– Take one teaspoon fresh yeast in a bowl.
– Add two teaspoons sugar and mix well. Add one cup of lukewarm water and stir well.
– Cover and let it sit for 10 mins.
– The yeast mixture would have become frothy.
– Take 2 cups of flour in any proportion – 1 cup maida + 1 cup whole wheat is ideal.
– Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
– Knead the dough gently for about 5 minutes.
– It should neither be too hard or too soft.
– Make a ball and tab it with a little water.
– Cover the bowl with a warm cloth or plastic cling wrap and let it rest in a warm place for at least an hour.
NOTE – The longer you leave it, say 3-4 hours, the better the bread.
– The dough would have doubled or even more than doubled.
– Punch it down and take it out onto the working surface.
– Use dry flour to handle it if its too sticky.
– Add whatever – herbs, seeds, garlic, olives, etc. added roasted sunflower and flax seeds.
– Knead it for a minute very gently.
– Give it the desired shape – round, oblong, long – and place it on a baking tray or place it in a tin.
– Leave it uncovered in a closed space.
The second rising starts now.
– Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
– After about 15-30 mins the dough would have again doubled and will look like the final shape of bread.
– Make 3-4 diagonal slashes very gently across the width of the dough with a knife, making sure not to punch the dough down. It is very delicate and fluffy at this stage.
– Place it in the oven in the middle rack.
– Set the timer to 40 mins.
The baking starts.
– After 15 minutes, reduce the temp to 180 degrees.
– After about 20 minutes you will get a strong smell of bread wafting from the kitchen. This means that it is baking perfectly.
– Take the bread out the moment the timer switches off. Leaving it in the oven will make it dry and hard.
– Let the bread cool for at least an hour as its hot and still cooking from the inside.
This whole loaf was polished off the next morning – tomato and mixed herb bruschettas!
Zoya, the finicky eater, had a whole slice with a scrambled egg!