Friday, July 29, 2016

Let Imagination Run Wild Children and Colgate Magical Stories

Sometimes, I envy this generation. They have everything they could possibly need. A million things to do and a million options to exercise. But then I thank the good god above for bringing me into this world when imagination could playback better movies and soundtracks than the multi billion dollar block busters we see on the silver screen today.
I still have memories of stories my mum told me when she tried to get me to sleep. And can still hear the notes of the songs my daddy used to sing to us and to himself... while driving ,while working..those are eternal. 
I tried to recreate the same with my child. The minute he started asking "What this?" And snatching "Book" from my hands, I knew it was time to shelve my books for a while and concentrate on his. 
Taking full advantage of being a stay at home mum, we did many toys and kitchen sets and sets of lego and Ladybird books. I'm proud of him today, when he scoffs at the lame renditions of cinematic versions of his favorite books. 
When he scoffs at the limited imagination of his friends.
I know I did something right by spending almost all my time and energy with him .
Colgate has these wonderful characters printed on the inside of the Colgate Strong teeth Pack container.
And when they arrived at my doorstep...I knew who best to entrust those to.  A little girl who has just come from a small  town called Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan to live with her family in Mumbai. She loves it here and has many many friends who play together in the evening. 
But horror of horrors , they discuss Hindi TV series like Naagin and women who turn knto snakes and boy girl romances like Ek Duje Ke Liye . She's only 9 years old.
She needs her mind to be free of someone's commercially aspiring thoughts. 
She needs to let magic do the trick. So those packages went to her. I asked her if she would like to write a story for me... she agreed. But on one condition. She wanted that video up on you tube. 
So this is her story.
She wrote it down so that's he could say it all in English. 
Her mermaid and other sea creatures live together in an underwater world and they are living her dream.
And when the pirates threaten the dolphin, all the creatures come together to save her. And they live happily ever after.
Oh and Vineeta is the little Mermaid.

These are her two minutes of fame. So listen to her and watch her expressions. The story is just long enough for it to not get boring. Vineeta took those colgate strong Teeth Packs  to school and cut them out with her friend. So when they are forced to sit indoors because of the rain, instead of gossiping about the love story between  Shrawan Mehta and Suman Tiwari ,they now talk sea turtles and Barracuda fish. (Yes, those names...she told me that the entire family watches that soap daily while eating their dinner. And no , I don't have cable TV. We're Netflix and Hotstar people.)

So give your kids a free rein with their imagination. Let them cut out the Colgate Strong teeth Pack and make their own stories. These flights of fantasy will be great fun . Let #colgatemagicalstories do their bit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

100% Atta Bread , Wholewheat bread -Egg free and Dairy free

I'm not a purist. 
Or a chemist.
I'm just a baker that relies on taste buds for guidance. 
And direction. 
And generally, when you add eggs, butter and /or milk to a yeasty dough , the result is a perfectly beautiful bread. One reason is that the yeast has some extra carbs to feed on and the added fats help as a tenderizer. That is what gives you a soft bread.
I've tried a new technique of rolling the dough out and them making a log and baking with aluminum foil cover for half an hour. The crumb is light and airy and well behaved. Not scattered. That's because I rolled it tight. and. The cover, I guess that acted as a Dutch oven with lid... to keep the hydrated dough moist and give a good crumb. Not a dry crumbly texture.

There's all this talk about gluten free and the allergies associated with it. Well, humans have been eating wheat and wheat products for almost 10000 years. As much as I've been reading, in all probability the gluten intolerance could primarily be because of the processed foods. Again, I'm not an expert, just a reader and collator of information.
This is the first time I've totally converted a white bread recipe to whole wheat. But I've had the guts to do it only because I used vital gluten. So if you don't have vital gluten yet, please use only all purpose flour or maida. Since in India we get no bread flour commercially.

"Vital wheat gluten is like a super-powered flour that is all gluten and very little starch. It's not technically flour itself, but it's made from wheat flour that has been hydrated to activate the gluten and then processed to remove everything but that gluten. It's then dried and ground back into a powder.
Because it's almost pure gluten, a little goes a long way to improving the elasticity and rise of the raw dough and the crumb and chewiness in the final loaves. Most baking sources recommend about one tablespoon for every 2-3 cups of flour.
You can add vital wheat gluten to any bread recipe, but it's especially effective when baking with low-protein flours like whole wheat and rye(which have trouble developing enough gluten) or in recipes with a lot of extra ingredients added in like nuts, dried fruit, or seeds. We add a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten when a recipe recommends using high-protein bread flour but all we have is regular all-purpose flour, as with bagels and some artisan breads."
I've been reading up and I found a lot of valid information here , so you can check it out.

This bread is totally dairy free and egg free.
For the

100% Atta Bread , Wholewheat bread -Egg free and Dairy free

You need

2 1/2 cups flour (if you are using vital gluten, then use whole wheat else use all purpose flour/ maida)
1 tsp vital gluten -optional
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tbsp vegetable oil or Olive oil
1 cup tepid water

The key to making bread is in the kneading. So when its all purpose flour, the more you knead the dough to an elastic non sticky dough, the better the crumb will be.

 But with whole wheat if you knead beyond a certain stage, the crumb will not be as beautiful, because the whole wheat has extra fibre and bran. These cut the gluten strands. So here, the vital gluten is the answer. If you add that extra gluten,your crumb will be the envy of white bread.
Again, practise makes perfect. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither is a.perfect loaf.
You may knead by hand. All ingredients in.
Just make sure you throw in the salt away from the yeast.
 If you're using all purpose flour, you may not need all the water. 
Knead yo a soft dough and place in an oiled bowl and cover , setting aside for one hour or till it doubles.

Like so.

I'm doing a tight roll instead of a dough ball... picked the technique up from Shano Bijus blog. 
Once the dough has risen the first time, bring out onto the counter and lightly knead for a minute.
Either Roll out or pat your dough into a long rectangle as wide as your loaf tin.

Now tightly roll along the length like so.

Place the roll, seam side down into your oiled loaf tin.and cover till its almost as high as the sides.
Turn on the oven to 180 C. After 20 minutes of preheating ,brush the loaf with water and cover with a tented foil. 

Place the foil in such a way that you pleat it and it doesn't touch the dough and leaves space for rising. I scored the dough with a blade too. 
Place the covered tin into the center of the oven and bake like this for 30 minutes.
Now remove the tin, remove the foil and brush the bread with milk.
Place back in the oven 10 minutes. 
You'll be able to smell the awesome aromas, and see the bread crusting.

To check pull, out the loaf and knock on the bottom with a wooden spoon. Hollow sound and its done.
Bring it out and brush with olive oil. 

After two minutes, take out from the tin.
Cool and then slice.

And store covered in the fridge. 

Consume in a day...Remember no preservatives, so it will taste different after a day.

I bake at breakfast is taken care of. Its homemade, wholesome and healthy. And as good as any Roti. So dunk it into a curry and you are good to go.

Bread making is definitely therapeutic. And its a science that allows you to question too.

Try out this recipe and technique. With practice, who knows your loaf could be better than mine.
In the meanwhile, do keep educating yourself about the science of bread making.

So what are you baking today???

Until the next

Until the next


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