Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Whole Wheat Flour Paav Bun

November 17: Today is Homemade Bread Day
Bread has been around for thousands of years. Nowadays, people just don't have time to bake bread. The origin of this day is shrouded in mystery. but its purpose and benefits are obvious. The invention of the bread maker has taken a lot of the effort out of baking. There is no reason why everyone should not enjoy home made bread. It is healthier, higher in fibre content, and lower in salt and additives. Consider investing in a bread maker or borrow from a friend and get to baking home made bread today.

Your nose, your taste buds, and your whole family will be glad you did!

(Info source: Konchadi Vasanth Pai)
I suddenly realised about Homemade Bread Day after reading the above post by my senior friend Konchadi Vasanth Pai, in a social network group. Hence I hurriedly compiled this recipe article, and here I go!

Paav Bun or Pav Bread is a staple snack for Maharastrians and those living in Konkan belt. It is mostly served with the world famous Mumbai street snacks like Paav Bhaaji, Vada Paav or Maska Paav. In Konkan and Goa, it is served as Misal Paav, a mixed sprouts curry with paav bread. They call paav bread as ladi paav, and the bread is baked in sheets which have tiny buns sticking to one another, but can easily be separated.

This is a tasty traditionally made bread with simple methods. It is probably named as 'Paav' because of its size, one quarter of a pound of bread. We down South were not exposed to Paav bread until some of the North Indians set up chaat centers serving paav bhaaji. I first tasted paav bhaaji in Mumbai in 1975 at Lakhan's Paav Bhaaji and Kaala Khatta street food carts at the Five Gardens, Matunga. I used to go there daily with my friends Ananth, Vishwanath, Ajit, Anil, Panduranga and Ravi after dark and relish paav bhaaji loaded with butter, and wash it down with kaala khatta. Later when I visited Mumbai in 1978, I stayed at my brother's house in Mulund, but I used to go near Mukund market area and taste excellent paav bhaaji. At a bachelors' hostel in Bombay Central where my friend Alwyn Vaz stayed, they served paav bread with pork curry. I was wondering then, why Mangalore has not introduced that as yet! Very soon, maybe in 1980 Mangalore also started relishing paav bhaaji, thanks to a few street cart fellows and also to Hanuman Sweets Stall. By late Eighties Paav bhaaji was a favourite with Mangaloreans and we used to buy paav bread from Hanuman or from Nilgiri's in Balmatta.

Today we have every nook and corner of India serving paav bhaaji and vada paav. Yet, we get mostly paav bun that is very soft and spongy, not exactly like they make in Mumbai. We do get good paav bun at Nilgiri's or at a few local bakeries, but I always wanted to make this bread at home, ever since we started baking some breads. My experiment with paav bread from the dough made for Khaliat Al Nahal, the honeycomb bread proved 80% success, but that day we had power outage, and the bread didn't raise properly. Looking for a good recipe, I came across this blog Yummy Tummy, where the blogger Aarathi mentions that whole wheat flour is mixed with refined flour to make tasty paav bread. I imagined how stiff the bread maybe, and how close the texture maybe to that of the original Mumbai Ladi Paav.

In the deal to check if the recipe proves perfect, I didn't take step by step pictures, and I changed the volume of couple of ingredients to suit our taste. I also added some sugar to milk wash to get a 'kadak' or stiff and firm upper crust with a darker shade. This recipe yields about 12 medium size paav buns and 9 big ones. For step by step recipe you can browse following this link for the time being, and at a later date I shall update the recipe with good pictures.

You may buy paav bread from store easily and eat it in a choice of snack combo, but I guarantee you, once you start baking fresh paav bread at home, you won't compromise with ready made ones. The nice aroma that fills the kitchen while baking them is so appetising, you may eat one or two more than the ready made ones. Besides, whole wheat flour adds to taste, making this  a five star healthy bread with high fiber in your daily diet!
Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Flour - 1.5 Cups
Refined Flour(Maida) - 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons
Salt - 1 Tsp(or according to taste)
Sugar - 2 Tablespoons + 1/4 Tsp for milk wash
Active Dry Yeast - 2 Tsp
Warm Milk - 3/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon for milk wash
Warm Water - 1/2 Cup
Refined Vegetable Oil - 2 Tablespoons

Method:
In a saucepan,add milk, heat until it is luke warm.
Alternately you can warm it in a microwave for 10-15 seconds.
Take the warm milk in a glass tumbler or a non metallic bowl, mix in sugar and yeast, cover and keep for 10 minutes to proof/activate.
Mix 1.5 cup wheat flour, 1 cup maida and salt in a mixing bowl.
Make a pit in the center and pour the yeast milk mixture.
Knead well adding the oil, and water little by little, for 10 minutes, or until you get a sticky but firm dough.
Grease the bowl, apply oil on the dough ball, cover with kitchen cloth and allow to raise for one hour at warm room temperature.
The dough will have doubled by then.
Sprinkle little flour over the dough, punch it to release the air and knead again adding little flour for 5 minutes.
Roll the dough into a thick rope or log, cut into 9, 12 or 16 equal parts, shape each part into a ball, dust the balls lightly with flour and place them as close as possible to one another, in a 8x8 baking tin.
If you can't accommodate all the dough balls in one medium size tray, you can either place them in a single long tin or two small tins.
Cover the dough balls and keep for another hour or slightly more, when they double up again, stick to one another and fit snugly in the tray.
Mix 1 tablespoon warm milk with 1/4 Tsp sugar, brush this milk over the top of the dough balls.
Preheat oven at 180°C for 10 minutes, and place the tray on wire rack, bake for 25-35 minutes or until the bread gets brown on top.
Remove from oven, allow to cool down for 10-15 minutes, detach the bread from the baking tray using a butter knife and serve.
Apply little butter and warm them up for a minute in the microwave, serve them as Paav Bhaaji, Vada Paav or Maska Paav.
I relished them with Egg Burji for brunch.

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