Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Classic White Pan Bread

When I was little, we did not have whole wheat bread, multi-grain bread or maybe we did , we were unaware and as far as we knew, everyone went in for the 'regular' kind of bread. It was white bread and Paav.

You either buy a loaf of Wibs or Britannia sliced bread and if you want  paav, you scoot down to the local bakery and buy a slab (called 'laadi') or even individual rolls.  Making bread at home was not even thought of and we did not have an oven. In fact, there was this bhaiyaji who would come to our home and those in the neighborhood on his cycle carrying bags full of fresh baked bread and new laid eggs. He would wrap the bread in newspaper and hand over what we wanted and I would hand over the money ( .25 paise for a paav) he would then jokingly ask me, "baida chahiye kya baby?" (baida meaning egg) and hold an egg in his hand and offer it to me, knowing fully well that we did not eat eggs and cackle when I would shudder!

I would slather the paav / bread slices with Amul butter and dip it in my tea or maybe I'd add a slosh of ketchup or jam and eat it, enjoying every soft bite. 
I never dreamed I'd make bread at home. Well, not successfully that is. Years ago, when I went to a cookery class, the instructor taught us bread, she made it look kinda easy.  By that time, we had purchased an oven at home and my cousin and I were VERY eager to try our hand at making bread. The whole thing is a bit of a blur, but I do remember this, they made excellent paper weights. 
I gave up on baking. At least for the time being. I was down, but not completely out.
I made a couple of attempts after that, with no success. Gave up, yet again.
Then I hit the jack pot......I read the recipe over and over for days, tempted yet I had not the courage. I then attempted and succeeded in making pizza. I had overcome my fear of yeast, in part. This gave me courage to try bread and boy! am I glad I did!!!

Just like the last time, I chewed my nails to zero when the bread was in the oven, this time around as well. But I should have believed. The result was a  perfect loaf! Yaaay! 
I could not keep still, I could hardly stand the wait,  I even 'fanned' the loaf with the oven mitt to cool it faster and sliced it. Look at the picture below and learn from my mistakes. Let the loaf cool. Completely.
Over excitement? Take a deep calming breath, count to 10 and then slice, if you do not do this, the knife shakes and cuts unevenly, see? No harm done to the loaf, just don't look very pretty.

I made this a couple of times and with equal success. My friends shared it with me and  gave me the thumbs up sign. I only wish my parents were here with me to enjoy it. 

Makes: Two - 8 1/2 x 4 1/2x 2 3/4 inch loaves

2 1/2 tsp ( 1 envelope) Active Dry Yeast
2 Cups warm  Water
5 - 5 1/2 Cups All Purpose flour (APF)
1 Tbs. Sugar
1Tbs. Salt
5 Tbs. Unsalted Butter or Vegetable Oil

Whisk the yeast into the warm water and set aside and prepare other ingredients

To mix dough by hand:  place 5 Cups APF, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir in yeast mix and melted butter

Continue to mix until the mix resembles a rough dough

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured  work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 mins. If the dough is too soft and sticky, add flour 1 tbs. at a time.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to oil all surfaces

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour

Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface (you may need a scraper). Deflate the dough and divide into 2.

To form a loaf, make sure the surface is free of any excess flour, then stretch the dough until it is approximately the length of the pan, then fold in the short ends, then fold in the far long edge over  tot he middle. Fold over the  other long side and  compress to form a tight cylinder 

Place the loaf in the pan, seam side down and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with second loaf and allow it to rise until double ( about 1 hour) 

When loaves are almost double, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and pre-heat to 400 deg. F

When the loaves have completely risen, place the pans in the oven and bake for 30 mins ot until golden brown and firm and internal temperature is 210 deg.

Unmold  the loaves to a cooling rack  to cool on side.

Cool completely and slice. Enjoy.
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  1. bread looks perfect,thanks for the recipe

  2. One of the perfectly baked bread I have seen, bookmarked, thanks for the bake.

  3. I didn't try yet white bread yet, U ve baked perfectly the loaf!

  4. From one bread maker to another: YUM!


  5. Nice one.. looks absolutely perfect and tempting.. thanks for sharing :)

  6. Love the leavening! I can smell it :)Good job!

  7. Talk about your phobia's.. and you are getting better and better...WoODER NEEDS TO WANDER NOW ABOUT BAKING BREAD........a toast of the this slice with butter and Orange Marmalade will take me to a happy place....
    Love Ash.

  8. perfect baked bread...frst time here..lov ur space..glad to follow u!

  9. I was intimidated by dough too. And then I started trying making pizza dough or simple breads and the fear was gone. This loaf looks perfect.

  10. What a beautiful loaf of bread! Nothing compares to the smell of bread baking. It is the most glorious smell in the world!

    US Masala

  11. Bread looks very soft!!!!!!!!!!!!perfect bake!!

  12. Love your blog are a very good writer.....I actually visualized the bhaiyyas who used to get laadi paav :)....the bread looks delicious

  13. Thank You ALL! the lovely comments are so motivating!
    Wishing all readers and friends a Happy New Year!

  14. Looks super delicious manasi..My next project is this..:)..Happy New Year!

  15. Nothing can compare to homemade bread! A splendid loaf.

    Happy New Year!



  16. A very Happy new year to you n ur family , loved going thru ur wonderful blog !!!

    - Smita
    (fun foods for little eaters

  17. Thanks Pallavi, without your guidance, we would not have had "half dinner" after full dinner ---- :) the Pav was so good.. that we could not resist us ... from eating even after full dinner.

    Thanks again for your help!

  18. Thanks Pallavi,
    Without your guidance and support, we could not have had extra half dinner after full dinner.
    The Pav was so good, that we could not resist - eating it again after dinner.

    Thanks again!

  19. Thank you, Swapnil, fot your thoughtful comment and feedback! I am so glad that the recipe worked so well :) Your feedback and kind words are my reward!


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