Savory Muffins with Queso Fresco

Queso Fresco Muffins 2

Hello Friends, I hope everyone is doing well! 🙂 Spring is my favorite time of the year, I feel inspired to paint, bake and do all sorts of creative projects around the house. I made these savory muffins last Sunday for breakfast and they were a hit with my family. They are easy to make and you can have them on the table in less than an hour. They go well with butter, pate, cream cheese, jam or even just plain they taste wonderful. I imagine adding some bacon bits into batter would work great. Instead of Queso Fresco you can also use Feta cheese or any crumbly cheese. I absolutely loved the taste and the texture and will be making them again soon.

Savory Muffins with Queso Fresco

{Printable recipe}

  • Yields 12 muffins

Ingredients:

*** Use dry measure cup for all ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 TBSP butter (melted)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 oz Queso Fresco (or Feta cheese) finely crumbled

Preparation:

  1. Beat eggs, yogurt, oil and melted butter at a high speed until smooth.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.
  3. Lower the mixing speed and slowly add all dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
  4. At the end mix in Queso Fresco.

Queso Fresco Muffins

5. Brush the muffin form with melted butter.
6. Fill the batter into 3/4 of the muffin forms.
7. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 20-25 minutes.

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Here they are right out of the oven:

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And on the table:

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Breakfast Kifle

Kifle (sing. kifla) are one of the most popular Bosnian breakfast breads. In the US kifle are known as a Christmas pastry filled with walnuts, but in Bosnia, kifle are actually any type of bread or pastry made in a shape of a crescent and today I wanted to introduce the most loved and known kind.

Kifle

Every Bosnian bakery or a grocery store sells kifle. They are always fresh, airy and super delicious. They are usually served at breakfast with variety of spreads such as butter, paté, cream cheese, jam, honey, nutella, etc. Sometimes we slice them length-wise and make sandwiches or they can be served instead of bread at a lunch or dinner table.

They are made out of most simple ingredients, found in every pantry and can easily be prepared at home. I usually make them for a weekend breakfast when everyone is home and can take time to enjoy them.

BREAKFAST KIFLE

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 650-700 g (about 5 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300 ml (1 + 1/4 cup) warm water
  • 200 ml (about 1 cup) warm milk
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) oil

+

  • 1 egg white (lightly beaten)
  • Salt for sprinkling
  • Butter (melted) for brushing

How to prepare:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixer bowl and start mixing slowly
  2. Combine water, milk and oil and while mixer is on slow, start adding liquid to the bowl with dry ingredients.
  3. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 3-4 minutes
  4. Now let it rest for about 5 minutes and then mix again 3-4 minutes. Kifle dough is supposed to be medium firm. If it’s too soft, add more flour.
  5. Dust your working surface with flour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead it by hand 10-20 times. Place it back into the bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise until double in volume (about 1 hour).
  6. Kifle preparation 1Divide the dough in two. Roll each piece into a 45 cm (18 inch) circle. With a pizza cutter, cut each circle once vertically, once horizontally and twice diagonally to get 8 triangles.
  7. Kifle preparation 2To form a kifla, first fold in both corners at a short side of the triangle. Now pressing down roll the bread until the end tip. You can also shape it to look like a crescent. Place it onto a greased baking sheet with the end tip facing down. Repeat will all remaining triangles.

Kifle preparation 3

8. Cover them and let rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
9. Heat your oven to 400 F (200 C).
10. Lightly beat an egg white and brush over bread.
11. Sprinkle each kifla with salt.

Kifle preparation 4

12. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
13. Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter and cover for 10 minutes.

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Kifle

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Enjoy! 🙂

Fancy Flower Rolls

These fancy rolls are not only beautiful, but they taste like a little piece of Heaven. They are probably one of the best I’ve ever had and I will be making them over and over again. Even after a few days they keep soft, which is not always the case with homemade rolls. As of their taste, they remind me somewhat of brioche. I also had them split and toasted like a bagel and they were great. I imagine they will look beautiful on any Holiday table and will be gone in a matter of minutes! Have a wonderful weekend friends! 🙂

Fancy flower rolls

Fancy Flower Rolls

{Printable recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (236 ml) warm milk
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) warm water
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) oil
  • 3 ½ TBSP (50 g) butter-melted
  • 1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • All-purpose flour (approx 4 and 1/2 cups or 580-600 g)
  • 2 eggs, whites and yolks separated

Topping:

  • egg yolks + 1 tsp milk
  • Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.

Preparation:

  1. First combine warm milk, water and sugar. Mix well and sprinkle dry yeast over it.
  2. Divide eggs
  3. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and cover with plastic.
  4. In a medium bowl lightly whisk egg whites, then add oil and melted butter.
  5. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a mixer bowl with dough hooks.
  6. When the yeast mixture becomes bubbly slowly pour into flour mixture and start mixing slowly. Just when combined, add egg mixture and mix until you get a compact, shiny dough ball.
  7. Brush with oil, cover with plastic and let it rest until double in volume.
  8. This dough will be really easy to work with, almost like the play dough.
  9. Flour your working surface, place the dough on it, divide in half and then each half into 12 equal parts.
  10. Lightly oil your hands, press and roll each piece into a 10 inch (25 cm) long stick, with about ½ inch (1.5 cm) diameter.
  11. Take two sticks together and swirl them around as to a get a braid.
  12. Connect the ends to form a bagel-like roll and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  13. Preheat your oven to 385 F or 195 C
  14. Whisk egg yolks with 1 tsp of milk and brush the rolls
  15. You may sprinkle them with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or any seeds of your choice.
  16. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

ENJOY!

Fancy Flower RollsIMG_0867IMG_0868

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IMG_0876Fancy Flower RollsFancy Flower RollsFancy Flower Rolls

Bosnian Pancakes {Uštipci}

In Bosnia, we love our pancakes, our bread and just dough-y things in general. 🙂 We make two basic types of pancakes. The first kind is a simpler, less time consuming and I am talking about those today. The second kind is made with yeast and I will share the recipe some other time.

My recipe may differ a bit from others, but basically there are three main components for a good pancake: eggs, flour and some type of liquid (water, milk, yogurt, buttermilk, etc.)

I make my pancakes with Greek yogurt and I really love them. They have a nice texture and they remain soft even when cold (IF there are any left). What I  love about them is that they are small, so you can grab one or two on your way out. They are a perfect bite (or two) size and make a really delicious breakfast. We spread them with variety of savory or sweet spreads or make them into sandwiches. Some people serve them coated in sugar/powdered sugar. I also had them with maple syrup and they were great, even though traditionally we don’t use maple syrup.

If you are interested in how to pronounce “uštipci”, it would sound something like “oosh-tipsy”  🙂

Bosnian Pancakes Ustipci

Bosnian Pancakes {Uštipci}

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of yogurt (I like to use Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

 

  1. Whisk the eggs until foamy, add yogurt and mix until smooth, add salt and water.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder and start adding to the egg mixture, stirring the whole time.
  3. Batter needs to be a bit thicker than for the American pancakes.
  4. Pour cooking oil into a large frying pan just enough to coat the bottom.
  5. Set the heat to medium.
  6. Prepare a large tray and cover with paper towel.
  7. Grab a spoonful (I use soup spoon) of batter and pour onto the heated oil.
  8. Make sure pancakes have enough space to expand.
  9. When you see bubbles forming around the edges of the pancake, it’s time to turn them over.
  10. Fry them until golden brown on both sides.
  11. When done, place on a paper towel.
  12. Bosnian pancakes can be served with a variety of spreads, such as cream cheese, pâté, jam, nutella, honey, etc. You can split them and make mini sandwiches too. They are firm enough to be picked up and they are usually one or two-bites-size. They are delicious warm or cold.

Have fun making them!

Bosnian pancakes prep

Bosnian pancakes prep 2

Bosnian Pancakes Ustipci

 These are some of the ways to enjoy them:

Bosnian Pancakes Ustipci

Fancy pull-apart Dinner Rolls

Hello my friends, HAPPY NEW YEAR to each and every one of you! 🙂

I hope you had nice and relaxing Holidays with your family and friends. My wish is that this New Year will bring us all peace, love and compassion toward one another and a lot of good memories and joyful moments and that we will get to spend a while here in this virtual world and share some good cooking and baking recipes and stories.

In today’s recipe I wanted to introduce a fancy and an easy way to make holiday/celebration dinner rolls. These rolls are soft and flaky and can be served warm or cold. I made these for our Christmas dinner and they looked just gorgeous and tasted fantastic.

Fancy pull-apart dinner rolls

Fancy Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

[Printable recipe]

Dough:

  • All-purpose flour: 500 g ( 4 cups)
  • Fresh yeast: 20 g (or 1 envelope dry yeast)
  • Warm milk: 2 dl (3/4 cup + a few TBSP if needed)
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1.5 tsp
  • Cooking oil: 5 TBSP

To brush the dough layers:

  • Butter: 120 g (1 stick) at room temp.

Also needed:

  • Round baking pan (or a spring form) 25 cm or 9-10 inches
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds (or any other desired seeds)

Preparation:

  1. Place flour into a mixing bowl, make an indent and crumble up fresh yeast, add sugar and a little bit of milk, mix, cover and let stand for about 10 minutes. If using dry yeast, proof as directed on the package.
  2. Turn the mixer to low setting and while mixing start adding milk and salt. When the flour and milk start forming a dough, add oil and let it stir for another 2-3 minutes to get a shiny and firm ball of dough.
  3. Place the dough onto a floured surface, knead it by hand for a minute or two and then place back into the bowl, cover and leave it at a warm place until double in size.
  4. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Knead each piece and form a small dough ball. Let them rest for about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Divide butter into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each dough piece into a 10 inch (25 cm) circle. Spread first circle with butter, put second circle on the top, then butter again and so on until you end up with the fifth circle on the top.
  6. Now roll it all together into  a large 18 in (45 cm) circle. With a pizza cutter cut off about 1 ½ inch (4 cm) all around the circle to get a “hoop”. Place the hoop on a flat surface and cut once vertically and once horizontally to get 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a bun (like a cinnamon bun) and place in the middle of the greased baking pan.
  7. What’s left now is a smaller circle which you will cut to get 16 equal triangles. Roll each triangle not like a crescent, but more like a cone or along one of the longest sides of a triangle. That way you will get a nice swirl. Place all the cones all around the 4 middle rolls with a little bit of space in between.
  8. Cover and let it rise for about 30 minutes. Lightly beat an egg, brush all over the rolls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  9. Bake at 395 F (200 C) about 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Serve warm or cold. The rolls will be soft and flaky and will look just amazing on your holiday table.

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

My Favorite Croissants

For a long time I’ve been searching for a croissant recipe that will suit my taste. I’ve tried many recipes and they were all good, but still not what I was looking for. I really like a rustic kind of croissant, that’s crispy outside and has nice, textured layers inside. If you like the same, look no further because this recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook is the right one for you.

This baking book is SO good, I absolutely love every single recipe inside of it. There are also step by step directions and pictures for making bread, croissant dough, danishes dough, etc. If you didn’t get the book yet, please do, you will be inspired, mesmerized and if you are not already in love with baking, you will definitely be after going through this book. Please read David Lebovitz impression of The Bourke Street Bakery – Sydney, AU.

This recipe might seem a bit too long and complicated, but in the end it’s just repeating one same process three times.  Once you start making it, it is really simple and the results, oh the results are exceptional! 🙂 Give yourself plenty of time. I usually start making the dough in the late afternoon or evening. There is a lot waiting and resting. I do the final two steps the next morning when I plan to have croissants for breakfast.

This quantity of dough will make about 18 large croissants. That was way too much for the four of us, so I divided the dough in half and made bear claws the next day. Making pain au chocolat would be an idea too.

Croissants - bourke street bakery recipe

My Favorite Croissants

[printable recipe]

(Recipe from The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook)

Makes approximately 18 large croissants

For the ferment

(Ferment is a small amount of dough that needs to be made first and will help your croissant dough develop and rise):

  • 100 g plain flour, chilled (3.5 oz)
  • 55 ml whole milk, chilled (1 ¾ fl oz)
  • 5 g (or 1 tsp) brown sugar, chilled
  • A pinch of salt, chilled (1/2 tsp)
  • 5 g fresh yeast, chilled (1/8 oz)
  • 20 g unsalted butter, softened (3/4 oz)

Make the Ferment:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until it becomes a ball. Knead it for about 10 minutes until becomes elastic and smooth. If using electric mixer, use dough hook and mix on low speed for 3 minutes.

Put the ferment in a bowl covered with plastic and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to ferment. After, store the pre-ferment in the fridge overnight (this can be kept for few days in the fridge).

For the croissant dough

(Chill everything in the fridge before you start making the dough, including the flour and sugar):

  • 935 g strong white flour (2 lb 1 oz)
  • 550 ml whole milk (19 fl oz)
  • 60g brown sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 15 g salt (3 tsp)
  • 35 g fresh yeast (1 ¼ oz)
  • Plus 500 g unsalted butter (1 lb 2 oz)  for laminating (the rolling and folding process for the dough)

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 80 ml (about 1/3 cup) milk
  • Pinch of salt

Make the Dough:

Divide the ferment into 8-10 small pieces, mix it together with all other ingredients, except butter, in a mixing bowl until a dough ball is formed.

Transfer the dough ball to a bench and knead for 10 – 15 minutes (by hand) until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, and doesn’t tear when stretched gently. If using electric mixer, using dough hook, mix on low speed for 3 -4 minutes, followed by high speed for another 2 minutes.

Put the dough in a bowl covered with plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Laminate the Dough:

Before starting the dough laminating (i.e. incorporating butter into the dough) remove the butter from the fridge. Pound the butter with rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper into 20 cm (8 inches) flat square. If the butter becomes too soft, store it in the fridge for 15 minutes before using.

Take the dough out of the fridge, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 20 x 40 cm (8 x 16 inches). Place the butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over the top. Seal the edges of the dough together to ensure the butter is completely enclosed in the dough.

Gently and carefully roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 20 x 90 cm (8 x 35 inches) (approximately 3 times longer than the piece you started with). Mentally divide the rectangle into three equal sections, top, middle and bottom. Fold the top section over the middle, and fold the bottom to the middle, like folding a letter. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge and rotate the dough 90 degree so that the dough will be rolled in opposite direction from previous fold. Repeat the rolling, folding, and resting process as above two more times. There will be three foldings and rollings (the term is “three turns”) altogether and you need to rotate the dough 90 degree with each rolling.

After the final rolling and folding, store the laminated dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before shaping into croissants.

Make the egg wash by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Take the laminated dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle about 25 x 100 cm (10 – 40 inches) with 5 -8 mm (1/4 inch) thickness.

Trim the edges of the dough so that it becomes a neat rectangle.

Cut the dough into triangles with 9-cm (3.5 in) base and 21-cm (8 in) height. Stack triangle sheets on baking sheet/papers and chill for 10 minutes.

Shape the Dough:

Take the chilled triangles out of the fridge and shape into croissants. Gently pull the tip of triangle to make the triangle longer. Working from the base, roll it towards the tip. Make sure that the tip is tucked underneath the croissant.

Place shaped croissants on trays lined with baking sheet or paper.

Shaped croissants can be kept in the fridge overnight and baked the next day. Take them out of the fridge next day and follow the proofing and baking steps as below. Brush the surface lightly with egg-wash. Cover the tray with tea towel. Let it stand at warm room temperature for 2 hours until it almost double in size. Croissants are proofed and ready for the bake when the layers become visible and the croissants are very soft and wobbly.

Bake the croissants:

Preheat the oven to 240 C (465 F)

Brush the surface of croissants with egg wash before baking. Put the croissants into the oven, then immediately reduce oven temperature to 190 C (375) and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until deeply golden brown.

Adding ferment to the dough mixture
Adding ferment to the dough mixture
Rolling butter into 8X8 inch square before putting in the fridge to chill
Rolling butter into 8X8 inch square before putting in the fridge to chill

Croissant preparation 1

Croissant dough up close - notice all the layers!
Croissant dough up close – notice all the layers!

Croissant preparation 2

Almost ready for the oven
Almost ready for the oven
Fresh from the oven!
Fresh from the oven!
Layers of goodness!
Layers of goodness!
 Croissants - bourke street bakery recipe
 

Poppy Seed Challah

The month of March was just not very productive for me in any segment of my life… After shredding a part of my finger early in the month, I didn’t have much desire to cook, bake or type. Lack of sunshine and warmth took its toll… I was so hoping for spring to come and all we got was snow and bitter cold. As I write this it’s still cold out, but the sun is shining, the trees and flowers are budding and it makes such a difference. I also took a few days off from work to spend with my family and to do the things I love – bake and paint.

Poppy seed challah

I really missed getting my hands sticky with dough and having the aroma of fresh baked goods around the house. All I could think of was to bake something good, warm and familiar and nothing sounded better than this challah bread topped with poppy seeds. Every bakery in Bosnia sells this bread. Their sizes range anywhere from a small knot, to an individual size challah to a large family challah. For me, it is an essential part of a good breakfast! It can be eaten just plain or spread with butter, jam, honey, paté or anything you may like. It can be used for a sandwich or for the bread pudding. It looks great on a holiday table!

I painted this while taking a break from baking
I painted this while taking a break from baking

Poppy Seed Challah

{print recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 500 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour (+ flour for kneading)
  • 21 g (0.7 oz) fresh yeast
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup + 2 TBSP) warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 50 ml (about 1/4 cup) sunflower or vegetable oil
  • ½ TBSP salt
  • Milk for brushing
  • 2 TSBP poppy seeds

Preparation:

  1. Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Make a deep indent in flour, add 1 TBSP of sugar and crumble up the yeast. Lightly mixing by hand, add ¼ of the quantity of water. Mix only inside the indent, just to get a small ball of starter. Cover and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the rest of the water with oil, egg and salt and stir well. Put the flour bowl back on the mixer and mixing at a slow speed start adding the liquid. Switch to medium speed setting and mix for about 3-, rest for about 3- and then mix for 3 more minutes.
  3. Dough will look nice and smooth. Cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Lightly dust your working surface with flour and knead the dough by hand for a few minutes. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on what you want to make, a three- or four-strand challah.
  5. Shape each piece into a foot long strand. Transfer all the pieces onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Braid the strands to form a challah. Cover the bread and let it rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
  6. Brush the bread with milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  7. Bake at 200 C or 395 F for about 35-40 minutes or until challah gets a nice,  golden-brown color.

***More about shaping a four-strand challah here.

Proofing yeast for challah dough
Proofing yeast for challah dough

Making challah dough

Making challag

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah