Homemade Brown Bread
Few bakeries in India make real brown bread but if you have an oven and good yeast, you can make excellent brown bread at home. To make a big loaf weighing approx. 600 to 700 gms.
You will need-
- 500 gms whole wheat flour (5 cups)
- 1 tblsp. jaggery or sugar
- 1/2 tblsp. Salt
- 2 tblsp. margarine or veg. ghee
- 1 tblsp. Caramel
- 1/2 tsp. wet yeast or 2-1/2 tsp. dry yeast (because dry yeast is very often less active than the wet yeast).
(a) Test the yeast to see if it is active or not.
(b) To make caramel – Melt 1/2 cup sugar in a thick bottomed pan on low heat, stirring all the time, so that sugar does not stick to the bottom of the pan. When all the sugar melts and turns into a rich reddish brown liquid, squeeze a quarter of a lemon and add 3/4 cup of water. Mix well, remove and store in a bottle when cool. This will stay for a very long period and can be used for brown bread, banana loaf, puddings and cakes.
To make the bread –
- Put the flour in a deep vessel, make a ‘well’ in the centre.
- Dissolve the salt and sugar in a little lukewarm water and pour it in the ‘well’, along with the yeast slurry and caramel.
- Mix and make soft dough, using more lukewarm water if necessary.
- Knead well. Melt the fat and pour on the dough.
- Knead well, mixing the fat thoroughly with the dough and beating in as much air as you can, till the dough feels soft and springy.
- Cover and keep in a warm place till dough rises to double its size – takes 1- 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Pinch it back, cover and leave to rise again. Grease the bread mould. When the dough rises again, remove to a floured board; beat flat with your knuckles.
- Fold all four sides inwards and roll tightly into an oblong roll. Transfer the roll to the mould, cover and leave to rise. Heat the oven to 500°F.
- When the bread rises almost to the edge of the mould, bake in a hot oven for forty minutes or so. Brush the top lightly with a little melted fat to give it a shiny look. (You may sprinkle a spoonful of sesame seeds on the top of the bread just before baking.
- It gives the bread a very attractive look.) Remove from the oven when the top is golden brown; invert on a wire rack and cool for atleast four hours before slicing.
- If you want flat topped bread, cover the mould when baking. If it is left uncovered, the bread will rise, giving a curved top.