Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cara's Buttermilk Bread

Another edition of Myamii's Taste and Create is upon us. The premise of this event is that she randomly pairs up the participating bloggers, and they taste-test one recipe from each other's blog. It is so much fun to scroll through a blog and look for something delicious to recreate.
This month, the luck of the draw paired me up with a blog that is new to me: Cara's Cravings. This cheerful blog has a little bit of everything. Cara has interesting categories like Less-Guilt Desserts (we could all use a few more of those!) and Stuff I Really Should Not Be Eating (we all do our own guilty pleasures, don't we?)

After a great deal of clicking and scrolling and book-marking, I settled on a recipe for Whole Wheat Honey Buttermilk Bread, which in turn is Cara's take on a Honey Buttermilk Bread from Baking Bites. I always enjoy trying new bread recipes, and I was excited to try this one because it would be my first buttermilk bread and the first that is made in a loaf pan. Besides, this fits in nicely with my theme this month of trying more whole-grain breakfast foods.

Today's Whole-Grain Tweak: Whole Wheat Bread. I tweaked Cara's recipe by making it 100% whole-wheat. A potential problem with all-whole-wheat breads can be that they don't rise as well as ones made with all-purpose flour or bread flour. To try and make a lighter loaf, I added vital wheat gluten to the bread. Wheat gluten is available as a packaged powder in health food stores and places like Whole Foods. For more information about using gluten in whole grain breads, please take a look at these posts.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Bread

(Source: this recipe on "Cara's Cravings")
Sift together in a large bowl
4 C white whole-wheat flour
1 T vital wheat gluten
1 t fine salt
Mix together in a small bowl
1 t yeast
pinch of sugar
1/4 C warm (not hot!) water
Mix together in a medium bowl
1.5 C low-fat cultured buttermilk (warmed)
2 T honey
1. Let the yeast bloom in the warm water for 5-10 minutes.
2. Stir the yeast mixture into the buttermilk mixture.
3. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients gently, stirring with a wooden spoon. Knead everything together into a supple dough (takes about 10 minutes of vigorous kneading).
4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise for 1.5-2 hours, until doubled in volume.
5. Knead the dough gently, fold into a rectangular loaf and place seam-side down in an oiled standard loaf pan.
6. Cover and let the dough rise for another 45 minutes or so. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
7. Brush the top of the loaf with beaten egg (optional) and bake for 45 minutes or until the top is browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
8. Let it cool on a rack before slicing.

Here is the loaf, fresh from the oven:
V took one look at it and said, "Wow, that looks like it has come from a factory". I was perplexed by that statement. I mean, I want to make bread that looks like it came from a *bakery*, not a factory! Poor guy, he explained that he meant that it looks so "perfect" (which has more to do with the loaf pan that my own skills, but I am happy anyway).

For ideas for sandwich stuffings, I turned to the ever-creative Musical, who is known for filling sandwiches with anything from beans palya to an eggplant-mushroom stir fry. For this lovely loaf, I chose this delicious chard-mushroom stir-fry). Now that's what I call a sandwich!

The magical addition to this simple chard-mushroom stir-fry is the Kerala-style garam masala that is added at the end of cooking. Musical divulges the secret formula for this masala in the ingredients section. I can tell you that it is a very special spice blend indeed. A few days ago, Musical surprised me with a goody bag filled with the most incredible foodie gifts and this Kerala-style garam masala was one of them. We fell in love with it right away. I have used this spice mixture in a simple egg and mushroom curry (we licked the saucepan clean) and a pulao of corn and fresh methi leaves (cooked in a little bit of coconut milk). It is heady stuff!

Cara made Spicy Cauliflower Soup from One Hot Stove. Many thanks to Myamii for hosting this enjoyable event.


  1. It does look like it is from the 'factory'!!! Gosh!!! SUCH a good looking loaf!!! ~clap~, ~clap~!!!

  2. My goodness Nupur, I am going to need a week to catch up on your latest posts. So many delicious dishes and so little time :)

    Your version of this buttermilk bread looks so tempting -- especially with that chard stir fry. Yum! :)

  3. Wow Nupur - it's beautiful! V. is absolutely right - it is so perfect it doesn't look homemade... but I'm sure it tasted homemade :) I really enjoy making yeasted breads - especially when they turn out as beautifully as yours!

  4. that bread is glistening and so so chubby and yummy looking :)

    lovely, Nupur :)

  5. I completely agree with your husband. That loaf does look like it has come from a bakery. It is gorgeous. I can almost smell it. Yum!

  6. Looks blissful Nupur! homemade bread is the best:)

  7. Amazing loaf there and the browned crust is perfect! No wonder he said it resembled the one from a factory :))

    I'm trying this!

  8. Looks so beautiful and perfect. Soft and fluffy and the sandwich! who can resist that?

  9. What a beautiful loaf of bread! Usually when I bake, the crust splits, or separates a bit from the bottom. Yours is perfect, and it looks delicious, too.

  10. WOW!!! That is some Art.. I am soooo very impressed.. Will try it soon definitely.

  11. No problem rising there - the result is gorgeous! Whole wheat and buttermilk would make a nice, tangy combination.

  12. OMG!! that is one robust good looking loaf of bread!! ps: is it critical to add the gluten?? i'd love to make this...but dont know where i can find gluten in hyderabad....

  13. Nupur, that is PERFECT! A perfect, professional loaf :)

  14. "factory" cracked me up. this recipe has been bookmarked. will try it with regular whole wheat flour.

  15. What a perfect loaf! It looks so wonderful, I imagine it won't last long and you'll have to bake another one soon!

  16. lovely bread! looks so perfect.

  17. Just perfect!! Looks fantastic!

  18. Wow , that is looking do perfect .
    I haven't started with my bread baking experiments yet:D .
    Thanks Nupur for voting for VoW awards :)

  19. wow! that sure looks straight out of a professional *bakery* :)
    s/w looks so good!

  20. hey nupur, bread looks so fresh n fluffy!!

  21. I totally agree with V :) It looks super-professional Nupur and will be tried this weekend! Meanwhile, send some leftover slices :-D. It really looks great! Haven't baked in a while, and am totally drooling thinking about the aroma of bread fresh from the oven.

    Glad you like the chard-mushroom combination and yes, i stuff sandwiches and (by that measure, my mouth as well), with almost all sabzis ;).

  22. Oh my! That is one gorgeous loaf!!

  23. What a beautiful loaf of bread.. no wonder he thought it was from a 'factory' (i mean bakery) :)

  24. Hi Nupur, That is one superbly shiny, beautiful loaf of bread. I can almost smell it from here.

  25. Manasi, thank you, thank you (taking a bow) :D

    Linda, yes, I am going through blogging withdrawal and binge posting :D

    Cathy, it tasted pretty good but I have a long way to go...yes, yeasted breads are just a lot of fun to make!

    Nags, chubby is such a nice way to describe this loaf :) yes, it is hearty all right!

    Anamika, it really did fill the home with that wonderful bakery aroma :) so worth it.

    Mansi, thanks!

    Rachel, it is the egg wash which gave the loaf its shiny top :)

    Indosungod, it really was quite soft, much to my relief :D I just gobbled with the sandwich with its spicy appetizing filling.

    Lydia, I think the crust splitting is a good thing :D who knows...this was fun to bake and eat for sure!

  26. It looks so pretty! So glad you liked it. I am blogging my recipe from you right now :)

  27. Veena, oh dear, don't be so impressed...it is not that difficult to make at all.

    TWB, I was surprised that the bread was not that tangy, actually. But the buttermilk did yield a soft crumb. And yes, it rose very well :)

    Arundati, leaving out the gluten might just result in a rather dense and heavy loaf. Still, you might give it a try. Or mix the whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour (half and half) and this should make the loaf lighter. I'll bring you some gluten next time I make a trip to India.

    Shyam, oh, thank you for that encouraging remark :) but I remain very much a novice baker!

    Bee, let me know how you like it! I do have some regular ww flour begging to be used up.
    It was interesting to make buttermilk bread but I confess that I prefer to work with water-kneaded doughs.

    Patsyk, yes, this bread-making might become a habit if I am not careful :D

    Uma, thanks :)

    Meera, glad you think so!

    Pooja, it was a pleasure to see all the entries and it was quite difficult to vote :)

    Richa, LOL thanks for that! Sandwich was "best quality" as they say.

    Anjali J, thank you!

    Musical, I love your philosophy about making sandwiches! Our sabzis make such a flavorful and perfect filling for sandwiches. V sneaked some cheese into his :) best of both worlds.
    This afternoon I put the leftover chard subzi into a tortilla, drizzled with yogurt and dry peanut chutney- a fusion burrito was born.
    Hope you enjoy the bread. Being all-whole-wheat and with buttermilk, it is a little different from most breads that I have made.

    TBC, thanks :)

    Laavanya, hee hee well, I was quite relieved that the recipe worked!

  28. WOWWW, that loaf is perfect Nupur..great! :)

  29. Nupur, the taak-pav [;)]looks admirable! Its truly a handsome one! U have truly great baking skills, as bread making surely needs more of skill!

  30. Too perfect Nupur. Very nice. Fresh from the oven - nothing can beat it. Viji

  31. Wow! what a beautiful golden bread!!! And yes, the hubbies are a bit Du-H! when it comes to descriptions ;) But they mean well....

  32. I am going to make something tomorrow :-) as I'm participating in this event too.

    Your bread does look perfect... as perfect as perfect can be... really

  33. Beautiful moaf. Love the sandwitche too

  34. Thats a perfect piece of art right there Nupur! Great looking loaf, that i would be sad to cut it...Looks super perfect to t last T! Great job!!

  35. Nupur,
    One thing abt husbands is that their first reaction is almost always the most honest one. :)
    Your bread really looks great.
    I would like to know how you managed to get no split on the top.

  36. The 'factory' comment is quite funny.
    Nothin funny about the loaf, though.
    This goes right into the must-try-asap list.
    I like the idea of your fusio burrito too.

  37. The bread looks so perfect...The nice colour is too tempting

  38. I don't know if I've commented before, but this is an incredible blog. Beautiful writing and photography. I often feel like licking the monitor when I look at the images from your kitchen. This is a delightful place!

  39. Oh my, that looks just Perfect.


  40. Leaving a comment again-my too got gobbled by cyberspace!
    Loved the texture,color of your Taak-Paav! :D Its spectacular!!

  41. Susan, thanks :) I did fill the home with an irresistible aroma.

    Cara, this event is fun, isn't it? :)

    Namratha, thanks!

    Purnima, taak-pav is a nice way to put it! oh, no, trust me there are no baking skills here. Just an abundance of enthusiasm! :)

    Viji, truly- nothing can beat bread fresh from the oven!

    Miri, thanks!

    Raaga, your pumpkin cake looks delish!

    Happy Cook, glad you like it!

    Seema, Oh, I was not sad to cut it :D we tore into it like a couple of hungry wolves and devoured it! :)

    Anjali, I did nothing special to get no split on top. Well, maybe it helped that I did an egg wash; maybe that held the top together. Or perhaps it was that when I folded the dough and placed it in the pan, I kept the seam side down.

    TheCooker, yes, these fusion burritos are just such a convenient way to eat what is essentially chapati bhaji with chutey on the side :)

    Divya, thanks!

    Amy, glad you like my little blog :) Thank you for the sweet words!

    Mamatha, thank you :)

    Purnima, your comment is not lost after all. There it is above!

  42. LOL @ lost-my-comment! Its a beauty!
    The pic truly depicts your baking skills(however u may refuse it!its inborn :) )

  43. the loaf of bread looks so fresh.......the picture is just perfect...does justice to the recipe.

  44. lovely bread you got. Wanna ask, you're not using bread flour / high protein flour ?
    Does the bread stay soft the next day ?

  45. Hi,
    I tried to make this bread yesterday. It was one of my better bread baking attempt. But, I had a few problems. Wondering if you could give some insight on those. The bread dough was extremely sticky. I used only all purpose flour and no wheat gluten. By the time I finished kneading, I might have used nearly 5 and half cups of flour. The dough was still somewhat sticky. Is this normal? After baking, the crust was way too hard. The inside was quite nice. Only the top crust was a problem. Was it due to the dough kneading problem?

  46. Thanks Nupur!
    This bread tastes great, wonderful recipe.


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