Tag: bread


These days my bedside novel is Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Bakers’ Apprentice. I am in love with this book. Last night, even though I was sleepy I couldn’t put the book down- like it was some really interesting crime mystery novel and I was at the part where the murder was just seconds from getting solved.  No one would have thought, especially those who have seen me growing up, that I was so passionate about baking. I too never knew till only recently, and even though I am not a great baker – I’ll call myself that only when I am able to concoct my own recipes- I know that I’m passionate about this. And, believe me, if you find something you are passionate about- you can and will eventually become great at it. Until that day I’ll keep trying!

Inspired by Reinhart’s words, I decided to try my hand at his version of French Bread.

Bread – a combination of flour, water, salt and yeast- all combined to form this beautifully fermented dough with layers of flavor hidden in it. One bite into the bread- and I’m talking about the freshly baked kinds- not the store bought, kept on shelves, filled with preservatives kinds- and you are like- whoa…oh my god, this is it- Yes! almost like having an orgasm for the mouth!

Previously, I have tried making French Bread with decent results. Reinhart’s version is slightly different and does require more time in the preparation. He starts off with a pre-fermented dough, pâte fermentée (dough that has been kept overnight to ferment in the refrigerator). The resulting bread has a sweetness associated with it due to the sugars released from the starches during fermentation. The crust is nice and rustic on the outside and the bread full-flavored!

Use this bread for making garlic bread or serve it with a roasted garlic infused ricotta cheese topping or use it to make your own version of crostinis!

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Happy Independence Day!! India celebrates its 63rd Independence Day today. The last one week I have been in Independence mode, changing my profile pic on facebook to that of the Indian flag, posting patriotic videos, missing India so much and feeling so proud of my fighter pilot dad and Naval Aviator bro (the last not restricted to just last week).

My dad recently was involved in some rescue operations in the flash flood struck Ladakh region and he was there saving the lives of people. I was scared for his safety (can’t imagine what my mom must be going through) but I was really proud of him. I am sure my mother has a tough time being totally cool with the danger involved in both my dad’s and brother’s profession, especially considering the history. Both, my father and brother, have had to eject when their planes crashed, in totally separate incidents. Fortunately, the crashes were not fatal and both have now fully recovered to fly again. But, many of my father and brother’s friends haven’t been so lucky.

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FACT- brownies, deep fried kachoris, cakes, muffins- all are fattening! No matter how much you want to escape from this fact, it somehow finds its way to get to you. For me, it found its way through the weighing machine. Now, all this while I have been in the US, I was without a weighing scale and the two times I got my weight checked- orientation at the gym and a doctor’s appointment- I was told the weight in pounds. And, well, I’m used to hearing it in kgs. So, conveniently, I used to convert pounds to a figure in kgs I thought was good enough- not too little but not too much either- a number close to what I used to be in India. For me, that was acceptable- of course, there is always scope to lose more- but it wasn’t a number to raise alarms.

The other day, we went to Ikea during our stay in Phoenix. And there sitting in the Home Decorations section was a weighing scale. We had been planning of getting one, though I have never been the weighing scale type. I generally go by my stomach- if its not tight- I have to work out harder. But, for a while now I had not weighed myself (atleast not where I got a figure in the metric system I was comfortable with), so when I saw a weighing machine that showed the weight in kgs, I thought it was time to get one. We got it home and I decided to check my weight. And, well, as my first line read–brownies, cakes, muffins, and the likes are FATTENING!! VERY FATTENING!!!! So, I decided enough of these (let’s see how long it lasts though- baking and I have a very strong bond- some numbers aren’t enough to break them!)!

So, I have decided to go for a run everyday from now, barring the two days I have Zumba. I will also try making healthier food and have resolved that whatever rich dessert I make- it is going to be distributed. The latter, I have, more or less, been doing.

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Yesterday, I spoke how there are those days when things go just right- well, today wasn’t one of them. First, I got up with a bad headache- the insomnia is killing me! Second, I broke a glass. Now, had the breaking of the glass been a solitary incident- I would have got past it. But, well, somehow for the past few days lots of things have broken in succession. I lost 3 of my best mugs when the rack they were on, fell in the middle of the night. So, today’s broken glass brought back those painful memories. Sigh! Then, while working on this painting project I have taken up, I managed to get some paint stuck on my hair! Luckily, (the optimist in me finds the silver lining in such situations too!!), I had been planning on getting my hair cut and had already scheduled an appointment with the salon, and since the paint was on the tips- I took a pair of scissors and chopped that part off! To top it all off, my laptop charger decided to die on me! I mean, this was just those days- the one where everything goes wrong.

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Whenever DH and I go for grocery shopping, one thing that is usually not on our list is bread. I love making bread at home–the smell of the yeast fermenting and the bread baking in the oven– gives me a high like no other!

For a while now, I had been ogling at Chef Tess’s site http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/ and how she creatively uses bread dough to produce masterpieces (well I think they are!). The pleasure of making your own bread at home is an exhilarating experience, but to paint on it and make it even more beautiful is just something that words will never be able to justify. So, today I decided I would take a shot at this too. I did not have any food color in my pantry so decided to use a mixture of coffee and egg yolk that I read gives a natural edible brown color. I was scared though, that the coffee taste might overpower the taste of the bread, but thankfully it did not. I used my recipe for light wheat bread – that uses both bread flour and whole wheat flour – as the canvas. Well the results weren’t as good as Tess’ but then again this was my first try! (The original recipe makes 3 loaves so I had to scale it down for one loaf- hence the fractioned ingredients!)

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