Sunday, December 1, 2013

Breaking bread & Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is way overdue. But it is such a treat. Every thanksgiving I make a mental note of all the people and things I am thankful for in my life. My family, friends, people I meet, my little doggy Walter and all the lovely experiences and of course all the meals I shared.

Earlier this year my younger sister tied the knot with her beau of several years. We were all excited to welcome Christian in our family. In the midst of throwing her a surprise wedding, I got a chance to watch Christian make some fantastic breads. This one was my favourites. Its a thick, grainy, nutty, superbly textured, goes well with cheeses and tomatoes or olive oil and balsamic vinegar, makes a great cold cut sandwich bread. Its even yummy just by itself given its innate sourdough flavour.

Whats also amazing is how wholesome, fresh, local all the ingredients were. The final bread perfectly encapsulated the goodness of what it was made of.

So presenting Christian's Brown Rye Bread with lots of grains and seeds

Christian, Janu, mom & dad

Brown Rye Bread with lots of grains and seeds

Sourdough Starter Culture
Stir the Sourdough Starter Culture with a spoon
Transfer culture to jar big enough to fit at least 1 liter
Add warm water to 1 L
Mix thoroughly
Set 100-200 ml aside -> this will serve as your next sourdough starter culture

Feeding and Storing the sourdough starter culture
Add 1/4 cup of rye seeds/berries to the saved starter culture
Add 3/4 cup of rye flour 
Fill with warm water to 500 ml total
Mix thoroughly
Transfer to glass jar, cover with saran wrap and leave out on the counter for 6-8h (in winter or a cold apartment warm up the oven just a tiny bit - not more than 40ºC, shut it off and place the culture in the oven to grow)
I'd advise the place the glass jar with the starter culture in a bowl in case the culture is super active and it spills a bit

Preparing the dough
In the kitchen aid bowl, add the remaining ~850 ml from the diluted starter culture
Add 2 cups of dark rye flour
Add 1cup of white flour (unbleached)
Add 1/4 cup of flaxseed flour
Add 1 cup of 7 grain cereal (whole foods, bulk section)
Add 1/4 cup flax seeds
Add 1/4 cup of millet
Add 2 handful of sunflower seeds
Add 3 teaspoons of salt
Allow to mix in kitchen aid
Consistency should be like thick cake batter - if too thick, add a bit of water
Preparing the baking form and the bread for baking
Oil the stoneware bake form
Add rolled rye flakes to it
Pour bread batter into stoneware form and distribute evenly with spatula
Add rolled rye flakes on top of batter
Push down some rolled rye flakes to the side of the stoneware bake form - this will prevent the bread from sticking to the form after the baking and allows for easier removal of the bread from the baking form
Cover the top with another baking form

      TIP: layer the top baking form with parchment paper to prevent stickiness
Let the bread rest for 6-8 h

Baking the Bread
Bake the bread at 350ºC or 180ºC for 1.5h, DO NOT preheat the oven
Remove bread, let it cool a bit and remove bread from the bake form
Place the Starter culture back in the fridge

Note: I found a step by step recipe on how to make the Rye sourdough starter culture

Some local breadmakers I follow in Mumbai:
Saee's My Jhola 
I recently ate Nikhil's Olive bread. See his recipes here on Nonchalant Gourmand
Or pick up a fresh loaf from The Baker's Dozen

This video making the rounds on the internet bought a smile on my face. It such a heartwarming combination to see Jon Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift and none other than Prince William groove it out on Livin' on a Prayer. See for yourself.