City bakers are rolling out nutritious breads made from mixed Indian millets

City bakers are rolling out nutritious breads made from mixed Indian millets

Saturday, 22 March 2014
When was the last time you ate rotis from bajri, jawar or nachni? Or have you ever tried these flours at all? While most of us relegate these flours to 'village cuisine', we owe it to some city bakers who are trying to bring these nutritious grains and millets into our diets.

Stuffed nachni rolls, bajri and garlic baguette, ragi and bajri sourdoughs and jawar, bajri and ragi multigrain breads are some of the options you now have.

Green thinking
So far, gourmet and five stars have focused on bringing out the best of International produce to Indian shores, with a variety of breads, flours for which is sourced from around the world. But a few players are now doing things the other way, Chef Vasant Khot of Holiday Inn being one of them, who introduced Indian multigrain bread at the hotels' bakery last month. "The idea was to make the most use of our local resources. With the use of Indian grains, we are not only reducing our carbon footprint, but also bringing healthier alternatives with bajra, jawar, nachni and rajgiri flour."
Two young city bakers, 24-year-old Krishni Shroff, and 29-year-old Aditi Handa, both of whom studied baking and confectionery in New York, also have taken the route to source indigenous Indian flours that are organic. And their treats are chemical-free.
In fact, it's also brought about a change in the way bread is baked, as they prefer traditional raising agents to baking soda and processed yeast, and avoid emulsifiers. Perhaps that's the reason why sourdough is becoming a more popular option.

Choices around Mumbai
1. So, at Holiday Inn, you can pick up stuffed nachni rolls, bajra & garlic baguette, rajgiri & whole wheat bread, all priced between 100 rupees for 150 gms to 550 to a 1 kg loaf.
2. Handa's Bakers Dozen at Prabhadevi and Kemps Corner offers 26 types of bread, half of which are sourdough. We recommend you try the pavs made from bajra and jawar (Rs 30 for six), and sandwich bread from nachni (Rs 50 for a full loaf).
3. Krishni Shroff of Bread Studio does multigrain bread with bajra, jawar and ragi, white and black sesame and Magajtari (pumpkin seeds). She also makes multigrain sourdoughs like bajra and jawar sourdough, ragi and bajri sourdoughs (priced between Rs 75-110). You can either pick up breads yourself, or request for home delivery at extra charges if you leave between Andheri to Bandra.

The difference
Chef Vasant Khot says that while these flours are readily available, and super healthy, they have a heavy texture. "Some local or organic grains are having sour and strong flavour. So, we need to replace the generic taste of bread from our minds to accept these Indian flour breads," Also these breads are rich in fibre and heavy, compared to regular all purpose flours and have a shorter shelf life as they don't have preservatives.
Also, Krishni says that as in case of sourdoughs, "as the dough is fermented for at least a 24 hours before getting baked, acids produced in the long ferment (souring process) make it easier to digest and a healthier choice over regular or short ferment white breads."

Aditi says when choosing these breads, it's important to remember the following:
1. These breads without additives have a two day shelf life
2. Sourdoughs last upto 4-5 days when kept in the fridge
3. Never heat bread in the microwave. Use either the oven or heat them on a pan

You can also use millet and cereal flours to bake desserts. Chef Khot suggests experimenting with bajra muffins, lemon and ragi cup cakes, cheese cake with base of jowar, and whole wheat cookies. Here's a recipe for Multigrain muffins.
Whole wheat flour (shihori): 250gms
Refined flour (maida): 80 gms
Nachni flour: 100 gms
Bajra flour: 80 gms
Baking powder: 9 gms
Baking soda: 5 gms
salt, a pinch
Eggs: 3
Egg white: from 2 eggs
Buttermilk: 300 ml
Brown sugar: 140 gms
Vegetable oil: 20 ml
Chopped dried fruits like almond, cashew nuts, raisins: 150 gms
Chopped walnuts: 150 gms

Preheat the oven at 190. Whisk all the flours above, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl. Lightly beat the eggs and egg white in another bowl. Stir in the buttermilk, brown sugar, and oil. Now stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture lightly; the batter will be thick. Fold in the dried fruits. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Top with the walnuts. Bake until firm when pressed gently, about 25 minutes. Turn the muffins out of the cups and cool on a rack; serve warm or room temperature. Top with whipped cream or ice cream





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