A bag of brown rice was delivered at my dad’s place by his friend a few months back. In spite of ill health his friend remembered dad’s love for brown rice and carted personally all the way from his farm in the interior hills. Home grown in the salubrious Himalayan clime and packed with love, the rice was indeed precious and price less.
There is an element of simplicity in people who live close to nature. Those living in the interior hills, away from the modernism are selfless, pure and humble. Perhaps it is the influence of the nature that makes them so exalted. My dad’s friend has all these qualities that make him a great human being.

Half of the brown rice was passed on to us by my dad. We savoured every bit of it. Last week, some brown rice was left after lunch. I did not want the birds to feast on it which is generally the case with the leftover food in our home. Rice had to be used while it was fresh and the only way I could think of using it was to bake bread. I had never baked brown rice bread before. Most of the brown rice bread recipes that I found did not prove to be of much help. I got some help here and for the rest, used my generic recipe for simple bread. I let the bread rise in a pot. I wasn’t too sure of this bread that was being baked without a tried recipe, mainly, to salvage brown rice. But the bread turned out to be a stunner. It rose exceptionally well. It was soft and mildly sweet with occasional grains of rice in the crumb making it chewy.
Our Indian gooseberry (Amla) tree promises a bumper crop this year.
 Bael (Wood apple) too, promises a good produce.

Here is my recipe for Brown Rice Bead in a Pot.
You may use leftover brown rice or cook some especially for the purpose. Mash the rice well, and then measure it. I used a pot, but I recommend baking bread in a bread pan.

Brown Rice Bread in a Pot
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup brown rice (cooked and mashed)
1 ½ tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
½ cup warm water.
Dissolve sugar in warm water. Add yeast. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
In a kneading plate whisk whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt.
Add olive oil and mix well.
Add brown rice and mix well so that the mashed rice is distributed evenly in the flour mix.
Add water and knead for about 10 minutes to get soft dough.
Cover the dough and leave it for 20 minutes.
Transfer the dough to the counter, oil your palms and knead for 6 to 8 minutes. By the end of kneading, the dough should be smooth and supple, Soft but not sticky.
Grease a bread tin (7 inch x 3 inches).
Now shape the loaf. Stretch the dough to form a rectangle, now wider than the loaf pan you are using.
Roll the dough towards you, tightly. Pinch seams to seal.
Place the roll in the greased loaf tin with the seam side down. Cover and keep it to rise for 1 hour or till double in size.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 190 Degrees for 35 to minutes or till the top turns brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove from the pan after 10 minutes and cool in the rack.

Sending to Vegan Thursdays conceptualized by Priya   and Yeastspotting

Lassitude of the waning monsoon has been a great blessing here. It has resulted in blossoms and blooms, butterflies have been spotted in great numbers and greatest varieties ever, profuse fruition of the berries and wild fruits have made the countryside a haven for birds.
Good weather also invokes all kinds of foodie urges. Every day while beating our coffee in the afternoon, my sweet tooth beckons the baker in me to bake something sweet to accompany our already extra sweet coffee. Suddenly the promise made to bake cakes only when the occasion demands to keep the burgeoning paunches and expanding waistlines in check, reins the soaring desire and then the hunt begins for something less sweet and less buttery, a healthy way to satiate sweet cravings.  And my search leads me to Brazilian Fruit Bread. Original Recipe appears in “The Festive Bread Book,” by Kathy Cutler, while I adapted the recipe from Artisan Bread Baking

The recipe has been tweaked and changed to suit, butter has been replaced by olive oil, egg has been omitted and figs and almonds have been added.

This is how I made The Brazilian Fruit Bread. You can see the original recipe here
Brazilian Fruit Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup milk (plus a tablespoon more if needed)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg powder
1 tablespoon raisins
2 figs chopped finely
5 dried apricots chopped finely
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
5 almonds chopped finely
Milk wash
2 tablespoons sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm milk
Heat milk till very hot. Add sugar and stir till sugar dissolves. Let it cool.
Toss the chopped fruits and nuts in one tablespoon of flour.
Whisk together remaining flour and salt. Add olive oil. Mix well.
Add powdered cinnamon and nutmeg to flour.
Add instant yeast to the luke warm milk. Cover and keep for 15 minutes. It should turn frothy
Add milk mix to flour and knead for 6 to 8 minutes to get soft dough.
Add more warm milk if the dough feels tight.
Stretch the dough in the kneading plate and sprinkle dry fruits and nuts.
Knead for another 5 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Knead again for 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the dough into three parts.
Make a braid as shown in the picture. Cover and keep it to rise for one hour.
Coat the risen braid with milk wash using a brush
Bake in a pre heated oven at 190 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cover with a foil if the bread turns brown and there is still some time left.
Remove from the oven and cool in the rack. Slice when cold.

Submitted for Yeastspotting

Irish Wheaten Bread is a soda bread with yeast. In fact, it is the yeast raised version of traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread. I have made many soda breads before. This version is very much like soda bread in taste with a distinct yeasty taste and flavor which makes it different.  It is one of the easiest breads to make and has a soft sweet crumb. It rises beautifully.

I saw this bread in The Bread Experience and baked it the same day. The ingredients are simple and the bread is a great accompaniment to soups and stews. 

This is how I made it-
Irish Wheaten Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour 
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup warm water (if needed)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
Some oil to grease the pan
Take buttermilk in a steel wok. Add sugar and butter. Heat till very warm. The buttermilk will curdle. Turn off the heat.
Whisk together all purpose flour, salt, soda and instant yeast.
Add flour mix to buttermilk mix. Stir vigorously till well combined.
Now add whole wheat flour slowly. Use hands to bring the dough together. Keep adding whole wheat flour till two cups are used. Add water only if needed (if the dough becomes too dry).
Grease an eight inch cake pan. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the pan.
Cover and let it rise for 35 to 40 minutes.
Make an   “X” mark on the dough with a sharp knife.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees C for 30 to 45 minutes or till it becomes golden brown.

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It is retreating monsoon here. It is raining heavily in the evenings making nights really pleasant … in fact nippy making us switch off the fans and snug into a thick sheet. Last night, we went for a light dinner of Onion and Rosemary Focaccia with soup. The Rosemary that went into the bread was handpicked by us last year from a farm in the hills. It was shade dried and bottled.

Focaccia is crisp, golden, light, salty & oily Italian flat bread.

“In the most general terms, a focaccia is a thin sheet of bread dough, probably made with Italian ‘00’ flour, dimpled with the impressions from the bakers fingertips, and washed with oil, salt and a little water before baking. There is a tradition of topping the sheets of dough with a simple herb, vegetable or cheese (rarely more than one), but purists deny these variations exist, and prefer the dough kept simple.”-Dan Lepard

This was my maiden attempt at making Focaccia and it turned out good. There is an element of great simplicity and ease in Dan Lepard’s recipes which makes them very appealing to follow.

I saw this recipe in the Australia Food Blog in theguardian.com  
This is how I made it-
Onion and Rosemary Focaccia
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 teaspoon for oiling the baking tray
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt plus ½ teaspoon to sprinkle on the bread
2 teaspoons dried Rosemary
1 medium onion sliced finely
Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a bowl. Add salt and flour. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water only if the dough feels dry. Stir to form soft sticky dough.
Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
Dough would have risen by now. Using your hands, stir the dough for about 5 minutes.
Cover and leave it for 30 minutes.
Spread 1 tablespoons of oil all over the dough, with your hands, turn the dough. The oil should spread all over the dough and it should move freely in the bowl.
Splash 1 tablespoon of oil in your working counter. Transfer the dough from bowl to your counter.
Pull the dough into a 8 inch rectangle. Fold in by thirds and return to the bowl. Let it rest for another 15 minutes.
Oil the baking tray, add dough, and stretch the dough to a rectangle (8 inch x 5 inch). Dimple the dough about a dozen times with the tip of your finger pointing straight down. Leave for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.  Arrange onion slices on the dough and sprinkle salt and rosemary.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or till the top turns brown.

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The beauty of this bread is that with just a few basic ingredients you get   lovely bread. I love the name “Rustic Bread”. It makes me image bread baked in the country side. Simple bread made from very basic ingredients, with grains grown and milled locally. No pans required, shaped with hands. And when being baked, a lovely aroma wafting through and the bread being enjoyed with some soup or stew made from the home grown veggies. 

This bread signifies the beauty of simplicity. The simplicity that is found in the rustic life. Uncomplicated, basic, pure and divine….

This recipe is originally from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes. I adapted it from Floyd Mann’s The Fresh Loaf. This is how I made it-           
Rustic Bread
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup and more water
½ teaspoon salt
1 pinch of instant yeast
Final Dough
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
All of the preferment
Water to knead dough
Whisk all purpose flour, whole wheat flour salt and yeast. Add water. The flour should be well hydrated. Cover the bowl and leave the preferment out at room temperature for 18 hours. It should become bubbly and smell sour.  To prepare the final dough, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add preferment. Mix well with hands. Now add water slowly.   Mixing well after each addition.  Mix water and knead   till soft dough is obtained. The dough requires thorough kneading for more than 10 minutes so that the preferment is evenly incorporated in the new dough.                                                                                          
When an almost even soft dough is ready, place the dough in a greased bowl and ferment for 1 ½ hours.
At the end of fermentation, when the dough is well risen, take it out on a clean surface, shape into a ball by folding the dough and degassing it gently.
This is how I shaped the ball- Round the dough in your hand. Bring the sides of the dough to the bottom rounding it. Squeeze and pinch the seam very tightly.
 Place the ball on the greased baking tray, cover and let it rest for 1 hour. It should become double in size by the end. Before baking, score the ball of risen dough with a sharp knife.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees C for 25 to 30 minutes till the bread is well baked.

My Notes: Read the original recipe as I have halved the ingredients. Add water gradually because loose dough will not retain its shape. It will spread out. If you want big size holes in the bread, do not degas after first rise. Just fold it into a ball.
Sending to 

Vegan Thursdays conceptualized by Priya

Struan Bread is healthy, hearty and wholesome bread. It is believed to be harvest bread. Perhaps, traditionally, a little bit of everything that is being harvested goes into the bread. It is versatile bread in the sense that one can certainly add different grains to it. This is one of my favourite breads that I have baked so far. The very thought that a great variety of cereals go into it gives a healthy feeling. And yes, it toasts beautifully.

I read the Struan Bread recipes here and here.

This is how I made it-
Struan Bread
Ingredients (for two loaves)
3 tablespoons coarse cornmeal
3 tablespoons white oats
3 tablespoons mixed cereal (I took muesli, removed nuts & fruits and grinded to a coarse  powder)
¼ cup water (or a little more till the above ingredients are properly soaked)
3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cooked brown rice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup buttermilk
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup warm water (quantity of water my vary)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Mix all the ingredients for the soaker. Make sure it is not dry. Cover and allow to soak for at least half an hour to overnight. I soaked for 5 hours.
In a kneading plate, whisk all the dry ingredients of the dough.
Add brown sugar to buttermilk and stir till it dissolves completely. Add honey
Add soaker and buttermilk mix to dry ingredients. Add water gradually to get soft dough.
Knead dough for about 10 to 12 minutes. Add more water if it feels hard.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Let it rest for 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the bowl, degas gently, and divide into two.
Spread out one part into a rectangle, no wider than the loaf pan you are using (I used two loaf tins, each measuring 7x3 inches). Roll the dough towards you tightly. Pinch the seams to seal.
Place the loaf in the greased loaf tin with the seam side down. Sprinkle water on top and sprinkle ½ tablespoon poppy seeds on top.
Repeat the same with the other part of the dough.
Cover and allow the loaves to rise again till double in size. This should take about an hour.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees C for 40 to 60 minutes till well browned from top and the loaf tin sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove from the tin after 15 minutes. Cool in the rack.
Bread slices well next day.
My notes: Add water gradually. Do not add all the water given in the recipe in one go.
You can experiment with different grains. Cover the loaves  if the top turns too brown and there is still some time left.

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