Guest Baker Post #7

No more Monday blues! For here, on our blog, the Mondays are full of cheer and wonderment! There is something new, something exciting!

Our next guest baker is Meenakshi Ranga. In our baking community she is popular because of her affable nature, healthy wholesome bakes, generosity and a very warm persona. We love her bakes, her enthusiasm to always learn and teach, her spirit and her passion to treat (with her lovely bakes) her family, friends (especially her children’s friends) and helpers too. Here is Meenakshi’s baking story in her own words:

Jab we met …. 2016 !

Hello all. I’m Meenakshi, a homemaker. I met Renu at the 25th celebration of the 91 FC batch on 15th September, 2016 after a long, long time and our friendship took an interesting turn as we soon became fellow bakers. 

Renu coaxed me to attend one of her sessions and the experience was breathtaking. Renu was teaching the art of making bread and pizzas to 20 odd ladies very patiently and diligently. I couldn’t believe that one could make such high quality and healthy breads, pizzas, and burgers at home. Soon after, I started making pizzas by using my 20-year-old OTG, which I felt was too small.

In 2017, one of Renu’s sessions was hosted at my residence and we borrowed a 40L Morphy Richards OTG for the same. The session went great — Renu taught us how to make bread, pizza, & apple pies. My daughters and I found the borrowed OTG to be the perfect size for a family of 4. We fell in love with it and ended up purchasing it. Soon enough, I was making large pizzas in the new OTG. I ended up gifting my small OTG to my house help, who also learnt the nuances of baking from Renu during the sessions conducted at my place.

I baked for weeks and weeks and realized that perseverance, patience and practice are the sine qua non for learning baking. I knead, chop and bake with much love and care. I like listening to music while cooking. The first thing I do after entering my kitchen is to play music. I find it to be quite soothing. I am a die-hard Jagjit Singh fan. Music creates positive vibes all around. My philosophy in life is to enjoy simple things, and do the smallest things with utmost care.

My dear friend Renu provides guidance to hundreds of us. She has united us all, and now we have a very lively and lovely group. I admire Renu for her passion, zeal and motivational skills. There is so much to learn from her. The most important lesson she has taught us is the art of sharing. She is the epitome of the popular saying “sharing is caring”. She has transformed me from a “Home maker” to a “Home baker”.

One session that I found very inspiring was when Dolly Narang taught us the Art of Meditation. Another session which was very special was the one Renu conducted in the lawns of Nivedita Kunj. About 80 odd ladies were present from our colony. This session was unique because it was the first time a session had been held outdoors with such a large gathering.

This journey has also inspired my two daughters to make their own pizzas and cupcakes, experimenting with their choice of toppings and seasonings. A few of my friends were motivated by me and ended up joining Renu’s baking group. They are Jyotsna Fotedar, Sangeeta Rastogi, Harpreet, and Anshu Dadich ma’am, just to name a few.

My dear friend Sangeeta has also taught me baking and icing of cakes. Now, whenever I visit my friends and relatives, I prefer to carry a cake. My cakes are a big hit with them.Sangeeta’s recipe is very simple but makes tasty cakes by adding the icing. However, there’s a lot of practice and patience that goes into baking a delicious cake.

My favorite recipes are about pizzas, apple pies and cinnamon rolls. I use whole wheat and maida for making pizzas, burgers and focaccia breads. I’d love to learn how to bake sourdough breads as normalcy returns.

In this lockdown, we as homemakers, moms, friends and companions have to uplift the spirits of those around us. I think of ways to cheer up everyone with my bakes and healthy cooking. Recovering from Covid-19 made me realize that life is ephemeral and most materialistic possessions are useless. On this occasion I also express my gratitude to all the people who have very kindly helped me. My special gratitude to Renu for the transformation she has brought about in me.

I’m sharing Renu’s pizza recipe which I follow to make my own pizzas.


Recipe: Wholewheat Pizza

A delicious pizza!

Ingredients

Some ingredients and tools
  • Wheat flour – 3&½  cup (Can be atta & maida mix)
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Oil/Butter – 4 tsp
  • Yeast – 2&¼ tsp  
  • Water – 1&¾ cup
  • Honey/Jaggery – 2 tbsp

Method

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, except yeast.

2. Mix yeast in warm water and keep aside for 10 minutes (if instant, just mix with flour)

3. Mix yeast water in flour and all other ingredients in the bowl. If required, add more flour. Then knead for nearly 8-10 minutes. 

Dough all kneaded and ready for proving.

4. Keep covered in a dark place for about 1-1½ hours till the dough almost doubles; then press to deflate and gently make Dimples in the dough for 3-4 minutes.

Well risen dough.

5. Thereafter preheat the oven for 10 minutes. In the meantime, roll the pizza base and add the pizza sauce. I used a homemade one but you can also add ketchup.

6. Next, add your favorite pizza toppings. I added broccoli, bell peppers, capsicum and onion. Don’t forget to add oregano and chili flakes.

Added all toppings.

7. Top this off with a generous amount of grated cheese.

Adding the cheese!

8. Finally bake for 15-20 minutes at 180℃. Take out when done.

Some Tips

1. You can substitute water with milk or buttermilk — for softer breads.
2. Initially you can substitute some wheat flour with maida.


From the leftover dough, I made Roses. I have added the images, the recipe is very self-explanatory:

Aside from these, here are some of my other recent bakes:


Thank you Meenakshi, for sharing the recipe and your story! Readers, please share your feedback in the comments, and don’t forget to try the recipe!

See you all in Wednesday’s post. Till then!

45 thoughts on “Guest Baker Post #7

  1. Richa Agrawal

    Amazing journey Meenakshi, you invited me also for the session at your place in the initial steps of our journey , really thankful for that. I am fan of your cakes & now your expertise in icing.

  2. Anu Bishnoi

    Very inspiring n commendable job Meenakshi bhabhi .. I am hard core fan of you , who’s so talented in every field. Looking forward to have more recipes n tips on baking from you.

  3. Seema

    Love to see my friend meenakshi as a bakery perfectionist and renu as her mentor . Her baked items are looking very tasty and delicious . The recipe she shared is very simple and easy to make . Keep it up meenakshi . Keeping eyes on your next recipe😊🤗🤗

  4. Kalpana Solanki

    I have enjoyed Mamiji’s ( Meenakshi’s) cakes several times , decorations and packing was professional but love with which cake was baked too personal😍. Thank you for your lovely cakes and delicious handmade chocolates !

  5. Preeti Chaturvedi

    Meenakshi bhabhi is a beautiful lady by heart and Saul and very passionate cook
    She bake delicious cakes and pizzas and even she cooks very good always I am great follower of her cooking keep it up bhabhi ❤️👍

  6. Reena Solanki

    Not everyone is lucky enough to have a Maami like you in their lives. you are a cupcake in this world full of muffins. 😌 you are an inspiration for all of us. Be it a special occasion or not you always find time for us to bake some delicious cakes and deliver them to us. The cakes 🎂 are always beyond expectations and really really amazingly delicious and are always the centre of any celebrations. I am really blessed to have you. You are the star of our family 🥰 love you always 🌈😍 and you are sweeter than any cake in this world😝

  7. Rahul singh

    I’m not kidding I have NEVER seen or tasted a home made cake like yours. The base is always so soft and spongy with beautiful icings you make amazing cakes. I would like if could teach my wife to bake 🤣

  8. Gurpreet

    So beautiful . So blessed that I’m part of this group. You get to learn and make different receipes which we are hesitant of . Thanks Renu for encouraging all of us.

  9. Shanan Jain

    Thank you for the Pizza recipe Meenakshi ma’am. I am inspired to try this tomorrow morning. Your bakes and your generosity with lesser previledged is amazing… Keep it up! Your description of Renu ma’am is so beautiful. .
    God bless Renu ma’am for her mission to inspire hundreds of people to bake their bread at home.. …. That too free of cost!

  10. Sangita Rustogi

    Thanks Meenakshi for introducing me to this lovely lively group.We have learnt so much from Renu ma’am by attending her live sessions. Lovely bakes Meenakshi 👍.

  11. Sharada Subramaniam

    Wow Meenakshi you have followed Renu’s footsteps and emerged as a fabulous baker yourself. The photographs speak volumes about your talent and passion. Renu of course is a complete inspiration and I also bake her pizza as well as some simple cakes. Haven’t tried breads as yet though I should. So happy that FC 1991 has so much to offer the world as I am also a part of it!!

  12. Meenakshi J Goswami

    What an amazingly beautiful journey. Our Life has been transformed through baking. Thanks for sharing your bakes.

    1. Meenakshi

      We not only share the same name but also other things like our college, saree group, service connection and our bakers group of course. Ur bakes are so unique and out of this world . As im back looking forward to meet this beautiful girl in person. Thank alot dear.

  13. Leena Tated

    Nice blog, very informative. I love all cakes by Meenakshi. When ever she visits she always bring cakes and all her cakes are perfect. Me and my friends always wait for her visit. Her cakes are different as she put her soul in to it and it gives extra sweetness. After reading this blog I am also tempted to learn so many things.Today I will try Renu’s pizza recipe.
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Aakash Singh

    Meenakshi aunty makes the best cake, I have never had such good home made cake in my life, my family was so surprised
    after knowing that its a home made cake!

  15. Rupeela

    It’s so so wonderful to know about your beautiful journey from a powerful homemaker to a fantastic home Baker Meenakshi Ji!! Cudos to you and your friends! I am so looking forward to savouring your delicious bakes someday! The pictures speak volumes about the mouth watering bakes! 😊
    Our own energy goes into the food we make …with your loving vivacious energy the food is bound to turn out delicious! So happy for you!
    Looking forward to learning from you! God bless you and your entire friend circle of sharers!
    Love and Light to you all!

  16. Shalini

    Very inspiring and beautiful journey Meenakshi Ma’am 🙏🏻 Your cakes , pizzas are so delicious 😊, thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe I am definitely going to try 👍🏻

  17. Rati

    Love your cakes and you so much aunty, you make the best stuff because you put so much love into it. Thankyou for always treating me with all kinds of baked stuff whenever i visit!!!

  18. Minakshi Goel

    Excellent Meenakshi! Really you are a very multitalented and lively person. So many varieties of baked dishes and all are looking amazing and mouthwatering. Your baked roses are awesome.I will also try at home.keep it up dear 👍👏❤️

  19. Monikaa agarwal

    Where to start from… Met you first time when i came to drop rati at ur place bd we clicked instantly.. I remember you packed a big apple pie nd pizza ….i fell in love with the pie. And since than we have been savouring your delicious baked stuff hundred of times nd the lovely chocolates too.. You have surely pampered us… And not to forget the yumm cake on our anniversary…. Keep rocking lady and always be the same josh gal… Luking forward to learn lots from you…

  20. Harpreet

    O my my, Meenakshi, so beautifully you have given words to your thoughts. I m just blown away by your writing skills. I was not aware about your this talent. U are actually like a blooming flower – opening one petal of ur talent at a time.
    Every body knows you as a talented baker and great host, but many doesn’t know that you are Bharat-natyam dancer who got trained under from non other than Padma Bhushan Swapna Sundari ma’am.
    It is you who introduced me to Moti Bagh ladies club n Bread baker’s club which actually helped me in the field of creativity.
    I am so blessed and happy to have you in my life.
    Sky should be the limit for you my dear friend who is more than a sister to me.
    With love
    Harpreet

  21. Meenakshi

    Thanks u so much .U guys pampered us during difficult corona days .How can i ever forget that .

  22. Neeti gupta

    Very inspiring and amazing journey Meenakshi . Your bakes are as beautiful as you are. The one creative I always love to watch is you . You always manage to distinguish your work by having it done so well . Best wishes dear .

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