Methi Paneer Bread/Fenugreek Cottage Cheese Bread
EVENT: FOODIE’S REDOING OLD POSTS #7
Old posts just get lost in the wide wide wide web unless they are very popular. Renu who blog’s at Cook with Renu has started a Facebook Group called Foodies_ Redoing Old Posts where every two weeks we can redo our old posts and share it on the group. What’s the advantage of doing this? Well, it gives us the opportunity to improve the write up, update photos and get comments. I’ve got so many old posts that need updating especially where the photos are concerned. This group with definitely give me the ‘push’ to prepare the dishes again for better photos.
I had some cottage cheese or paneer as its called in India, sitting the fridge. I know there are several ways one can use paneer, make sandwiches, make a curry, add it to rice, make paneer tikka. The options are endless. However, I wanted to use in an unconventional way. You know how sometimes you just want to try something different. Well, that was what I was feeling, ‘try something different feel’.
Usually paneer or cottage cheese pairs very well with spinach or dill. I had neither in my fridge and I didn’t want to get out in the heat to buy either. The only herbs staring at me from my fridge were coriander and fenugreek. Fenugreek it was, as I simply love the small variety that is available in Mombasa, its not too bitter like the taller version.
What is Paneer?
Paneer is fresh unaged cheese made from milk. Milk is heated to near boiling point and curdled using lemon juice, yogurt or vinegar. The curd is drained into a sieve or muslin cloth to remove the water. Its then shaped into a ball or slab and placed under something heavy to remove excess water. Its then diced or crumbled to use in curries, make tikka, fritters, sweet dishes, etc. Paneer or cottage cheese is widely used in India and is considered a good source of protein.
What is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a herb which normally grows to a height of 4 – 8 inches. Fresh fenugreek is widely used in India right from curries to flatbreads. Dried leaves called kasuri methi is added to curried to give it a distinct flavor. Fenugreek seeds are very commonly used in tempering for curries and dals. Its also a herb with impressive health benefits. It is believed to help in controlling blood sugar, helps in milk production for lactating mothers. It also has anti inflammatory properties which helps in ulcerative colitis, skin problems and is also believed to relieve back aches.
Best way to enjoy the benefits of fenugreek is to soak a tsp of the seeds in a glass of water overnight. Next day drink that on an empty stomach. Try and chew the seeds though they may taste bitter.
Coming to the bread, I am so glad I added fenugreek. The combined taste of paneer and fenugreek is really good. Hubby and I enjoyed the bread with some piping hot tomato soup. You can even toast it lightly and enjoy it with a slice of your favorite cheese. I’ve tried it with some Chili Monterey Jack.
Where to buy paneer and fresh fenugreek?
While its very common to find fresh fenugreek and paneer everywhere in India and Kenya, folks living in the western parts of the world, your best bet is an Indian Grocery shop. They sometimes have frozen chopped fenugreek. That too will work perfectly for the bread.
Lets get down to how to make this exciting flavorful bread.
COTTAGE CHEESE FENUGREEK BREAD
Makes 1 loaf
2 cups wheat flour (wholemeal,atta)
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour or bread flour)
1½ cups warm water or whey
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp active instant yeast
1 cup chopped fresh fenugreek (methi)
½ cup (approx.100g) tiny cubes of paneer (cottage cheese)
1 tbsp olive oil
extra flour for dusting
extra oil for greasing
2 tbsp milk for brushing
- Sieve/sift the flours and salt together.
- Add sugar and yeast and mix into the flour.
- Add oil and rub it into the flour.
- Add chopped fenugreek (methi).
- Add whey or water to the flour and form a dough.
- Dust the worktop lightly with some flour. Place the dough on the dusted area.
- Knead the dough for 10 -15 minutes with the heel of your hand, and folding it over.
- Or knead the dough in a machine for 7-10 minutes.
- Grease a bowl with some oil.
- Shape the dough into a ball. Rub oil over the ball.
- Place the dough in the greased bowl.
- Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for 1½ hours or till its double the size.
- Again dust the worktop lightly with some flour.
- Gently deflate the risen dough and place it on the worktop.
- Gently flatten it a bit using your hands.
- Let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Add the diced paneer or cottage cheese, spreading it over the dough.
- Gently fold the dough towards the centre. Shape it gently into a round or oval shape.
- Grease a baking tray lightly with oil.
- Place the shaped dough on the tray.
- Cover and let it rise for 45 -60 minutes till its double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
- Brush the top of the dough with milk.
- When the oven becomes hot, place the tray in it.
- Bake the bread at 200ºC for 10 minutes.
- Lower the heat to 180ºC and bake it further for 20 -25 minutes or till its golden brown in colour.
- Tap the bottom of the bread. It should sound hollow.
- Let the bread cool down on a wire rack.
- Slice and enjoy it with some curry, on its own or as a sandwich.
- Make them into rolls and serve with pav bhaji.
- Add fresh dill instead of fenugreek.
- Can use egg wash instead of milk.
- Whey is the leftover water from hung yogurt. I usually use it in breads, parathas and rotis.
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