Not surprising that I spent the maximum time trying to figure out a bread for the alphabet, X. I almost gave up and was reconciling myself to doing something other than bread when I came across the dish called, ‘Xacuti Chicken’. Upon further reading, I discovered that it is a dish popular in Goa, India and Xacuti is a spice mix used to make the chicken very aromatic and tasty. So I figured I could add that to a bread and make a xacuti bread but then the country clause of our marathon kicks in and I didn’t want to violate that. Then finally, a couple of days back an idea struck me as I was putting my daughter to sleep. These days most ideas find this time to strike because I have to be very quiet and perfectly still else the daughter wakes up at the slightest shrug. I remembered having read about the Iyengar bakery khara bread recipe at Veena’s blog and so this grand idea was born. My bread would totally be Indian because both xacuti and khara bread are from here. Yay! Purists would surely debate this culmination of west and south India but that is how creativity and innovation works, no? The bread is very aromatic and my daughter and I loved it. The husband? Let’s just say he is a purist. 😉
It is said that time and temperature are ingredients for a good loaf of bread. While it is comparatively easier to play around with time, it is not so with temperature. Since most of the blogs and websites are from the western countries there are innumerable tips about how to keep the dough warm when it needs to rise. But there are few tips on how to cool down the dough in the excessive tropical heat to ensure it rises well. Like I mentioned yesterday, I am having trouble with the dough rising to be double its volume because of the excessive Bangalore heat. My first idea was to use room temperature water instead of lukewarm to knead the dough and that paid good dividends. Obviously using cold water is out of question but I needed to reduce the temperature further for my dough to rise nicely. I remembered reading about a wet towel leading to better rising dough. So then I hit upon an idea by which I soaked a kitchen towel in cold water and squeezed out the excess water. I covered my dough bowl with cling wrap and threw the cold kitchen towel over it for 20-25 minutes. That helped beautifully and the dough happily bulked up making the world a brighter place for me. I did not want to keep the towel on for too long because I was worried the temperature would drop too much and adversely affect my dough. I kept watch and checked every 5-7 minutes and by 25 minutes the dough rise was good enough for me to remove the towel and let the dough rise a bit more for the balance 35 minutes.
Country – India
Makes one 8″ loaf
Recipe adapted from here
WHAT WE NEED
All purpose flour 1 1/2 cup heaped
Instant yeast 1 tsp
Sugar 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Water 6 tbsp
Milk 1/4 cup
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Xacuti spice powder 1 – 1 1/2 tsp
Milk for brushing the dough 2 tbsp
WHAT TO DO
- Mix all the ingredients together except the milk for brushing the dough
- To figure out how much xacuti spice you need, I suggest you first add 1 1/2 tsp with the rest of the ingredients
- Hold back 1 tbsp water.
- Taste the dough and if you think you need more, add another 1/2 tsp along with the 1 tbsp water to mix well
- The spice tastes stronger in the dough than in the finally baked bread. So keep that in mind while tasting the dough
- Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes by hand
- Cover and set aside in a greased bowl till it doubles in volume
- Take out the dough and flatten it into a rectangle
- Roll up the dough from the short end into a tight loaf
- Grease an 8*3″ loaf tin and transfer the dough into it
- Cover and set it aside for an hour
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Brush the top of the dough with milk
- Bake for 40 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
- If you tap the bottom of the loaf tin, it should sound hollow
- Cool completely before slicing
- Enjoy as is or with some butter!
- I used a home made xacuti spice mix in which I reduced the number of red chillies used. If you are using a store bought one, then you could try mixing it with some onion powder / garlic powder / mixed herbs to tone down the hotness quotient if you wish.
This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘X’.