Curried Onion & Chickpeas Bread
Yes! You got that right, this bread packs in all the wonderful flavors of curry and has a great texture from chickpeas. I am currently reading the book ‘High flavor Low fat Vegetarian Cooking’ by Steven Raichlen. Steven is a great chef and I have enjoyed many episodes of his show Primal Grill. He is one person who shares vegetarian grill recipes, as his daughter and/or wife are vegetarians.The Vegetarian cookbook is awesome and has so many recipes I want to make! But this bread recipe couldn’t wait, I loved the idea of caramelized onions and chickpeas in a bread. Also this bread recipe uses a simple sponge, which gives it more flavor. The original recipe makes two loaves, but I halved the recipe and made two 14 inch baguettes. I have also modified the recipe slightly, used some garlic (sorry! I couldn’t resist) less curry powder and threw in some wheat germ. These are completely optional.
And I’m so happy with the results. It is an extremely flavorful with a subtle sweet and a bold savory taste. The mashed up chickpeas give it a nice hearty texture. This bread would make a great appetizer, especially with some mild cheese like Brie. I like mine slathered with some butter.
Makes 2, 14 inch baguettes
Olive oil – 1 Tbsp plus for the bowl
Onions – 1 large (or 2 medium)
Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans – 1 cup (cooked)
Curry Powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Active dry yeast – 1 1/4 tsp
Sugar/Honey – 2 Tbsp (divided)
Water – 1 1/4 cup
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp plus 1/2 tsp
Unbleached All purpose flour – 3 1/2 cups (or up to 4 cups)
Wheat germ – 1/2 cup (optional, substitute with AP flour)
Egg white – 1 no. (optional, for glaze, use water if you don’t eat eggs)
Non-stick oil spray
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Cook the onions over medium-low heat until a light golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chickpeas and curry powder and continue sautéing the onions until a deep golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup warm water in a small mixing bowl and stir to mix. Let stand for 6 to 8 minutes: It should foam like a head of beer.
- Prepare the sponge: Stir 2 tablespoons warm water into the yeast mixture. Stir in 1 cup flour or enough to obtain a moist but shapable dough. Roll the dough into a ball and drop it into a deep bowl filled with warm water. It will sink to the bottom. After 5 to 10 minutes, it will rise to the surface. The sponge is now activated and ready to use.
- Transfer the sponge to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining water, the 2 tablespoons honey, the salt, and the onion-chickpea mixture. Stir in the flour, one cup at a time. Add flour until the dough becomes too stiff to stir: It should be dry enough to come away from the sides of the bowl but soft enough to knead. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flouted work surface. Wash the bowl and lightly oil it with spray oil.
Tip: I like to keep my bread dough more on the wet side. This helps in developing gluten even if you dough is under-kneaded. But this could be difficult if you are kneading with your hands. If you can handle a wet dough, let it be like that! This trck always works for me.
- Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky to knead, work in a little more flour. Note: The dough can be mixed and kneaded in a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large food processor fitted with a dough blade.
- Return the dough to the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm, draft-free spot and let it rise for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. (The dough can be allowed to rise at lower temperatures–even in the refrigerator–but the rising time will be longer.)
- Punch the dough down and cut in half. Pat each half into an 8-inch-long oval. Plump the ovals in the center and drop them, seam side down, into two 9-inch loaf pans greased with spray oil.
- Cover the loaves with dish towels and let the dough rise again until doubled in bulk. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Brush the top of each loaf with beaten egg white or water and, using a sharp knife or razor blade, make a series of parallel diagonal slashes, 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
- Bake the loaves for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm and nicely browned. The standard test for doneness is to tap the bottom of the loaf: If it sounds hollow, the bread is cooked. You can also test for doneness with an instant-read thermometer: The internal temperature should be about 190° F.
- Let the breads cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pans, then turn them out onto a cake rack. Let cool slightly or completely. (Bread piping hot out of the oven is very hard to slice.)
Note: If you want to form a baguette like I did, divide the dough into two portions. Pat each portion to about a 13-14 inch by 6 inch rectangle. Then roll the rectangle to form a 13-14 inch log. Seal the open end by pinching the seams. Seal the ends and tuck them in the bottom. Always place the seam side down. Then let the dough rise until double in bulk. Place the logs at least 4-5 inches apart on the baking sheet. Score the top of the logs with a serrated knife. And bake on the bottom third of the oven.
If forming a baguette is too difficult for you, then just divide the dough into two portions and shape eas portion into an oval of length 13-14 inches and height of 3-4 inches. The dough spreads horizontally while baking, so it is very important to give height while shaping. If you need more help, browse YouTube videos for baguette shaping, that’s how I learnt