Garlic bread – Khrushchev-style
Silvia and Ivan are perfectionists. I’m a big fan of their jewel of a blog mushitza. Silvia explains what the name means in Bulgarian:
Mushitza is my nickname and it means a midge, a little fly. Something so small but full of life and dreams, always flying in the clouds dreaming and creating impossible things that at the end turn out possible and full of passion just because of a strong will and a simple desire.
They spend hours setting up a single shot and they explain things in detail. I do not have their level of patience and I’m not very neat – I think that’s why bread making appeals to me so much. It doesn’t matter if your loaf is a bit wonky – it’s the home-made charm.
Mushitza set the recipe for Fresh from the Oven this month. They encouraged us to pitch in with our ideas for Khrushchev dough, said to be the favourite of Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev. The instructions for the dough were as precise as you would expect – invaluable as, if man-handled, it could have melted into an unworkable mess. But guided by S and I it was extremely simple. Then came the creative part – engage brain and think of fillings and shapes. They helpfully provided a link for inspiration (do take a peek).
Butter studs this dough like rough puff pastry in bread form which cried out for a garlic and parsley filling; little Bulgarian garlic breads. I played with the shapes and added some brie-like soft cheese to some. Tapenade from a jar came into play on one batch of dough in tiny pinwheels. I haven’t had a good potter in the kitchen like this for ages.
Thinking of another great bread and butter marriage, I used blackcurrant jelly in crescents sealed with the tines of a fork. Sadly, even half a teaspoon was too much and the filling leached out on the baking sheet to make lacy caramel. They tasted pretty good but wouldn’t be suitable to serve to the Queen if she came round for tea.
The teens swooped – the garlic buns and swirls were a hit and didn’t last long. I had to fend them off the black olive curlicues which were their favourite – I had plans for them with ‘un piccolo aperitivo’ (as Lucia would say).
This is really good-tempered and versatile dough. It would be great for pigs in blankets (or franks in blanks!). I thought the nibbles were nicer than pastry ones – and excellent with a martini, sipped early evening in the garden at the end of a long week (Russian vodka of course).
Khrushchev Dough (adapted from a recipe by mushitza):
40 g fresh yeast (or 10 g powdered dry yeast + 30 g water)
10 g sea salt
250 ml cold milk (directly from the fridge)
150 g unsalted butter, cut in small cubes, room temperature (NOT melted)
1 tablespoon sugar
500 g plain (all-purpose) flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 egg yolk and a little vegetable oil
For the parsley and garlic filling
1 bunch of flat leaved parsley, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic (or more, to taste)
Method (you can also visit Mushitza)
If using fresh yeast: Using an ordinary tablespoon rub the salt through the yeast block until it becomes liquid.
If using dried yeast: Mix salt and dried yeast, then add the cold water.
Add in the milk, butter, sugar and sift the flour on top. Mix with an electric mixer equipped with a dough hook until all the ingredients are combined and a soft dough forms. Alternatively you could use a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with an airtight lid or plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
The dough becomes firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly.
The next morning, take the dough out of the fridge, divide it in two and return one of the parts in the fridge. Start working with the dough immediately.
Dust the counter with flour and roll the dough out to 3 mm thick rectangle. Cut it lengthways and then widthways into rectangles. Place some grated feta, cheddar or other cheese you have in the fridge and roll the rectangles up into tight rolls (the same method that I used for the kiflice works well).
For the parsley filling, chop the parsley and garlic finely and mix with a dribble of olive oil and the salt to make a fairly firm paste (or blitz in food processor). Roll out your piece of dough in a rectangle, spread half the filling along one long edge and roll up like a Swiss roll. Slice into pieces. Otherwise fill little buns with them as before.
Arrange them in a baking pan leaving some space between them since they rise in the oven. Brush the rolls with a mixture of egg yolk, a few drops of water and a few drops of vegetable oil.
Bake in an oven, preheated to 180C, for around 15 minutes or until golden brown.