It is the fag end of monsoons. Clouds do linger in the sky most of the time but it seldom rains and an occasional drizzle suffuses the air with the earthy scent but makes it hot and humid. It is a hot afternoon and the Sun is quite strong in spite of the scattered clouds that cover it every now and then.
We noticed two juvenile squirrels playing in the trunk of a fish tail palm. They chased each other, going around the moss laden trunk in circles and reached the grassy ground below.
One of them found something that we assumed to be a piece of bread and rushed up to one side of the trunk munching it. Soon, the other squirrel reached there and the first one handed over her morsel to her.
We marveled at their camaraderie ship and selflessness. It was a beautiful sight. Soon they lunged at the low branches of Mussaenda and then leaped on to the higher branches of Neem tree, and chasing each other, they were out of sight. There is so much to learn from nature.
Hot and humid weather is excellent for baking breads. A cornmeal bread is being baked. Yeasty aroma spreads all around indicating that the bread is done. Cornmeal lends a yellowish tinge to the bread and makes it airy and light.
The crust is soft and the crumb is fluffy.
Yeasted Cornmeal Bread
2 ½ cups all- purpose flour
1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal (makki ka atta)
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast.
Whisk together flours and salt. Add olive oil and mix well.
Mix together water and yeast. Add honey.
Start kneading by adding a little water at a time. Keep kneading till you use up almost all water and a slightly sticky dough is obtained.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and turn around so that it is coated with oil on all sides. Cover and leave in a warm dry place to rise for 1 hour or till double.
Punch dough and transfer to the counter sprinkled with some all-purpose flour.
Shape it into a log by rolling out into a rectangle (about 8 inches wide) and then rolling towards you tightly. Pinch seams to seal and tuck in the sides.
Place it in an oiled loaf pan (8x4 inches) with seam side down and leave to rise for one hour or till double.
Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees C for 25 to 30 minutes. The top should brown evenly and the bottom should sound hollow when tapped.
Remove from loaf pan after 10 minutes.
Cool in the rack, slice next day.