Baking is an addiction! And very recently one of my readers got hooked on to baking breads. The romance of the yeast rising, the softness of a well kneaded dough, the red hot oven; and the hard/crispy outsides, yet fluffy moist insides of perfectly baked bread! Tell me if the last line didn’t excite you enough already!! This is called bread-o-graphy in my opinion, and its an addiction that will take everyone off, by a sweep!
Baking a perfect loaf is very rewarding and fills you up with pride! If you want to start eating healthy, steer clear of the bakery breads claiming to be wholegrain. They pump the bread with synthetic gluten to strengthen the slices and increase their shelf life. If you have accepted to eat healthy, then try making your own bread the way I do it. I make a huge batch at a go, then freeze one portion after the first rising, and bake one portion after 2 risings. When the other needs to be made, simply take it out of the freezer, to room temperature for 2 hours; the bread would have risen exactly as the first loaf. The only thing remaining before you could enjoy a fresh warm loaf of bread, is baking it!
Alternatively, you could also bake the whole of the dough, and then freeze slices of the baked bread. Even after a week of baking it, take it out from the freezer and straight to a hot tawa (pan) to roast and it will taste exactly like fresh toast!
But baking fresh bread will not allow you to use your toasters the way you would with a bakery brought bread. The synthetic gluten strengthens the bread enough to let the slice remain non-crumbly, something your fresh bread would not if you ever attempt at vertically toasting it. As a great tip, someone once told me to put the toaster horizontal and toast the bread likewise! Maybe that could work...
1 and ¼ cup all purpose flour (APF)
1 cup Ragi Flour (Finger millet)
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
1 and ¼ cup milk (lukewarm)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter/oil/ghee
1 tbsp instant dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp warm water
In a bowl dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, taking care that the water is not too hot or else it can kill yeast, not too cool as it will not excite the yeast as much. Add sugar to the yeast mixture and set it aside to proof in a draft free place.
In a mixing bowl mix all three flours and salt well. Now add the bubbled yeast mixture, along with 1 tbsp oil/butter/ghee and mix with warm milk to form soft sticky dough.
Knead the dough well with the reserved 1 tbsp of oil. If the dough looks nice a smooth and springs back up on indenting it, the dough is well kneaded. Let the dough rise in a warm draft free place for an hour to 90 minutes, till it doubles its size.
Once it doubles, knock out the air and put it in the loaf tin to rise once again, this time in the shape of a loaf. Oil the tin well before putting in the dough. Let it rise for another 30-40 minutes, till it domes up twice the size.
Brush the top of the loaf with some milk or honey and scatter on some rolled oats and flax seed (optional).
Bake the loaf in oven on to 200 degreeC for 35-40 minutes; keep checking it with a skewer after 35 minutes mark to ensure perfect cooking. The best way to tell the bread is ready when a tap sounds hollow from inside. Cool on a wire rack for an hour, before slicing with a serrated knife!
Viola, the magic happened! Beautiful fresh bread is made, to be had with a thick layer of nutella on top. The guilt kind of lessens, for the yummy sugar in nutella, u have added a good dose of ragi fibres in the dish. Balance is a beautiful thing of life! Cheers!!