1:2:3 ‘Tadka’ Bread in a Chatti

Given the right platform, it’s possible for people that one hasn’t met to actually trigger a new idea and that’s what Apolina Fos did on Cal Select (a page on Facebook). Seeing one of my posts. she asked me if I’d ever thought of doing a ‘tadka’ on the dough. For the non-initiated, ‘tadka’, also called ‘chaunk’ is a process of tempering spices / herbs in hot oil and then transferring the flavoured oil into the dish. So, inspired by Apolina,

Incidentally, this was also an attempt to bake in a chatti. I’ve been eyeing the Romertopf and La Cloche clay vessels and while I’ve always wanted to play with clay, the non-availability of these in India pushed me to experiment with the humble ‘chatti’ found everywhere in Kerala. So, when Sudha paid a visit to Calicut, I asked her to scout around and she came back with a chatti with a lid.

And yes – it was also an experiment with a formula I learnt on Artisan Bread Bakers – a page on Facebook. 1:2:3 – 1 portion of starter + 2 portions of water + 3 portions of flour. All by weight. Here’s what my experiment was all about:


100 gms Starter
200 gms Water
300 gms Organic flour (240 gms APF/ Maida and 60 gms Whole Wheat flour / Atta)
6 gms salt

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Alaska Sourdough Bread

Alaskan MG SD3

Over a period of time, one gets comfortable with certain formulae – whether its with dealing with social situations or baking bread! 🙂 I’ve played with bread for a while now and I’ve gotten comfortable with the Tartine formula. Felt very sticky once upon a time. But, the more I’ve played, the easier it’s got. And then there’s the 1:2:3 formula – another delightful formula that’s less sticky and that’s given me consistent results. But, one thing I’ve always steered away from are the long, overnight, fermentation formulae. I’ve somehow associated long ferments with strong sour tones and no one at home is a fan of sour breads (me included). And I’ve always put off experimenting on these, partly because of my misplaced belief and partly because Ive always been able to make time for baking sourdough bread (about 7 – 8 hours from start to end, in small batches of time).  But all this changed when I came across Teresa Greenway’s Alaska Sourdough Bread. It’s one of the easiest formula’s I’ve played with and perhaps an easier recipe to start with than the Tartine. And let’s face it – its always awesome to have a freshly baked loaf of bread for breakfast!

Here are a few experiments (that’s just me – can’t help experimenting all the time) So, here goes:

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Fresh Coriander and Coconut Milk Bread

Maybe it’s in my genes. I’ve always had a weak spot for food cooked with anything related to coconuts. And I’ve been meaning to bake with coconut. So, instead of using water, I used coconut milk and to balance the heady, sweet aroma of coconut milk, I added some coarsely chopped, fresh coriander stalks. My favourite Tartine method, needs me around during the first 3 hours and that works on days that are free and I have often felt the need for another method that gives me more time to do more – and that’s how this method evolved. Mix. Knead. Leave it to ferment for 3 hours. Shape. Leave it to proof for 2 hours. Bake! A lot more time in between to do other stuff. 🙂

From some background reading that I did earlier, I figured that the coconut flavour tends to ‘evaporate’ after the bread is baked. So I used some thick coconut milk along with some coconut oil to ensure that the coconut flavour stays. So here it is – Fresh Coriander and Coconut Milk Sourdough Bread. This one was steam baked on terracotta tiles using a San Francisco culture. The coconut oil that I used in the dough ensured a crisp, soft crust and the fresh coriander stalks leant a crunch to the other-wise soft crumb. The bread smells like heaven on a plate. I did say that I had a weak spot for Coconut na? 🙂

Coconut Milk and Coriander SD 1


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Country Bread streaked with Date Pickle


My first post since we moved into Goa 2 weeks ago. And I think the pace of the slow posts will slow down even further. 🙂

The last visit to Bombay was fruitful – a gift of 2 bottles of home made Gujarati Pickles, of which one was a sweet and sour and spicy date pickle that I enjoyed thoroughly. So, while baking my daily bread, I played and added some of the pickle just before I shaped the loaf. And I loved the occasional piquant bursts of flavour that complimented the complex notes of the naturally leavened bread. Here’s how you can recreate this simple bread:

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Garlic and Walnut Herb Bread


It’s been a while since I’ve been obsessed with bread leavened with wild yeast. The more I read about the benefits of ‘natural’ or ‘sourdough’ bread – the more difficult it gets for me to play with commercial yeast. But, once in a while, I succumb to the convenience of a quick bake (under 4 hours) compared to a minimum of 9 – 10 hours required for the gentler sourdough bread. Having eaten a lot of the naturally leavened bread, I find the bread made with commercial yeast tasting flat – almost tasteless. And that seemed like a perfect opportunity to make some flavoured bread. So, here’s an experiment in aromatics and texture. Garlic, oregano, basil, milk and coconut oil combined to create an aroma that was sweet! And the chunks of walnut buried in the crumb added a nice crunch to the otherwise pillowy soft texture contributed by the milk in the dough. Here goes:

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Cypriot Herbed Olive Bread


I’ve always pre-heated the Dutch Oven (DO) for 45 minutes before transferring the dough into it and when I saw a recipe that didn’t ask for pre-heating the DO, my curiosity got the better of me. Moreover, with ingredients like EVO oil, black olives, fresh coriander, fresh mint and fresh spring onion leaves, this seemed like a delicious, savoury bread with contrasting flavours. And my curiosity was well rewarded – everyone @ home loved this bread and this recipe gets added to my list of ever-expanding favourites. The bread has a thin, crackling crisp crust with a gorgeous sheen and an olive and herb studded crumb that’s soft due to the generous amount of EVO oil. Here you go:

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Sweet Potato and Toasted Hazelnut Pugliese Bread


I love experimenting and if you’ve seen some of my posts you’d know that by now. And while I’m extra partial to ‘real’ breads, I also love breads that have unusual ingredients like vegetables. I’ve played around with sweet potato bread and I love what the potato does to the texture. So while exploring ratios and ingredients on the web, I came across this recipe on the Fresh Loaf. At 85% hydration, this was a challenge, but then – what the hell! Earlier, while rummaging the fridge, I had discovered some hazelnuts and when I saw the recipe, the dots connected! I concluded that I could toast the hazelnuts and add them to the bread – just for kicks. 🙂 For those of you interested in Bakers math this is 70% APF, 17% Bread flour, 10% WWF, 3% Rye flour, 22% Sweet potato, 85% water, 2.5% salt, 1% Yeast and 8% hazelnuts. This is easily going to be one of my favourites.

Pugiliese Bread, from Puglia in South Italy, has a high hydration dough resulting in large holes in a well structured crumb, and a well-developed, crunchy crust. While it looks like a Ciabatta, it is heavier and is typically made with a higher gluten flour. The Pugliese is typically shaped as a Batard (oval), and slashed with a single cut running lengthwise. I chose to let my Pugliese be a free form loaf without any scoring. Here’s how you can bake one.


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Potato and Saffron Bread


The folks at home are tiring of my insatiable need to make ‘real’ bread – that’s with just flour, yeast, salt and water. It’s not that they don’t enjoy the bread – it’s just that they find it a tad chewy the day after (despite all my valiant attempts to crisp up the crust in the oven or lightly toast it on a pan). I like my bread a bit chewy. I enjoy the flavours that gets extracted from the chewing process and I now understand why cows just spend their days chewing. 🙂 My parents are old and Mom in particular has her grinders removed so it must be real hard on her coping up with all my experiments. So, I felt it was time to switch tracks and get into some enriched breads. And I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for long. Was a sensory delight. The potato gives this bread a moist and springy texture. The saffron adds an aromatic edge and a gorgeous, rich golden hue that’s hard to beat. Here you go –

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