Cakes and Breads and Pastries have always being a favourite with me. As a kid ..... a piece of cake or a warm toasted bread with milk was a must in the evening. The toughest part was to have the milk which I hated. To make sure I drink the milk, mom allured me with buttery breads and cakes. Very few variety of breads were available then. Living in the suburbs we got to know about two types of bread only....normal and milk which was whiter and softer. In a family where breakfast meant inevitably roti / parathas, breads were ocassional visitors only when mom was sick.
Talking about bread, I remember a bread story which I wish to share. It dates back to the 70's when I was about 5-6 years. I lived in a small township, about 100 km away from Kolkata at my maternal grandparent's house. There was a bakery nearby. I used to go there with my younger aunt and ohh!...how heavenly was the smell of freshly made breads.....it was definitely not of butter. A pound of bread selling for 50 paisa or 1 rupee definitely did not have butter in it even though it was 30-35 years back. May be the smell was of the the flour and milk and yeast. So impoverished was the bakery.....yet so fresh and soft were the breads. I remember, an old man with a single helper did it all.
That there can be anything other than plain breads was unknown to me for long. It was only when super markets started coming up at every corner of my city that I saw a variety of bread. Earlier, their availability was limited to a core area in the heart of the city, far from our house. In those days or may be now too, in general, a Bengali would buy Hilsa or Prawns with any amount of money but would not like to spend on fancy breads. There is nothing wrong or right in it, just about priorities in life.....which I feel everyone has the right to set.
My first attempt for making a bread went haywire. I always admit baking is not my forte. With constant encouragement from friends....G+ and elsewhere, I thought lets give it a try. Hence, this morning tried my hands on my first ever WALNUT RAISIN BREAD. A bright, fresh Sunday morning, fresh and soft was my bread, that also following few easy steps.
All Purpose Flour : 2 cups
Sugar : 2/3 cup
Baking Powder : 1tbsp
Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp
Ground Cinnamon : 3/4 tsp
Egg : 1
Milk : 1/2 cup
Butter : 3tbsp, melted
Walnuts : 10-15
Raisins : 10-15
Preheat oven to 180 degC. In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and ground cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, beat well an egg. Melt the butter and add to it. Add the milk and mix well. Pour onto the flour mix. Rub and mix well. A dough is formed.
Chop the walnuts. Add half of the chopped walnuts and raisins to the dough. Grease a loaf pan with little oil. Put in the dough and press a little to make it even. Add the remaining chopped walnuts and raisins. It should look as below.
Now cover the top of the pan with aluminium foil to prevent the dough from spilling and from getting the top hard. Place over the low rack and put inside the oven. It should look as below.
Bake at 180deg C for about 45 minutes. Insert a fork or a knife in the middle to check if its done. If done, it will come out clean. Let it remain inside for few minutes. Take out, let it cool. Transfer into a serving plate/tray. Look at the picture below.
Your Walnut Raisin Bread is ready to be served with butter accompanied by tea/coffee!!