Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Whole Wheat Brown Bread

I am a lover of bread since I was a small boy. Those days in the Sixties we mostly got local bakery breads that were soft and spongy, made with refined flour or maida. We were conditioned to eating soft breads applying butter, sprinkling sugar over them. In Mangaluru, Vas Bakery, City Bakery, Ganesh Bakery, Prabhu Bakery, Harish Baker, PR Bakery and Famous Bakery were a few popular bakeries that make our daily bread before merchandised bakeries like Spencer's, Gyp Gyp Gee and Narans started making and supplying bread in big quantities. Nilgiris with their solo outlet in Balmatta sold some excellent breads.

Back in Bengaluru during the early Eighties, my cousin Premakar Shenoy used to hunt for French Loaf and whole wheat bread at Nilgiri's or similar merchandised bakeries. I had a taste of it all and I was graduated one step higher in appreciating hard and crusty breads as well! 

Around early Nineties, Manjarun Cakes and Bakes opened a sales counter in Joofri's in Saibeen Complex and started selling exotic breads like the Brown Bread. Our friend Rati Mahaveer, a foodie and also an expert cook used to tell us that they don't make it with whole wheat flour but they just add caramel to make it brown. Later we got very good brown bread at Cochin Bakery outlets in Mangaluru.

Rati's observation in the Nineties about caramel being added while making brown bread has helped me to come out with my own recipe for whole wheat brown bread recently, an improvement over the whole wheat flour paav bun that I've made many times. This is easy to make and very tasty to eat. It is crusty and stiff outside but soft inside. 

You can relish this as an alternative to chapatis, with any veg or non veg curry, as sandwich or just applying fresh butter or jam. Tastes good and good for health, as it contains wheat husk. I added little refined flour so that more gluten forms and the bread turns out soft like natural sponge inside. This recipe makes a standard size loaf of bread when baked in a 7"x3.5" tin.
Whole Wheat Flour - 1.5 Cups
Refined Flour(Maida) - 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons
Salt - 3/4 Tsp(or according to taste)
Sugar - 1 Tbsp + 1/4 Tsp for milk wash
Active Dry Yeast - 2 Tsp
Lukewarm Milk - 3/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon for milk wash
Lukewarm Water - 1/2 Cup
Caramel - 1 Tbsp(Or 2 Tsp sugar caramalised with 2 Tsp water)
Honey - 2 tsp(Optional)
Refined Vegetable Oil(Preferably Olive Oil) - 2 Tablespoons

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.
Add caramel, optional honey, and 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 over 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 log, tuck the edges to shape well into a bread loaf and place in a greased/lined 7"x3.5" baking tin.
Cover with an aluminum foil or cloth for another hour or slightly more, when the log doubles up and a dome like shape raises above the edge of the tin.
Preheat oven at 180°C for 10 minutes.
Mix 1 tablespoon warm milk with 1/4 Tsp sugar, brush this milk over the top surface of the log.
Place the tin on wire rack, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 minutes.
remove the foil and bake for further 15-20  or until the bread gets crusty and brown on top
Remove from oven, allow to cool down on the rack for 10-15 minutes, detach bread from the baking tin.
Allow to cool down further, until the bread feels just warm and then slice into 1/2 inch thick slices using a bread knife.
Enjoy eating fresh and hot home baked whole wheat brown bread.

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