i love baking breads at home. the whole process of making the dough, seeing it rising, the yeasty aroma when the bread is getting baked, the joy when you see the bread baked to perfection and finally the satisfaction when you serve the bread to your loved ones…… yes i love it all.
bread is one of the most important food in the whole world. every country has their own history, tradition and methods of making breads. in india we have flat breads like roti, phulka, parathas and even fried breads like poori, bhatura. the french have their own array and varieties of breads. so do the italians, so do the greeks… so forth and so on.
the portuguese were the first one to bring yeast in india, which produces doubled bread loaves. we indians started calling these double roti or double bread. even today double roti or pav as we call is the most common indian bread which is had with some of india’s favorite snack food like pav bhaji, misal pav, vada pav, bhurji pav….
in fact i never have memories of my mother baking bread…. but i do have memories of her making chapatis, parathas, pooris. mom would sometimes bake cakes, but in the pressure cooker. if the bread was needed in the house, it was purchased from outside. all the types of bread, my mom would buy from the bakery.
ditto is my mother in law. excellent in making indian breads. but for white or brown bread, it is purchased from outside. i guess most indian families are like mine. we hardly bake. no wonder the indian bread companies are doing so well in their businesses….
things are changing in the indian kitchen lately. with the internet, television, mass media… one comes to know of so many things which otherwise one would have not known.
just search brown bread on google and see the millions of results you will get. so just at the touch of a fingertip you have the recipe in the comforts of your home. now its your decision to make it or not. comforts & luxuries of technology….. hence baking is catching up in india, with most homemakers making their own cakes, cookies and breads.
so what does it take to make a perfect loaf of bread….
unseen intangible ingredients:
- love…. yes… the most important ingredient… not only for bread but for any food that you make.
- time – not much – just 15 minutes… the rest of the time the bread is getting leavened on its own without you doing anything… plus baking where the oven does all the work.
- patience – yes, some patience is required… patience in waiting for the bread to get leavened and then getting baked.
seen tangible ingredients
- flour – a good quality all purpose flour/maida.
- yeast – good quality and within the expiration date.
- warm water – remember warm… not hot or cool… warmth is the key…
what else is required….. nothing else… so why don’t you try making your own bread at home in your oven. doubtful or nervous?
there is nothing to doubt or fear. if the yeast is good, the water is warm… success at first step, which brings you success at the last step… when you slice the bread loaf for your family.
trust me… there is nothing like a home baked bread. once you start making breads at home, you won’t buy them from outside, atleast from the indian bakeries or breads from the indian bread companies. the readymade white breads are so dry and dull. also you don’t know what goes into it or how it is made or how much hygienic it is.
once the husband got a very healthy brown bread with oats & extra fibre… i checked the ingredients and they had used preservatives, additives, soy flour and extra gluten. it was also made with margarine…. margarine is alright to me but not soy flour or the preservatives and additives…..
some bakeries even use lard (pig fat). plus you never know the quality of flour, water that is added. i understand that many of us have a hectic lifestyle and making homemade bread is never on our list.
once you make your own breads, you won’t buy from outside, unless you are very very very very busy and occupied neck deep. i have stopped buying breads from out. all i have to do is just spend 15 minutes….
now 15 minutes is not 1 hour. even for making rotis or phulkas i spend 20-30 minutes. also to make some dal or sabzi i might spend more than 30 minutes. so it is just 15 minutes… out of the 24 hours i have 15 minutes to make a perfect loaf of bread for our breakfast, brunch and light evening dinners.
so what say… wanna give a try?
i am sure once you try you will atleast think twice before buying any bread from outside.
this is a basic recipe of making white bread at home, which is excellent for making toasts & sandwiches. the recipe is eggless and dairy free. though if you want, you can add some milk also (proportion mentioned in the details below). you can also make it into sweet bread by adding extra sugar.
if all of the above unseen and seen ingredients are added to the bread, you will have a perfect loaf which is soft, moist and heavenly.
so lets begin step by step recipe of homemade white bread:
1: heat up 1 cup of water till warm. take it in a bowl. now how do you know if it is warm or not. check it with thermometer?
nah… do it indian style… the way your’s and mine grandmothers would do. dip your little finger in the water. make sure it is clean … lol
if you feel the warmth and mellowness, the water is warm. if you feel a little heat or hotness, the water is not warm. wait for some seconds or a minute and then check again. add sugar to warm water and dissolve it. now add yeast. mix it well. you can keep the spoon in the bowl if it gets stuck with yeast. keep in a warm place for 10 minutes till the yeast becomes frothy. i have added golden sugar and thus the bread has a brownish tinge to it.
2: in the meantime seive the flour with salt. add oil and just keep aside.
3: aha… the yeast has become frothy…
4: add the frothy yeast to the flour.
5: first mix with a wooden spoon. the dough will be sticky. then knead into a soft smooth dough. if the dough becomes sticky add some flour. if the dough is dry add some warm water. grease the dough with some oil. cover loosely with a kitchen napkin and keep in a deep large bowl at room temperature for 11/2 or 2 hours. i used the same bowl in which i kneaded the dough.
6: yay… after 2 hours the dough has doubled up and well risen.
7: now grease a loaf pan. on a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough. this will deflate the dough. no need to knead or do anything. shape the dough and place it in the loaf pan. my loaf pan is slightly bigger for the dough. again cover and keep in a warm place for 45 minutes.
8: the loaf will double up again… with a serrated knife make a long slash lengthwise on the center of the dough not more than 1/4 inch deep. this will give the dough more room for expansion while baking. time for baking now. preheat the oven at 190 degrees C. place the loaf pan in the oven. bake for 40 to 45 minutes till the loaves are golden brown in color and the sides slightly contract from the pan.
9: hurray… the bread is baked… my oven browns the surface very quickly. so after 20 minutes i had put aluminium foil on the top of the loaf so as to avoid more browning. but the oven did its browning job
10: yet still some checking is required. remember the bread is hot and so is the pan. use oven gloves or thick kitchen towels. lift one end of the loaf to check for an even browning at the bottom. if the bottom of the loaf is pale, then keep it directly in the oven for 5 more minutes. check again. also tap the bread and it should sound hollow.
transfer the loaf from the pan immediately and keep it on a cooling rack. if you keep it inside the pan, the bottom gets soggy. let the loaf rest for 15 minutes to allow the excess moisture to evaporate.
11: now have the joy of having bread with your favorite curry or soup or just making one of your favorite toast or snack like i did. i made bombay veg sandwiches again with the homemade white bread.
white bread recipe details below:
- 3 cups all purpose flour/maida
- 1 cup water
- ½ tbsp dry yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil. i used olive oil. but you can add sunflower oil or even melted butter.
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup warm water
- ¾ cup milk
- warm the water.
- dissolve sugar in the water.
- sprinkle the yeast and stir.
- keep aside for 10 minutes or till the yeast bubbles up and froths.
- while the proofing is happening, seive the flour with salt.
- add the oil to the flour.
- now add the frothy yeast.
- with a wooden spoon mix everything.
- the dough will be sticky.
- now use your hands and knead the dough.
- the dough has to be smooth and light.
- grease the dough with oil.
- keep in a large bowl and cover loosely with kitchen napkin.
- keep aside for 11/2 or 2 hours until the dough doubles up.
- if it requires keep aside for some some more minutes.
- take the dough on a lightly floured surface. this naturally deflates the dough.
- now shape the loaf and place it in a greased pan.
- cover again loosely with the kitchen napkin and let it rise again for about 45 minutes till it fully doubled up.
- preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and bake for 40-45 mins till you get a golden brown bread.