Masala bread

Ever since I tasted masala bread at a bakery in Bangalore, I had been meaning to make it. So here is this simple masala bread recipe that can be made as a regular bread also, without adding the masala. My mother used to bake delicious cakes for us on the stove top as she didn’t have an oven. Today, I have used this method to bake the bread. All you need is a heavy bottom container, an insert or small stainless steel rack on which the baking dish is kept and a tight lid. I have made this bread in a regular stainless container that all us have in our homes. So, you don’t even need any baking containers either.
For the bread 
Maida/wheat flour – 2 cups
Active yeast – 1/2 tbsp
Salt – 1/2 tbsp
Warm water – 1 cup
For the masala
Dried red chillies – 3-4
Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
Kasuri methi – 1 tbsp
Chat masala – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
To finish 
Melted butter – 1 tsp
Masala powder – 1 tsp (to taste)
ingredients for masala

In a small bowl add the salt, yeast and warm water and mix well. Keep covered for 5-10 mins till yeast is proofed. In a larger mixing bowl, add the flour and then the proofed yeast mixture. Mix well (dough will be a little sticky), cover with a lid and set aside for 2 hours till dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the masala by grinding all the ingredients. You can add cumin seeds, coriander seeds also to the masala, should you so desire. This masala is a very versatile one and I use it to make stuffed parathas also. So, it is a good idea to keep this readily available. 

Once the dough has risen well, take off the lid and press down on the dough with your fist to release the air. Add 1 tsp of the masala powder (this gives a mild masala bread, so those who like it spicier can add more masala, as required) and start kneading the dough using a little dry flour as required. Knead well and make into a ball making sure that the surface is smooth and keep gently in a stainless steel dish that has been well oiled. The smooth surface of the dough should be on top. Cover and let it sit for another 30 mins. 

After about 20 minutes, keep the heavy bottom container, along with the insert and lid on the stove and turn the stove on so that they get heated for baking. After 30 mins the dough would have risen some more. Now brush the top with the melted butter and sprinkle some of the masala powder on top of the butter.
dough before second rise
dough ready to bake

Gently and carefully lower the baking dish into the heated container on the stove and cover with the heated lid. Cook on low heat for 45 mins or till the bread is done and well browned. Remove carefully and gently remove bread from the baking dish and allow to cool in a rack before slicing.

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