Basic White Bread/Pav Bread (Eggless)
I love the aroma of freshly baked bread!!! I’m sure all of you do…I never thought I would ever bake a bread. I still remember the times I used to stand outside a bakery just to be able to smell bread!!! This used to be in Madurai, India, during my vacations, when we went to visit my grandparents. There used to a bakery near their house from where we used to buy buns almost every evening at 4 PM. Why at 4?? Because they used to bake fresh bread in the evenings everyday, and the aroma would reach our house and tickle the taste-buds and we went to buy bread!!
After coming to the US, I used to dream of baking bread at home, but somehow it never materialized. Then finally one day, about 2-3 months ago, I mustered enough courage to give it a try. And I did try, the result? Well, the taste was OK, but the crust was a little hard. I wasn’t satisfied, and I said to myself this is why I should not bake bread at home. But then I could not give up so easily.
Yesterday I wanted to bake a bread at any cost. Very determined, I browsed for recipes for almost half a day. I wanted an eggless recipe. Finally after a lot of research, I found a recipe that looked good to me. And I started my experiment! The verdict?? It is here in the photos for you to see!! The bread was veryyyy soft and has a great texture. My husband loved it. So here I’m sharing the recipe with all of you.
Before going to the recipe I would like to share a few things with you. I have tweaked the original recipe a little bit. The original one called for only water, but I added some milk, so you can substitute the milk totally with water. Also, the amount of butter was 1 Tbsp, but I added 1 tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Also the rest time required was only 1 1/2 hours plus 20 mins (second rise). But I had read somewhere that a second rise (before forming the loaf) helps create a good texture and you can do this if you have time. I had time and I wanted a good bread at any cost, so I let it rest for about 1 1/2 hrs initially, 40 mins (second rise) and 30 mins(after forming the loaves). This process took a little longer, but the outcome was well worth the effort!
Also I made two loaves, one I shaped as a regular bread, I do not have a loaf pan, so I was worried of how it will turn out without the pan. So I divided the dough into 2 parts and with the second part I made pav bread. Very easy to make. Both the breads were excellent and you could do it anyway you want.
Now finally, the recipe……
Active Dry Yeast – 2 1/4 tsp (1 Packet)
Water – 1/2 cup
Milk – 7/8 cup
All purpose flour – 3 1/2 cups plus more if required
Sugar – 2 1/2 tbsp
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Butter – 1 tbsp (softened)
Olive oil – 1 tbsp plus 1/2 tbsp
- Add the yeast and sugar to warm water (not hot water) and mix well. Let it stand for 10 mins. The mixture must be foamy.
- Warm the milk and melt the butter. Now add the milk, butter and oil to the yeast mixture and mix well. Now Add the flour 1 cup at a time and form a dough. It might take a little more than the 3 1/2 cups of flour. It is okay, keep adding the flour until you can form a dough ball. It will be sticky.
- Knead the dough for about 5 to 6 mins adding flour from time to time. The final dough will still be sticky. Do not add too much dough, add just enough to be able to handle the it.
- Transfer the dough to a fairly large greased bowl, as the dough will rise and double in size. Apply some olive oil on the top of the dough ball. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and rest for 1 1/2 hrs or until it has doubled in size. Keep in a warm place in your kitchen, in winter, you can switch on the oven at 200 degree F for 3-5 minutes. Check the temperature by placing your hand inside the oven, if it is too hot for your hand, let cool for some time, as too much heat will kill the yeast.
- After 1 1/2 hrs, punch down the dough. Literally, punch the dough, think of someone you are angry with and punch!!! hehe….really, this is an important step, to remove all the air bubbles from the dough. Knead the dough for a minute. Now you can go to step 7 or let the dough rise again for about 40 mins. (I did this and the final result was a really soft and had a nice texture).
- After the second rise, punch down the dough again and knead for a minute.
To make a loaf:
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Grease a loaf pan (8 by 5). Take one portion of the dough and form a loaf with it. Flatten the dough ball slightly on the work surface. Now take one end, and bring it to the center. Bring the other end also to the centre and pinch both sides to seal. Now carefully lift this and place it in the loaf pan, with the sealed side down. If you do not have a loaf pan, seal the dough ad mentioned above and place it on a greased 13 by 9 baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
To make Pav Bread:
- Take the other half of the dough and divide it into 9 small balls. Now take a 9 by 9 baking pan (with high sides), and place the dough balls 3 in a row, without any gap in between. Make 3 rows like, one below another, again without any gap in between. All the dough balls must be in contact with the adjacent balls. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 375 F for about 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown and done. To check if the bread is done, tap the bottom with a wooden spoon, if it makes a hollow sound, bread is done.