Knedlíky (Czech Bread Dumplings)


Date Published: March 28th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 28th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: basics, easy, breads, sides
Serves: 4 small loaves (6-8 serves)| Prep time: 1.5 hours | Cook time: 20 mins (per loaf)

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As an Asian person, the term “dumpling” has always been known to me as pockets of meat wrapped in a thin dough so it confused me greatly when I learned that the European definition of “dumpling” is generally an overarching term for a dough without any filling. European dumplings can vary greatly in ingredients and textures and can be vastly different between different regions and countries. I was actually low-key disappointed when Toby first told me he was going to make Czech dumplings and it ended up being a bread dough 😂. Nevertheless, these dumplings came out super fluffy and was fantastic at absorbing all the delicious sauce on the plate.

Knedlíky is a traditional Czech bread dumpling that is commonly served in many traditional Czech foods, especially in those dishes that have a lot of sauce or a soup/stew to soak up the delicious flavour. The texture of knedlíky are very similar to Asian-style steamed buns or baos – in fact, they’re so similar that I’m thinking of trying to make bao zi with this recipe by stuffing some mince pork in them 😜. They’re fluffy and ever so slightly sweet. Although they’re like bread, you don’t bake or steam them – you boil them! I never knew you could get such a fluffy texture by boiling dough, it completely blew my mind when I first saw Toby’s mom make them.

These dumplings are traditionally made with ‘sharp flour’ or ‘continental flour’ which is a coarser flour made from hard wheat that is common in Europe, but actually super difficult to find in Australia in regular grocery stores. I followed this recipe initially to make these dumplings and used all-purpose flour instead but they came out too dense. I’ve since tweaked the ratios of the yeast and they came out perfectly the second time! This recipe uses all-purpose flour, but if you can get your hands on some sharp flour, feel free to follow the original recipe and see if you can notice a difference.

These dumplings are pretty easy to make, but please allow enough time to cook them all. If you don’t have a really big pot, you may have to cook them one at a time (which is what I always end up doing) and it takes 20 mins each time (allow 1 hour to cook all 4). Don’t crowd them in a pot – they will expand quite a bit while you cook them, but will shrink down a little once removed from the pot and cools down. Knedlíky also freezes really well wrapped up in cling wrap or aluminum foil – just steam or microwave them when ready to use.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups (325ml) milk
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 4.75 cups (635 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Microwave the milk until warm to the touch. Mix in the sugar and yeast and set aside for ~10 mins until frothy. Once the milk/yeast mixture is frothy, beat in one egg to the mixture.

  • Tip: Test the temperature of the milk by dipping your finger into the milk. If it’s too hot, let it cool down or else you’ll end up cooking the yeast. If it’s too cold, then the yeast won’t activate.
  • If your mixture doesn’t froth, then you’ll likely need fresh yeast.

In a large stand mixer bowl, add in the flour and salt and mix it around. Turn on the stand mixer on medium speed and gradually pour in the milk/yeast/egg mixture to the flour. Let it knead until you get a smooth elastic dough. If your dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. (You can also knead this dough by hand.)

Cover the tough with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to proof until doubled in size (~1 hr).

  • Don’t have a reliable warm place? See my method on how to proof your dough in the oven here.

Once your dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl, knead it a couple of times on a lightly floured surface to release any excess air bubbles and divide it into 4 even portions (you can use a kitchen scale for this or just eyeball it). Shape them into fat logs that are no longer than the diameter of your pot. Set them aside covered with a tea towel and let it rest for another 15 mins.

In a large pot, boil half a pot of water with 1 Tbsp of salt and drop in 1 to 2 dough logs at a time (do not crowd them. If you don’t have a large pot, you may have to cook one at a time). Boil for 10 mins, flip the dough and boil for another 10mins (20 mins total). Remove the dough log from the water and use a toothpick or chopstick to poke lots of holes into the cooked dumpling to let the steam out. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Let the cooked dough cool then slice. Ready to eat!

Tip: If you’re not using it right away, they freeze really well covered with some cling wrap. Steaming would be best when ready to use or microwave.

Summarized Recipe:

Knedlíky (Czech Bread Dumplings)

Date Published: March 28th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 28th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: basics, easy, breads, sides
Serves: 4 small loaves (6-8 serves)| Prep time: 1.5 hours | Cook time: 20 mins (per loaf)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups (325ml) milk
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 4.75 cups (635 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Microwave the milk until warm to the touch. Mix in the sugar and yeast and set aside for ~10 mins until frothy. Once the milk/yeast mixture is frothy, beat in one egg to the mixture.
    • Tip: Test the temperature of the milk by dipping your finger into the milk. If it’s too hot, let it cool down or else you’ll end up cooking the yeast. If it’s too cold, then the yeast won’t activate.
    • If your mixture doesn’t froth, then you’ll likely need fresh yeast.
  2. In a large stand mixer bowl, add in the flour and salt and mix it around. Turn on the stand mixer on medium speed and gradually pour in the milk/yeast/egg mixture to the flour. Let it knead until you get a smooth elastic dough. If your dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. (You can also knead this dough by hand.)
  3. Cover the tough with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to proof until doubled in size (~1 hr).
    • Don’t have a reliable warm place? See my method on how to proof your dough in the oven here.
  4. Once your dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl, knead it a couple of times on a lightly floured surface to release any excess air bubbles and divide it into 4 even portions (you can use a kitchen scale for this or just eyeball it). Shape them into fat logs that are no longer than the diameter of your pot. Set them aside covered with a tea towel and let it rest for another 15 mins.
  5. In a large pot, boil half a pot of water with 1 Tbsp of salt and drop in 1 to 2 dough logs at a time (do not crowd them. If you don’t have a large pot, you may have to cook one at a time). Boil for 10 mins, flip the dough and boil for another 10mins (20 mins total). Remove the dough log from the water and use a toothpick or chopstick to poke lots of holes into the cooked dumpling to let the steam out. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
  6. Let the cooked dough cool then slice. Ready to eat!

Tip: If you’re not using it right away, they freeze really well covered with some cling wrap. Steaming would be best when ready to use or microwave.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf


Date Published: March 5th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 5th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

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This is my copycat version of Starbucks’ lemon poppy seed loaf. It’s pretty much the only food item I buy from Starbucks back home. I don’t usually like loaves, but this one draws me in every time. It’s a moist fluffy cake bursting with lemon flavour topped with a lemon icing drizzle overtop. It pairs wonderfully with a coffee or better yet, a London Fog (essentially a vanilla earl grey latte). The loaf is delicious and full of lemon flavour on its own, but the lemon icing is what gives it an extra punch. If you’re not a fan of sugar, feel free to skip the icing but to me its my favourite part!

There aren’t many Starbucks in Australia and the ones that are here don’t sell this cake so I actually don’t know how close this recipe is to the ones at Starbucks since I don’t have one to compare it to, but when I have it it brings me right back to those memories – so I must be pretty close, right? Let me know what you think in the comments!

This recipe uses lemon juice. You can choose to use fresh lemons or bottled lemon juice. You’ll need lemon zest for the recipe so I tend to just use the juice from the rest of the lemon and top it up with bottled lemon juice if I don’t have enough. The lemon extract is optional in this recipe but I do find that it does have a slightly stronger lemon flavour with it.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

Cake:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsps baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (~1.5 lemons)
    • 2 Tbsps poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk + 3/4 Tbsp lemon juice, sit until curdled)

Lemon Icing:

  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsps milk

Directions:

(If you don’t have buttermilk, step one should be to mix 3/4 cup milk with 3/4 Tbsp of lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature for 10-15mins until curdled and use it in place of buttermilk.)

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F)

Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. You don’t need the parchment paper but it makes it a LOT easier to remove the cake cleanly from the pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds (optional). Set aside.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment or an electric beater, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 mins).

Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon juice while on medium speed.

On low-medium speed, add the dry flour mixture and buttermilk in alternations: add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk, then another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk, and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Allow each of the ingredients to be incorporated before adding in the next.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 mins before removing it onto a wire rack to let it cool completely.

Tip: If the top of your loaf is browning too quickly before the loaf is cooked, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil on top to protect it while the rest of the loaf bakes.

While the loaf cools, make the lemon icing by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl, then add in the lemon juice. Mix until combined. Add in 1 tsp of milk at a time until you get the desired consistency (thick and not too runny).

If you prefer a thinner icing to make it less sweet, then add more milk. If you want a thicker one, then add less milk (or no milk at all).

When the loaf is completely cooled, slowly drizzle the icing onto the loaf or pour it down the centre and let the icing flow off the sides. Set aside to let the icing harden. Once the icing dries and sets, slice up the loaf and serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

Date Published: March 5th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 5th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsps baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 Tbsps poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (~1.5 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk + 3/4 Tbsp lemon juice, sit until curdled)

Lemon Icing:

  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsps milk

Directions:

  1. (If you don’t have buttermilk, step one should be to mix 3/4 cup milk with 3/4 Tbsp of lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature for 10-15mins until curdled and use it in place of buttermilk.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F)
  3. Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paperYou don’t need the parchment paper but it makes it a LOT easier to remove the cake cleanly from the pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment or an electric beater, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 mins).
  6. Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla extract, lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice while on medium speed.
  7. On low-medium speed, add the dry flour mixture and buttermilk in alternations: add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk, then another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk, and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Allow each of the ingredients to be incorporated before adding in the next.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 mins before removing it onto a wire rack to let it cool completely.Tip: If the top of your loaf is browning too quickly before the loaf is cooked, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil on top to protect it while the rest of the loaf bakes.
  9. While the loaf cools, make the lemon icing by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl, then add in the lemon juice. Mix until combined. Add in 1 tsp of milk at a time until you get the desired consistency (thick and not too runny). If you prefer a thinner icing to make it less sweet, then add more milk. If you want a thicker one, then add less milk (or no milk at all).
  10. When the loaf is completely cooled, slowly drizzle the icing onto the loaf or pour it down the centre and let the icing flow off the sides. Set aside to let the icing harden. Once the icing dries and sets, slice up the loaf and serve!

Luxe Banana Bread with Espresso Mascarpone


Date Published: Feb 9th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 26th, 2021
Author: Abby | Category: dessert
Serves: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 1 hr

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To be honest, I was never a huge fan of banana bread but every time I make this recipe I get rave reviews. I never knew banana bread was loved by so many people! No matter how big the loaf turns out, there’s never any leftovers. Although banana bread has grown on me over the years, the only way I like to eat it is toasted with some salted butter over top or alternatively I’ll add in a couple handfuls of chocolate chips to the batter and get a more decadent chocolate banana bread. If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll make myself espresso mascarpone to top it off. My favourite part about making this recipe is eating the freshly baked crunchy toasted edges right as it comes out of the oven.

This banana bread recipe makes a beautiful moist loaf every time, packed with banana flavour. It’s the best way to use up over ripe bananas that have been sitting on the counter for a little too long.

IMG_4673
Yoke and I at the dog lovers show

This original recipe came from a good friend of mine, Yoke. She used to make banana bread all the time in vet school (and still do). When I was in NYC a couple years ago for a vet externship, I stumbled across a random little Aussie café called Two Hands and went in for a coffee. I saw a “banana bread with espresso mascarpone” on the menu and knew I had to try it. I still didn’t love banana bread at this point, but I do love anything that’s coffee-flavoured and the combination of these two got me excited. When it arrived, it was the most beautiful serving of banana bread I had ever seen. It was a nice thick slice of banana bread with a healthy serving of the espresso mascarpone, drizzled with a bit of maple syrup and sprinkled with puffed buckwheat. This was hands down the single best banana bread I’ve ever had. The different flavours mixed so well together – it blew my mind. I was determined to recreate it when I got back to Australia and who best to ask for a good banana bread recipe than Yoke? That’s when I started making this banana bread. I don’t always make it with the espresso mascarpone because a few of my friends aren’t fans of coffee, including Toby, (sometimes I wonder how we’re still together 😜) but if I’m feeling indulgent I’ll make a small portion for myself (recipe adapted from GoodFood.com). I do like to add in the chocolate chips to jazz it up otherwise.

*I haven’t had a chance to take any photos with the espresso mascarpone yet, but its coming!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Edit: I found the recipe for the Two Hands banana bread posted on a website a couple years after I started making my version. I haven’t tried making it their way, but if anyone’s interested, here’s a link to their recipe: https://camillestyles.com/food/two-hands-nyc-banana-walnut-bread-with-espresso-mascarpone/

Ingredients you’ll need:

Banana Bread:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
    • 3 large overripe bananas, mashed (= ~ 1.5 cups mashed)
    • 1.5 cups (360ml) buttermilk, at room temperature (or 1.5 cups milk + 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice, left for 30mins until it starts curdling)
  • + optional: 180g chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • + optional: chopped walnuts

Espresso mascarpone:

  • 500g mascarpone
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthways, seeds scraped)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 100ml espresso coffee
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • Maple syrup (for drizzling)
  • Optional: sprinkle with some chopped pecans, walnuts, pine nuts or puffed buckwheat

Directions for Banana Bread:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a loaf pan (9×13 inch).

(If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make it now at this stage by adding milk with lemon juice and letting it sit for 20-30mins until it curdles while you prepare the rest of the recipe.)

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Peel the overripe bananas and mash them. Set aside.

In another bowl, use a mixer and beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add in the white and brown sugar to the bowl and continue beating until creamed together. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla until combined, then fold in the mashed bananas.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next. Do not over mix. The batter will be slightly thick and a few lumps is OK.

Optional: If you want to make chocolate banana bread, you can stir in the chocolate chips at this stage into the batter. OR if you’d like to add walnuts, now is the time to stir it in.

Chocolate chips optional

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Feel free to sprinkle walnuts over. Bake for 45mins to 1hr (depending on your oven). The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

*Tip: If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking.

When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Serve on its own or follow the instructions for espresso mascarpone below!

Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The cake also freezes well up to 3 months. Just thaw and serve when ready to eat.

Optional: Directions for Espresso marscapone:

  1. Combine all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and use a stand mixer to blend everything together until smooth and creamy. Do not over whip or else it will split. Keep the mascarpone cold at all times. Serve on top of banana bread with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of puffed buckwheat.

Summarized Recipe:

Luxe Banana Bread with Espresso Mascarpone

Date Published: Feb 9th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 26th, 2021
Author: Abby | Category: dessert
Serves: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 1 hr

Ingredients:

Banana Bread:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
    • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed (= ~ 1.5 cups mashed)
    • 1.5 cups (360ml) buttermilk, at room temperature (or 1.5 cups milk + 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice, left for 30mins until it starts curdling)
  • + optional: 180g chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • + optional: chopped walnuts

Espresso Mascarpone:

  • 500g mascarpone
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthways, seeds scraped)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 100ml espresso coffee
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • Maple syrup (for drizzling)
  • Optional: sprinkle with some chopped pecans, walnuts, pine nuts or puffed buckwheat.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a loaf pan (9×13 inch).
  2. (If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make it now at this stage by adding milk with lemon juice and letting it sit for 20-30mins until it curdles while you prepare the rest of the recipe.)
  3. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, use a mixer and beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add in the white and brown sugar to the bowl and continue beating until creamed together. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla until combined, then fold in the mashed bananas.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next. Do not over mix. The batter will be slightly thick and a few lumps is OK.
  6. Optional: If you want to make chocolate banana bread, you can stir in the chocolate chips at this stage into the batter. OR if you’d like to add walnuts, now is the time to stir it in.
  7. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Feel free to sprinkle walnuts over. Bake for 45mins to 1hr (depending on your oven). The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
    • *Tip: If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking.
  8. When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Serve on its own or follow the instructions for espresso mascarpone below!

Storage: Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The cake also freezes well up to 3 months. Just thaw and serve when ready to eat.

Optional: Directions for Espresso marscapone:

  1. Combine all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and use a stand mixer to blend everything together until smooth and creamy. Do not over whip or else it will split. Keep the mascarpone cold at all times. Serve on top of banana bread with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of puffed buckwheat.

Cinnamon Rolls


Date Published: Dec 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: Dec 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 12-16 rolls | Prep time: 1hr 30mins | Cook time: 20mins

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A co-worker of mine one day was talking about how her goal over the weekend was to make cinnamon scrolls then raved about how amazing her first Cinnabon experience was in America. We then both agreed how ridiculous it was that Cinnabon decided to open up its first shop in Australia in Brisbane. Not Sydney. Not Melbourne, but Brisbane. Really??? Nothing against Brisbane, but it just seemed like a random place to open their first shop in the country. Our chat had me craving Cinnabon for the rest of the day. Unlike back home in North America, cinnamon rolls are not a common thing to find here – it’s actually near impossible and the only way to have it is to make it yourself (or go to Brisbane). I’ve made this recipe a few times in an attempt to recreate the ones at Cinnabon. It’s not exactly alike, but it’s pretty close! This recipe is adapted originally from All Recipes.

This recipe is not difficult to make, but there are a few steps to it which make the recipe look really lengthy and difficult, but I promise its not. You essentially just need to make the dough, roll it out, spread butter and cinnamon sugar, roll it up, bake it, then spread icing over top.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Dough:
    • 2.5 tsps (8g sachet) dry active yeast
    • 1 cup warm milk
    • 1 tsp white sugar
    • 2 eggs room temperature
    • 1/3 cup (76g) melted butter or margarine
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
    • 4.5 cups (720g) flour (bread flour is best, but all purpose flour will do)
  • Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
    • 1/3 cup (76g) butter, softened
    • 1 cup (230g) packed brown sugar (= 1 Tbsp molasses + 1 cup white sugar)
    • 2.5 Tbsps ground cinnamon
  • Icing:
    • 85g (3oz) of cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup (55g) butter, softened
    • 1.5 cups (195g) confectioner’s/icing sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • a pinch of salt

Directions:

Note the frothiness at the top when the yeast has been activated

Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, activate the yeast by dissolving it in warm milk with 1 tsp sugar. Set this aside for 5-10 mins until it turns frothy.

Mix in eggs, butter, salt and sugar to the bowl. Add the flour in gradually until you get a smooth dough and knead it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl covered with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (~1hr). (Don’t have a warm place? Click here to see how I proof my dough in the oven).

While the dough is proofing, make the cinnamon and brown sugar mix by mixing the two together. Set aside.

Assemble the roll: After the dough has doubled it size, knead it out on a lightly floured surface to get the air pockets out. Divide the dough in half.

Using a rolling pin, roll out one dough ball into a square until you get a rectangle about 2-3mm thick.

Spread half the softened butter over the dough and then sprinkle half of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture on top. Use your rolling pin to lightly roll over the dough so the cinnamon sugar is gently pressed in.

Roll up the dough semi-tightly from left to right so you’re left with one long roll. If you find the centre of your roll thicker than the edges, gently roll it out until it is roughly the same thickness. Cut up the dough into even 3cm thicknesses and place on a lined baking tray. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F). While the oven is warming up, cover the rolls with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until the oven is ready. Bake on the middle rack until golden brown (~15-20 minutes).

Make the icing: While rolls are baking, combine all the icing ingredients in a large mixing bowl: cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt.

Finish it off: Once the rolls are cooked, flip each roll upside down so the gooey cinnamon filling re-coats the inside. Spoon any extra melted filling over the buns. While the rolls are still hot, spread half the icing over the rolls. Once rolls are cooled, spread the other half of the icing over them. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • You can freeze the uncooked dough quite well and bake them separately for a quick snack or freeze them cooked and microwave when ready to eat.
  • Keep in an air tight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or in the fridge if longer or in warm humid conditions.

Summarized Recipe:

Cinnamon Rolls

Date Published: Dec 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: Dec 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 12-16 rolls | Prep time: 1hr 30mins | Cook time: 20mins

Ingredients:

  • Dough:
    • 2.5 tsps (8g sachet) dry active yeast
    • 1 cup warm milk
    • 1 tsp white sugar
    • 2 eggs room temperature
    • 1/3 cup (76g) melted butter or margarine
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
    • 4.5 cups (720g) flour (bread flour is best, but all purpose flour will do)
  • Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
    • 1/3 cup (76g) butter, softened
    • 1 cup (230g) packed brown sugar (= 1 Tbsp molasses + 1 cup white sugar)
    • 2.5 Tbsps ground cinnamon
  • Icing:
    • 85g (3oz) of cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup (55g) butter, softened
    • 1.5 cups (195g) confectioner’s/icing sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • a pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, activate the yeast by dissolving it in warm milk with 1 tsp sugar. Set this aside for 5-10 mins until it turns frothy.
  2. Mix in eggs, butter, salt and sugar to the bowl. Add the flour in gradually until you get a smooth dough and knead it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl covered with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (~1hr). (Don’t have a warm place? Click here to see how I proof my dough in the oven).
  3. While the dough is proofing, make the cinnamon and brown sugar mix by mixing the two together. Set aside.
  4. Assemble the roll: After the dough has doubled it size, knead it out on a lightly floured surface to get the air pockets out. Divide the dough in half. Using a rolling pin, roll out one dough ball into a square until you get a rectangle about 2-3mm thick.
  5. Spread half the softened butter over the dough and then sprinkle half of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture on top. Use your rolling pin to lightly roll over the dough so the cinnamon sugar is gently pressed in.
  6. Roll up the dough semi-tightly from left to right so you’re left with one long roll. If you find the centre of your roll thicker than the edges, gently roll it out until it is roughly the same thickness. Cut up the dough into even 3cm thicknesses and place on a lined baking tray. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  7. Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F). While the oven is warming up, cover the rolls with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until the oven is ready. Bake on the middle rack until golden brown (~15-20 minutes).
  8. Make the icing: While rolls are baking, combine all the icing ingredients in a large mixing bowl: cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt.
  9. Finish it off: Once the rolls are cooked, flip each roll upside down so the gooey cinnamon filling re-coats the inside. Spoon any extra melted filling over the buns. While the rolls are still hot, spread half the icing over the rolls. Once rolls are cooled, spread the other half of the icing over them. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • You can freeze the uncooked dough quite well and bake them separately for a quick snack or freeze them cooked and microwave when ready to eat.
  • Keep in an air tight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or in the fridge if longer or in warm humid conditions.

Cheesy Thai Red Curry Pork Stuffed Paratha


Date Published: August 19th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 19th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, asian
Serves: 8 slices | Prep time: 15mins + resting time | Cook time: 30mins

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Have you ever made too much filling for the amount of wrappers you have and didn’t know what to do with it but don’t want to throw it away? This happens to me more often than I would like to admit. Dumplings. Spanakopita. Curry puffs. Ravioli. Well get ready for the solution to all your leftover fillings: stuffed parathas! I got this idea from El Mundo Eats where I’ve had their Chicken Keema Paratha recipe saved on my “to make” list for ages. I didn’t have any chicken mince on hand, but I did have some leftover pork mince from making spring rolls last week and also homemade Thai red curry paste that I’ve been meaning to experiment with more. An hour later, this delicious creation was born! The pork filling tastes just like a Thai red curry with the use of my homemade red curry paste and coconut milk. I also added cheese to mellow out all the flavours and to help everything stick together more. I wish I took more photos of the process but I was just playing around in the kitchen and didn’t actually expect this to turn out sooo good! It’s kind of like a quesadilla but with more bread and less messy to eat. You can serve it with any kind of dipping sauce you like or eat it on its own. You could even make a sweet version!

Any filling should work with this dough as long as it’s not too saucy (it will leak when you roll it) and cooked. You’re not cooking the parathas for very long, so raw filling most likely won’t cook enough before the parathas are ready. I’ve made one giant paratha with this recipe but you can definitely split the dough and make multiple smaller stuffed parathas if you like – you’re only limited by the size of your pan. The dough is super easy and doesn’t require any yeast or proofing. You only need a few ingredients and minimal kneading to make the dough.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Paratha dough:
    • 2 1/4 cup (290g) all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2/3 cup (160ml) water
  • Filling:
    • 3 Tbsps homemade Thai red curry paste
    • 250g pork (or chicken) mince
    • 1/4 cup coconut milk
    • 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce (or more to taste)
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

*Note: In the photos I added half a cup of chopped black fungus because I had some on hand that I needed to use up. It doesn’t add much flavour to the dish, just an extra texture. I didn’t include it in the recipe list because it’s not a common ingredient many people have and isn’t essential to the flavours, but feel free to add it in if you like.

Directions:

Make the paratha dough: combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix with your hands until you get a rough loose dough. Turn the contents of the bowl out onto a flat surface and knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and you get a smooth ball. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Make the filling: While the dough rests, warm a skillet on medium heat and add the red curry paste to the dry pan to toast for a few minutes until some of the water evaporates and it becomes fragrant (~2 minutes). Add in the pork mince and sauté with the curry paste until the pork is nearly cooked, then add in the coconut milk and fish sauce. Continue to sauté until the pork is fully cooked and liquids evaporate. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. Place the filling in a bowl and set aside to cool.

Assemble: Once the filling has cooled and the dough has rested, assemble the paratha. Make sure you have a large pan 30cm wide that the paratha will fit in. If not, divide the dough into half or quarters and make multiple small stuffed parathas. Roll out the dough into a flat circle about 7mm thick. Mix the shredded cheese with the pork filling and pour the contents into the centre of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough together over the filling to form a ball, try to squeeze out any air pockets before you seal it. Make sure the top is sealed well. Gently press down on the dough ball to flatten it and then use a rolling pin and carefully flatten the ball in all directions until roughly 1cm thick. You may be able to see the filling just under the dough.

Cook: Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the skillet and swirl it around. Place the stuffed paratha onto the pan and cook until the underside is toasty and golden brown (~5-8mins). Brush a bit of olive oil on the top of the paratha then flip and cook on the other side until golden. Remove from heat and slice into pieces and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Cheesy Thai Red Curry Pork Stuffed Paratha

Date Published: August 19th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 19th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, asian
Serves: 8 slices | Prep time: 15mins + resting time | Cook time: 30mins

Ingredients:

  • Paratha dough:
    • 2 1/4 cup (290g) all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2/3 cup (160ml) water
  • Filling:
    • 3 Tbsps homemade Thai red curry paste
    • 250g pork (or chicken) mince
    • 1/4 cup coconut milk
    • 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce (or more to taste)
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Make the paratha dough: combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix with your hands until you get a rough loose dough. Turn the contents of the bowl out onto a flat surface and knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and you get a smooth ball. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Make the filling: While the dough rests, warm a skillet on medium heat and add the red curry paste to the dry pan to toast for a few minutes until some of the water evaporates and it becomes fragrant (~2 minutes). Add in the pork mince and sauté with the curry paste until the pork is nearly cooked, then add in the coconut milk and fish sauce. Continue to sauté until the pork is fully cooked and liquids evaporate. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. Place the filling in a bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Assemble: Once the filling has cooled and the dough has rested, assemble the paratha. Make sure you have a large pan 30cm wide that the paratha will fit in. If not, divide the dough into half or quarters and make multiple small stuffed parathas. Roll out the dough into a flat circle about 7mm thick. Mix the shredded cheese with the pork filling and pour the contents into the centre of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough together over the filling to form a ball, try to squeeze out any air pockets before you seal it. Make sure the top is sealed well. Gently press down on the dough ball to flatten it and then use a rolling pin and carefully flatten the ball in all directions until roughly 1cm thick. You may be able to see the filling just under the dough.
  4. Cook: Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the skillet and swirl it around. Place the stuffed paratha onto the pan and cook until the underside is toasty and golden brown (~5-8mins). Brush a bit of olive oil on the top of the paratha then flip and cook on the other side until golden. Remove from heat and slice into pieces and serve immediately. Enjoy!

So Easy Flatbread for Wraps


Date Published: August 19th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 19th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: breads, easy
Serves: 4 medium flatbreads | Prep time: 5mins + 30mins rest | Cook time: 20 mins (5 mins per flatbread)

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Flatbread is the overarching term for a flat piece of bread (duh) which encompasses countless variations from all over the world including paratha, roti, naan, pita, bing…etc. This basic recipe was adapted from Julie Goodwin and makes a flatbread that best resembles a paratha x pita with slightly crispy edges and a soft centre that’s perfect for wraps. You can even roll it out thinner and make pita chips for dipping! (If you’re looking for a more sturdy flatbread for pizzas, check out my basic dough recipe.) There are only a few ingredients you’ll need for this recipe and it is so simple and straight forward that you’ll never buy store-bought wraps ever again! You don’t even need to turn on the oven or proof the dough. Just mix the ingredients into a bowl, knead for a couple minutes then rest it for 30 mins and you’re ready to cook it! There’s no baking involved, just cook it on a pan for a few minutes on each side and you’re ready to serve. Easy, huh?

This recipe makes 4 medium pieces of wraps. If you prefer larger full-sized wraps then double the recipe and divide your dough balls into 6 pieces instead of 4. I love making these because I can control how thick, thin, or large I want my wraps and also control how crispy and toasty it is. I can make as many as I need and not worry about leftover wraps that might go mouldy in a few days if I forget to use them and there’s also no waste from food packaging. It’s a win-win!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 cups (300g) all purpose flour + more for dusting
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp (50ml) olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) milk

You can also sub the olive oil in the dough for butter to make it more buttery, but the taste difference is pretty minimal so I omit it for the health reasons.

You can also use whole wheat flour but the result will be a bit more dense and dry. It also won’t puff up on the stove and you may need to add more oil.

Directions:

In a large wide-based bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add in the olive oil and milk to the centre.

Mix the ingredients together with your hands by bringing in the flour from the sides of the bowl into the centre until you get a rough sticky dough. Knead the dough in the bowl (or onto a flat surface if your bowl is too small) for about 2-3 minutes until you get a smooth elastic dough ball. You can add more flour as you knead if your dough ball is sticky. Cover your dough with a clean tea towel and let it rest for 30mins at room temperature.

Alternatively you can also use a stand mixer for this step but there’s so little kneading required that I couldn’t be bothered getting out my machine and washing extra bowls.

After 30mins, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece out to about 3-5mm thickness.

Rolling it out thinner makes it crispy and difficult to use as a wrap without cracking (but might make some good chips for dipping!). Rolling it too thick will result in a doughy dense flatbread.

Heat a skillet on MED heat and when the pan is heated, add a small drizzle of olive oil (~1 tsp) and swirl it around so it coats the pan. Put a rolled out dough onto the oiled pan. After a few minutes the flatbread may form puffy pockets of air (some bigger than others) – this is normal but not all flatbreads will puff up so don’t worry if yours doesn’t. Check the bottom of the flatbread and flip it when you see toasted golden brown spots (~3 mins). Cook again on the other side until golden. Repeat this cooking method with the other 3 flatbreads, adding a small amount of oil to the pan each time you start cooking a new dough. Stack the finished flatbreads on top of each other to keep them soft and warm until ready to serve. Done!

Note: You can make these ahead of time and keep it in the fridge covered. Just microwave them when you’re ready to use or toast them in the oven until warm. You can also freeze the cooked bread or keep the dough in the refrigerator for a couple days, wrapped.

I used this flatbread to make a wrap with leftover garlic rosemary lamb roast, creamy mint yogurt sauce and quinoa with dill. It was SO good!

Summarized Recipe:

So Easy Flatbread for Wraps

Date Published: August 19th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 19th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: breads, easy
Serves: 4 medium flatbreads | Prep time: 5mins + 30mins rest | Cook time: 20 mins (5 mins per flatbread)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (300g) all purpose flour + more for dusting
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp (50ml) olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) milk

Directions:

  1. In a large wide-based bowl, mix the flour and salt together.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add in the olive oil and milk to the centre.
  3. Mix the ingredients together with your hands by bringing in the flour from the sides of the bowl into the centre until you get a rough sticky dough. Knead the dough in the bowl (or onto a flat surface if your bowl is too small) for about 2-3 minutes until you get a smooth elastic dough ball. You can add more flour as you knead if your dough ball is sticky.
  4. Cover your dough with a clean tea towel and let it rest for 30mins at room temperature.
  5. After 30mins, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece out to about 3-5mm thickness.
  6. Heat a skillet on MED heat and when the pan is heated, add a small drizzle of olive oil (~1 tsp) and swirl it around so it coats the pan. Put a rolled out dough into the oiled pan and cook until you see toasted golden brown spots on both sides (~3-5 mins per side) on both sides. Repeat this cooking method with the other 3 flatbreads, adding a small amount of oil to the pan each time you start cooking a new dough. Stack the finished flatbreads on top of each other to keep them soft and warm until ready to serve. Done!

Note: You can make these ahead of time and keep it in the fridge covered. Just microwave them when you’re ready to use or toast them in the oven until warm. You can also freeze the cooked bread or keep the dough in the refrigerator for a couple days, wrapped.

Za’atar Manakish (Lebanese Flatbread)


Date Published: August 2nd, 2020 | Last Updated: August 2nd, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: breads, easy, snacks, vegetarian
Serves: 8 (or 4 large ones) | Prep time: 1.5hrs (from start of dough) | Cook time: 10 mins

Jump to recipe | Watch the video

This is mine and Toby’s go-to snack. We divide a batch of basic dough and freeze them ahead of time and when we feel like snacking, we’ll defrost it for a couple hours, roll it out then spread za’atar over it and bake. It’s so quick and simple – in under 15 minutes we have freshly baked za’atar manakish. If we’re feeling a little more indulgent, we’ll sometimes use our defrosted dough to make halloumi cheese pies out – which is also super easy (click here for the recipe)!

If you’re unfamiliar, Za’atar is a blend of Lebanese spieces that usually include oregano, sumac, thyme, and sesame seeds. It’s packed full of earthy flavours with a lemon-y acidity from the sumac. I’ll admit when I first I tried it, I didn’t think too much of it, but Toby kept buying the manakish and after a few sneaky bites here and there over time, now I can’t get enough! Lots of shops sell za’atar but everyone has their own ratios of spices so they can taste vastly different depending on the brand. Our favourite brand is called “Za’atar extra” (pictured above) where we buy from A1 bakery in Dandenong. It’s on my to-do list to try and recreate their spice mix just incase we move and can’t find this brand anywhere else (I’ll post it if I’m ever successful).

Side story: This dish has sentimental value to me. When I first started dating Toby (my now fiancé), he took me to a small Lebanese bakery shop in Werribee called A1 bakery and ordered two cheese pies and an “oregano pizza” as he called it. Between the two of us, I’m usually the one introducing him to good restaurants and new foods. This is the first place he took me to that really impressed me. The halloumi cheese pies were to die for but the “oregano pizza” was just okay for me. As time went on, we’d keep going back to the bakery and the “oregano pizza” really grew on me (which we later learned the proper name was: za’atar manakish). After we moved out of the Werribee area, we had to drive 40mins to the closest A1 bakery in Dandenong to get the cheese pies and manakish, but it was worth it. It was magical every time. At our last trip, Toby surprised me with a packet of za’atar seasoning that the bakery sold and suggested we try making it at home during quarantine for some fun. After reading through a handful of recipes online, I made a compilation of them all and combined it into this recipe. We made it for the first time a few months ago and it came out A-MAZING! We’ve made it countless times since.

Back in 2018: Toby would take me to A1 Bakery for Za’atar Manakish and cheese pies all the time when we lived near Werribee

The recipe is a bit word-y but it’s actually super easy once you make it. The dough is made from the basic dough recipe which gives it a beautiful fluffiness if you roll it out thick and a nice crispy crunchy texture if you roll it out thin. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! If za’atar isn’t your jam, you can always turn the dough into halloumi cheese pies :D.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

Directions:

Make one dough ball from the basic dough recipe and let it proof for 1 hour until doubled in size (click here for tips on how to proof your dough in the oven). Once risen, punch the dough and knead a couple times on a floured surface to get rid of any air pockets. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (or bigger if you prefer your manakish larger) and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

In a bowl combine the za’atar with the olive oil and mix.

After the dough has rested, knead each ball a couple times on a floured surface then roll it out to 5mm thick (or to preference – the thinner you roll it, the crispier your flatbread and the thicker it is, the more fluffy it will be). Transfer the dough onto a greased baking tray. (It’s important to transfer the dough to the tray FIRST before spreading the za’atar otherwise it may get a little messy!)

I prefer mine a little crispy so I roll it out thinner here. If you want it fluffier, roll it thicker.

Mix and spread your za’atar mixture over the dough and bake in the oven at 200˚C for 7-10 minutes until the edges are golden. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving so the olive oil gets soaked into the bread. Enjoy!

Tip: If you don’t want to make an entire batch, you can freeze the divided dough balls by wrapping them in cling wrap and just defrost the dough a few hours before you want to use it. You don’t need to rest it, just roll it out and spread za’atar over it (use roughly 2 Tbsps of olive oil + 2 Tbsps za’atar per flatbread). This makes a quick and easy late night snack!

Did you try this recipe? I’d love your feedback or any comments on what you thought! Leave a message below and follow me on facebook and instagram (@polyphagicabby). 🙂

Watch the Video Tutorial!

Summarized Recipe:

Za’atar Manakish

Date Published: August 2nd, 2020 | Last Updated: August 2nd, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: breads, easy, snacks
Serves: 8 (or 4 large ones) | Prep time: 1.5hrs (from start of dough) | Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Make one dough ball from the basic dough recipe and let it proof for 1 hour until doubled in size (click here for tips on how to proof your dough in the oven). Once risen, punch the dough and knead a couple times on a floured surface to get rid of any air pockets. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (or bigger if you prefer your manakish larger) and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
  3. In a bowl combine the za’atar with the olive oil and mix.
  4. After the dough has rested, knead each ball a couple times on a floured surface then roll it out to 5mm thick (or to preference – the thinner you roll it, the crispier your flatbread and the thicker it is, the more fluffy it will be). Transfer the dough to a greased baking tray.
  5. Mix and spread your za’atar mixture over the dough and bake in the oven at 200˚C for 7-10 minutes until the edges are golden. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving so the olive oil gets soaked into the bread. Enjoy!

Tip: If you don’t want to make an entire batch, you can freeze the divided dough balls by wrapping them in cling wrap and just defrost the dough a few hours before you want to use it. You don’t need to rest it, just roll it out and spread za’atar over it (use roughly 2 Tbsps of olive oil + 2 Tbsps za’atar per flatbread). This makes a quick and easy late night snack!

Halloumi Cheese Pie


Date Published: July 14th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 2nd, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, vegetarian, breads
Serves: 8 pies | Prep time: 25 mins (without dough) | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe | Watch the video

Halloumi cheese pies are a common item in many Lebanese bakeries around Melbourne. I was first introduced to them by my partner Toby on one of our first few dates. He took me to a small little bakery in Werribee called ‘A1 Bakery’ that was the size of a two-car garage with only three tables and some chairs. They sold a few common Lebanese grocery items on a small shelf in the back. Toby told me that he used to get cheese pies and ‘oregano pizzas’ (which I later found out was a za’atar manakish) all the time back at home with his parents. I had never heard of either until that day.

I’ll be honest, I never even knew what halloumi was until a few years ago. It was the greatest find ever. It’s got a subtle taste like many white cheeses and it’s squishy – similar to Canadian cheese curds in poutine. My mind was blown the first time I had it grilled. When Toby told me that this bakery makes a pocket of halloumi, I knew I had to have it. It was amazing! It was like eating a pizza pocket but with glorious halloumi cheese. ❤

Back to present day in isolation from the pandemic, on a whim we decided to try remaking the delicious pies and the ‘oregano pizzas’ aka manakish. The results were spot-on and surprisingly easy! All you need is a basic dough and some halloumi cheese. I’ll post the manakish recipe too shortly so keep your eyes peeled.[Edit: The manakish recipe is now uploaded! Click here for the recipe.]

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! You can watch the video below to guide you through the recipe. If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Basic dough – a full dough will make 8 cheese pies. If you don’t want to make that many, you can halve the dough recipe or freeze half the dough for future use. I frequently make 4 cheese pies and 4 za’atar manakish with one basic dough recipe. Or alternatively, Toby likes to freeze the divided dough balls individually and just defrost one or two a few hours before making a quick late night snack. If you’re feeling lazy, you can also make this with store bought pizza dough.
  • Halloumi cheese, shredded – amount will depend on how full you want it. I usually use about 3/4 cup of shredded cheese per cheese pie.

Directions:

Start off with a ball of basic dough (after it has risen and you’ve kneaded it a couple of times).

Divide the dough ball into 8 equal portions. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 15mins to go through a second rest and rise (don’t worry if it doesn’t rise too much during this process). If you don’t have a warm place, you can use the proofing method in my how-to section.

Note: If you don’t want to make 8 cheese pies, you can wrap up the balls individually in cling wrap and freeze them for future use.

After the balls have rested, take each one out and knead a couple times (to release any new air bubbles that may have formed) on a lightly floured surface, then roll it out until about 3mm thickness. This dough does rise quite a bit so make sure your dough isn’t too thick.

Add shredded halloumi to half of the dough. Leave about 1-2cm away from the edge so you have enough room to seal the pie.

Fold one half over the other and seal the edges together. It doesn’t really matter how you seal it, as long as there are no holes. I pinch my dough edges and fold it upwards (you can see how I do it in the video).

Put your pan on a baking tray and bake at 200˚C for about 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Ta-da! Serve immediately. 🙂

Let me know in the comments if you tried this recipe! I’d love to hear from you.

Watch the Video Tutorial!

Summarized Recipe:

Halloumi Cheese Pie

Date Published: July 14th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 14th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, vegetarian, breads
Serves: 8 pies | Prep time: 25 mins (without dough) | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 basic dough (or store-bought pizza dough)
  • 6 cups Halloumi cheese, shredded (or to taste. I use about 3/4 cup per pie)

Directions:

  1. Get your basic dough (after it’s risen the first time and kneaded to release air bubbles) and divide it into 8 equal portions.
  2. Cover the 8 balls with a tea towel and set in a warm place for 15 mins (you can use the proofing method if you don’t have a warm place)
  3. After 15 mins, knead each dough ball a few times to release any new air bubbles and use a rolling pin to roll it to 3mm thickness.
  4. Cover half of the dough with halloumi cheese and fold the other half over it. Pinch the edges to seal it.
  5. Bake at 200˚C for 15mins until golden brown. Enjoy!

Note: if you don’t want to make 8 cheese pies, you can make only half of the basic dough recipe or just use half and freeze the other half for later or in another recipe. I frequently make 4 cheese pies and 4 za’atar manakish with one dough ball.

My Go-To Basic Dough


Date Published: July 13th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 29th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: basics
Serves: 1 large pizza/flatbread or 6-8 small personal pizzas
Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 90 mins to proof

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I used to hate making dough. Any kind of dough. No matter how hard I tried, it never turned out perfectly right – either my arms were tired from kneading or the dough would never rise properly. These days I’m singing a different tune. I’ve discovered the easiest way of proofing dough that always gives me fool-‘proof’ (hah!) results (click here to see how I proof my dough) and my awesome mother-in-law has been letting me use her stand-mixer which has made my life infinitely easier.

Apart from the stand-mixer and easy dough-proofing, this basic dough recipe is my easy go-to dough for almost everything from a quick snack to a main meal. I’ve used it for flatbread, pizzas, cheese pies, pizza pockets, wraps…etc – the possibilities are endless!

Do remember that this is just a BASIC dough. There’s no doubt hundreds of other fancier dough recipes out there, but this one was designed to be quick and easy. You can also easily customize it by adding spices, herbs, garlic…etc. to the dough for more flavour depending on what you’re making (be careful not to make it too heavy or wet) but I usually just keep it simple and then decide on my flavours later on when I’m making the dish rather than incorporating it into the dough.

Rolling the dough out thicker will give you a fluffier bread consistency great for pizzas and flatbreads, whereas rolling it out thinner will result in a crispier base (which is usually how I prefer some of my mini flatbreads).

This recipe is pretty straight forward but becomes a little wordy when I type it out so it seems like a lengthy recipe – I promise it’s easy. Watch the video below to guide you through it and you’ll see how quickly it comes together.

Ingredients:

You only need 6 basic ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry:

  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) warm water
  • 3 cups (432g) all purpose flour + extra for dusting/kneading
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil

This recipe makes enough for one big flatbread or pizza, or you can divide up the dough into 6-8 balls and make small personal pizzas/flatbread.

Directions:

Yeast mixture with a layer of white frothy microbubbles and some larger bubbles

First, activate the yeast by mixing it in warm water with the sugar. Stir until combined and make sure you have no clumps in your mixture. Leave this aside for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy at the top. (If your mixture does not become frothy, your yeast may be too old or your water is too hot.)

Knead until all ingredients are incorporated and a ball forms
Fresh out of the stand-mixer, slightly moist

In a stand-mixer bowl (or regular bowl if you’re doing this by hand), add the flour, salt and olive oil. Mix on a low/knead setting for a minute until combined, then slowly add in the yeast mixture. Knead until you get a smooth damp ball of dough and all the ingredients are incorporated – see photo above. (You can add a bit more flour if your dough is too wet.)

Smooth non-sticky dough ball after kneading in some flour

Take your dough ball out of the mixer and knead it on a lightly floured surface for a minute until you get a smooth non-sticky soft dough ball.

Place your dough ball in a bowl and rub a little olive oil over it (this will help it stretch as it rises). Let the dough rise in a warm place covered with a damp tea towel until doubled in size (~1.5 hours) OR alternatively try out my favourite way of proofing dough here.

Risen dough. Note the bubbles below, forming a airy dough

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch and knead it for a couple minutes to release the air bubbles. Your dough is now ready to use! 👍🏼

If you aren’t using the dough right away, you can freeze it by wrapping it in cling wrap. Be sure to freeze it asap before the dough expands more. Just let it thaw out to room temperature before using it. I like to divide my dough into 6 portions and defrost a portion at a time for an easy late night snack by making a quick flatbread or Nutella pizza. Mmmmm. There are seriously SO many things you can do with this dough.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Watch the Video Tutorial!

Summarized Recipe:

My Go-To Basic Dough

Date Published: July 13th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 29th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: basics
Serves: 1 large pizza/flatbread or 6-8 small personal pizzas
Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 90 mins to proof

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) warm water
  • 3 cups (432g) all purpose flour + extra for dusting/kneading
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 (125ml) cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, activate the yeast by mixing together the yeast, sugar and warm water. Stir to combine then set aside and leave for 5-10mins until frothy.
  2. In your stand mixer bowl, add together the flour, salt and olive oil. Mix on low/knead setting and slowly add in the frothed yeast mixture until the dough forms a sticky ball. (If your dough is too wet and not a ball, add in a bit more flour.) Take out your dough and knead it on a lightly floured surface, dusting with more flour as needed, until you get a smooth non-sticky soft dough ball.
    • If you don’t have a stand mixer, just mix the dough by hand.
  3. Once your soft dough ball is done, rub some olive oil over it and place it in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (will take ~1-2hrs) or alternatively follow my favourite proofing method here.
  4. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch and knead it for a couple minutes to release the air bubbles. The dough is now ready to use! If you’re freezing the dough, wrap it up in cling wrap and freeze asap.