"Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts." - James Beard .
If you would have to believe this quote, you would have to bake bread at home, fill your home with the aroma of freshly baked bread and eat it. When I started to bake and until very recently, a bread never figured on my list to try out. It was just a lifesaver to pick up from the supermarket and have on hand in my bread box. The versatility with breads restricted to a variety of sandwiches, bread upma or a french toast. A couple of tempting sounding loaves from a famous bakery left a lot to be desired in terms of taste. Paah!! So is that all that's there to breads, I was left wondering.
Only after I started baking bread, I realized, there is so much more to a bread per se. I will tell you why I am telling you all this - if you have not baked a bread yet, please, please do! Don't shy away from yeast. I promise, you will enjoy baking breads - tremendously. There is no reason why you shouldn't as you would be baking gourmet bread to suit your taste at home! After a couple of successful breads with all purpose flour, I tried baking bread with just whole wheat flour. I admit, I have not been very successful, not yet - am optimistic I will succeed after torturing my family with just a few more misses:-) . Different kinds of whole wheat take in different quantities of liquid. And the ratio of liquid to the flour being accurate is the key to a great textured bread. This being the case, you would need to know what you are doing, when you are baking a bread with only whole wheat.
I made an attempt at baking bread with a mixture of whole wheat and plain flour and loved the end result. The Chocolate Chip Bread was light textured and just delicious toasted, lightly buttered and drizzled with honey. In fact, we baked this bread a friends' place too. She took one look at the big loaf baking in her microwave and remarked that a loaf of bread usually lasts a week at her place and this huge a loaf would probably last even longer. Surprise, surprise! when she found that the entire loaf disappeared at breakfast the next morning:-). This is one of those recipes, you must, must give a shot at and you will find yourself baking this time and again.
This bread is actually Champa's Basic White Bread modified as suggested by her.
Here is what we do:
All Purpose Flour / Maida - 1 1/2 Cups
Whole wheat flour – 1 1/2 cups ( I used Ashirwad Whole wheat flour)
Vital Wheat Gluten – 3 tbsp ( 1 tablespoon for each cup of flour, please refer note below)
Oil – 2 tbsp
Instant Yeast – 2 1/4 tsp ( I use Gloripan, refer note below)
Water 1 cup
Salt – 1 tsp
Sugar - 3 tbsp (one more tbspn if you want the bread sweeter)
Milk – ¼ cup, lukewarm
Chocolate Chips - 1/3 cup (more to suit your taste)
Procedure : Grease a 9*5 loaf pan. Combine the flours, gluten and salt in a bowl, mix well. Keep aside. In a large bowl, mix the yeast and sugar Add the lukewarm milk. Add the oil, flour mixture and the water. Mix till dough comes together. If the dough is very stiff, add more water - it actually pays to be stingy here :-) add just one tablespoon at a time. Knead for 10-11 minutes. Towards the end, knead in the chocolate chips. Cover the dough with oil, keep in an oiled bowl, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Keep the dough in a warm place to rise. I usually keep it in my microwave turned off. My dough doubled in about 40 minutes and in this chilly weather!!
Once the dough doubles, knock it down gently. On a lightly floured or greased surface, roll the dough into a rectangle. Roll it tightly. Tuck in the ends. Place in the loaf tin, seam side down. Tent with a greased sheet of aluminum foil. Keep in a warm place to double again. This will take approximately 30-45 minutes. Towards the end of the final rise, pre-heat oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F). Bake for 20 minutes. Your loaf should start turning a nice light brown around 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 160 degrees (325 degrees F) and bake for 15- 20 minutes. When you tap the bottom, it must sound hollow. This is an indication that the bread is done.
Remove the pan from the oven and keep it on the cooling rack. Brush some butter if you wish. The smell will be divine!! Let the loaf cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then, remove the loaf from the plan and cool it completely on the wire rack. Slice it only after it comes to room temperature.
Yeast: If you would be using Dry Active Yeast, use the same quantity, but you would need to proof it .
Gluten: This helps improve the texture of the bread. You can get this at Institute of Baking and Cake Art.
I actually made a savory version of the below recipe with kasoori methi and jeera and that turned out very good too. I have added about 1/4 cup of lightly toasted kasoori methi and 1 teaspoon toasted jeera to the flour. I used 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 1/4 cup water(NO MILK). Rest of the recipe is the same.
Chocolate Chip Bread would be going to my Blog Anniversary Event . Hope you have sent in your entries for a chance to win The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. There will be a couple of days' delay in the round-up and announcing the winner, apologies for this.
This loaf goes to Champa's Bake-Off .
The loaf is also being Yeast-spotted.