I bought my first oven and it was lying in the box for close to a month! While travel kept me busy, I was wondering where to place it for the perfect hot spot. The thought of handling a new gadget and not having worked with it before made me a little nervous and excited at the same time.
I’ve always been fascinated with bread baking but never had an oven to bake one. A lot of bloggers used to write about how bread baking can be soothing and indulging. I always wondered why and wanted to experience it myself. I got an opportunity to go for the bread baking class at the APB Cookstudio, one of a kind cook studio in India started by Rushina of A perfect Bite and her husband Shekar. The studio has individual work stations with high end kitchen equipment, a dream kitchen for anyone who loves to cook. My friend Saee from My Jhola was taking an intensive class on bread baking at the studio. Also note with no clue about baking and my oven still lying in the box, I registered for the bread baking class. With a hands on experience and we made different types of breads like white loaf, whole wheat dinner rolls,chocolate rolls etc. After the class, I gained a little confidence at dealing with ‘yeast’.
The next day, my husband helped me instal the oven and I was set to start my journey in “baking”. I couldn’t resist and had to kick start my new mission immediately. I chose to bake whole wheat bread over the all purpose or maida because I like the nutty taste of the wheat breads. However, no first timer will attempt at whole wheat bread; the reason being – whole wheat breads have a reputation for difficulty because it contains gluten, which doesn’t allow it to rise like the white flour or maida breads.
I enjoyed the process of kneading and waiting for the dough to rise. I cannot account how nervous I must have been going like a million times to check if my bread is browning well. I loved the aroma lingering in my house and for some reason I felt satisfied. Bread baking can lead to short lived simple pleasures of life. Do I sound addicted? I’ve only baked twice and on a mission in exploring more variations.
**The recipe is adapted from Saee’s recipe for whole wheat bread rolls, from the APB class with slight modifications. I used fresh wheat flour instead of packaged ones. If you’re using packaged flour, Saee suggests to add some wheat bran to give your bread a nutty texture. I used fresh/wet yeast, bought from the local bakery for 10 rupees, which will last you for 3-4 bread making sessions. You can freeze rest of the yeast for six months. I used raw sugar the first time and jaggery the second time – I found the one with jaggery better, but its a personal choice.
350gms whole wheat flour (use the chakki atta and not processed ones for better results)
2tbs wheat bran (**see note above)
1tbs (15gms) dry active yeast or fresh yeast (**see note above)
1 glass luke warm water
2tsp (10gms) sugar or jaggery (**see note above)
2tsp ghee/oil/butter ( I used ghee) & some for greasing
2tsp rock salt
for topping – sunflower seeds/sesame seeds/ poppy seeds etc
- In a glass of lukewarm water, dissolve sugar/jaggery and yeast.Allow it to stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the measured flour, yeast mixture and form a soft dough, adding more water if necessary.
- Cream the fat and salt separately and work into the dough. Tip onto a floured work surface and knead for 3-4 minutes until elastic.
- Form into a ball and return to the mixing bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave to rest for 20 minutes or double in size.
- Knock back the dough (punch it in the middle and let all the air escape) and knead again for 3-4 minutes,
- Shape the dough in desired shape and place the dough on the greased tray.
- Leave it in a warm spot for 20 minutes or double in size.
- Preheat the oven and sprinkle some water on top and top with the desired toppings.
- Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes or until the surface is browned.
- The bread sounds hollow when done. Brush with some olive oil and cool on a wire rack.
Store in an air tight container or you could freeze it wrapped in a foil for 3 months.
APB Cookstudio conducts cooking classes regularly. Sharing some of the bread baking class pictures.