So it is the rainy season again. Rain turned to floods and look at the devastation the island suffered at the hands of it. And the rain just keeps on pouring, as if doesn’t care at all.
As beautiful as the rain is, it makes me sad what havoc it can create. We’ve done all that we could and we haven’t stopped. There’s much to be done, to be rebuilt.
This post was supposed to be published last week but I simply could not get myself to go through with it. The displaced had gone back home and are just starting to set their lives up anew – washing, cleaning, clearing up the debris. Just goes to show the amazing recovery powers of the human being.
And despite all that, the rain just keeps on falling!
All of that aside, there’s something else about the rainy season that is very, very personal to me.
The rainy season always got me craving bread.
Not eating bread I mean, but making bread. Ever tried kneading pulsing, breathing dough while it’s pouring outside, knuckles-deep in warm, soft mushiness, thinking of the fresh smell of baking bread that will be permeating the house when you get to bake it an hour or so afterwards? No? Well, you should.
There is another reason for baking bread. Those who know me know that I immerse myself in baking when I am a) Stressed b) Sad c) Scared d) Angry or e) Upset. Ok let’s put it this way – I bake when I’m not in a good mood, I drown my sorrows in dough and take comfort in the warmth that comes out of the oven. Baking makes me feel good. It enables me to knead all that stress and sadness away and acts as the perfect anger buster when I can knead that bastard (excuse my French) right in with all my might. Trust me, it works.
So anyways, you don’t need to have a reason to bake bread, not really. You can bake bread cz you’re happy, you can bake bread cz you’re hungry or you can bake bread just for the heck of it. Whatever it is, baking your own bread is an amazing thing. The shop stuff don’t have a fly against your own.
This particular bread recipe is something that I derived out of one of my own go-to bread recipes that has always worked for me. Instead of the same old boring bread I tweaked it up a little – well a lot. And I LOVE the result.
Muti grain Bread
- Water - 2 cups, boiling
- Yeast - 1 packet
- Butter - 4 tblsps, melted
- Whole wheat flour - 4 cups
- Honey - 1/3 cup
- Sesame seeds - 4 tblsps
- Almonds - ½ cup, roughly chopped
- Curry leaves - 3 sprigs
- Garlic - 1 tblsp, crushed
- Salt - Per taste
- Multigrain mix
- Brown rice - ¼ cup
- Barley - ¼ cup
- Quinoa seeds - ¼ cup
- Corn meal - ¼ cup
- Oats - ¼ cup
- Place the multigrain mix in a large bowl. Top it up with the hot water and stir well to combine. Leave to cool until slightly warm to the touch.
- Stir in the butter, honey and yeast in that order. Stir well to combine after each addition. Leave aside for 10 minutes.
- Add the flour one cup at a time and stir well to combine after each addition. Add the salt. Knead the mixture until smooth for about 10 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for one hour.
- Make a small well in the mixture and add in the garlic, the curry leaves, the almond, sesame seeds and oats. Knead well for another 3 minutes until everything is combined and evenly dispersed. Let rise covered for another hour.
- Grease two loaf pans and set aside. Or if you are like me and couldn’t find her loaf pan for the life of you, grease a regular baking pan big enough to hold two loaves of about 8” X 3” each (or two smaller individual baking pans) and set aside.
- Cut the dough in half and roll each portion into the shape of a loaf. Place in the loaf pans and make 3 gashes in the loaf with a knife. Allow to rise for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Pop the breads in and bake for about 35 minutes until the tops of the loaves are golden brown and your home starts to smell absolutely delicious!
Take the loaves out of the bread pans and leave to cool on a wire rack. It is best to leave it alone till it cools completely before slicing it but hey, that never happens at my place. Half a loaf is usually gone by the time they cool and devoured with butter melting at the top. Oh-so-divine!
Crusty on the outside, soft and nutty on the inside, dab some butter on this garlic-y delight and I guarantee you an absolute party in the mouth. The almonds crunch rather creamily in between bites and the sesame, nice and toasty, pop in your mouth as you bite. The garlic and the curry leaves fragrance the bread, lifting it beyond and above and the mix of nuts, the garlic and the curry is simply so succulent that you find yourself closing your eyes just to place the flavour. It is not wrong to call this loaf a surprise bread – bits of corn, rice, barley, oats and quinoa makes constant contact with your tongue bewildering it for a minute, delighting it the next. It is rich beyond understanding and you will often feel full just by eating a small piece but hey, that won’t stop you from digging in for more!
After mentioning everything that goes into it, do I need to even say anything about its nutritional content? No, I didn’t think so too.
Of course you can add to this your own choice of nuts – sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, you name it. This bread is basically where your imagination goes wild.
- Don’t limit yourself to the ingredients of this recipe. Experiment with more flavours, add your favourite nuts into the equation. Really, the possibilities are truly endless!
- Don’t skimp on the rising time or you will get clumpy heavy bread. Now whole wheat flour is nevertheless heavier than the regular kind and so, trust me on this when I say let it rise.