Tag Archives: whole wheat bread

My good bread – a success story!

 

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I am truly a happy home-baker today. After years of trying to bake bread that has helped my family practice yogic patience, this time my bread had the better taste of sourdough bread. It is a chunky bread, due to the whole wheat flour. I made a little compromise with 100 gms of white flour to 500 gms of whole wheat flour.

I’ve forever tried to bring in almost the same softness of white bread in my whole wheat bread, with the addition of eggs, butter, flax seeds or yoghurt. All these variants have certainly altered the texture of the bread and given unique flavors to home made 100% whole wheat bread.

A rustic bread with just 2 hours of leavening and 2 hours raising (in hot climate), has been the best ever breakfast bread that I have made. Yes, that was the best best I relished in terms of taste of rustic bread to me, but I’m not sure, it would be appreciated as a blog post. My quest for better baking, if not for the best bread has never faded. It’s still on.

But, this time I decided to become a bit more professional to strike a balance with whole wheat bread. A Big Thanks to so many bloggers out there in the world wide web, who have helped me learn so much about the process of baking bread. So, this is not my invention, but my discovery of baking good bread which has already been analayzed by so many unknown friends throughout the world.

Now, I chose to take up the two basic necessities of baking bread –
1. Patience
2. Endurance

Apart from these two – the most important techniques –
1. Giving enough time for leavening – i.e. giving enough time for the leavening agent, which is yeast to grow well. This helps in softening the bread.
2. Knead the flour well – kneading dough by hand, strengthens the gluten strands that gives bread its structure.

I came across these beautiful articles on bread making very recently –
a. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-sourdough-bread-224367

Here, I was pleasantly struck by the intricate details.
b.

Flour, yeast, water and salt – a traditional loaf needs only four ingredients. So why are calcium propionate, amylase, chlorine dioxide and L-cysteine hydrochloride now crammed into our daily bread? Andrew Whitely, Britain’s leading organic baker, reveals how our staple foodstuff was transformed into an industrial triumph, but a nutritional and culinary disaster. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/the-shocking-truth-about-bread-413156.html, 

 

That was a shocking revelation of the hazards of quick leavening agents used by bakers for lessening the time spent in bread preparation. That was an eye opener for sure.

Special thanks to both the bloggers for such useful information.

I chose to try the basic bread recipe suggested by www.independent.co.uk  . A small change was made. I left the dough to raise overnight, instead of 2 hours suggested by the blog.  I think that made a lot of difference. The yeast had sufficiently grown and the bread had beautiful pores as a result.
Making Bread

 

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Ingredients

  • whole wheat flour – 500 gms
  • white flour (maida) – 100 gms
  • active dry yeast – 8 gms
  • sea salt – 5 gms
  • olive oil – just enough to grease the bowl and bread baking tray
  • warm water – 400 ml – 150 ml to soak yeast initially and extra 250 ml to knead

 

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Method of Preparation

 

1.Soak yeast in 150 ml (app. 1 cup) warm water for 10 minutes. Always do this to check for its active ability. If yeast does not grow/turn foamy in warm water, might be the yeast is not in good condition for bread baking. Do not use it.
2. Measure whole wheat flour, white flour and salt in a dry bowl.
3. Mix the foamy textured yeast water and extra warm water to the dry flours and mix with spatula.
4. Transfer to a clean surface and start kneading well with hands or kneader of a food processor for about 10-15 minutes. Kneading with machine might involve less time.
5. The dough should be moist and never dry. Add more water if needed.
6. While kneading, we can feel water getting absorbed into the dough and the dough becomes softer and stiffer. Keep scrapping off sticky dough from the surface and incorporate into the dough.
7. Grease a big bowl with olive oil and place the well kneaded dough inside.
8. Cover with a moist towel, aluminium foil or plate and place in a warm room overnight.

 

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9. The next morning you may notice the wonderful growth of yeast by raising of the dough.

 

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10. Knock the dough back to its sticky self.
11. Sprinkle little flour on a clean surface and start making a smoother dough, by folding for a few minutes – not as long as the first procedure. (search the web for ‘folding bread’ and you’d get to know the art of it)

 

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12. If you’d like to bake a single big loaf, fold into into one dough. If one prefers two smaller loaves, divide into two halves and roll into rectangulars.
13. Place the rolled bread in greased tins and let it raise for two hours.

 

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14. While the bread has doubled or raised a bit (some breads tend to raise in the oven), make slits in top and sprinkle little flour to avoid  drying of bread while baking.

 

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15. Preheat oven at 230 degrees C and place the bread tin for baking.
16. After preheated, reduce the temperature to 210 degrees C and bake for 30 – 40 minutes till the bread sounds hollow while tapped. Alter temperature according to your oven.
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17. I have had this problem of bread getting baked brown on top but the covered bottom area remains a bit doughish. I took out the almost done bread out of the tin and placed on a wire rack and let it bake for another 10 mins and it was done.

 

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18. Cool it, Cut it and enjoy it. Freshly baked bread tastes wonderful just out of the oven.

the beautiful crust..

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This one was certainly worth the effort!

Home made Plum Jam with Unrefined Cane Sugar (Preservative Free)

 

100% whole wheat Bread and Jam without store bought Pectin

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This post calls for some great adventure in the kitchen. From a person who started off highlighting traditional Tamilnadu dishes, with an open mind to learn cuisines of different countries, Baking Bread and Making Jam is of course an adventure. But it has certainly been a fruitful adventure.

Everyone aims at Healthy Food for the Family. Aiming at providing healthy food might mean many things –

Cooking-

a. food from scratch
b. with fresh, healthy ingredients
c. with unrefined food products like whole grains, lentils or unpolished stuff
d. that inculcates balance in all nutrients – carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins and fiber
e. that sticks to traditional foods
f. that involves less time to cook

and any other version that suits you and your family and more essentially the Family’s Palate.

My preferences of making food, starts from scratch and follow a traditional Tamil Grandma’s Household style.  Satisfying the taste buds that long for foods from different parts of the world, through specialties which can be cooked at home – from scratch with minimal ingredients, has been no less than a  beautiful, adventurous journey across the world.

So, my recent passion has been Baking Bread – 100% whole wheat and 0% all purpose flour. And connected to it, came the Making of Jam with no added preservatives or store bought Pectin.

 

The Nutty Bread

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Cooking Healthy Food might seem like a difficult task in hand. I chose the simple method of clinging on to all the above, especially understanding traditional foods – be it from any country or culture.

Simpler than this can be to just avoid processed food. That might not sound practically simple, but I assure, it is certainly a simple affair with loads of care and patience in choice of food stuff bought from the store.

When you go farther away from Earth, less the gravitational force and hence you float. A visit to the Local Super Market can be like a visit to Space, away from the true necessities of healthy living. While it pulls you or sucks you in, you float in the amazing aura and aroma of packed, refined junk basic items.  As your heart and brain is immersed in the tempting outer world of packaged nonsense, we tend to pick the most fancy ones, easy to cook and less time consuming. The next possible misery would be to fool oneself in the health benefits that has been quoted in the pack, and come back to the original world- Home, with more unwanted processed stuff.

It is so easy, we pick what we want, depending upon what had already tempted us and the beloved kids through advertisements. Now, we are proud owners of all those beautifully sealed packets – but, the proud owner of the super market is surely ‘The Winner’. That Super Market is indeed a Special SPACE where Losers are also satisfied souls.

Obesity and increasing health issues at a very young age throughout the world are things of real concern. This anxiety and uneasiness made me bake my own whole wheat breads and buns. The additional benefit of home made 100% whole wheat breads and buns  is the abundant patience instigated in the family. Truly, the chunky breads and buns need endurance to be consumed, after so many years of soft/store bought/ s0-called whole wheat bread.  Yet, the aroma of baking bread that fills the house and the satisfaction of having a healthy whole grain meal has become an addition. It has become our Sunday breakfast after a 6 day breakfast plan with power packed pancakes. https://dosaikal.com/2014/04/19/power-packed-pancakes-whole-grain-dosais/
My own… Dinner Rolls and Breads

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and buns…

 

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While I need to perfect my bread baking efforts, before I post a few breads and buns that I make, I thought of the best accomplishment for breads – Jams and Jellies – easily the most sort after store bought item. Have a glance on the package of Jams available, there would be a long list of ingredients for storage purposes. Why not make our own Jam with the minimal ingredients – truly only two needed – sugar and fruit.

What about Pectin, an important ingredient needed for the consistency of jam? This has been a learning experience.

http://healingcuisinebyelise.com/2012/07/questions-answered-is-pectin-healthy.html gives a detailed analysis on Pectin.

 

According to the USDA, fruits contain the greatest amount of pectin — all fruits are made up of at least 5 to 10 percent pectin. Peaches, apples, oranges, grapefruit and apricots contain the highest amount of pectin among fruits. For example, one small peach contains 0.91 gram of pectin, while 1 cup of apple slices contains 0.654 gram of pectin. http://www.livestrong.com/article/289067-list-of-foods-high-in-pectin/

 

The learning fact is that fruits can be direct sources of Pectin, to attain the exact consistency in Jams and what can be skipped is the store bought Pectin. The danger of commercial pectin is that it might be a chemical combination with artificial sweeteners.

 

Pectin Fruit content

Courtesy: http://healingcuisinebyelise.com/2012/07/questions-answered-is-pectin-healthy.html

 

Hence, for a healthy food style, just choose unprocessed food. A visit to super market is a necessity. But, having healthy choices makes all the difference. What is healthy is something to be understood with Precision.

Additionally, it also means preserving foods with natural preservatives – unbelievable natural ingredients available in your kitchen – also available in small shops and super markets – but not as a processed version but as a basic unprocessed raw material. Amazing isnt it? But what remains most important is that ‘We Need to Make Our Choices’ for a healthy life style.

That’s why it is time for a Jam with fruit and sugar alone. When I had beautifully ripe Plums, that also had a sour touch to it, I chose to make a jam with plum and unrefined cane sugar – no refined white sugar either…Hurray!! Why bother about Pectin from store – Plum has all that is needed to fix the jam. And that was a true Success – with a capital ‘S’.

Come along… let’s see how I made it.
Plum Jam with Unrefined Cane Sugar (No Preservatives or store bought Pectin)

 

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Ingredients

  • plums deseeded and chopped – 1200 gms (approximately 6 bowls)
  • molasses/unrefined cane sugar – 500 gms

 

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Method of Preparation
Part I
To disinfect the plums, take a big bowl of water with turmeric and salt. Leave the fruits in the water for 1/2 an hour.

 

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Part II
Before cooking the plum, there are two other things that are essential in the making of Jam-
a) Plate in the Freezer
Place a plate in the freezer and a few spoons- we need to check for consistency later by placing the jam in the chilled plate.

 

b)Sterilize the bottles with lid

 

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  1. Wash the bottles and lids to store jam very well with no food particles sticking to it.
  2. Take a big bowl and place the washed bottles and lids on sides.
  3. Fill water in the bowl immersing the bottles.
  4. Let the water come to a full boil.
  5. Close with lid and let it stay till the jam is done.

 

Part III

 

  1. Remove the plums from turmeric-salt water. Wash well and pat them dry with a clean cloth.
  2. De-seed and chop them into small pieces. Smaller the pieces, more blended the jam would turn out.
  3. Smaller pieces combined with slightly bigger chunks in-between, taste delicious with a candied flavor.
  4. Take a hard bottomed, wide bowl and drop in both ingredients -plum and sugar.

 

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4. One can also substitute molasses with cane sugar.

5. Let the mixture boil in open bowl, do not close with lid.

6. The procedure would take 45 minutes to an hour to reach the required jam consistency

 

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7. Check in between with the plate in the freezer- swipe a spoon of jam on the plate and cut into two halves. If it sets well and isn’t flowing on the plate, jam is done. Else, cook for some more time.

 

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8. When the jam has reached the required consistency, switched off flame.

9. Pour into sterilized hot bottles directly from stove and close lid tightly.

10. Do not pour hot jam in cold bottles, otherwise the bottles would crack.

11. Leave the jam to cool by itself. Do not engage in cooling by other means. That would affect the setting of the Jam.

12. Enjoy with home made bread or bun. Also try in tarts or pies.

 

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