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Breads, Buns, and the Night of Barat - BD Updated
Home / LIFESTYLE / Breads, Buns, and the Night of Barat

Breads, Buns, and the Night of Barat

Believer or not, some rituals are to be cherished and celebrated forever. Shab-e-Barat is one such tradition, not only for its religious aspects but also for the social side of it. How beautiful were those days of crochet-covered assortments of sweets made with a lot of love and sent with wishes of prosperity to relatives, friends and neighbours!

Times have changed and so have the ways of making food, so maybe it’s time to go a step further and bring about a global twist to the main accompaniment to the Shab-e-Barat delicacies – the humble “ruti” so to speak. You can make use of your oven during Shab-e-Barat so you can add some unique items to your food tray. All you need to do is think outside the box a little and match the breads and buns to the sweets and savoury items you are cooking up for the festive evening. Pita for both sweet and savoury dishes and some sweet buns filled with haluas of your choice will surely add some innovation to the menu. And who knows, the fragrance of baking may bring you good luck on the holy night.

SEMOLINA BUNS
Ingredients

For the semolina filling
1 cup semolina
1 cup white sugar
1 cup milk
1 large stick cinnamon
1 cardamom pod
1 tbsp ghee (optional)

For the dough
4 cups bread flour
2 eggs (1 for the dough and 1 for the egg wash)
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp yeast
2 tbsp milk powder
½ – ¾ cup warm water

 Method

For the semolina filling, roast the semolina in a dry pan until fragrant. Take care not to burn it. Turn the heat off and pour in milk, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and ghee. Stir well. Turn on the heat and let the milk bubble. Lower the heat and keep on stirring until it thickens and the consistency is halua-like. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Discard the cinnamon and cardamom and keep aside. For the dough, mix everything together except the oil and butter. Bring everything together and later add in the butter and knead for 10 minutes by hand until the dough is soft and elastic. Apply the oil and cover with cling film for 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size. Punch down the dough and divide it into 30 balls. Slightly flatten each ball of dough and place a tablespoon of the semolina filling in each ball, then pull the dough and twist it to cover the semolina, and tuck in the twisted ends. Place on a greased baking tray; you may want to place them upside down; let it rise for another hour. Apply the egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbsp water + 1 tbsp milk mixed together). Preheat the oven to 200°C for 10 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. This can also be made with “but er halua” or “khirsha” filling. These buns can be stored for 2 days at room temperature and can be kept in the fridge for one week. Microwave for 30 seconds before serving.

SAFFRON-CUSTARD BREAD
Ingredients

6 tbsp butter, melted
1 ¼ cup lukewarm milk
2 tsp dry active yeast
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
4 cups flour
½ cup coconut flakes

VANILLA CUSTARD
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp saffron threads
2 egg yolks beaten
Icing
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Method
To make the buns, mix the butter, milk, yeast, sugar, salt, cardamom and flour. On a lightly floured surface knead to form a ball. Cover and let it rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 220°C. Divide the ball of dough into 12 equal parts; using your thumb punch down a hollow in each ball. Set aside. To make the custard, place the milk, saffron, and egg yolks in a double boiler. Slowly add in the flour, stirring often to mix well, as this will prevent clumps from forming. Bring to a light boil while mixing, and until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl to allow the custard to cool. Once cooled, spoon custard into the hollow of each ball. Place the dough balls on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

SPICY-SWEET BUNS
Ingredients
1 cup milk ?
4 to 5 cardamom pods (12-15 more, for garnishing)
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1/3 cup white sugar ?
1/3 cup butter ?
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour ?
1/2 teaspoon salt ?        ?
2 eggs ?
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method
In a saucepan, heat up the milk with cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg powder, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, and combine sugar and butter with the milk, and then lower the heat further. Remove from the heat, discard the cardamom and cinnamon and stir in the yeast. Let it stand until foamy, which should take about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Mix in the eggs, oil, and the yeast mixture. Mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, which should also take about 10 minutes. Grease a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn once to coat. Cover and let it rest in a warm place about 1 hour or until double in size. Use the remaining oil to grease a cookie sheet or 9×13 inch pan. Punch down dough and divide into 12-15 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and place them into the greased baking pan side by side. Place one cardamom at the centre of the top of each ball. Let the dough rise further for 20 to 25 minutes, or until almost double. Preheat oven to 190°C. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until rolls are golden brown.

RAISIN BRAID
Ingredients

1 tsp active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
3 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup golden raisins
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Method
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter, eggs, salt and 3 cups flour and beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough and stir in the raisins. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, for about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, which should take about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into six portions. Shape each into a 12 inch rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid, and pinch the ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining ropes. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Brush with egg, sprinkle with almonds, and bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

BAKED PITA
Ingredients
6 cups flour
2 ½ cups warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp or more olive oil
½ tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Method
In a small bowl add ½ cup of the warm water, sprinkle a pinch of sugar, and then and the yeast and stir. Keep aside for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature. In a large bowl mix the rest of the warm water with flour, salt and olive oil with a wooden spoon. After the yeast has frothed, add the yeast mixture and knead into a soft, smooth dough. Keep the dough moist and soft as well as smooth and springy. Place the dough into a greased container or in the same bowl with some olive oil applied all over the dough. Cover with a kitchen napkin and keep at room temperature for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove the dough from the bowl. Put the dough on your working surface and deflate the dough gently. Make medium sized balls from the dough. Dust your working surface with flour and roll each ball into round circles of about 6 inch about ¼ inch thick. Cover the circles with the kitchen towel loosely and let them rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Place them on a floured tray and bake at 200°C in a preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until puffed up and light brown. Cut into four triangles and serve.

By Sharmin Rahman
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed

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