Bread making, is a work of patience, love and most of the time it turns out to be pretty intimadating. I won’t, pretend that it’s easy, because it is not. Though most ingredients are readily available and easy to put together but the simple yet intricate techniques involved in the process makes it a journy worthy enough. After failing numerous times during last 2 years of baking I could finally make a good loaf and I am proud of it, the crust was good, the crumb was soft the bread was dense yet airy and flavors were on point. I would encourage people to bake a loaf for their own as it’s a beautiful feeling to bake one. One most important thing I learnt was to have patience and treat the dough with love, because the dough is a living organism and tbh love works.
This spiced bread loaf is inspired by methi ke parathe, i.e Indian flat bread with Fenugreek leaves. I spiced the dough with dried fenugreek leaves also called Kasuri methi, carrom seeds or Ajwain and chillies.
Ideally, you need a Dutch oven for this, but since I don’t own one I used a loaf tin covered tightly with aluminium foil, since the main trick is to not let the steam escape. That’s how the dough will have its optimum rise as the crust stays soft and moist, then you bake it uncovered for that great crust. Also it needs , a conventional oven or bread oven with temperature higher than 200°c / 400°F , somewhat around 230-240°c, but since I have microwave oven with convection mode I bake there and it reaches temperature upto 200°c so that’s that.
Well without further a do, let’s get started
Things you will need,
- All purpose flour: 2½ cup
- Whole wheat flour: 1½ cup
- Active dry yeast: 1tbsp
- Sugar: 1tsp
- Olive oil : 2-3 tbsp
- Kasuri methi/ dried fenugreek leaves: 1.5 tbsp
- Ajwain/ carom seeds: 1tsp
- Chilli flakes
- Sesame Seeds
- Nigella seeds
How I made it,
- Mix yeast and sugar in luke warm water ( warm to touch ), stir , keep aside till bubbles appear
- In a kneading bowl, take both of your flours and add salt mix well
- Pour in the yeast mix, 1tbsp of olive oil and mix to make a saggy dough . Add more luke warm water if needed
- Cover the bowl with cling film and then with kitchen towel and keep at a warm place.
- After 1.5-2 hours, take it out. Dough must have doubled in volume, This is your 1st rise. Deflate it, and pull the sides to the center and make round dough. Cover it again like before. Keep aside for around 8-10 hours / best over night
- Next day after around 18hours you have your dough with matured yeast flavor and full of aur bubbles. Add in your spices and knead the dough to mix everything together. Keep covered for a another 1 hour for final rise.
- Preheat the oven at 200°c ( or above if possible )
- In a loaf tin , place a parchment paper, dust with flour, place the dough in. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle sesame seeds, Nigella seeds and some more Fenugreek leaves. Take a sharp knife or blade make patterns on the dough surface, this is called scoring which is very important as it will help to release steam and give it a better rise. Keep it aside for another hour for final proof.
- Cover the loaf tin with foil tightly, making sure your dough has enough space to rise.
- Put the tin in the oven and bake for 35-40 mins covered and then 20-25 mins uncovered .
- Your loaf is ready when you tap it and it sounds hollow.
- Take the tin out and put on a wire rack to cool down completely. This is must you have to wait till it cools down completely.
- And you are done!
This loaf, goes great lightly toasted with butter as a side with tea. Also you can make grilled cheese or cheese toast . I made ham and cheese toast. By toasting the bread on a grill with butter. Then put some emmental cheese and grilled again. Place cold cut ham and sprinkled some permesan . But you can eat it in anyway you want.
Do try and let me know.
With love, Petuk Bong.