Guest Baker Post #1

Greetings bakers. Every Monday we will get to know more about one member of our baking community through their baking journey, favorite bakes and recipes. This week, Rupali Agarwal Goyal will share some of her experiences and favorite recipes.

Since this is the first post in this series, I wanted to begin with a short introduction about our present baking community, and how it started.

About the Community

Baking bread has been everyone’s dream, but the list of exotic ingredients and failed initial loaves were everyone’s nightmare, including me!

At some point, we all would have thought of baking bread. But after reading through the list of exotic ingredients, executing complicated instructions, and trying those failed initial loaves, most of us, including yours truly, left bread baking for another day (or perhaps another life?).

I started baking bread in April 2016. Regular practice and learning by the proverbial ‘trial and error’ way, helped me hone my skills. Soon I realised baking bread wasn’t so complex and with some practice, anyone could bake. 

The teacher in me sprang up again and I took the mantle upon myself to teach how to bake healthy breads to my community. With this, I began my 3 hour sessions —  a little introduction about the ingredients and the process, demonstration of the kneading process, running through the fermentation, deflating, shaping, proving and finally baking that ‘wonder loaf’. When the oven would beep, we would clap for ourselves as initially it was no less than a battle won. We would admire it, touch it, enjoy the aroma, click pictures with it and then devour it.

Soon, there was a session every week in Nivedita Kunj (my previous residence in South Delhi), with more new bakers joining each time. Over time, the baking sessions itinerary covered pizzas, pies and buns. In fact, some Nivedita Kunj residents stopped buying breads, pizzas, garlic breads, pies, buns and  the neighborhood kirana shops ran out of yeast! 

We soon started sessions for various residential colonies through RWAs, schools ,doctors, teachers etc. Later when I went to other cities for work or leisure, we had sessions there too. Today, we have bakers’ groups in Bangalore, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Rohtak, Ahmedabad, Noida and Gurgaon, besides Delhi.

Our fellow bakers include: brilliant homemakers, school and college students, teachers and principals, my colleagues from the Indian Revenue Service, including serving and retired members of CBDT and CBEC, senior bureaucrats, young professionals, senior doctors, artists, nutritionists, chefs, college professors, young entrepreneurs, pranic healers, architects and philanthropists.

Today we are a strong community of more than 600 members. All the members have further motivated and taught the healthy home baking skills to their family and friends. What is most satisfying and heartening for me is that they have been baking regularly since the last 4 to 5 years. 

In the present pandemic, many of our members are baking bread to comfort themselves as it is indeed therapeutic and are also spreading cheer by gifting fresh homemade  breads to friends, neighbours and helpers.

This week’s guest baker.

This week, Rupali Agarwal Goyal will share her journey from a new baker to a seasoned one. Rupali joined our baking community way back in 2017. She is an MBA and worked in Human Resources in USA. She was my neighbour in Nivedita Kunj when this baking bug bit me and our baking family. We have done many baking sessions together.

She is always keen to learn new things, experiments with her recipes, and she bakes regularly — those on the groups must have seen her bakes. Her family loves her bakes and so do we.

Rupali uses a Samsung Microwave on Convection Mode for her baking. Her trusted instant yeast brand is ‘Angel’.

I’m sure her baking journey will inspire our new bakers 🙂 Here’s her story, in her own words.

The concept of baking breads at home was totally something out of my domain, meant only for professionally trained chefs till I had a chance meeting with Mrs. Renu Amitabh. She not only introduced me to baking but also made sure that I excel in it. Despite her work commitments, she was only a call away to answer patiently all the queries of amateurs like me. 

I baked my first bread in early 2017 after being inspired by Renu ma'am. Our entire colony was baking, so why not me?! It was a big disaster. I tried 3-4 times and they were all trashed. Then attended two-three more sessions and baked only maida bread to try if I could ever bake an edible loaf without much success. 

Baking whole wheat breads was a challenge for a beginner like me so Renu ma’am guided us to mix some maida and add some leavening agents like milk/eggs/lemon etc. Every session she emphasised that kneading should be done properly and the dough should be soft.

I then experimented with pizzas and they were an instant hit. This helped me in experimenting with other things like braided breads, sunflower breads, stuffed buns etc. Once I succeeded in that, then at the end of 2017 I again tried  baking a loaf. 

Started with sooji and atta bread and though it was very dense, it was much better than my atta/ multigrain breads. My son kept encouraging me to keep trying as each subsequent bake was better than the previous one.

It was only by mid 2018 that I got a hang of it and then there was no looking back. But had it not been for the constant help from our group along with the encouragement from my son and husband who appreciated and savoured my bakes, I would have given up long back.

A huge thanks to our baking community that is very supportive. We are always sharing recipes and guiding and appreciating each other for the bakes shared on the group. Soon I got confidence to even experiment with different flours. Now there is no looking back.

I now wish to learn how to bake Slow rise breads and Sourdough breads .

Here is my Suji and Oats bread recipe. This is one of my favourites. It is extremely simple. If you have tried the Basic Bread recipe, then you already know how do make this one; only the ingredients have changed.

Suji and Oats Bread

Suji and Oats bread.
  • Sooji: 1 cup
  • Atta: 1&½ 1.5 cups
  • Oats: ½ 1/2 cup
  • Flaxseed powder: 2 tbsp
Grind the sooji and oats to a fine powder in a mixer grinder. The rest of the steps are the same as our Basic Bread Recipe.

Closing thoughts.

Thanks Rupali for your candid sharing which will inspire our new bakers to embark on  their baking journey. Another huge thanks for yet again trying the Basic Bread Recipe 🙂 As a seasoned baker, Rupali tried her variant — I am sharing the ingredients below.

  • 3.5 cups atta
  • A lil less than 1tsp yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tbsp flaxseed pwd
  • Kneaded with some lukewarm milk
“Flaxseed” Basic Bread.

The rest of the recipe is the same as the Basic Bread Recipe.

As always, keep baking ,keep sharing and keep enabling others to bake healthy!

6 thoughts on “Guest Baker Post #1

  1. Anju Srivastava

    Very encouraging n inspiring journey. I feel motivated to try some bread baking soon. Enjoyed reading the guest n also journey of Renu Ma’am!!
    Ma’am, you prove that passion along with consistency can do wonders. There are no limits …..

  2. Sonal Bansal

    Congratulations Rupali! I am fan of your culinary skills . I feel that baking gives you a therapeutic feeling and its aroma makes everyone longing for more. Nice write-up.

  3. Shubha Narayanan

    Wow! I keep getting dense breads and they are awful. I thought I can never bake, especially as I still don’t know much about yeast. I buy yeast, use as required, and store the balance in a bottle. Does it get inactivated after that? I tried keeping in fridge too but nothing happens 😓

  4. Gurpreet

    I’ll be grateful Renu Ji if pls give a tip so that I too can have a bread texture like yours
    Thank you

  5. Sangita Rustogi

    Like your breads and buns Rupali. Tried your sooji atta bread recipe and it came out really well. Thanks for sharing.

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