It takes a lot of experience and some failures to learn some aspects of baking. Baking bread is a great experience, a source of happiness that comes from accomplishing a task you love. It is a rewarding experience.


I love everything about the whole wheat bread. From hearty texture, earthy taste to the good feeling that comes when baking with wholegrains.
Wholegrain bread tends to have a dense and heavy crumb and the slices crumble and break while slicing.
However, with a slightly different approach, it is possible to get a light and airy crumb.


Recently we baked a 100% whole wheat bread with autolyse method.  Autolyse is a technique developed by Raymond Calvel. He has been called the teacher of bread teachers and is considered to be an expert on French bread.
Autolyse is a simple process. Just combine flour and water in a bowl and mix until no dry flour remains. Do not be tempted to knead. Simple cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place for 20-30 minutes to 3 hours. During the resting phase, gluten development begins and simple sugars start to form as starch is broken down. Autolyse is best described as a resting period between mixing and kneading.


Autolyse can be easily introduced into baking with whole grains. And it delivers a dough that is easier to work with and shape and gives a loaf better in texture, rise and flavor.


While adding water, adjust quantity according to need. Quality of whole wheat flour varies. a coarser flour requires more water. Weather conditions also differ from place to place. In a cold climate, you require more water. Besides following the recipe, there is an equal amount of intuition required to really hone your baking skills.


100% Whole Wheat Bread


Ingredients



  • 3 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¼  cup water (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup unrefined sugar or brown sugar (powdered)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 ¼  teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ cup water for kneading

Instructions

For Autolyse

In a large bowl combine whole wheat flour and 1 ¼ cup water. Stir well so that the water is absorbed and no pockets of dry flour remain. Cover and keep for 2 to 3 hours to hydrate the flour. 

Dough

  1. After the resting period add salt, sugar, and yeast and knead for 8 to 10 minutes till dough becomes soft and gluten is well developed. You may take a break in between kneading. It is very important that all the ingredients are uniformly incorporated and the dough becomes smooth.
  2. Drizzle oil and 3-4  tablespoons of water and knead further. Stretch the sides and pull it to centre. Repeat the stretch and fold method for another 5-6 minutes. By the end of kneading the dough should feel wet, sticky and elastic.
  3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Cover and keep to rise for 1-2 hours (depending upon the warmth of the kitchen) until double in volume, puffy and light.
  4. Grease one 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan. Dust with flour.
  5. Punch the risen dough. Transfer the dough onto the kitchen counter generously dusted with flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you are using. Roll the dough towards you tightly. Pinch seams and sides to seal.
  6. Transfer the shaped loaf into the prepared pan. Cover and let it rise until double. Poke with the finger, if the dough is firm and springs back immediately, it needs more time to rise. If the shallow impression remains,  the dough is ready.
  7. By the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.
  9. Remove from the oven after 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on the rack.
  10. Slice when cold.


 Black Grape Cake has a soft dense crumb and jammy grapes in every bite. It is a low-fat cake best enjoyed plain or with some custard. 

 

 Layers and layers of grey clouds started collecting over the horizon. The clouds look lurid, monstrous and ghastly. So unwelcome at this time of the season. The Spring should have been in its youth with myriad hues, aromas and beauty that adds so many shades of joy and mirth to life and erases the blues and barrenness that sometimes seeps in.
A strong wind pushed the clouds around and they spread all over. Flashes of lightning made scary patterns in the grey canvass. The winds howled and wailed and soon the rain came down in torrents. The soft murmur of the river transformed into a monstrous roar and the air filled up with all the sounds that the heart abhors. As in life, so in everything, there is no permanence and change is the only constant. The morning was bright, brilliant and beautiful. 


The rain left puddles everywhere. And the birds thronged the puddles bathing, playing and enjoying to the core. 


A pair of Himalayan Bulbuls dived into the water and a Kingfisher sat on a broken branch in a grassy patch nearby.


There was so much freshness and so much life in the new day.
The oven timer chimed and  Black Grape Cake was taken out of the oven. A buttery aroma wafted through. 


It is a wholewheat cake. Seasonal black grapes were added to the batter and a handful arranged on top. The grapes on the top cook, shrivel and become very jammy. 


Every bite has sweet jammy grapes and the cake has a mellow citrusy flavour from the zest.
Sprinkle some icing sugar and serve.


Black Grape Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup wholewheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup small size black grapes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together first three ingredients. Keep aside.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar till pale and light.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix well.
  5. Add half of the flour and half of the milk. Stir to mix.
  6. Add remaining flour followed by milk. Mix to get a smooth batter. Do not over mix.
  7. Fold in zest and ¾ cup of grapes.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes. Quickly open the oven and arrange remaining grapes on the cake. Push in the grapes gently as the top must be slightly firm.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.




    Wholegrain Flaxseed and Sesame crackers are crisp and delicious. The crackers are guilt-free and make a  healthy snacking option. Enjoy plain or with cheese spread or with your favourite dip




     A heavy downpour plummeted the temperature. Winter is yet to stay it seemed.  Higher peaks of the region had mild snowfall. 

    But the next day, the sky was clear and azure. The Sun emerged from behind the hills in all the glory and strength.  The warmth infused a new life and high spirits that wiped the winter blues away.
    Far away near the bank of the river, we noticed some movement in the bushes. It was a fox. A majestic animal soon joined by two more were perhaps in search of some prey.


    The foxes moved ahead and one of them reached the puddle left by heavy rainfall a day ago. It looked intrigued by its reflection in the water. 


    A neighbour’s dog barked and the foxes disappeared in the forest.


    A sweet aroma wafted through and the timer chimed. Our whole wheat flaxseed crackers are ready. Crisp and seedy crackers make great guilt-free snacking option. 


    The crackers are a great accompaniment to a cup of tea, you’ll love them with cheese spread or some homemade dip.
    I have baked the crackers with oil. You may use the same quantity of ghee (clarified butter) or butter for a rich buttery taste.


    Wholegrain Flaxseed and Sesame Crackers /BreadBakers

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ cup  wholewheat flour
    • ¾ - 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4 tablespoons oil
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
    • 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
    • 3-4 tablespoons cold water

    Instructions

    1. Take sesame seeds in a thick bottom wok and roast till the colour just begins to change.
    2. In the same wok roast flaxseeds till the seeds begin to crackle.
    3. Keep the seeds to cool.
    4. In a large bowl take first three ingredients and mix well.
    5. Add seeds. Add water just enough to bring the mixture together into a dough. Do not knead. Cover and keep for 20 minutes.
    6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
    7. Divide dough into two parts.
    8. Take one part and roll thinly between two sheets of parchment paper.
    9. With a cutter or a sharp knife, cut even size crackers.
    10. Bake for 20 minutes or till the colour at the edges begins to change.
    11. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
    12. Cool and store in an airtight container.
    Linking to #Breadbakers

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. 
    You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here.
    Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
    This month, our host is Sneha and decided that we bake crackers.




    BreadBakers
    Check out the fabulous crackers baked by the other talented bakers








    Carrot Bead Rolls are a perfect combination of sweetness and softness. The crumb is soft and sweet. The flavor of honey is apparent in every bite. Carrots add a lovely colour and texture The are rolls are addictive and best enjoyed warm with a generous lashing of butter.


    Every morning, habitually the eyes drift towards the East. The horizon looked chaotic and a jigsaw of grey clouds and pink sky. The grey clouds and the Sun seemed to be locked in a battle. Some black bulbuls screamed and the Barbets flew heavily from one tree to another foraging and preening. The horizon kept changing colours and patterns and soon the pink began to turn golden. The clouds began to dissipate and soon disappeared. The Sun appeared bathing the forest in gold. There is something very healing about the sunrise. It seems to cure and eliminate the darkness within and outside.


    Far in the forest, a baby langur and  mother langur sat huddled together waiting for the Sun.


    A pair of Red-whiskered Bulbuls let out sonorous notes enjoying the warmth of the morning Sun.



    Post lunch, we started prepping to make Carrot Bread Rolls.

    The dough has carrots that add wetness to the dough. Add the warm milk slowly while kneading. If the final dough turns out sticky, add more flour to get a smooth and soft dough.

    The dough will take a little longer to rise. Keep the dough and later the prepared rolls in a warm place.


    Baking makes a home feel like home.  A sweet aroma wafted through as the rolls baked. The rolls are a perfect combination of sweetness and softness. The crumb is soft and sweet. The flavor of honey is apparent in every bite. Carrots add a lovely colour and texture The are rolls are addictive and best enjoyed warm with a generous lashing of butter.


    Scandinavian Carrot Bread Rolls / Carrot Bread Rolls

    Ingredients


    • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 ½ cups finely grated carrots
    • ½ cup warm milk (plus a little extra if needed)
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
    • 25 grams butter ( ¼ stick butter)


    Instructions


    1. Add honey to warm milk and stir to mix. Add yeast, stir and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes.
    2. In another large bowl, take all-purpose flour and salt, whisk.
    3. Add grated carrots. Mix well. The juice from the carrots will make the mixture look crumbly.
    4. Add the milk mixture gradually while kneading. The dough should be soft and a little sticky.
    5. When the dough almost comes together, add softened butter. Keep kneading till the butter is well incorporated into the dough and dough becomes smooth. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add a tablespoon of flour or more depending on the wetness. The dough should be firm enough to form rolls.
    6. Form a ball of the dough and transfer it to an oiled bowl. Tune around the dough so that it is coated with oil. Cover and keep it to rise in a warm place until double in size. It may take 1 – 1 ½ hour.
    7. Grease one 7x7 inch square pan.
    8. Punch the risen dough and divide it into two parts. From each half, pinch out 8 equal size balls of dough. Roll the balls and place them in the pan. Cover and keep in a warm place to rise until double in size.
    9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 30-35 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden.
    10. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Brush the top with butter. Remove from the pan and cool in the rack.
    11. Serve.
    Linking to #BreadBakers.
    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a
    common ingredient or theme. 
    You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here.
    Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
    This month the Bread Bakers are making Scandinavian Breads, a theme chosen by
    Felice from All That's Left Are The Crumbs.
    BreadBakers

    And don’t forget to check out all the amazing bread baked by our talented bakers-

  • Danish Rye Bread (Rugbrød) from A Messy Kitchen

  • Epcot School Bread from Simply Inspired Meals

  • Kanellangd from Amandie Bakes

  • Pönnukökur aka Swedish Pancakes from Food Lust People Love

  • Scandinavian Cardamon Cinnamon Rolls from All That's Left Are The Crumbs
  • Scandinavian Carrot Bread Rolls from Ambrosia

  • Swedish St. Lucia Saffron Buns from Sneha's Recipe

  • Vörtbröd (Swedish Wort Bread) from Karen's Kitchen Stories




  • Runeberg cakes are dense, super moist, bursting with great flavours of cardamom, almonds, ginger, and zest. Almond meal and biscuit crumbs lend a great texture. Laced with rum syrup and jam topping with icing ring makes it a great dessert



    Threads of smoke emerge on the horizon from the distant hamlets. The air is cold and vaporous. A million pearls of dew hanging on the blades of the grass make the lawn look like a carpet of diamonds. The morning is misty and serene.  


    The branches in the distance shake and the raucous calls of the White Crested Laughing Thrush tear the silence. They jump on the branches and continue calling in shrill notes.  Soon, one after the other, the group disappears in the orchard while their calls still audible in the air.


    We are expecting some guests for tea. Our baking studio gets active as the Sun emerges and it gets warmer. We are baking Runeberg’s Torte.


    Runeberg torte is a Finnishpastry named after the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg and is traditionally made and eaten on February 5th, Runeberg’s birthday.
    Runeberg’s Torte is   traditionally a tall cylindrical pastry that is soaked in rum or cognac flavoured sugar syrup and topped with a dollop of jam, lastly garnished with a ring of white or pink sugar icing. In  home baking, they are often baked in muffin tins.


    Runeberg cakes are dense, super moist, bursting with great flavours of cardamom, almonds, ginger, and zest. Almond meal and biscuit crumbs lend a great texture. Laced with rum syrup and jam topping with icing ring makes it to-die for dessert.
    It takes a lot of time to make them but the effort is well rewarded!


    Runerbergintorttuja – Runeberg Torte

     Ingredients

    Cake

    •  2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup finely ground ginger snaps or digestive biscuits (add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger powder if using digestive biscuits)
    • ¾ cup almond meal
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 ½   teaspoon ground green cardamom seeds
    • 1 cup (2 sticks butter)
    • 1 ½ cups unrefined  sugar/castor sugar
    • 3 free-range eggs
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • ½ cup whipping cream
    • ½ cup fresh orange juice (or store-bought)
    • 1 ½ teaspoon orange zest (or candied peels chopped finely)

    Ingredients 

    Rum Syrup

    • 1 cup sugar
    • ½ cup water
    • 2 tablespoon rum

    Ingredients

     For topping  

    • Raspberry jam (or any other jam of choice)
    • ½ cup icing sugar
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    • ½ teaspoon almond extract or essence


    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour one standard 12-cup muffin tray.
    2. Whisk together all-purpose flour, ginger snaps, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom powder in a large bowl. Keep aside.
    3. Cream butter and sugar till pale and light. Add honey and beat for another 2-3 minutes till fluffy.
    4. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
    5. Now add cream and beat so that it is well incorporated and you get a uniform mixture.
    6. Add orange zest.
    7. Now add dry ingredients and orange juice in three shifts. Add dry ingredients and a little orange juice. Repeat. If at any step you feel that the batter is of right consistency, do not add more orange juice.
    8. Spoon the batter into the prepared tray, filling up the cups to ¾th level. Level the tops with a spatula.
    9. Bake for 20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    10. Remove from the oven. Remove from the tray after 15 minutes.
    11. To prepare rum syrup, take sugar and water in a thick bottomed pan.
    12. Stir till sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat
    13. Stir in rum. Let it cool.
    14. Unmould the cakes, while the cakes are still warm, poke the tops with a toothpick. With a pastry brush, brush the syrup on the top and sides of the cake. Let the cakes cool.
    15. To prepare the icing, take icing sugar, milk and almond extract in a cup. Whisk till thick paste forms.
    16. Pour in an icing bag.

    Assembly

    1. Arrange the cupcakes upside down in a tray. ( Cut out the bulging portion if the cakes are not standing)
    2. With a sharp knife, scoop out a shallow cone from the topside of each cake making a small depression.
    3. Brush more syrup into the depression.
    4. Fill up the depression with a 1- 1 ½ tablespoon of jam.
    5. Make a ring with the icing around the jam topping.
    6. Serve.




    OlderStories Home