Whoever said baking is therapeutic was spot on in his/her assessment. There is nothing quite like the beautiful fragrance of a hot oven containing a cake or a bread or the satisfaction of watching the “rise” of yeast-infused flour. Technique is however, crucial to any baking endeavor. I have got the hang of cakes but cupcakes seem to elude me completely. Breads and buns are sometimes a hit and sometimes an almost miss.
While looking for bread recipes, I stumbled across the Fabulous Baker Brothers show on TLC. Now I have seen, and still see, many cookery shows over the years on TLC like Nigella Feasts, Jamie Oliver, Donna Hay and Anthony Bourdain, but the Baker Brothers was the first one that seemed to produce three or four recipes in a row that I felt I could make for my Indian family. The American shows always use too much beef or always add chicken broth or ingredients which are just not available in Indian markets easily and hardly ever make any vegetarian food. Nigella and Jamie Oliver seem almost too haphazard in their bid to look ‘authentic’ and ‘close to nature’. As for the Baker Brothers, Tom is the baker while Henry is a butcher and chef. I thought Tom Herbert‘s recipes are all the kind that one can make in a home kitchen and the tips that he shares are really helpful. Somehow he is very reminiscent of Mrs. Patmore from Downton Abbey with his expansive, cherry and happy demeanor. Just what a baker should be.
I found this recipe on their website Hobbs House Bakery and it worked out perfectly for me. It was easy to follow and even without any step-by-step pictures I understood every instruction clearly enough. The trick is the 15 minute kneading that he advises I think, making the bread really soft and delicious. The toppings can be varied according to your choice. Mine turned out a little too fat for a Focaccia and I didn’t have a proper baking tray, but it was absolutely yummy. Great for tea-time and even breakfast with butter and a mug of tea.
Also, he has a smashing recipe for burgers and sliders that would do any vegetarian household in India proud. I tried that too and everyone absolutely loved it.
So, bake a bread! It takes time but its so worth it.