Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Masala Bread

I have been making masala bread for a long time now. It is basically the bread dough combined with sauteed onions, green chillies, cilantro and baked either as loaf or as bun. But, this recipe is making masala bread using a sourdough starter. My Sourdough starter's recipe can be found here. I make bread using this starter every week. We all like it since it has the sourness compared to regular yeast breads. However, this doesn't work well for sweet or raisin breads. So, here is how to make use of this starter and make masala bread. I have given the ingredients for making the same with just yeast without sourdough starter in the end.

For the Bread part:
  1. 1 1/4 cups of sourdough starter
  2. 3/4 cup warm water
  3. 4 cups + 1 1/2 cups bread flour divided use
  4. 2 tsp salt
  5. 2 TBSP sugar
  6. 2 tsp active dry yeast
For the masala part:

  1. 2 Big onions diced - I prefer red since they are less watery compared to other kinds.
  2. 10 - 12 green chillies chopped finely
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 a bunch cilantro chopped finely.
  5. 2 TBSP oil.


  1. Milk - 2 -3 TBSP.
  2. Butter - 1 TBSP
Even though I make bread all the time, I kind of cheat and use bread machine to mix the dough and knead the dough. It actually saves a ton of time. You might say what is the fun in making bread then, but with the busy schedule I have, if I want to eat home made fresh bread, this is the option I have. You are welcome to try it by hand. It works fine that way too. Place all the ingredients (use just 4 cups of flour) for the bread in the bread machine as per manufacturer's recommendation of the order of ingredients and select the dough cycle. In the meantime, heat oil in a pan and saute green chillies, onions till the onions wilt. Add salt and adjust if needed. Add the chopped cilantro and turn off the heat. Let it come to room temperature.

When the bread machine beeps (for adding the nuts or herbs), add this mixture. It'll start getting watery. This is the time to add the extra flour you had kept aside to get the perfect bread dough consistency. Check for the salt and add if needed and work it in. To check if it is the correct consistency, try to pinch some dough and it should not stick to your fingers, but should be soft. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it so that the whole ball is coated with oil. Cover and let it rise till double about an hour. (If you live in a very cold place, turn on the oven to warm and turn it off after 5 minutes. Keep this bowl with the dough and leave it in there for an hour.)

After the dough has doubled in size, punch down and deflate. Divide into to two equal portions and shape into loaves. Spray two standard loaf pans with vegetable oil spray and place the dough. Cover with aluminum foil which has been sprayed with vegetable oil spray and let it rise for another hour or till it is double in size.

Warm couple the milk and using pastry brush give both the loaves a nice coat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 35 - 40 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped or the instant read thermometer when inserted registers 200 degrees and it is nice and golden brown. Remember to rotate the pans half way to ensure even baking. Once they are done, remove the pans and after 10 minutes, remove them from the pan and place on the cooling rack and brush with melted butter to keep them soft. Cut when they are completely cool.

For making the same without using the sourdough starter, ingredients for the bread goes:

  1. 1 1/2 cups water
  2. 2 TBSP oil or butter
  3. 1 3/4 tsp salt
  4. 4 cups + 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  5. 2 TBSP dry milk powder
  6. 2 TBSP granulated sugar
  7. 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Method goes the same way.

Happy Baking!!

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  1. Good recipe.Love to have it witha a cup of tea, especially on these winter days

  2. Hi Champa,
    Quick question - what can I use to substitute the sour-dough starter with? Im not sure we get it here in Bangalore. Will have to check. In the meanwhile, I'd love to try this recipe if there is a good sub. Do let me know...thanks in advance!


  3. Madhuri,
    To answer your question. If you are using sourdough starter in an yeast recipe, just use 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1/2 cup of water in place of every cup of sourdough starter. You will have to increase the yeast quantity by 1/4 tsp in that case. Since sourdough starter is made by weighing ingredients, you might have to adjust the flour or water at the end of kneading by a TBSP. Since you are asking for a substitution for masala bread, this is the solution. I also have another masala bread without using sourdough starter. Check that one too.
    If you are using sourdough starter in a quick bread/muffin/cake recipe, all you have to do is use 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water in the place of 1 cup sourdough starter.

  4. Hi
    Your bread recipes are so tempting.I am wondering how does one bake this on a weekday..I work for 8 hrs a day outside of there a way to do one of the steps overnight or even in the morning and then finish in the evening?

  5. GKB,
    You could do the dough in the evening, shape and let it sit in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator and let it rise for the final time. It might take up to 2 - 3 hours for that and then bake. If you are looking for a recipe that you can complete in about 4 hours from start to finish, check out my other Khara bread recipe.


If you have a question and you leave it as a comment, I'll surely answer the question to the best of my knowledge. Thanks for visiting.