To replicate Banglore Iyengar Bakery’s “Masala Bread” has been a long time wish of mine. It is one of the best signature breads. I am sure those of you who have tasted will agree with me. Others – I urge you to try this.
In Bangalore, Mysore or even Chennai, almost every lane has a “Bangalore Iyengar Bakery” outlet. Not all outlets are genuine – the test is the taste of the masala bread, the sponge cake and the congress kadale, made by them. The aroma of a good masala bread will strain on your senses and pull you like a leash. At least that is how the very popular Srinivas Iyengar Bakery in Bangalore pulls it customers. Unfortunately I stay in Thane and it is not possible for me to reach out to my favourite masala bread whenever I wish. The lack of means motivated me to create my own. I tried once before but the flavour wasn’t perfect though the texture was. This time I incorporated B’s advice. B is my sister who out of love for Bangalore has settled there for good.
When my sister visited me this Summer I told her about the failed masala bread. B is indeed blessed with a very strong olfactory system, for though she does not bake breads she was able to point out the basic flaw in my attempt at baking the typical masala bread. She said, “I think they (Srinivas IB) add a lot of dill weed to their breads. Their masala breads carry a very strong flavour of dill.” I replied, “Isn’t that truly a case of sniffing out the bread?”
I am not very fond of this weed but the yearning for the ultimate masala bread made sure that the next bunch of fresh garlic chives and dill weeds found their way into my shopping bag.
The bread turned out perfect! I realized that it not dill that I do not like – it is just that I never knew how to use it. I did not have to brainstorm much to get to the recipe once I knew the flavouring ingredient. I used a basic wholewheat bread recipe and played with the amount, and the combination of herbs to come up with this version. A lot depends on the quality of flour used. Since I am not “pampered for choice” with just two versions – Whole wheat flour and maida – it was easy to make my choice.
In my first attempt I used all purpose flour combined with the whole wheat flour to ensure a light bread. The second time I used only whole wheat flour and fortified the bread with wheat bran. There was a difference in texture naturally – the second bread was much denser than the first. All the same it was as tasty as the earlier one.
Do not worry if your dough is sticky and pulls a lot before the first rise because it will turn out fine after the rise.
Healthy Masala Bread (with some amount of APF also):
Yield : 1 small loaf to serve 3 people
Water – 35ml
Soy milk (I used Silk) – 150ml divided
Fat (I used vegan butter and oil together) – 1tbsp. butter + 2tbsp. oil + 1tsp. oil
Sugar – 2tbsp.
Cleaned and roughly chopped dill weeds (shepu/sabja keerai) – 1/4 cup
Cleaned and roughly chopped coriander leaves (dhania) – 2 tbsp.
Cleaned and roughly chopped garlic chives – 3 tbsp.
Finely chopped green chilli – 1 small (more if preferred)
Finely chopped ginger – 1/4 tsp.
All spice powder – 1/2 tsp. (I use my own mix which has more of cardamom and white pepper)
Finely chopped onion – 1/2 cup
All Purpose Flour / maida – 1/2 cup
Fresh ground almond flour (with skin) – 1/4 cup
Whole wheat flour /ashirwaad atta – 1.5 cups
Active dry yeast – 2tsp.
Warm the water and add the yeast. Set aside to froth.
Heat 1 tbsp. oil and melt the butter in it. Add the green chillies and ginger, followed by onions and saute till the onion turns translucent. Leave to cool.
Heat half the milk (75ml), add the oil and sugar and dissolve. Cool to room temperature.
Combine the flours and spice powder roughly. Add the dill, coriander and chives and stir together. Make a well in the center and add the cooled onion mixture. Add the cooled milk-sugar-oil mixture. Stir the mixture adding the rest of the plain milk as and when required.
Turn the sticky dough onto a well floured work surface. Knead performing the quarter turns and stretching and folding method. The dough will become elastic but will retain some stickiness.
Put back inside a greased bowl and cover with an oiled clingflim. Leave it for about 40minutes for the first proofing.
Turn out again on a lightly floured work surface. This time the dough will be elastic and easy to handle. Deflate very gently with the heel pushing the dough to form a rectangle. Loosen the rectangle by quickly dimple the dough with oiled fingers. Drizzle 1/4tsp. oil and fold the dough over itself. Turn by a quarter and again dimple and fold. Do this three times turning a quarter in one direction. The fourth time dimple lightly and fold in thirds. It will look like a ciabatta loaf about 7 inches long and 3 inches wide. Place this in floured bread tin for the second proof. Cover the tin with an oiled cling film.
I start at 6:30 in the evening and place the tin inside the refrigerator. Remove the next morning and allow the dough to thaw. The dough will not have doubled in size but it will be quite plump and smooth.
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees. Place the tin and bake for about 30minutes at 160deg. Celsius.
Check whether it has been done by tapping the tin. If the sound is hollow the bread is done.
We ate them just like that with chai. The herbs and onion do not need any thing to jazz the bread.
Whole wheat version (Fortified with wheat bran and no APF):
This version tastes very good when toasted. I made a double loaf this time. I noticed that though I had increased the quantity of flour, I needed less hydration this time. The dough would have turned sticky if I had doubled the quantity of water.
I followed the same method and made changes only in the combination of ingredients. Listed below is the change.
40g – almond meal
4 tbsp. – wheat bran
1tsp. – salt
425 – atta
1 cup dill
2 medium sized onions
2 green chillies
1/2 cup coriander
5-6 curry leaves
(Chopped fine and sauteed in oil)
75ml – water + 1tbsp. yeast + 1/2 tsp. sugar – to froth
Soy milk – 200ml
Oil – 2 tbsp.
Sugar – 3tbsp.
(heat milk oil and sugar as before)
For basting during rises and while baking:
Oil – 1tbsp.
Milk – 1tbsp.
The method is the same as the recipe above.