My daughter even started calling them "Stone Bread".The dough simply wouldn't rise. I checked the expiry date on the yeast packet; used only all purpose flour... nothing seemed to worked. They all deserved to be called 'stone bread'.
Finally, this past weekend, I tasted my first success - literally!
I used the recipe for pav bread by Shital Ashar with minor modifications.
Here is my recipe:
- 1 ¼ cups water (warm to ~100*F)
- 2 ¼ tsp Yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
I planned on using my KitchenAid stand mixer to make the dough so I poured the warm water in the mixer bowl. Ensure that your bowl is large ~ 5-6 quart size. Add the sugar and yeast. Mix well to remove the lumps and let it rest for 5 minutes. You should see it turn to a foamy mixture with the peculiar yeasty smell. This was the first time my yeast mixture foamed – super exciting!
Add the melted butter, salt and flour and make a sticky dough. I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook for about 5 min. If you are kneading with your hands it might take about 8-10 min.
The original recipe said to grease and cover with a moist towel for about an hour. I used the little butter leftover to grease the dough and left it in the mixer bowl. I preheated my oven to the minimum possible temperature which was 130*F and switched it off after 4 minutes. I covered the bowl with a moist towel and kept the bowl in the warm oven.
You can choose to skip the oven step above and leave your dough to rise on the counter if you live in a warm place.
1 hour later, the dough had risen almost to the brim of the bowl!!! At this point, I was obligated to first do a little dance before my cooking range. I figured it was important to appease and show my gratitude to Annapoorna - the Indian Goddess of food and nourishment.
Also - OMG!!! My bread dough had risen so much!! I had only read about this in other people's recipes...it was actually happening to me!
The original recipe said to knead again for 8-10 minutes; so my bowl went back to it's stand and with the dough hook attached, started the mixer for another 4-5 minutes. I had to add about 2-4 tbsp of flour the second time.
I spread the dough on my rolling board (this is a board I use to roll out my rotis/tortillas) and used the pizza cutter to divide the dough into small portions. I got about 16 tennis-ball size pieces. Using your palms you can shape them into spheres.
Place them in an oven proof tray lined with parchment paper about 1.5" apart. Cover the tray with a moist towel and let it proof for an hour or more. Warning: if the rising dough touches the towel, it can stick and can create a huge mess. My trick was to use a Pyrex baking tray that is 3" tall and stretch the wet towel over it with the edges tucked under the tray.
This time seeing the dough rise prompted me to run around the home telling my hubby that we are having Pav-Bhaji for dinner tonight. Pav is the Hindi word for bread. Bhaji literally means vegetables but for this dish it is cooked mixed veggies with specific spices and almost pureed texture.
Preheat the oven to 450*F.
The original recipe said to bake for 8-10 minutes till lightly browned. I suggest checking after 10 minutes and to keep adding 5 minutes to the bake time till you see light browning. My total bake time was 20 minutes.
Once done, I placed them on a cooling rack. I couldn't wait for them to cool. I had to take the pieces apart to check. They looked perfect!
Had to butter one and taste - yummy!!!
The family enjoyed them for dinner with the bhaji and chicken curry.