India with its rich heritage and diverse culture can boast of an array of Indian breads we are proud of and just cannot do without. Mostly made from Atta, Flour, Rice flour, lentils and pulses, on any special occasion, regardless of community and where we all live, an Indian bread will be noticeably present on the menu . Just as we love our rice, we love our Indian breads too. From Naans to kulchas to phulkas to theplas to parathas to our appams and idiappams, breads are loved by all. Some of the Indian breads are fermented naturally and for some we use a leavening agent .
Each bread requires a certain skill but today we have simplified the process so as to make sure that everybody can try out any bread with whatever is available in the kitchen, no fancy cookware nor equipment is required. Just a little practice and you will master the art of Indian bread making.
I love trying out Indian breads but it’s a strict ‘No’ for a large group. To be frank, it can get tiresome. From Naans to Bhaturas to Parathas to our very own Appams, I love making them at home over the weekends. This particular Indian bread Kulcha, I have used yeast to ferment and turn the dough into the most soft and pliable dough ever.
I just enjoy cooking with yeast. Seeing the dough ferment and doubling gives me immense satisfaction that the dough prepared is right, in terms of texture and ingredients used. I then wait for the final result and I’m happy at the end of the long process. Initially I used to pick up fresh yeast from Nilgiris. After my brother gifted me a tin of active dry yeast, I just found it so convenient and completely switched over to active dry yeast. The only precaution I had to take was to see that the water or milk used was lukewarm and not hot as it would retard or delay the activity of the yeast. Store the yeast in the fridge and you have nothing to fear.
During this lockdown, I’ve tried out so many recipes I had under wraps for so long and I’ve learnt a lot through the process of cooking. I’m still learning. This kulcha recipe is an old favourite and I learnt it at the first cooking course I attended at the age of 18. I still have that book and the pages are slowly giving way but with the recipes in the book are lot and lots of fond memories amongst them and I intend to preserve this book as long as I can – that’s forever!
Happy to be sharing this wonderful recipe with all of you,
- Flour-3 and 1/2 cups
- Curd -3 tbsp
- Dry active yeast – 1 and 1/2 tsp
- Sugar -2 tsp
- Lukewarm water -1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup for kneading
- Oil -2 tsp ( any vegetable oil)
- Chopped coriander leaves
- In a small bowl, take the yeast, add sugar and lukewarm water ( 1/4 cup), give it a stir and keep it aside for 10 minutes. The yeast mixture should be frothy.
- In a big bowl, take the flour, add salt and mix well.
- Add the curd, oil and yeast mixture and bring it all together with the help of a big spoon .
- Add warm water and knead the dough well to a smooth soft dough.
- Apply a little oil on the dough, rub all over and place it in an oiled vessel to ferment . Cover with cling film or a wet towel. Fermentation will take 1 to 1 and a 1/2 hours. The dough has to double in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough, make 6-8 balls.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball into an oblong shape, not too thick or too thin. With the help of a pastry brush or with your finger tips, wet the top surface of the rolled out kulcha, sprinkle some finely chopped coriander leaves or cilantro and press lightly. Cook on a hot tawa, apply a little ghee or oil on both the surfaces. Once done, place it in between a napkin and store in a casserole.
- Always use fresh ingredients if you want the desired result at the end.
- Always see that the yeast is stored in the fridge, after 6 months if ever you feel that the process of fermentation is taking longer, add half a teaspoon more at the beginning.
- You could knead the dough with milk instead of water.
- Mint leaves, Methi leaves , freshly minced garlic, minced onions could all be added to the dough as desired.
- The first time you do a recipe, follow the instructions and do not make any changes.
- Once you’re confident go ahead and have a blast.
- This recipe will give you 8-10 kulchas.
- Happy Cooking.
- Do comment on any of the dishes you have tried so far and share it with family and friends .
Till my next post,