Yeasted bread is not a typically Ayurvedic food. Yeast is a fungus and considered 'tamas', meaning it is a dull, heavy food thought to create ignorance. Postpartum is a time for 'sattva' which is the quality of purity and peace. I won't include this recipe in my upcoming recipe book because during the early weeks after childbirth many mothers also struggle with candida and thrush.
So why am I including in on my blog? Partly because everyone who eats it asks me for the recipe. And because commercial bread contains many ingredients worse than yeast, including preservatives, mould inhibitors, synthetic vitamins and fructose. Plus baking bread is such a beautiful sadhana, or spiritual practice, a gift to your family that I feel the very act of baking bread creates some sattva anyway. Not to mention the amount of money you'll save- and you don't even need a thermomix.
You will need kitchen scales though, as weighing flour makes for much more reliable results with baking. And a 4 Litre tub is handy, with a lid, but not essential. And a casserole dish if you want to bake it as a loaf, rather than flatbread. Any large pyrex dish or le crueset style enamel pot will do the trick.
The flour you use will make a difference to how much water you need. Less for white flour, more for wholemeal, so you may need to experiment a little. I use Eden Valley atta flour. Eden Valley is a biodynamic farm in the south-west so it's local and fresh. Atta flour is an Ayurvedic preparation of wheat that retains the nutrient dense germ of the flour, whilst sifting away the bran which is difficult to digest. Atta flour is more nutritious than white flour, but light enough for bread and cakes. You can experiment with spelt or any other flour, but you will need to adjust the amount of water too.
This is a very forgiving recipe. It's a sticky dough that you couldn't knead if you tried. But high water content and long rising time do the hard work for you in developing the gluten. Plus this method creates a bread that lasts a little longer, it's good for 2-3 days, rather than the usual 1-2 days. That is if you don't eat it first.
The result is a moist bread, with a soft but firm crust. You can add a cup of nuts or seeds or olives to the dry ingredients, or replace some of the wheat flour with rye. Add caraway or fennel or replace up to 75ml of the water with 70 ml of olive oil. Made with less water and proper bread flour and olive oil this makes a seriously good pizza base, but you'll need to add flour to the dough to roll it out. Go crazy! Just bake the basic recipe a few times first to get the hang of it.
Once the dough has risen you can keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks, and just break off a lump to cook fresh, or roll out a pizza base whenever you want one.
So here is the recipe you've all been waiting for. Seriously, it could change your life.
- 1kg flour
- 750ml water
- 1 g instant dried yeast
- 10 g salt
- Measure out and mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl (or your 4 Litre tub).
- Add the water and start mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon. When it's too stiff to mix use your hands and make sure there are no dry lumps of flour left.
- Cover with lid or wet tea towel and leave for 6-12 hours until doubled in size. If you are using a 4L tub you will know it's ready when it's climbed right up to the top. Your dough will rise quicker in warm weather and slower in cool weather. For a quicker rise use lukewarm water, to begin with. At this stage, you can put your dough in the fridge to bake another time, or cook half now, half tomorrow so you have fresh bread every day.
- Punch your dough down and preheat your oven to 200'C. If you want to bake a loaf then you'll need a large casserole dish with a lid, which you can preheat in the oven now. For flatter bread, there is no need to prepare your baking tray.
- When your oven is hot line your tray or casserole dish with baking paper. This dough is very wet and sticky do not much good for shaping. Just plop it on and let it settle into its own shape, maybe smoothing the top and/or edges with a wet hand.
- Pop it in the oven. If you are using a casserole dish then bake it with the lid on for 40mins and then take the lid off and bake for another 20 minutes. For flatbread check it after ten minutes, and then about every five minutes after that.
This recipe is not ideal for early postpartum, but if you want to nourish, traditional recipes ideal for new mums please check out my book Nourishing Newborn Mother - Ayurvedic recipes to heal your mind, body and soul after childbirth. Buy it now or click here for more info.
Ayurvedic recipes to heal your mind, body and soul after childbirth.