About 10 days ago I had the community meetup for Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community which is a 23,000 member healthy baking community that I started in November 2014.
As with most events, I almost always take my little ones along. My son has been at many events, presentations, client meetings with me. And now so is my daughter.
It’s not as effortless as it seems to hold a baby in one arm and speak about a variety of things particularly in front of many people. A baby is usually unpredictable and might decide to play with you in the middle of your talk. She might get unnerved with the crowd in front and cry. She might also decide to join the discussion by interspersing it with baby chatter. And you have to learn to smile through it. Even as your arm aches and the shoulder becomes frozen. Because you truly want to be in two places at the same time – with your baby and in the place you are speaking at. And you can make it work with such steps 🙂 but it’s never effortless. Never an easy way to do this. But always fun!
And because women play such versatile roles and many of them at that, let me share a healthy and super versatile snack.
Why are granola bars such a popular healthy bake? Everyone usually has many versions of it.
It works with a range of ingredients.
It works for kids and adults alike.
It can be made vegan or gluten-free too.
It packs a lot of goodness in one tiny bite – that alone is enough reason to bake and store them.
So here is one of my versions –
1 cup of roasted oats,
1/4 cup of buckwheat flour,
Some chia seeds,melon seeds, sunflower seeds,almonds, cranberries – as per your preference.
1/2 cup raw unrefined sugar and 1 tbsp liquid jaggery.
Melted butter to just bring it together a bit.
Pack it tightly into a square baking tin. Bake at 160 degrees C for 30 minutes and cut it into squares. Bake an additional 5-7 minutes. Cool off , remove the squares and eat or store in air tight container.
Wholewheat Oats Buttermilk Bread with chilly flakes, and with homemade gooseberry jam
Wholewheat Oats Buttermilk Bread topped with Chilly flakes , with homemade Gooseberry Jam
I am not really a night person ( or not any longer!) in most cases – The only thing that I love doing before sleeping off is reading. And that was the case for a long time. Even now, given the fact that I have to get up very early I try to plan a lot of my work in terms of baking or writing in the those wee hours.
However, there are rare occasions particularly on the weekend, when even after a long day in the kitchen, I love to unwind with some baking. And usually it happens to be experimental in nature – not because I want to brood over a disaster, incase that it is the result. But more so because, I want to know and therefore plan for what I want to do the next day to rectify or re-try an experiment if the one done the night before fails !
Thankfully for me though, this recipe of Wholewheat-Oats Buttermilk Bread (adapted from a blog, which had in turned been inspired by a book on Jewish baking) has turned out superbly in its second trial. The first one was not too bad, but the second one has turned out beautifully and I can’t wait to bake it again.
The texture and flavour is delicious and while you can smear it with butter, my personal preference to have it with Gooseberry/Amla Jam – the combined flavours of the bread, chilly flakes and Amla are brilliant.
Whole Wheat –Oats Buttermilk Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons honey
2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
Oil for greasing the tin
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup warm water
Sprinkling of red chilly flakes
Mix the whole wheat flour and oats with salt.
Mix the honey with warm water. Dissolve yeast and keep it aside for 10 minutes.
Add the honey-water and the yeast to buttermilk. If you do not have it at home, you can use regular milk in which 1/2 tbsp of white vinegar is added.
Add the liquid mix to the flour mix and mix well. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Start kneading after 15 minutes, and knead well for 5-6 minutes. Grease a bowl and let the dough rest in it, until it doubles(it took about 1 hour mine to double).
Grease your loaf tin and place the dough in the form of of an oval shaped loaf into the tin. Leave it to rest and rise for another hour.
Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees C. Brush the top of the loaf lightly and sprinkle chilly flakes and then bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Cool and slice.
*** Recipe for Gooseberry Jam/Amla
1/2 kg of Amla / Gooseberry washed and dried and boiled well so that the exterior is soft. Drain out the water ( you can use that for anything else ) . De seed the boiled amla, run it through the grinder.
Put it into a non stick kadai / pan. Keep it on low heat and stir. Add 3/4 cups cane sugar, 2-3 tbsp honey, 2 tsp ginger and 1 tsp or more if you prefer of cinnamon powder.
Keep stirring till it acquires the sticky jam like consistency. Cool off and store in air tight glass container.
Many of you have seen the kind of note 2017 has started on , for Ovenderful. Receiving such a lot of recognition and appreciation is incredible, but also overwhelming. It also leads to a whole lot of soul – searching , at least for me it did. People will probably say that one should savour the moment – which I did. But when you realize the power of what you created it can be humbling.
The Ovenderful you see today seems to be lit up in all the success – But with all the adulation that has come, each time I have looked inwards to remind myself that this is not a story of Glory , it is a story of Grit.
I don’t say this for any reason except to simply share this experience with more people – many of who are struggling with a small / home based venture. So that they remember to stand tall each time the venture receives a setback and they understand that the sun rises and sets. Today it shines on one and tomorrow on the other – so don’t lose heart.
I baked only to raise funds or for social impact for the initial years – not because I wanted to have a story to tell. But because ,simply put, I believed in them and they in me.
I sold baked goods at prices that were laughable, so much so that those who ordered them told me to rework my prices – upwards. Not because I couldn’t price better but because the idea of completely monetizing what I had realized was a passion, seemed to reduce its value, to me.
So Ovenderful is where it is, only and only because of two things – the unchanging philosophy that it will always stand for social impact alongside being a venture and that it will dare to go where few will ( healthy baking ) even if the orders are few and far between.
And since Ovenderful has been like a baby to me, which I have spent love and time on, to nurture, it is only fitting that I share a recipe that is close to my heart – that of Lactation biscuits, which many new moms have found useful when they are feeding their babies.
Grease a baking tray and keep it ready. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
Dry roast the oats and then grind them coarsely. Add the chopped almonds, flax seeds, fennel seeds to it and mix well.
Add the organic jaggery – either as a powder or in grated form to the above dry mix. Mix it thoroughly to ensure that the jaggery has been spread uniformly. Then slowly add the ghee or butter ( at room temperature and soft). As the dough comes together, do not knead it. Just bring it together and then cling wrap the dough.
Refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Take them out and shape them into whatever shape you prefer and place them on the baking tray. Then bake them at 180 degrees , for 15- 20 minutes.
Allow them to cool off well and then remove them from the tray. Store them in air tight containers.