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Breaking Bread!

Rise like your bread, age like your wine! – Priya Prabhu

Baking is a magical process. It’s a bit of hard work and toil in the making. But the end results are pure magic. Like my husband says – Don’t mess with a recipe’s measurements or temperatures. Baking is an exact science. Some people probably think baking does not let them be creative and is quite restrictive. Somehow, I found my creative streak in terms of shaping dough, infusing natural flavors from my kitchen or slathering home-made butters. It can be a hit or miss. But mostly it is a hit.

My earliest memories of bakeries were the local bakeries in Bombay. We have the quintessential Portuguese word ‘pao’ better known today as ‘pav’ or joined buns. This humble pav is teamed with absolutely anything to make a quick meal. Think of the aroma of freshly baked bread outside a bakery. Definitely tempts us to go in and get some bread.

One of my absolute favorites is the Italian focaccia. I love baking it firstly because I can play with the ‘toppings’ among sundried tomatoes, olives and herbs. And secondly, for the heavenly aromas of olive oil and herbs particularly rosemary. I may write more articles on special breads or cakes or other baked desserts!

While we have ancient references to bread and the making of bread, some of us might be cautious with the consumption of modern day bread. I look at it mostly as a weekend treat. Or a one off with a specific meal. I believe anything consumed in moderation is okay.

While there are so many varieties of breads in the world, the classic bun or pav remains a constant favorite of many. While we usually get the classic burger buns easily in North America and Canada, I decided to create my own buns with a mix of recipes I found online. There are many variants of course with whole wheat, without yeast to name a few. This one is a basic bun/pav. The fun part about this dough is that it can be used to shape up any bread and also be used to infuse garlic butters or spreads to make flavorful breads. Who’s ready to get, set, bake!

Soft buns/pav

Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour (You can use whole wheat all purpose as long as you sift it through a sieve)
2 tsb sugar
1 tsb salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Instant yeast
2 eggs (At room temperature)
2 tsp Butter
2 tsp black or white sesame seeds.(optional)

Method
Part 1:
Sift flour through a sieve, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. In another small bowl warm the milk, add 1 tsp sugar and instant yeast to it. (Please note the milk has to be just warm and not hot.) Mix well. Cover and rest for 5 mins. In another bowl whisk one egg and keep aside. Add the yeast mixture to flour along with whisked egg and mix all well. Melt the butter in a bowl and add it to the flour mixture.Knead well to make it a smooth dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 1 hour.

Part 2:
Remove the raised dough and lay on a large chopping board. Cut into 8 or 16 equal pieces. Brush your flat baking tray with oil or place parchment paper and make 8 small rounds and place all rounds on the tray keeping some space. Let this rest on the tray for 1 hour.

Part 3:
In a bowl whisk the 2nd egg. Brush the top of each dough ball with egg wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds. This is optional.
Bake at 390 F or 200 C for 10-12 mins until surface browned

Alternately after Part 1 of the above, you could shape the dough as you desire and place them on your flat tray to rest.

Alternately, after Part 1 you could take the dough ball and roll into a flat circle using a rolling pin. Place 2 spoons of filling on it, pinch and place the pinched part below and smooth surface on top. Rest this for 1 hour and repeat Part 3 steps of brushing with egg wash and sprinkling sesame. Stuffing can be chicken kheema or cheese with some herbs or potato mashed in spices or just some garlic infused butter.

Alternately after Part 1 you can roll each dough ball into 3 strips and braid them to make a braided bread.

Happy Baking!

For questions or queries you can always reach out to me on prabhu.priya15@gmail.com

Recipe Inspiration: Zuranaz Recipe Cooking School

Images Courtesy: Priya Prabhu

Yummy Bread!
Yummy Bread!

About the Author: Priya Prabhu is from Mumbai, India and currently lives in Canada. Former Londoner, travel blogger, glass painter, voracious reader, sassy sister, doting daughter and an IT professional best describe as to what she has made herself to be today. In her own humble words – Traveling to 27 countries across the world so far hasn’t changed her values, but certainly changed her perceptions about things.

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