I love baking, especially cakes of different types and varieties. But to bake a cake I need a lot of mental preparation. I blame my perfectionist nature for that. But the thing which I can bake at the drop of the hat is “bread”, because of the simple reason that it never fails. Yes, you have read it right. It never fails and every time I bake bread it turns out to be the same soft and fluffy one giving me enough satisfaction, inspiration and approval to bake more! I attribute this success to my patience and of of course to the recipe and measurement that I follow.
The first and the most important ingredient in making bread is undoubtedly “yeast”. Initially, I used to use fresh yeast. Undeniably, fresh yeast is a good option provided you can handle it. Somehow, I always found it to be unmanageable and messy. For me, the active dry yeast works just fine. I find it to be convenient and it always yields good result. But this is my personal experience! Proofing the yeast is very important. Though the popular belief is that active dry yeast can be added directly to the flour, I prefer to proof it before adding to the flour just to be doubly sure that the yeast is active!
Here I would like to mention one thing that as I bake bread very frequently, I have tried making it with flour (most common option), flour mixed with whole wheat flour in 60/40 proportion, and with multigrain wheat flour as well. But honestly, the bread with wheat flour turns out to be denser than the bread with all-purpose flour!
I have tried making this bread more healthily by adding 50% multigrain whole wheat flour to all-purpose flour and by adding Oats and lots of seeds like pumpkin seeds, melon, chia and sesame seeds and finally rolled in Oats to give it a grainy texture. The end result was a gluten-free healthy home-baked bread!
Mode of cooking- Baking
Difficulty level- Moderate
Preparation time- 2 hrs
Baking time- 20 min
- All-purpose flour-150 gm
- Whole wheat flour- 100 gm
- Active dry yeast- 1 tsp
- Sugar- 4 tbsp
- Milk- 1 cup
- Salt- ½ tsp
- Oil / butter- 4 tbsp
- Mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, chia and melon)- ¼ cup
- Oats- 2 tbsp
Proofing the yeast:
1. Take lukewarm milk. Add sugar and mix thoroughly. Add yeast. Do not stir. Keep covered for 5 min. If the yeast is fresh it will bloom and you will see froth on top of it. If the yeast remains flat discard it.
2. Chop pumpkin and melon seeds.
3. Mix all-purpose flour and multigrain flour. Add salt. Add the seeds.
4. Add the milk and yeast mixture.
5. Add 3 tbsp oil/ butter.
6. Knead it for at least 10 min on a flat surface.
7. If the dough is too sticky add a little flour.
8. Add 1 tbsp oil/ butter and knead the dough well. Adding oil at this stage will make the dough less sticky.
9. The dough should be very soft and smooth.
10. Grease a large bowl with a little oil and put the dough. Cover with a wet cloth and keep in a warm place for at least 1 hr.
After 1 hr the dough will rise and will double up.
Punch the dough to remove air and knead lightly for 5 min and again cover and keep in a warm place.
After an hour, the dough will again rise and will double up.
Sprinkle some flour on the kitchen top and keep the dough. Roll the oats lightly.
Take a bread tin. Grease with oil. Put the dough evenly and spread it nicely in the tin.
Cover with the wet cloth for 20 min.
After 20 min brush it with egg or milk. Spread some oats on top and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 min.
Take it out from the oven and brush with little butter.
Healthy home-baked bread is ready.
Baking bread is a matter of patience where yeast and the right measurement of ingredients and the right temperature plays the key role.
Be careful about yeast proofing or blooming. If the yeast doesn’t bloom discard it and try again.
Always keep yeast in a cool dry place. I keep it in the refrigerator and it remains active till the expiry date.
The dough should be loose and soft, maybe slightly sticky. This way there will be a lot of air in the dough resulting in making a soft bread.
The presence of multigrain flour makes this particular bread slightly dense as compared to the bread made out of all-purpose flour. This is the compromise I made to make a healthy version of bread. After all, you are, what you eat!
Baking time may vary from oven to oven.