough in an oven with just the light on and it doubled in size in 1 hour. 

Pinch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface (I used all-purpose flour here). Using a sturdy rolling pan, roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 8x9.5" - the size of a standard loaf pan. Place 2/3rd of the prepared filling in the Centre on the rectangle. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the seams. Place seam side down in a lightly oiled loaf pan. Cover and let it rise for another 20 mins.

Preheat oven to 375F. 




Brush the top of the loaf with the heavy cream. Top with the remaining onion-cheese mixture. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, the cheese in particular, cover the loaf loosely with a piece of foil or parchment paper and continue to bake. 

After 40 minutes, turn off the oven and let the bread sit for 15 minutes before removing from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. Slice with a sharp serrated knife. 

Carmelized onions and cheese on top with a super soft scrumptious center, this was a winner! 


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

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