Bake It Yourself - Walnut raisin bread

Baking is the latest craze ongoing in the family. Even with the little boy on tow, Milu (Manu's sister) managed to go for baking course and now she is baking incredibly wonderful cakes! It was a great motivation for me. 
I had always wanted to bake my own bread. I had scoured a lot of recipe books in search of an easy and interesting recipe. But, all f them had listed bread making as a very complicated process. So, I had not pursued it through, until last week when she showed me this beautiful and impressive cake she baked. Finally, my motivation levels shot up high and conquered my laziness. I read more about baking and got a basic understanding of the concepts like proofing, kneading and most importantly, the role of yeast. I always thought it was just another ingredient like baking powder and could add it to the dough. I was surprised to learn that even the dried yeast is a live organism, just waiting to be 'activated'. Luke warm water and sugar acts as the feed and brings it to action!
And over this weekend, I finally baked my own two loaves :-) 
Good news! I have adapted the recipe to make it as easy as I could. The process as such is not complicated, it just needs a lot of resting(rising) time in between. So, I just went on with my weekend chores simultaneously.
  • 375g bread flour
  • 125g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsps fine salt
  • 330 ml water (I used a pet bottle for the measure)
  • 75 g walnuts, chopped
  • 150 g raisins (Manu wants me to add more next time)
  • 2 tsps dried yeast (itz marked Ragi instant yeast in my bottle)
  • 2 tsps sugar

How To:
1. In a small cup, take 100 ml of the water and add 2 teaspoons of sugar. Mix the yeast to it, stir and leave for 5 minutes.
2. In a big  bowl, combine the flours and the salt.
3. When the yeast mixture turns frothy, make a well in a center of the flour bowl, and pour in the yeast mixture.
4. Using a spatula, draw enough of the flour into the yeast mixture to form a thick paste.
5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, then leave to ‘sponge’ and risen. (About 20 minutes)
6. Pour in a bit more than half of the remaining water into the well and mix in the flour. Then stir in as much of the rest of the water as needed to form a firm, moist dough.
7. Turn the firm dough out onto a work surface. Knead, with the base of your palms, until smooth and rubbery. (I had to do this for around 7 minutes.) 
8. At the end of the kneading process, add the walnuts and raisins and mix well.
9. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size – around 45 minutes.
10. Take the dough out of the bowl, poke holes and punch the air out of the dough and divide it into 2 loaves.
11. Shape the dough into your desired shape.
12. Place the shaped dough on a baking sheet and cover with the damp tea towel.
13. Preheat the oven to 190 degree Celsius.
14. Proof – or let the loaves rest and rise – until doubled in size. This takes about 30 minutes.
15. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until baked. One test of 'done-ness' is a hollow-sound when tapping the loaf underneath. 
16. Wait for a bit for  the loaf cools down, take pictures if you are interested, round up the members of the house :)
17. Feel mightily proud, slice, share and enjoy the warm steaming bread !

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