Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A tale of two Breads

These two mini bread boules may appear similar but appearances are deceptive. Both are gluten free breads and are made from exactly the same ingredients- Barnyard millet, salt and a bit of grated carrot. However, they have one fundamental difference. The one on right- sitting on a pedestal of bread slices was slowly fermented with wild starters- it's a sourdough bread and the one on the right is fermented with yeast. The sourdough took about 8 hours to ferment, while its yeast sibling took one hour. Nutritionally, there is no significant difference between the two, neither in texture- But how about taste? Hmmm... we have been eating bread made by both these methods and this is what we felt:

Just like Theory of Relativity, which states that speed is relative to the frames of reference of an observer- taste too is relative to the palate of a taster. However, this is what our taste buds suggested- The sourdough bread combines best with, spicy curries, mild cheeses, chutneys, sunny-side-up eggs and peanut butter. The yeast bread goes best with jams, mild curries, sharp cheese and scrambled eggs. Sourdough bread goes nicely when dunked in coffee, while the yeast bread does will with tea. It feels much like how one would choose their wines- but unlike the connoisseurs, we were more than happy to have any bread with any dip- Its not just wholesome but healthy too. 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Barnyard millet, Sourdough Pie

Our heads are reeling with ideas, but working on the technique, is what slows us down. We have been working on a sourdough pie crust for sometime and this morning it turned out just right. " Eureka was the word, echoing in our kitchen labs". There is some more tweaking that needs to be done, but for the moment we have a nice crunchy crust and a pillow soft crumb.

The gluten-free, pie  was made from, Organic, whole Barnyard millet only and was infused with herbs. We used our leftover bread dough from the previous day as a starter. The fermentation took about 8 hours and involved a slow one-hour baking. The filling for the pie was a mixture of all the veggies I could gather from the fridge and cooked it like, how one would make a Mangalorean masala dosa filling.

Millets make an amazing breakfast grain, they fill you up quite quickly, sustain you for a longer time and they come in a large verity. We work with nine different millets and we can do all that we want to do, in a much more healthy and sustainable way. 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Billion Dollar Idli,

 For reasons I have not tried to find out- Barnyard Millet is also called the 'Billion Dollar grass' hence the title of this post. For a large part of human history, millets were a staple and it sustained and helped flourish many a civilisation. However, in the last few decades, the convenience of wheat has replaced most of these millets in our diets and we, humans are essentially living on a diet of a single kind of grain and vitamin supplements!

Barnyard millet, from which these idlis were made, can be used exactly the way rice is used. For these idlis, we substituted the rice with whole, unpolished, organic barnyard millet and fermented it with the previous day's leftover sourdough bread dough as a starter. So, unlike a conventional idli, this one has neither rice nor black gram (urad dal) and yes it was stuffed too - with vegetables and spices. Small things that make life amazing! What say?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Vada Paav

Our attempt to bring Mumbai's beloved street food- Vada Paav, home. When Aarina went off gluten, Vada paav was perhaps the biggest casualty. Not anymore- we made a much healthier version of the paav (bread) for breakfast. Made from Little millet and proso millet only, the bread was made with wild leavening and took 8 hours to ferment. The starter was the previous day's bread dough, which was only proso millet.  

The best part of millet bread is that they sustain one for much longer hours and their much lower glycemic index make them the best grain option for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Way better than wheat or rice.  

Monday, 17 April 2017

Eggxact Eggs

We make something special for most major festivities- it's fun to celebrate and even more, fun to eat!

Aarina, baked a gluten free Date and Walnut cake on Sunday. Made of Sorghum, water-chestnut, rice and tapioca, the cake other than being gluten free was also very low in sugar (20 grams of muscovado for 500 gram cake) since the dates provide enough sweetness and the flours the flavour.

Now, this is a post to share an interesting observation of ours. Since the last five years, Aarina has baked lots of gluten-free cakes, so many that we have lost count of them and even stopped making notes! (Yes, bad habits) However, there is something that we noticed in our kitchen lab during our trials.

We do not use any baking powder or yeast in our cakes, air is incorporated by long, patient beating of the mixture. It so happens that if we use eggs from mass farmed, layer hens, the cake inevitably falls flat or caves in. But it never happens with the traditional, free range hens- The cakes always have a wonderful rise and colour.  Since the day we noticed this, we have always used local, free range eggs in our cakes and we have been unable to find why such a difference. (The reason we tell ourselves is that it could be the difference in the strength of the albumins protein matrix- but it's just a speculation!)

Being off- sugar, we could just have a bite of the cake- but it was a delight to see the family enjoy a great gluten-free cake- that too nearly organic (except for the dates) and margarine free. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Germ of Life

Yesterday, we made a nine millet gluten-free sourdough bread- today's was a single millet gluten-free bread. Proso millet, it has lovely yellow colour and we love the light yellow hue that it lends to the bread. We added the seeds for the crunch, but as an afterthought, we also realised that the seeds add the precious phytic acid lost during milling and fermentation of the millet. Yes, we love phytic acid and feel its essential for our well being.

The starter used was yesterday's, nine grain left over dough and it took just 6 hours to ferment. We have noticed that among millets, Proso, is the quickest one to ferment and Sorghum the slowest.

The seeds comprising of Sunflower, Chia, Nigella, flax and sesame were lightly roasted along with Moringa and tamarind leaves cooled and added to the bread before baking. The baking took some time- 160c for 70 minutes and produced a 400 gram boule and it was completely organic.  

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sourdough Buns

It is that time of the year when bakers are dishing out 'Hot Cross buns' and we tried our hand with the bun- and it was great fun!

We did a gluten free, nine millet, sourdough bun and scoured it with a cross. It was hot, it had a cross, so it should be a hot cross bun I told Aarina, No she said ! Grrr...

We made it from Red and Yellow sorghum, Proso, pearl, finger, barnyard, kodo, foxtail and little millet. Other than being gluten free, it was also sugar-free, salt-free, oil free, egg free and gum free. The slow fermentation took about 12 hours and the starter used was the leftover batter from our yesterday's Idli's.

The one complaint I have is, unlike yeast fermentation which has neutral flavours and lets one enjoy the flavourful grains that we use, Sourdough fermentation changes the flavours dramatically- Not that it tastes any less tasty, but I do miss the millet flavour.

The organic buns- were made from home milled grains and does not include anything other than water and millets! That's a two ingredient bun!