Baker and author of the recently-released Crumbs! Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen, Saee Koranne-Khandekar recalls baking bread at home for the first time when she was about 16. She says, “My mum used to bake dinner rolls at home so those were my first steps into breadmaking before I started my Bakery and Confectionery course, where, funnily enough, the first breads we made were also dinner rolls.”
While there has been a lot of debate on the various ingredients that go into making bread and whether or not the use of commercial yeast is good for health, Koranne-Khandekar feels that it is the most practical option. “While I am definitely partial to the taste of sourdough bread, there is nothing wrong with using commercial yeast as long as all the other factors are consistent and unadulterated--locally milled flour, regular filtered water, for instance.”
The author says that there has been a tremendous rise in bread baking classes over the years. She adds, “Classes are full and people are very keen on learning how to bake healthy breads, exotic breads from around the world, and surprisingly, even Indian delicacies such as Kulcha or Iyengar breads.” Incidentally, she hosts a bread making class tomorrow in Mumbai at APB Cookstudio, where she will teach participants how to make four different kinds of breads using recipes from her new book.
One of the recipes that she will be testing at the “Basic Breads Class” tomorrow is the rustic multigrain, a favourite with her family and made most often at home.
And if you’re keen to give the recipe a shot at home, here it is.
Rustic Multigrain Loaf
Baking time: 40 minutes
Baking temperature: 200 degrees centigrade
Yield: 1 medium-sized loaf
200g- Multigrain flour (multigrain atta; or 150 grams coarsely milled Punjabi chakki style atta + 50 grams ragi and/or corn and/or jowar/bajra atta and/or brown rice flour in a combination of your choice)
60g/2 tbsp- Wheat bran (available under organic brands at the supermarket or simply sieve regular atta to get coarse bran)
25g- Coarsely ground breakfast oats
20g- Fresh or instant yeast
5g- Sugar/raw sugar/honey
35g- Mixed seeds (use flax seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds (magaj), etc.)
90g- Butter or olive oil
180 ml- Lukewarm water (more or less as required)
A little extra flour for dusting
* Mix the yeast and sugar with the lukewarm water and keep aside until frothy.
* Place the flours, ground oats, seeds, and bran in a large mixing bowl.
* Add the frothed yeast mixture to the flours and with a firm hand, bring the dough together, adding more water a tablespoon at a time, if required, to make a soft dough somewhat the consistency of a chapatti dough.
* Tip onto a work surface and knead for 4-5 minutes, using the heel of your hand to push the dough further away from you and then bringing it back. This will help elongate the gluten strands.
* Rub the salt and butter together on the work surface until the butter feels light. If you’re using olive oil, you can skip the rubbing and simply mix the two together.
* Knead the dough into the fat and salt mixture to incorporate. Knead for 3-4 minutes until the work surface and your hands look clean (indicating that the fat has been absorbed) and the dough feels springy to touch.
* Return to the mixing bowl and cover with a plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and leave to rise for 40 minutes to an hour in a warm spot. This dough will rise considerably but not quite double. However, if you have the time, make the dough and refrigerate overnight or for 8-10 hours at least. This will help achieve an airier crumb due to enhanced yeast activity.
* If you have refrigerated the dough, bring it to room temperature (about 2 hours on the countertop) before proceeding with the recipe. Else, proceed as follows:
* Punch the dough to degas it and knead it briefly on a lightly floured work surface.
* Shape the dough into a ball, rolling it on the counter with gentle pressure to achieve a taut surface, tucking and turning as you go.
* Place on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet and leave to rise again for 30-40 minutes, misting the top lightly with water to prevent drying.
* Just before baking, dust the top of the boule with flour. Using a razor blade or very sharp knife dipped in flour, make a quick and shallow cross incision on the top of the dough.
* Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees centigrade until well browned on top and hollow when tapped.
* Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.