A kitchen workout – Mediterranean spiced multigrain bread recipe

Mediterannean Styled Multigrain bread

My first attempt to bake a bread loaf led to what could politely be called a sausage and basil pesto pie.

I had mixed the dough and all the previous night and put it to bake in the morning before going to office for breakfast. I think the problem was that the dough didn’t prove properly and hadn’t risen enough.

This is how it looked.

sausage pesto bread

Still I had baked bread for breakfast and was proud of it…even if one had to live with its unconventional good looks

But I had to give bread another shot. The bread baking class that I attended at Le 15 Patisserie couldn’t go to waste. Plus the bread rolls that I tried at home had turned out to be closer to what we had in class after all

So last Saturday night I hit the ring again. This time a bigger challenge. A whole-wheat bread. Even tougher. Multi-grain.

Got the the multi-grain idea when I saw the Pillsbury multi-grain atta pack at Vijay Stores. Was disappointed to not find whole grains in it. I guess this must be because the atta is meant for making chapattis.

Shamim or @butsandifs on twitter suggested adding walnut flax seeds. I added some chopped walnuts along with chopped olives. The walnuts took the bread to another level in the final analysis. I also seasoned the dough with spices such as sumac, zatar and baharat to give it a Mediterranean flavour.

The commonly held belief is that commercial whole wheat bread has a portion of flour in it. Some even say that ‘brown’ bread in shops is regular bread coloured with caramel. And apparently there was a sign at a local Irani Bakery once which once  said “real whole wheat bread cannot taste good”.

Well the thing is, as we saw in class, pure whole-wheat bread comes out a lot more dense than regular. Quite tightly packed.  But that’s not the tricky part of making whole-wheat bread.

The kneading bit is a lot more trickier than when using soft well behaved processed flour. All thoughts of kneading being ‘therapeutic’ went out of the window as the flour stubbornly refused to come together. One had to keep feeding it water…little clumps formed but not a nice pillow-like dough. Finally what I did was make three ball of dough as the entire mass refused to come together at one go. Once the three dough balls became a bit firm I gently joined them and made a larger dough ball. Some frustrated punching was part of the process though not in the recipe.

I remember that the other problem the last time I made bread was that the dough didn’t ‘prove’ (rise with the yeast and heat and increase in size) enough. I guess the outside temperature wasn’t warm enough in the evening. So what I did this time was switch on the oven and then place the dough on top so that it rose in the warmth. Did work. And after the second proving I even went for a walk late at night before the bread was ready to make.

When I came back I put the dough in the oven with another tray beside it. The second tray had a leg of chicken and some mushrooms marinated in Lenny’s barbecue sauce. Both got ready in the same time. Multitasking as they say.

As I sat down for dinner at midnight I wondered if the the 3 hour long cooking process was a tad elaborate and whether it was worth it. I could have just roasted the chicken and bought bread.

But as I munched on more than 2/3rd of the loaf I was pretty sure that there was no bread in the world that would taste so sweet at that time of the night.

Metaphorically speaking.

So here’s the recipe for the Mediterranean themed multi-grained bread  which is grounded on Christina Fernandes’ recipe at the Le 15 Patisserie baking class.


IMG_0311  IMG_0312 IMG_0313

  • Whole-wheat/ multigrain (processed flour for white bread)   250 g
  • Dry yeast 10 g or 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Butter/ margarine: 10 g
  • Salt: 5 g
  • Filling (optional): chopped olives, chopped walnuts (the best part), spices – sumac, zatar, baharat (you could even go Italian and add oregano and chilli flakes which come with pizza deliveries) You can find all these ingredients for a good price with



  • Add the sugar and the yeast to 4 tablespoons of warm water (shouldn’t scald your fingers) Let it begin to fizz a bit
  • Mix the butter and the salt with your fingers and keep separately


  • Put the flour on a tray/ working surface
  • Make a hole in the flour. Pour in the yeast mix into the whole
  • Knead this – get the flour to mix with the yeast liquid and try to form little lumps…will be pebble-like initially---keep adding spoons of water to moisten and lubricate – whole-wheat is much tougher to knead than processed – punch it if it gets to you…letting steam out helps…expect a fantastic wrist and forearm workout. What I forgot is that one should lukewarm water to knead…Christina had told us this at class… food blogger, Sharmila, of Kichu Khon, reminded me through her comment
  • When the dough begins to hold and looks like a dough then add the salt and the butter mix. Knead till it’s a polite smooth ball

IMG_0314  IMG_0315 IMG_0319


  • Put the dough in a bowl. Cover with cling film. I just couldn’t take mine out of the roll so used a cooking foil.
  • Keep in a warm area for an hour. I kept it on top of a warm oven
  • This is called proving. At the end of it should double in size

  before after


  • Take the dough out flatten it on a working surface. Press it a bit.
  • Add the fillings. In this case – olives, walnuts, sumac, zatar, baharat. In an ideal case whole multigrain's – oat, flax seeds, wheat grain etc
  • Make an envelope. Fold in the the horizontal ends first. Then the vertical ends – the two sides next
  • Then roll the envelope till it looks like a log. Pinch it all over
  • Put it in a greased loaf tin
  • Put the tin on a warm surface to prove for an hour. Warm oven top again
  • The dough needs to rise
  • By which time you’d be physically exhausted and brain dead…a walk by the sea is a good idea. even if it is 11 pm

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  • Preheat the oven for 10 min at 200 d C
  • Put in the dough in the greased tin and let it bake for 35 min at 200 d C. I roasted a chicken leg at the same time in the OTG


  • Take it out.
  • Let it cool
  • Upturn bread tin on a flat surface. It will be hot be careful
  • Pat base of tin and ease out bread
  • Slice
  • Eat
  • Feel good about life

 IMG_0330 IMG_0332 Fresh out of the tin

The one thing I learnt at the end of this, with apologies to Mary Antoinette, is that it is easier to bake cakes than bread.

 IMG_0337 the morning after

The original recipe


Bong Mom said…
All I can say is "Dada ektu paayer dhulo din"
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Bong Mom: Ki je bolo didibhai
wow - you are getting to be a pro at this baking...
i still haven't mustered courage for a bread... maybe one day...
Sassy Fork said…
A classical case of food and exercise combined for good health :) Bravo on the effort!
Just a point to add that making it with margarine will make it unhealthy as its a trans fat
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@HCOF: Somoo far from a pro but enoying it...you should try it...that's what people used to keep telling me till I did
i love freshly baked bread and this is one great loaf. its good to see so many baking recipes coming from you and also a dessert (brownie) picture on your header.
it was a proud moment to see you onscreen. i dont know to how many I have passed on that video link, with a tag a food blogger like us...:-)
Sharmila said…
Awesome! Even the thought of baking a bread scares me. A little warm water always helps when kneading a dough.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Sayantani...thanks so much for your comment...and for all the warmth and all well wishes...made me feel really good

Yes, I guess the first season of 2012 is def the season of baking for me

@Sharmila...well baking's happened only bec of all the people who kept telling me to go for it

How could I forget the warm water thing?! They did tell us in class....shee...will update
Minnie said…
Hey :D
one completely different question, what kind of cake is that on the picture on top of your blog? it looks delicious do you have a recipe?

have a nice day
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Mayte...it's the brownie cake that I baked on my birthday> here's the recipe http://www.finelychopped.net/2012/02/old-dog-learns-new-tricks-brownie.html
saffronstreaks said…
Hi just watched your Mumbai street food video on youtube, I must say you did a very good job, looks so professionally shot. cudnt saw chaupati much in video though.
love all the butter in pav bhaji .. :)and bheja fry too
do upload more such videos, its heaven for street food junkies like me.

Hamaree Rasoi said…
Kudos to you for trying your hand in Baking breads. And The header pictures looks awesome...Will look around for the recipe in your blog.

Hamaree Rasoi
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Saffronsteaks Thanks so much for your comments Sukanya. Glad you liked it. The credit for the production though goes to the Tremendous Entertainment who did the show for the Travel Channel...definitely amongst the best in the business

Thanks Deepa, it was quite satisfying. Here's the link to the cake recipe http://www.finelychopped.net/2012/02/old-dog-learns-new-tricks-brownie.html
Anonymous said…
hi i make the most awesome mustard crabs on order[home cooked) would love u to review it...