Friday, 27 April 2018

Buttery wholewheat bread



The mercury has been bumping into the dreaded 400C mark for over a week now. The very sight of jackets hanging in a wardrobe makes one want to dive into a tall glass of iced water and not emerge for at least 6 months. Fans and air conditioners have become our best friends, and the very thought of stepping out is exhausting. 

The saddest thing about this heat wave is that my sourdough starter has been pushed to the back of the refrigerator, where, hopefully it will stay alive, if not very active. 

The only bright spot in this is that commercial yeast is still around, and one can find comfort in homemade bread!

These two plump loaves are made with 500 g of 100% wholewheat flour, 4 g of yeast, 10 g of salt, 30 g of dark organic jaggery, 20 g of unsalted homemade butter and 400 g of water (80%). 

There was a long, 45 minute autolyse pause after mixing all the ingredients, some hectic kneading, a 2 hour first fermentation phase, a 30 m second fermentation phase after shaping, and 25 minutes in the oven at 2000C.

The jaggery didn't add any sweetness, but it did add a lovely caramel hue to the crumb. The butter lent the bread an almost cakey texture - soft when eaten on its own, and crisp, yet not chewy when toasted. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Popped grain is not just for the movies


A stroll down the narrow streets of  old Pune makes one feel as though the last 100 years have melted away. I had gone there a few days ago to discover an entire street dedicated to cane baskets, but in a few moments, I was swept away into the last century.

I mean where else would you find a vegetable market that looks like this?👇


 Ever heard of a chemist who stocks his traditional medicines in unlabelled metal cabinets? I asked the chemist (who seemed only a few years younger than the cabinets) how he ever found anything, and he smiled and modestly said that he remembered where everything was. 👇

One of the treasures I found was a little shop that sold popped grain. There was no sign of pop corn, but the shopkeeper had vats of popped wheat, popped sorghum, popped rice and popped amaranth. I could see bits of skin sticking to the grain, which checked all the wholegrain boxes in my head!

I bought a bit of everything, with no clear idea of what I would do with it, but a few days later, these beauties transformed themselves into ... savoury granola!

I don't have a clear recipe yet, since I was throwing things in, roughly following the recipe for a chivda, but the ingredients that went in were:

Popped wheat, sorghum and rice
Peanuts
Sliced dry coconut
Oil
Mustard seeds and asafoetida for popping (seems appropriate doesn't it?
Salt, sugar, curry leaves, finely sliced green chillies and a dash of turmeric powder

I stuck the popped grain into a microwave for a minute or so to restore any lost crispness and then tossed them into tempered oil with the nuts.

A minute or so later, I had a huge tub of fun, crunchy wholegrain granola that tastes great on its own and out of this world with yoghurt.

Shall put up a recipe once I get proportions and nutritional info in place.

PS: I did eventually get to the basket street and I now own enough bannetons to last me a long long long time! 😎