My three-year-old boy brought his friend, the neighbour’s kid (a four-year-old fellow) to the balcony the other day when I was hurriedly clicking pictures of a loaf of bread I’d baked. It was amongst the last few pictures and I’d sliced up half the loaf and arranged the slices on a tray. Since the knife was nearby, I asked the boys to not get any closer, lest they hurt themselves.
As I was clicking, I could hear the neighbour’s kiddo whispering into my son’s ear: “Why is aunty taking pictures of that bread?”
“Because amma made it in the oven in the kitchen,” replied my son with an all-knowing air.
“No Ikshu. The bread comes from a shop. Only toast is made in the kitchen!”, the kiddo explained to my son.
“Noooo! My amma makes bread for me in the kitchen only,” sonny boy declared!
Can you imagine how I’d have been bursting with pride??? Moments like these are some of the most rewarding.
My son doesn’t always appreciate the whole wheat breads or cakes I bake for him. At times he asks me to buy them from the bakery down the road, just because the neighbours do that and he wants to do everything the way Shravan (the neighbour’s kid) does. He’s in the copycat mode right now. I normally try and explain to him that the bread at home will be tastier. If he still insists on shop-bought bread, I bribe him by saying I’ll add raisins to his bread, something the bread from the bakery won’t have, and then he normally agrees!
He also loves the mini loaves I bake for him in mini loaf pans. They are cute and give tiny 2.5 inch slices. They’re actually meant for teatime cakes and the like, but I love to bake yeasted loaves in it too. And the bread you see in the pictures has been baked in those.
The loaf I’m posting today is baked in those mini pans. They measure 5” x 3” x 2.5”. The loaf recipe is from Champa’s blog and it is amongst the best whole wheat bread you can make with Indian atta without any added gluten. This is the recipe I use most often after the Peter Reinhart recipe I posted yesterday. The bread uses orange juice for part of the liquid, which neutralises the bitter taste of whole wheat/atta and the little bit of baking soda acts with the citric juice and the yeast to give better rise to the bread, in the absence of any added gluten or in low-gluten flours. And no, you won’t detect the orange flavour in the final bread.
I use this recipe when I don’t have time to soak the grains and make polish like the previous recipe calls for. And I use this mainly when I’m making rich breads like cinnamon rolls. I adapt this recipe and use a combination of orange juice and cashew milk (since I bake only vegan; you could use regular dairy milk) in place of the water called for in the recipe and add orange and lime zest to the dough – it makes wonderfully soft and flavoured cinnamon rolls that are made completely with whole wheat flour! It can’t get any better than that!
If you have enough time on hand, you could also make whole wheat rolls with very little yeast and give it a longer rise like I’ve done in these hot chocolate rolls. All of these slow rise methods help the wheat in the dough rest for longer and thus bring out the taste of wheat much better.
And just to remind you all, I’ll be blogging all this month with some blogger friends. We’re doing only baked goods through April and i’m going to be baking mostly breads and all of them with whole grains and organic ingredients! Check the end of the post for goodies baked by my friends and more about our blogging community
Here’s the basic recipe to make one tall 8” x 4” loaf or three mini loaves (5” x 3”). Read the notes at the end of the recipe for savoury variations
100% Whole Wheat loaf with Indian atta (no added gluten)
Whole Wheat Flour – 3 ½ cups (Start with 3 1/4 cups and use more if needed)
Orange Juice – ½ cup freshly squeezed^
Salt – 1 tsp
Jaggery – 2 TBSP
Oil – 2 TBSP
Water – 3/4 cup
Instant yeast – 2 tsp *
Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
^You can also use ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice mixed with ¼ cup of plain water instead
*If using active dry yeast, warm the ¾ cup of water and add honey and yeast to it. Mix well, cover and set aside till it bubbles up, about ten minutes. Add this along with orange juice to the flour
Stir together the wheat flour, salt, baking soda and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add jaggery (see notes), water and orange juice into the bowl and mix with a large wooden spoon. Once the dough starts to form a ball, transfer to your kitchen counter and knead for ten to twelve minutes. You can add up to a quarter cup of water if the dough feels too dry. Add a tablespoon at a time
Oil the bowl in which you mixed up the dough. Do ensure that the bowl has enough room for the dough to double up! Move the kneaded dough back into the bowl and turn it around to coat with oil. Cover with a lid and set aside till it is almost double. Basically, the dough is ready to be shaped when you poke a finger into the risen dough and the indentation remains
Once well-risen. Shape the dough into a loaf
Grease an 8 inch by 4 inch loaf pan with oil. Place the shaped dough in the pan. Cover with a greasy sheet of plastic and set aside for the dough to rise higher than the pan.
You could preheat the oven to 190 deg C when the dough is nearing the rim of the pan.
Place in the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan, reduce the temperature to 175 deg C and bake for another 15 minutes or so until the top is a nice golden-brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom
Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack completely
On jaggery – if using regular block jaggery dissolve it in the ¾ cup of water called for in the recipe and filter out impurities, if any. If using organic powdered jaggery, you can add it directly to the flour
You must cool a loaf completely to be able to slice it neatly without any crumbling
Store the completely cooled loaf in an airtight box to retain its freshness and to prevent it from drying out
For a loaf of bread made with Indian wheat flour, this one has an amazing crumb and texture and slices very well. And because it has no milk etc., it keeps well for 3-5 days at room temperature without getting too hard either
For a savoury loaf, you can add chopped green chillies and coriander leaves to the dough. Dried herbs and/or chilli flakes also work well. Adding chopped sautéed garlic to the dough makes a nice garlic loaf. If making a savoury loaf, add about a ¼ tsp of additional salt. I’ve tried all of these variations multiple times with very good results