A 100% Whole Wheat Loaf, soft and pillowy Aata Bread!

So a 100% whole wheat bread, a loaf of aata bread as good as the best white bread, like really!
Whole Wheat Bread
When I got this loaf out of the oven, I all but danced with joy; absolutely soft bread with the earthy warmth of honey and the crunch from the walnuts; aha!!
I have got a decent loaf with half aata and half maida in the past, but this one was in a different league altogether. Soft and squishy and yet held its shape on slicing (My slicing skills need work, of course :P) We had some kickass tomato basil sandwiches for lunch and the whole loaf was gone. Burp!
100 percent whole wheat bread

I have been experimenting a lot with breads the last couple of weeks. The experiments have been with a sourdough starter  as well as Instant yeast, thanks to an excellent baking group I am a part of. Also, I’ve been reading a fair bit and chatting up a lot with a dear friend Pragya who blogs at Cook and Share. She has been able to bake a nice and flavorous loaf of sourdough, something I am still struggling with :/

It has been such a great learning experience!  Bread is as much about recipe as it is about technique. So, in this post I will share what I learned about technique and got excellent results with 3 recipes I have tried so far. I am sorry for the long post!

Recipe for 100% Whole wheat bread
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour and Mom Makes)
4 cups/500 grams Aata/whole wheat flour ( I used Aashiwaad aata)
1 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten*
1 ½ tsp salt
1 1/3 cup warm water (I needed ¼ cup more to get the dough to desired consistency)
2 ½ tsp Instant yeast
5 Tbsp honey (may replace with sugar but the flavour will not be the same)
3 Tbsp butter/oil
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Combine all the ingredients except walnuts. Add only 1 1/3 cup of warm water at first. Mix together. Do not knead yet. It will be a rough, shaggy dough. Add more water if the dough appears too dry.  Cover and leave for 20 minutes.

Kneading the dough:  Knead till you get a somewhat smooth ball of dough. It takes 7-10 minutes. Do not over-knead. Spread the dough out and add the walnuts and incorporate into the dough. The walnuts can be added right at the beginning, but I found it difficult to knead the dough with the walnuts in and hence added them after the kneading was done.

First Proof: Rest covered in an oiled bowl till it doubles in volume. The time taken for the first proof will depend on the temperature and humidity. In muggy Mumbai, it took me only 30 minutes. (The recipe at King Arthur says two hours, but this time will depend entirely on the weather where you live)
Do the Poke test :Stick two fingers into the dough till the knuckles. If the dents remain, the dough is proofed and ready for shaping. Do not over proof.
Hundred percent Whole Wheat Bread poke test
Shaping and Second Proof : Gently deflate the dough to get the gases out. Shape into a rectangle and roll up to make a log shape. Place in a greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf tin. Leave covered for the second proof till the loaf rises an inch above the rim of the pan. Again, King Arthur asks for  a 2 hour rise  and my loaf was all nice and puffed in 40 minutes. If fact, I feel it was a tad over proofed. Next time I will check in 30 minutes. Be very careful about not over- proofing your loaf. Else it will go flat in the oven and you will end up with a brick instead of pillowy soft bread.
To check, stick a floured finger gently into the loaf. If the dent springs back quickly, the dough is not proofed yet.
If it springs back very slowly, it is the right time to get it into the oven.
If the dent remains, the dough might be over proofed. Be careful!
Hundred percent Whole Wheat Bread prep
Preheat your oven to 200C for 15 minutes. Put the loaf in and bring the temperature down to 190C. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Tent with aluminium foil halfway through to avoid over-browning the loaf. Remove from oven and brush liberally with butter.
(Source of information- Red Star Yeast)
Slice only when cooled completely. Please do not rush to slice, else the bread will be dense and gummy. To store, transfer the loaf to a paper bag. Keep the bag sealed to keep the bread fresh.

*To get a perfectly soft aata bread, you need ‘Vital Wheat Gluten’. I ordered it online from Bakersmart.co.in. They delivered within four days. It can be kept in the refrigerator/freezer for months. If you plan to bake regularly, so invest in gluten. Skipping the gluten will not give a soft loaf. I have tried several times before. If you don’t have gluten at hand, go for a half aata and half Maida bread rather than 100% aata bread)
Aata Bread


Here is the original recipe from King Arthur Flour
1 1/3 cups (10 5/8 ounces) lukewarm water
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) olive oil
5 tablespoons (3 3/4 ounces) honey, molasses or maple syrup
4 cups (16 ounces) King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour or 100% White Whole Wheat flour
1 tablespoon King Arthur Whole-Grain Bread Improver, optional
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) sunflower seeds, chopped*
1/4 cup (1 ounce) walnuts, chopped*
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

*A quick whirl in the food processor does the job nicely.

To prepare the dough: Combine all of the ingredients, and mix them till you have a shaggy dough. Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes, then knead till fairly smooth. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about 2 hours, or until it’s puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, shape it into a log, and place it in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ bread pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap (or a clear shower cap), and allow it to rise for about 2 hours, till it’s crowned about 1″ to 2″ over the rim of the pan.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil for the final 20 minutes of baking. Yield: 1 loaf.

Mozarella Sesame Mushroom Bread Rolls

Aha! Back to baking and loving it 😀

My teenaged son brought home a gorgeous brown bread loaf he had baked at class yesterday. (Unfortunately I cannot share the recipe as per his college rules but here is a peek! )
IMG_1270And this beauty inspired me to bake. The inspiration also came from a mushroom corn roll we had at Sbarro at the mall close by. ( The joys of Bombay 😀 )
It is fairly simple to make and can be tried in umpteen variations. Pick a filling of your choice and get going! There is nothing like fresh bread and its aroma…mmmmmm ❤

For the rolls

3 cups of All purpose flour/Maida
1 tsp of Instant Yeast- 1 Tsp
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp olive oil/butter
1 cup of Milk or buttermilk (use as needed to knead the dough soft and pliable)

As I use Instant yeast, I add everything apart from the liquid to a large kneading bowl, keep adding the liquid gradually and knead till I get a soft and pliable dough. It takes about 15 minutes.
If you are using active dry yeast, prove it buy adding it to half a cup of warm water and a tsp of sugar. Let it stand till frothy. It takes 10-13 mins. Add it to the mixture and proceed.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film, or a kitchen towel and rest for 11/2 to 2 hours. The dough should double up. The time actually depends on the weather conditions-if very hot, it doubles sooner than the 1 ½ hours. This is the first prove.

Divide the dough into 10 balls. Roll out a ball, spread the mixture, add a slice of cheese ( I used mozzarella), roll up sealing the ends.



Slit the tops and brush them with oil/butter. Spread sesame generously.



Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes till the tops are well browned.
Remove, brush the tops with butter and serve hot.
If you want to store the dough, you can store it in the refrigerator, in an air tight container, wrapped in cling film, for up to 48 hours. This needs to be done after the first prove. When you need to use it, remove from the refrigerator, shape and let it rise again and bake.

For the filling

200 gms of button mushrooms, diced
Half a cup of blanched corn kernels
1 tsp minced garlic
1 medium onion chopped very fine
Salt to taste
Half a tsp of pepper powder
Half a tsp of oregano
A pinch of rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil/vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a non stick pan and add the garlic and onion. Let them saute till browned and then add the mushrooms and corn. Let the water dry completely. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and rosemary. The filling is ready to use.


‘Schiacciata con L’uva’ aka Focaccia with grapes.


It is the season for grapes and where I live,we are blessed with all varieties of the juicy fruit. Some kind soul sent us a huge lot of these jewel like pretty grapes and I was worried they would spoil if I do not use them up soon.
Unfounded fears totally! We’ve snacked on them like there’s no tomorrow!! Before the last bunch vanished, I had to try this mildly sweet and totally delicious flatbread – ‘Schiacciata con L’uva’, which translates to Focaccia with grapes.
It is a glorious explosion of flavours with the best quality grapes, some rosemary,a sprinkle of brown sugar and some sea salt! A big shout of thanks to my friend Megha Vikram Singh for the recipe idea! We loved it Meg ❤

I changed the toppings on my go-to Focaccia recipe and had this awesome crunchy delight to savour!


For the Focaccia dough

2  cups – All purpose flour  (Maida)
1 ¼  tsp dry yeast or ½ teaspoon Instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk/chhas/taak (at room temperature)
¼ cup just-warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil

For the topping

A bunch of grapes, red/black
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp rosemary fresh/dried
A pinch of salt
1 tsp brown/white sugar (or more if you like sweeter)

Prove the yeast – add the sugar to ¼ cup of warm water. Mix well. The water has to be just the right temperature- not too hot because that will kill the yeast not too cool because the yeast won’t prove. Drop some on the back of your wrist and it should feel warm there. Add the yeast and rest covered for 10-15 minutes. The yeast should froth like soapy bubbles. If it doesn’t, throw the mix and start afresh. Proper proving of the yeast is vital to good bread!
In a big bowl, take the flour and salt. Mix.
Once the yeast has bloomed, add it to the flour and knead the dough with the buttermilk. It will be sticky and it is meant to be like that.
Add the Olive oil and knead for another 10-12 minutes.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film, or a kitchen towel and rest for 11/2 to 2 hours. The dough should double up. The time actually depends on the weather conditions-if very hot, it doubles sooner than the 1 ½ hours. This is the first prove.


Remove from the bowl once the dough is doubled and gently knock out the air.
Roll it out into a square or circle as desired and place on to a greased baking dish. This amount of dough will give two regular sized focaccias.


Drizzle some olive oil over the Focaccia and sprinkle the rosemary, salt and sugar.
Arrange the grapes all over the flatbread. Sprinkle some more sugar, salt and drizzle some olive oil.
Cover with cling film or a kitchen towel taking care to that they do not touch the top of the bread. Leave to rise again for about 45 minutes. This is the second prove
When there are 20 minutes to go, pre-heat the oven at 200C.
Bake for 20 minutes, till the top browns.  If doing in an oven with two elements, please keep both on
Serve fresh out of the oven.Enjoy with some cheese and wine. Or with coffee! It works beautifully.