Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Eat Love Pray and Bake Bread

There is nothing like fresh baked bread straight out of the oven. A slice of warm bread with a shmear of butter and you are as close to heaven as possible. A couple weeks back I had the honor of hanging out with two baking goddesses- Pooja Dhingra- Le15 Patisserie of the macaron fame and Maria Goretti who writes a beautiful baking blog called eat, love, pray, laugh n hug. 
I was very excited to hang with these two ladies again. First off- I grew up watching Maria Goretti on MTV back when MTV actually prayed music that was cool. Second off- I think her husband is a fantastic actor and my younger sis Miss Cultured Purl is a big fan of his. And lastly I love hanging in the Le15 Patisserie kitchen. It is a space I love to unwind in and watching the baked goods being made in bulk is really fascinating. The smell in the kitchen is heavenly of sugar and butter and chocolate and watching Pooja work is a pleasure.
Pooja and I were both excited to learn to make bread from Maria. I for one cannot bake and was really curious to see the process. I was surprised at how simple the bread making was. And why wouldn't it be after all it is the most consumed food product in the world.
Maria - without referring to a recipe put together a fabulous basil, onion and garlic bread. Her energy was infectious and my camera loved her. She kneaded and kneaded and kneaded and slammed the dough and rolled it and let it rise and kneaded it more and slammed it and folded it and shaped it and let it rise before it went into the oven and magically became bread. Warm, soft, flaky, garlicy on the inside and a thin crunchy crust on the outside.
So here is the recipe. It is also available on Maria's blog (I think her cute 6 year old actually baked this one)

250 gm flour
15 gm fresh yeast
125-150 ml water (but i mostly use an approximate amount, depending on how its going)
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of Sugar
2 small onions sauteed
15 garlic cloves also sauteed
handful of basil (torn)
red chili flakes

 Start with the flour, yeast and salt and sugar.

 Pour the water slowly kneading the bread.
 Knead and knead

 Flattend and knead
 Roll and knead
 Knead till the surface is smooth like so and then roll it into a perfect ball.
 Sprinkle some flour and cover with a muslin cloth and wait 40 minutes for the 1st rising.

 Preparing the basil for the filling
 In olive oil, saute the onions and the garlic. Put aside to cool. The stuffing should be at room temperature.
 The flour almost doubled in size
 Flatten it. Keep some flour handy so that it is not too sticky.
 Place the stuffing on the flat circular flour and knead again.

 In between a hundred catering orders, Pooja picking up the tips on bread making.
 While we waited for the second rising of the bread- another 40 minutes. Maria, Pooja and I hungout with some lovely Japanese tea.
 The bread was in the oven and I could not help but photograph these beautiful babies.
So after 45 minutes at 220 degrees - this is the beautiful bread. The smell of freshly baked bread is incredible.
Aaaaaah yes! Bread & Butter. Simple but mindblowingly delicious. Nice crusty bread on the outside and beautiful warm melt in your mouth buttery goodness. The onions, basil and garlic make fantastic stuffing to the bread. On Maria's blog she has also sprinkled rosemary to the surface just before baking. I'm sure that would be wonderful.
I was also amazed with the ease with which Maria cooked in Pooja's kitchen considering the space was unfamiliar.

I took the remainder bread home with me as Maria had to leave. My mother ablsolultely loved the bread.

Before I arrived, Maria and Pooja designed this cake. I got to see the cake going out it was adorable and beautiful.

Thankyou Maria Goretti.


  1. Oh I love good bread and revere those who can make it...and worship those who can bake such fantastic photographs

  2. Knife is right! I am falling for your photography and the fresh bread. Funny how handling dough and clay are so similar. I am learning pottery and find so many things similar - kneading/ we call it wedging, rolling, pinching, aaah...

  3. Baking is part science, part art ... and I love both. From the description, I can almost taste it.

  4. Awesome...u lucky gal...ah the precious portion of that aromatic bread...enjoy akeley akeley haan :-(

  5. I can actually smell fried garlic and basil... yumm!!

  6. Lovely portraits and smashing bread! Great post, Jo!

  7. love it! and looooove having you in my kitche!!!

  8. A fantastic story as usual. The joys of cooking are under rated.

  9. This is criminal!! All these yummy bakes and not a bite to eat. This is so not fair :(
    And Maria you are awesome.

  10. Hey, i like your blog. really amazing and helpful blog for me. thanks!!!!

    Gourmet Free

  11. Ooo remember we were talking about Maria's blog the other day over brunch! I love how the cake looks ...such fab photos you got.

  12. your photos really speak for themselves.It shows what a wonderful experience it is to bake and be with friends. I never get tired of visiting your blog.

  13. Whenever i check your blog..I get extremely hungry.

  14. What a gorgeous post...I loved the energy in it! Gosh, I feel like kneading dough right away - just wish I could look half as glam as Maria after the hard work!!

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  17. This looks fabulous and I am definitely going to try it! The stand mixer will make the kneading much easier thought ;-) Will be adding a little paprika to the onion, garlic and basil filling.