Lakshmi and I began this blog some seven years ago. We set out enthusiastically and baked like there was no tomorrow. It was truly an obsession. Then life took over and we went on to do all or a combination of moving jobs, moving cities, marrying and starting a family. This meant responsibilities took over and time was short. We also grew older and all the sugary sweet baking was no longer an acceptable dietary choice. So without us formally closing this blog, it gradually fell silent. There were some attempts to revive it, but they remained sporadic and inconsistent. And then one day Lakshmi and I connected again over the phone. It was a warm, free wheeling conversation between people who hadn’t met in over ten years yet had a connection. It was natural that baking popped up. It was also natural that we both got excited about it. Keen to restart we decided that the rules of the game had changed. We now needed to forage/ create recipes that were healthy, could be relished by the family and didnt require too much time. The frequency of baking also had to be realistic. Back with our baking resolve, we present to you the Caterpillar Bread. I found the Caterpillar Bread while hopping through food blogs on a slow afternoon at work. A quick share over whatsapp and we were were both keen to try it out. We used the same bread recipe as we did for the Basic French Bread Rolls many moons ago on this blog. Its reproduced here for your convenience. The stuffing, of course, is your choice. Ingredients: For the bread:
- Maida – 2 cups
- Milk/ Water – 3/4 cup
- Yeast – 2 tsp
- Honey/ Sugar – 2 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
- Butter (optional) – to grease the top
For the stuffing:
- 200 gms cottage cheese (crumbled)
- 1 small onion (chopped finely)
- 1 small capsicum (chopped finely)
- 4-5 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
- seasoning : salt, red chilli powder
- Warm the Water/Milk. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Dissolve sugar. Add yeast and set aside for 10 minutes until yeast is activated.
- Add 2 cups of flour and the salt to the yeast and incorporate. Gradually add the rest of the flour and incorporate into a dough. Add the oil.
- Knead for 5 minutes until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Transfer to a kneading surface if needed. Cover and let the dough rise to about double its size – about 1-2 hours.
- Prepare the stuffing.
- Deflate the dough.Divide into two. Roll out each part evenly in an oval shape.
- Divide the stuffing into 2 parts. Place one part in the rolled out dough. Roll the dough 3/4th the way. In the last 1/4th part, cut inch long strips. Fold the inch long strips over the roll. On one end place 2 pepper corns close by to represent eyes. For a picture by picture guide you could look at this blog post.
- Allow a second rise ( takes 30 mins to an hour).
- Bake at 200 deg C for about 20-25 mins.
- Brush with butter and serve hot.
Mandira’s Notes: This cute looking bread is a breeze (as long as you have the basics of bread making in place). Its easy to shape and looks great. I stuffed mine with crumbled paneer (cottage cheese). Since I ran out of cottage cheese, I made one caterpillar bread and with the remaining dough, I shaped it roughly like a focaccia. I kneaded in some oregano and chilli flakes and topped it with olives and home made sun dried tomatoes. Caterpillar Bread
Lakshmi’s Notes: In many years that Mandira and I cooked our separate ways into life, my pot has remained boiling in the same spot, in the same job, in the same city, in such an epic state of sameness, that often people comment on how I look exactly the same as I did ten years back. Of course, they are being too nice, still I marvel at the sameness of my life. Mandira’s call a week earlier was like a much needed boost to reconnect and rekindle with all that used to once occupy personal meaning and joy. This is my tenth summer in Chennai, a city that earns complaining accolades for its heat even from those who live in deserts. Of course, this doesn’t mean the bread will bake itself, one still needs an oven. But liberties can be taken with the time for rise and second rise and so on. This is an especially forgiving recipe, the stuffing does most of the work, the dough need not be laboured over for hours on end in waiting and rising and sundry techniques of kneading. I stuffed it with panneer with some tomatoes, garlic and onions. A, the almost 6 year old, food critic at home, sealed it with her approval of ‘romba tasty’ – ‘romba’ is tamil for ‘very’.