I am over the moon. To be able to bake your own bread is an extremely ecstatic moment, especially when you get it right on the first try. No more store bought chemicals and preservatives!!
I’ve cut off refined flour/maida as much as possible from my diet (though I still plan to use it for cakes, etc). However, bread, which has been an integral part of my life since my childhood days, had all but disappeared from my diet lately. Brown bread that is sold at Indian markets, are more often than not just maida bread that have been caramelized. For days, I’d been toying with the idea of baking my own bread, and after scouring almost two dozen recipes, I finally found a likeable one at Dassana Amit’s Veg Recipes of India.
I was a little worried about my yeast, so I made two batches of yeast for proofing, and used the other for making naan dough (which I shall make tomorrow and let ya’ll know about). I spent the entire day in extreme nervousness, worrying if my (a) yeast would proof (b) dough would rise (c) bread would bake (d) how it would taste…
Luckily, it all turned out well, and I am completely excited because my first bread is not just tasty, but healthy too. And now I don’t have to hunt for actual whole wheat bread! This bread is vegetarian, so no eggs… 🙂
- Whole wheat flour – 3 cups (130 to 140 gms for each cup = about 400 gms)
- Active dry yeast – 1/2 tbsp
- Water – 1 cup (for proofing yeast) and some more for adding to the dough later
- Sugar – 1 tbsp + Brown/unrefined sugar – 2 tbsp (optional)
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Ghee/Butter/Oil – 2 tbsp (I used light veg oil)
- Yoghurt/Hung curd – 2 tbsp
- Milk – for brushing on top of the bread
- Sesame seeds (optional) – to sprinkle on top
- Prepare the yeast for proofing by warming a cup of water (it should not be hot, or cold, should feel normal to touch, lukewarm).
- In the water, add the yeast and sprinkle a tsp of sugar on top.
- Stir and let it dissolve, and then leave it to foam for 10 to 12 minutes (it took me 20)
- Meanwhile sieve the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- When the yeast has proofed, make a well in the flour, and pour the yeast mix.
- Add the oil, brown sugar and yoghurt.
- Mix the ingredients with a spatula, and then prepare the dough.
- You can knead the dough using your hands, or use a stand mixer/bread maker or electric beater with the dough hooks, or even make it in the food processor.
- Add water if needed, in little bits, so as to not make the dough wet.
- The dough will be sticky, but smooth that will stretch but not tear when pulled.
- Brush water on the dough now, and keep it in a bowl, covering it with a damp cloth.
- Keep the covered bowl in a warm, draught free place in your kitchen for 2 to 4 hours (I kept it inside my oven for 3 hours)
- Uncover the dough. You will find it has doubled in size (refer pic below)
- Punch it so as to deflate it, and release the air.
- Keep kneading for about 10 minutes, to get a smooth dough. You can dust some flour on it if it’s too sticky.
- Now place the dough in your liberally oiled bread loaf measuring 9×5 inches.(I used my Borosil baking dish)
- Cover again and keep it to rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 220 C for 20 minutes.
- Once the bread has risen in the pan, brush it with milk, and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, or until hollow when tapped. (I found my bread was raw in the bottom, so I turned it upside down and baked it at 200 for 10 mins more)
Cut the bread into slices when cooled, spread butter, jam, jelly, peanut butter, nutela and gobble 😉
Note: all ovens are different, so please check the heat of your oven before you bake.