Saturday, January 24, 2009

Baking Bread!

I am happy to report that I am sticking with my New Year's resolution so far. I did go to the grocery store but studiously walked past the bread aisle. The enthusiasm with which the kids have relished fresh baked bread makes me all the more determined to stick to this. I am not exactly sure what scared me most, the kneading gave me a bit of worry and also the part about the dough having to rise. When I finally picked up courage to go through with it, almost anti climatically nothing went wrong. The dough rose, the bread baked fine and the house smelled divine.

No knead bread.

I first started with the New York Times article of the famous No Knead bread. It was Jaden's No Knead Bread Recipe: so easy a 4-yr old can make it! that finally convinced me that I have nothing to fear. I did not have a covered pot like the recipe called for but my 8" x 4" loaf pan worked just fine. I could not find bread flour so picked up a bag of unbleached whole wheat flour which worked fine as well. I mixed up the flour, water the previous night and let the yeast do its thing. Baked the bread the next day, it had a very crunchy crust probably because it was left uncovered. Not a small piece got tossed so this should be called a success right?

So the next recipe I picked was Anita's Whole Wheat Bread, I halved here recipe (left out the Italian seasoning) and still got a lot of bread. I kneaded the bread a bit but not a whole lot. I was a little impatient after I had transferred them to the pans and did not wait for it to rise so got a flat top. But there was nothing to complain about in the taste department. I am finally sold on the idea of baking bread at home and eating it too.

Whole Wheat Bread

Bread baking now that I have done does not seem half as hard as I had imagined it to be, now with a doable method it seems all the more certain I will stick to it. Mix the flour and the liquids in the morning and leave it to rise till the evening, punch it down and knead it as much as possible, transfer them to the pans and cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise for a couple more hours. Then around 8:00PM the bread is ready to be baked and left to cool overnight for some fresh bread the next morning. I was in a hurry to pull of the plastic wrap before I it was time to bake so the top got a bit dry and hence a flat top when baked.

The recipe I present here is from the Arnold's Whole Wheat flour bag. It was a recipe for Walnut bread, I left the brown sugar and walnuts out and substituted with some raw sugar instead.


  • 3 Cups Unbleached Whole Wheat Flour

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp canola oil

  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast

  • 2 Cups lukewarm water (start with 1 cup and then slowly add the rest of the water

  • Method
  • Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl add the water to make a slightly stick blob

  • Cover with cling wrap which has been greased. Set it to rest for 4-6 hours in a warm place to rise

  • Punch the dough down and knead it for about 5-10 minutes if possible more

  • Shape the bread and put them in a greased(I used oil spray) loaf pan,cover with a plastic cling wrap and let it rise for about 2 hours

  • Preheat oven to 375F and bake for 35 minutes

  • Remove from pan and let it completely cool before slicing

  • Ready to be eaten with butter, jam, whipped cream cheese, tomato pickle.

    I am now may be ready to graduate to some more sweet and savory breads.


    1. Thanks for the recipe!
      and the pictures are great too :)

    2. I am yet to venture into bread making. It is not a new year resolution but I will try them very soon. The recipe sounds easy and it is going to be easy for me to make a start.

    3. You should buy the No knead book, it as such a varitety of recipies, you will love them.
      I love home made bread, nothing can beat a freshly homemade bread and this looks really yummy.

    4. bread looks great. seems very simple to make. can we use whole wheat pastry flour? don't we have to first mix in the yeast with luke warm water and then add it to the dough

    5. YAY!! Isn't that easy? People are scared to bake just because they think it's hard and they can't. Got to try and try until we succeed.
      Succeed? YES WE CAN!!!;D

      Looks great, try Indianized potato bread next, it will be yummy! Or may be Iyengar bakery style spicy bread!!:))

    6. Well done ISG for getting over the bread baking phobia.The breads look wonderful, and yes, nothing beats the smell and taste of fresh, home baked bread :-)

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend :-)

    7. The good life, you are welcome.

      Cilantro, take my word for it, if you can make chapathi, this should be a breeze.

      HC, I will try my library. No doubt about that I am hooked.

      Mahimaa, I think the whole wheat pastry should work as well. I used Active dry yeast and did what the recipe called for, I guess that is why the lukewarm water is important.

      Asha :) right you are. Yes We Can!!! The Iyengar bakery spicy bread is the next on my list.

      Sunita, thank you. Now I can attempt some of the wonders you create in your kitchen.

    8. Indo,
      thanks for your comment on my blog.
      I actually started playing tennis about 3 years ago with my husband after I came to US(I am in my late late 20s now :)
      We started with some beginners lessons, then graduated to tennis clinics and then we joined USTA(united states tennis association) leagues for adults.
      my rating is currently 3.0
      I am sure your daughter will enjoy once she gets the hang of it.
      Good luck to her.

    9. The breads all look gorgeous... i've seen the walnut bread recipe too but haven't tried so far.

    10. Your home must be smelling heavenly with the bread baking!!

    11. I'm so impressed! :) You hand knead!!! Way to go, girl! If you need soft top, I've read people using Al foil to loosely cover the pan they are baking in. I don't remember if you have cast iron pan, but if you have one, you can use that too.

      I still stick with the kneading of the breadmachine because I'm too lazy (maybe scared?) to try hand kneading. But I hear that gives better results since the bread machine kneads too much.

      Somebody asked if they could use wholewheat pastry flour - well, not really! wholewheat flour has less protein and less gluten and is made from soft wheat. Whereas for bread making, you need the flour from hard wheat which is high in protein and gluten. The WW pastry flour is goof for quickbreads, muffins, cookies etc where baking soda is used for leavening, not for yeast breads.

    12. I love home made bread a lot too..both breads looks scrumptious Indus..looks great, hope to see more n more bread dish from u:)

    13. Congratulations, ISG -- all your bread looks scrumptious! Isn't it great when we finally realise yeast isn't so intimidating after all :)

    14. Honey - you are really inspiring me! I have decided to take up cake making and bread baking is next. I'm so relieved that you knead by hand too. My hubby won't let me acquire another food processor with a dough hook...

    15. This looks good. I had the "bread baking" phobia too (still suffer from it when i see something new & complicated), but forced myself to get over once i started blogging few months back.:-)

      I will bookmark this recipe.

    16. Yay! congrats Indo... I still haven't tried making an yeast bread, this post is very inspirational.. especially since it is whole wheat! :)

    17. Its nice to see your lovely bread.
      It took me over a year to finally produce good bread (another story!).
      Btw, the kneading for many breads can be done in the food processor bowl. Gives my arms some rest.:D

    18. You are a genius, I have a general phobia of baking !!! The bread looks real good and I can smell the sweet, warmth :)

    19. For all my love of baking, I have baked bread only once! You inspire me to give it a shot again. Thanks for visiting my blog, hope to see you often :)

    20. All the pictures looks awesome! I never tried baking bread at home...

    21. Oh, you have been brave, ISG! I still shy away from baking. The exact measures are too intimidating for me! I like the "a little bit of this, a pinch of that" sorta cooking that i usually do :) The no-knead bread might be good place for me to staty too, I think. Let's see if I can muster the courage :)

    22. Lovely recipe! thanks for sharing.
      The bread looks so moist n soft! yummy!

    23. You've really done a good job baking bread... I will try too.. thanks for the recipe..

    24. wowie, 3 breads in a month? thats way cool indo.


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