Bread is, perhaps, the most taken-for-granted food item in Indian homes. Whenever you asked, ‘what’s for dinner’, you’d be told what vegetable or daal was on the menu, since chapati is a staple. Yet, at the same time, bread is also looked at with trepidation in Indian homes. Baking bread is not a very common cooking sport in most of the houses even today.
One hears people saying, ‘I have baked a cake for desserts’, but hearing ‘I have baked a loaf for breakfast’ is far from frequent. And that’s where food writer Saee Koranne-Khandekar’s book ‘Crumbs! Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen’, comes in handy.
The book offers more than 40 recipes of Indian and international breads. From a basic white sandwich loaf to classic Indian breads like naan and paneer kulcha to baguette, croissants and no-knead breads, there is bread aplenty.
The author has done a good job of laying down these recipes simply enough to make them easy for a novice baker, offering measurements in grams and spoons instead of percentages. As for the seasoned baker, there is a lot! She has also listed essentials in dedicated chapters explaining different types of yeast, flours, tools needed and also offering alternatives. For instance, all purpose flour is nothing but maida, she notes.
There is also a very useful chapter called Troubleshooting, which would help tackle practical problems like how to deal with the dough when it becomes too sticky or not if it’s rising, et cetera. Oh and you needn’t throw away those leftovers because the chapter called Using Leftover Bread is your savour offering recipes of bruschetta, French toast, and more; followed by a section of accompaniments – jams, and dips.
Even if you don’t aren’t in the mood to bake, you can relish reading several interesting personal ‘bread’ stories, delectable history, and anecdotes from cookery classes. However, one is left looking for pictures. There are several pictures, but just not enough. Also, when one is looking to prepare a recipe, one prefers a picture next to it. All in all, the author has done a commendable job of bringing bread baking in to our kitchens by making it look simple even for those who crumble at the thought of it.
Author: Saee Koranne-Khandelar
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs. 450
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