White Sandwich Bread(3)

 

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Who doesn’t love white Sandwich Bread.. I love them too in two different ways – first is baking my own sandwich bread and second is slicing the loaf.  Getting beautiful slices of bread makes my day lovely!

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Usually, my preferred time for baking bread is afternoon, so that once bread cools down I can keep it in the fridge for a few hours. This allows me to slice the loaf in the night, cling wrap and keep in the fridge and have that as breakfast the next day!!

I remember very well that my first baked bread was also a white sandwich bread. It was a tiny loaf and that time I had no idea even about the right size of baking tin. It was a broad tin so I got a kind of rusk shape of slices but I was very happy as I got beautiful crumb. Slowly I learnt to use right size of tin according to the quantity of flour. Reading various wonderful blogs and doing lots of experiments helped me to learn about  bread baking. While reading blogs I came across a wonderful blog from King Arthur Flour. While going through the blog I found one bread recipe which was baked in pullman loaf tin. This tin gives perfect square shape of bread slices – the exact shape we get from the market bought bread. It was quite impressive. In this tin, bread is baked with the cover on top of the tin which turns the rising dough into flat square shape. I searched online for this tin and found it a bit costly and I already had 3 different sizes of bread tin so it didn’t make sense to spend so much only for one tin.

For my baking requirements I usually shop at a baking institute in Bangalore . They have a very good store for most of the material related to baking, probably for the convenience of their students. Once while window-shopping I found some sturdy breadtins with cover. These tins were local-made and so were in my budget. I bought two tins and thought of trying to bake flattop bread loaf. For trial I baked white sandwich bread and it came out really good with square slices. This tin didn’t give sharp edges around the loaf but I didn’t mind because ultimately I got square slices and that was the goal!

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Then I tried other tin which was little bit bigger than the previous one and it’s cover was tight unlike the previous one. This tin gave very sharp edges to the bread loaf with square slices.

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So, now I have completely given up the idea of buying authentic pullman bread tin. I am quite happy with these two local made bread tins. To tell you the truth, while baking bread in these tins I really missed the beautiful dome shaped rise we witness during baking in the oven. To see bread rising in the oven has its own charm!!! I felt as if I am trying to grow a bonsai plant and restricting it’s freedom of growth. But bonsai too has its own charm and one needs skills to develop it!! So baking bread in an open tin or with covered tin – both have their own beauty!!

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Ingredients:

Maida (all purpose flour)       3 cups
Milk powder                              1+1/2 tbsp
Salt                                                1 tsp
Sugar                   1+1/2 tbsp
Instant active yeast 1 tsp
Oil/butter 2 tbsp
Water 1 cup+ 2 tbsp
(should be slightly warmer than lukewarm but not hot; can increase or decrease little bit as per the absorbing quality of your flour)

The measurement of bread tin in inches is – length 8 depth 3+1/2 width 3+1/2

All ingredients should be on room temperature except water.

If you can’t find bread baking tin with cover, you can still try this recipe in your regular tin.

For few more tips on bread baking you can check this link Wheat flour buns with pizza spices (2) (basic tips to follow if following a bread /buns recipe)

Process :

Collect all dry ingredients in a big vessel.

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Slowly start pouring water and start collecting dry ingredients together in shape of a dough. Don’t worry about loose or tight consistency of dough at this stage.

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Now start pouring  remaining water 1 tbsp at a time and  knead the dough for 15 minutes by adding oil/butter simultaneously.

Initially, kneading will look a lot messy, but slowly  dough will be smooth. Keep the dough in an oil greased bowl for first proofing (bowl should be big enough to have extra space for doubled up dough). Apply some oil on top of the dough to avoid it drying. Cling wrap the bowl and keep it at a warm place for first proofing. I generally keep my bowl in  switched-off microwave. First proofing takes 1 to 1+1/2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

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In the meantime grease bread tin and its cover with oil.

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Once dough doubles up, sprinkle some flour on clean kitchen counter or grease it with oil. Take out the dough and punch it softly.

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Knead the dough very softly and spread it in a rectangular shape according to the size of bread tin.

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Start rolling it tightly in the shape of a log.

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Seal the sides by pinching it.

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Keep this log into the tin by keeping seamed side at the bottom and apply oil on top of the log to avoid it drying. Cover it with its tin cover and once more keep it in the switched-off microwave or any warm place for second proofing. Second proofing generally takes 15 to 20 minutes.

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Just 10 minutes before baking, preheat your oven at 185-190 degrees for 10 minutes. Give milk wash to proofed dough and bake it in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till the top of the bread starts becoming brown.

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After 35-40 minutes uncover the lid and bake on medium rack with top rod on with fan for 5-10 minutes more. To check whether bread is done or not, tap the top of the bread; if it sounds hollow, it’s done! Be careful – don’t let the top of the bread become dark brown, so keep an eye.

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Temperature of every oven varies, so you should be little bit more careful and judge the baking time as per your experience.

Take out the tin from the oven, keep it on a cooling rack and apply butter on the top to keep it soft.

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After 5-7 minutes take out the bread from the tin and let it cool down completely on the cooling rack. Don’t leave the bread for longer period in the bread tin. The heat of hot bread will turn it soggy from the bottom.

Later cling wrap the loaf and keep it in the fridge for 4-5 hours. Don’t slice the bread without keeping it in the fridge, no matter how much you are tempted. Keeping in fridge will settle down its crumbs and while cutting with serrated knife you will get wonderful square shape slices!!! Break into a happy dance… 💃💃

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Aalu ki kachori

Whenever at my parent’s house my maternal uncles used to visit us, my mother used to prepare proper UP (Uttar Pradesh) style food. There will be poori, dry potatoes veggie (which used to look like pickle because of extra oil and extra spices) one curry, curd with sugar or boondi ka raita and aalu ki kachori….. and sweet – that my uncles always used to bring, so mother never bothered to prepare.

This whole food served in steel thali (big size plate with edges) used to look so delicious that I always used to think that uncle’s visit should be more often 😋.

Among this whole platter my favorite used to be ‘aalu ki kachori’. I have never tasted such wonderful kachori in any restaurant till now.

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Before marriage I had never attempted to prepare them independently, actually I never dared to do, because I didn’t want to go through a disastrous attempt. But after marriage as we all do many experiments with food in kitchen, I too tried kachori. Taste was very good but a few of them tore and potato filling came out during frying.

Slowly over the years I continued making them and proudly can say that now I can fry every single kachori in perfect shape!!!!!!

Mother’s recipes and tips are always perfect despite the fact that they used to prepare everything with their guess work!!

 

Ingredients

For preparing dough….

Wheat flour 2+1/2 cups
Salt 3/4 tsp
Carom seeds 1 tsp
Oil 2 +1/2 tbsp
Rava 1+1/2 tbsp (optional)
Water 1 cup +1/4 cup

Potato masala :

Boiled Potatoes
Dry mango powder, garam masala, salt, red chilli powder, asafoetida, chopped green chillies, finely chopped green coriander leaves(optional) and grated ginger(optional).

Oil, to fry

Tips :

1.   We have to knead slightly loose dough than our regular chapati dough. Loose dough will be easy to roll with stuffed potato mix.

2.   If you are feeling that the quantity of water is making dough very loose, then you can reduce some amount of water.

3.   Adding rava adds extra crunch to kachori  but if you don’t have, comfortably leave it.

4.   Make sure that coriander leaves have no water in them, otherwise potato mix will be soggy and it will make rolling difficult. Also, mix will seep out while rolling and frying.

5.  After boiling, keep potatoes in a strainer for some time so that all water drains out. Soggy boiled potatoes are not good for filling.

6.  Do not prepare potato mixture 2-3 hours in advance. Salt in mixture will turn it soggy.

7.  If you are preparing kachori first time, fry one kachori at a time, gain confidence and slowly you can do 2-3 at a time.

Process:

Take wheat flour, salt, carom seeds, rava in a broad pan to prepare the dough. Add oil and mix everything together.

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Now start adding water to knead and prepare slightly loose dough. Cover it with a damp cloth and keep it aside.

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Peel and mash potatoes and add all spices as per your taste along with chopped green chillies, coriander leaves and grated ginger. Mix everything together and potato mix is ready.

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Start heating oil in a deep pan. During the time oil is getting hot we can start the preparation of filling and rolling kachori.

Take some amount of dough and prepare it like a smooth ball between your palms and roll it little bit with the help of rolling pin . If dough is sticky, use oil to grease your palms and at rolling surface.

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Now add small amount of potato mix on the slightly rolled dough.

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From the edges start collecting the dough with your fingers, bring it at the center, close it and pat it down lightly.

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If required, again grease rolling surfer with oil and very gently roll stuffed dough carefully and evenly from all sides. Evenly rolled kachori will puff up nicely. Be careful that potato mix should not come out while rolling.

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By now oil is hot enough for frying. Make sure that oil is not very hot  otherwise kachori will remain raw from inside. You can check the right temperature of oil by putting a tiny piece of dough in it. If it sinks in the bottom of the pan, oil is not hot enough to fry. If dough becomes brown immediately after adding into the oil , it’s too hot. With experience you will learn!!

Now gently slip kachori from the side of the pan and fry it by turning upside down gently a couple of times till it becomes brown and crisp.

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Sometimes while frying kachori might open up and stuffing can seep out. It happens if you have rolled kachori very thin or it is overstuffed with potato mixture. Don’t panic, take out that damaged kachori and all that stuffing which is floating on oil with laddle and continue frying the rest of the kachoris.

Serve hot kachoris with your choice of chutney, sauce or dips!!

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Potato stuffed buns

Festivals are incomplete without having some noisy hullabaloo from the neighborhood kids, some guests or relatives at home. Last week during Dussehra festival it was a long weekend, and my co-sister’s family visited us from Hyderabad. Now my in-laws are also settled down in Bangalore, so it was an amazing festival weekend. Having breakfast in my house, followed by gossiping till we realized that lunch time is near and no one has taken bath till now. Then having lunch at in-laws house, and later instead of going for siesta, again giggling, laughing, taking pics and videos of funny family situations….!!!!

Finally on Sunday morning they were leaving back to Hyderabad, so I decided to bake some stuffed buns in the morning to pack with them. Early morning I kneaded the dough, kept it for proofing and prepared potatoes stuffing. By then kids were awake and when I was starting to prepare buns, my darling niece Anjali came in the kitchen and I asked her whether she would like to join in. She agreed with full zeal!!! I gave her instructions, and she did everything accordingly!!!

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She even did the last step of brushing them with butter after buns were out of oven. I was so surprised and amazed with her interest and involvement that I completely forgot to take pics of some steps. Instead gladly took a few pictures of Anjali so that my daughter Apoorva could be inspired to do the same…… but I really doubt if it will work!!

 

Ingredients :
Maida 2 cups +2tbsp
Milk powder 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 2 tsp
Oil /butter 1 +1/2 tbsp
Instant active yeast 3 /4 tsp
Milk /water 1/2 cup +2 tbsp (slightly warmer than lukewarm)

Except water/milk, rest of the ingredients should be at room temperature.

Process :

Boiled Potato mix :

Boiled Potatoes
Salt
Asafoetida
Dry mango powder
Garam Masala
Red chilli powder

Chopped green chillies
Chopped green coriander /mint leaves
Mash potatoes and add above mentioned ingredients, mix well and keep it aside.

Buns preparation :

In a big vessel collect all dry ingredients and mix them. Slowly add water/milk and prepare the dough.

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Be careful not to use all water/milk completely. Slowly start kneading the dough by adding one tbsp water/milk at a time and knead it for 12-15 minutes. Keep adding oil/butter from time to time. Initially dough will be wet, but slowly it will be pliable and smooth.

Keep the dough in an oil greased pan covered with cling film at a warm place for first proofing. This might take 60 to 90 minutes, depending on how warm or cool your kitchen is.

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After first proofing, take out the dough on clean oil greased kitchen counter and punch it gently.

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Collect the dough and divide it into equal size buns and roll them smooth.

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Now on your palm or on kitchen counter spread one bun, fill in potato filling, close it and roll it between your palms smoothly. During this process, greasing palms with oil will make your work easy.

Look, with so much dedication Anjili is involved in filling the buns. .. ❤️❤️

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Keep these buns in a baking tray with some gaps between each other for second proofing.

Second proofing gets over in 15-30 minutes. Just 10 minutes before proofing time is going to get over, preheat oven at 190 degree. Brush up buns with milk and bake them at 180-185 degree till the top of the buns become brown.

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Apply butter on hot buns and they will get beautiful sheen and will stay soft longer.

Serve hot buns in breakfast with your favorite sauce or chutney.

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Poha/Flattened rice/Attukulu/Avalakki/Chuda/Chiura/Beaten rice/Phovu…….

Almost in every state of India Poha is used as breakfast or as an evening snack. I have my childhood memories with poha. On Doordarshan when “Ramayan” serial commenced, my younger sister Nandini used to prepare very spicy and delicious poha for breakfast every Sunday. She was fussy in her eating habits and so was the first one among us three sisters to pick up cooking (to be free of mother’s cooking😉).

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After my marriage when we were in Chennai Manish requested me to prepare poha for breakfast. I couldn’t say no because I guessed that it is very easy thing to prepare (I had never prepared poha before that 😟).

My first mistake was that I bought thin variety of poha. Second mistake was that I had no idea how much quantity should I take. And we didn’t have landline phone, so I couldn’t call and ask. I ended up preparing completely mashed up poha which was enough for both of us for breakfast and lunch 😶😶.

Some memories are unforgettable!!

Now I can comfortably prepare with medium and thin varieties of poha. I have tasted thicker variety courtesy my good neighbors and it’s quite delicious but I have never tried. But my priority is always to buy medium one.

Ingredients :

Medium poha, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, Asafoetida (hing), rai, oil, raw groundnuts, potato,  onion, curry leaves, green coriander leaves and lemon juice.

Process :

In a strainer take poha and wash it under running water and keep it aside to drain out excess water.

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Peel, wash and cut thin slices of potatoes, onions and green chillies.

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In a pan heat 3-4 tbsp of oil and fry ground nuts.

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Take out the fried groundnuts and in the same hot oil crackle rai, add asafoetida and add cut slices of onions, potatoes, green chillies and curry leaves. Keep the heat on sim and let potatoes become soft.

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Once again wash your already washed poha and keep it aside to drain out excess water.

When onions, potatoes and chillies are cooked, add red chilli and turmeric powder.

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By now excess water from poha would have drained out. Remember that poha should be moist (and not dry) otherwise it wouldn’t be good in taste.

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Add this in potato onion mix along with salt and fried groundnuts. Keep the heat on medium to sim and mix everything well. In the end sprinkle some lemon juice and mix again. (finely cut tomatoes also can be added but no one likes them in my family, so I don’t add).

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Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

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White Sandwich Bread (2)

Have you ever tried baking bread at home?

If no, then you must definitely try it once. It’s so addictive, it’s magical, it’s therapeutic , it calms you down, it gives amazing joy and when you get wonderful slice from homebaked bread, you are forced to bake again and again!!!!!!

And the best part of baking bread is that it’s a great learning experience. We always learn from every single bake.

But still if you are slightly hesitant to try bread, my personal suggestion is to try baking buns first…. baking buns will boost your confidence.. and you will be ready to graduate to baking bread. I have few recipes for buns in my blog – you can try them…Spicy buns with cumin seeds and red chilli powder, Plain Buns with wheat flour + maida and Tea time Wheat Flour Buns with pizza spices.

When I started my learning lessons to bake bread, I started with all purpose flour (maida). I agree with you all that all purpose flour is not healthy. But I got immense confidence once I got perfect bread of loaf with maida. And if you are too strict with your eating habits, you can gift your maida breads to your house helps, neighbors, relatives or can take to your work place to get lots of appreciation!!!!!

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Ingredients :

Maida 3+1/2 cup
Milk powder 1/8 cup
Instant dry  yeast 1+1/2 tsp (Gloripan brand)
Salt 1+1/2 tsp
Sugar 1+1/2 tbsp
Oil /butter 2 tbsp
Water/Milk 1+1/2 cup
First proofing time (kept outside) 80 minutes (1 hour 10 minutes)
Second proofing…. 1/2 an hour

Process :

Dough can be kneaded only with lukewarm water or can be with half milk and half water. Milk keeps your bread soft and I always knead bread dough with lukewarm milk and water mix.

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In a big size vessel keep all dry ingredients – which are maida, salt, sugar, milk powder and yeast (all ingredients should be on room temperature).

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Mix all these ingredients together and slowly start adding water and bring all the ingredients in shape of the dough.

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Flatten this dough and sprinkle water and start kneading the dough. Dough consistency should be smooth but not too wet. While kneading add one tbsp oil/butter.

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Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes to get elasticity in it. You will notice that dough has become very smooth in 15 minutes kneading. Add rest of oil/butter.

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Knead slightly more and dough is ready.

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Keep it in an oil greased bowl.  Brush the dough with oil to avoid it drying – cling wrap the bowl and keep it at a warm place for first proofing. Generally I keep the dough for first proofing in my switched off microwave. But during summer, kitchen temperature is usually hot, so I kept it cling wrapped and covered with kitchen towel on kitchen counter.

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First proofing (dough rising to double the size) took one hour and ten minutes. Don’t let the dough over proof.

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Place the dough on neat and oil greased kitchen counter and punch it gently.

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Knead the dough very gently and roll it in a rectangular shape.

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Start rolling it tightly from the top and prepare a tight roll.

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Pinch the seam sides.

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Grease baking tin with oil and place the roll in it by keeping the seam side at the bottom of the tin.

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Brush the roll with oil to avoid it drying and cover it with another baking tin (I find covering it with another baking tin very convenient) and again keep it at dry and warm place for second proofing.

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Second proofing doesn’t take much time. Generally it gets over between 15 to 30 minutes. Mine took 30 minutes because I kept the tin on  kitchen counter.

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Just 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven at 200/, brush up the roll with milk and bake for 30-40 minutes at 180/.

If you have a small oven, microwave or OTG, then the top of the bread starts getting brown very quickly and by the end of the baking time, the top becomes very hard. To avoid this problem take out the tin from oven when bread is becoming brown. Generally it happens halfway in the baking process.

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Cover only the bread (not the tin) with almuniun foil (it’s called tenting) and keep the tin back in the oven and continue baking till it is done.

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When you tap the top of  the bread  it should sound hollow …. it’s a sign that bread is done!

Take out the tin from the oven and place it on a cooling rack for it to cool down and apply butter on top of the bread to keep it soft.

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Don’t let the bread stay in the tin for more than 10-15 minutes because in the cooling process steam will collect at the bottom of the tin and this will make bread soggy from the bottom.

Once the tin is comfortable to touch, clean the edges of the tin with knife and take out the bread and leave it on the cooling rack till it cools down completely.

Don’t slice your bread loaf immediately after it cools down as the crumb is not yet settled completely. Cling wrap with two, three layers and keep it in the fridge for 4-5 hours. I always prefer baking bread in the daytime,  keep it cling wrapped in the fridge and slice it in the night, again wrap it and keep it in the fridge and use it in the morning.

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If you want perfect beautiful slices of bread, don’t hesitate to buy a good serrated knife and enjoy your homebaked bread as a toast, or any variety of sandwich.

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But trust me, before you start preparing sandwiches, you will not resist gobbling up one or two slices of bread just like that…. after all, nothing is better than homebaked bread !!!!

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