It’s the end of the year, and it’s time to look back. I’ve been lucky. For starters, the year opened with some very interesting offers in Food Consultancy. I got to work with some very established brands and some startups on a diverse range of products and services that have not just given me the confidence to put myself out there in the market but have also taught me so many things (some of these will appear in the mainstream media soon!). The most important one, though, is to always believe in yourself and your abilities. If you’re honest toward what you do, if you never stop studying it, nobody can stop you. You don’t need aggressive marketing. You don’t need to tweet incessantly and spam people’s emails to showcase your talent. The universe takes care of it.

Challah Bread

Challah in all its golden glory!

I’ve also realized that I truly, honestly enjoy teaching. I used to work in an eLearning company and was trained rigorously as an Instructional Designer; so, it really gives me the kicks to design a course (now in a culinary subject) and determine learning objectives to optimize learning and application. I conducted a few workshops in Bread making this year, and it is so fulfilling to be included on a WhatsApp group of students (started by themselves) that have taken to baking bread so zealously that they post almost every day. In the coming year, I hope to take a lot more classes and do what I truly enjoy doing–share whatever I know about the kitchen and enjoy the collective “Aah!” that I get from my students. In January 2014, I am conducting a Pantry Staples workshop followed by some more fun stuff later in the year.

Here are a few pictures from the classes:

Bread workshop at home

Bread workshop at home

Breads Around the World at APB Cook Studio

Breads Around the World at APB Cook Studio

One of the breads that I taught at the class was the Challah; the Jewish Sabbath bread, enriched with eggs. It makes for the best companion to eggs cooked any way you like. And when it gets stale (if it lasts long enough for that), it makes a really rich Bread and Butter Pudding!

Here’s the recipe.

Challah

(Adapted from a Peter Reinhart recipe)

Makes 1 loaf

Braided!

Braided!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. Instant Yeast
  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup Lukewarm water (more or less as required)
  • 1 egg white for wash
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds

Method:

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk together the oil, egg, egg yolk, and ¾ cup water.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix till it comes together, adding another 1 tbsp. water if required.
  4. Tip onto a floured working surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Add more flour if required to make a soft and pliable (not sticky) dough.
  5. Return to a greased bowl and cover with cling. Allow to rest for 25-30 minutes or until double in size.
  6. Knock back the dough and knead briefly.
  7. Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Roll them out into ropes of equal thickness and length. Place them along side each other and plait them into a braid. Tuck the ends underneath.
  8. Transfer to a lined baking tray. Brush with a little beaten egg white and allow to rise again (about 25-30 mins.) until almost double again.
  9. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade.
  10. Brush the braid with the remaining beaten egg white and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  11. Bake for 25-30 mins. until rich golden.
  12. Cool completely before slicing.
Sliced Challah

Sliced–look at that crumb!