Friday, August 9, 2013

Turtle Bread

Let me start by telling you that this is one of the cutest things I have ever baked…and it was a lot of fun too.
This recipe, from Betty Crocker, has been lying in my 'to try' list for almost a year now. I guess I was apprehensive because breads with yeast and I have not had a good relationship in the past. I understand that proper proofing is required for the yeast to work optimally and I have always tried my best to make it happen, but somehow the yeast just doesn’t bubble and froth for me! (Note to self, time to buy a food thermometer!).  
Earlier this week, I mustered all my courage, called out to all the baking super powers above and decided to make the bread…and I am glad I did, it was a lovely experience. Don't misunderstand my elation for eccentricity but it is true pleasure to see your dough rise and double in volume (I am sure other bakers will agree). Anyway, let's move on to the recipe.
I apologize for not photographing the entire process. I was finding it cumbersome to stop every few minutes, wash my hands, get the camera, take snaps and then go back to work. I promise that the next time I bake this bread, I will make sure that my husband is around to take pictures.
Flour – 1 ½ cups and more for dusting
Yeast – 1/2 tbsp ( ½ of a 7gm package. I used Red Star Active Dry Yeast)
Sugar – 1/2 tbsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1/4 cup
Milk – 1/6  cup
Butter – ½ tbsp + more for greasing the baking sheet
Egg – 1
Raisins – 4
Mix 3/4th cup flour, yeast and sugar in a big bowl. Heat the milk, water and butter in a saucepan, to 125°F to 130°F. I just dipped my finger into the mixture and when it felt hot I took it off the stove. Not the best way to check the temperature, I am afraid. But it worked!
Stir into the flour-yeast mixture. Add the egg and enough of the left over flour to make the dough easy to handle (until it stops sticking to your fingers). Remove onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about five minutes. The dough will be soft and springy by now. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile grease a cookie sheet (not required if you are using a silpat). Once the dough has rested for 10 minutes, you can start shaping. I decided to make two turtles, you could always make one big one.

For the body:
  • One ball for the head
  •  Four slightly smaller balls for the legs
  • One ball for the tail (shape accordingly)
  • Remaining dough for the body
Place the body(ies) on the cookie sheet. Take the head and place under the body, securing it well. Similarly, place the feet and the tail. The original recipes says to press the raisins(eyes) into the head but I found that the raisins were quite burnt by the time they came out. So my suggestion would be to affix the eyes later, with a drop of honey. 
Cover and let it rise for 20 minutes, in a  warm place. Meanwhile, you can turn on the oven and preheat it to 400oF. Before putting the dough into the oven, make a ¼ inch deep circular cut into the body and make a crisscross pattern on the top, for the turtle's shell. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Happy baking and bon appétit. 
Link to the original recipe: