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Curried Wheat Bread

Curried Wheat Bread

 A few weeks ago, I went out for lunch with a friend of mine to one of my favorite restaurants. It was a relatively chilly day and I opted for soup, served with some excellent multi-grain bread. She chose a sandwich special and while neither of us remember what was on the sandwich, we both remember the golden bread it was served on: a whole grain, curry-flavored loaf.

Since that lunch, the idea of making a similar loaf has been in the back of my mind. I used a blend of whole wheat flour and bread flour for this bread, since the higher protein bread flour balances the whole wheat flour, giving the bread enough gluten to rise well (all whole wheat breads can be on the dense side). Curry powder is the main flavoring element here and I decided not to add in too many additional flavors to compete with it, although I did add some in honey as a sweetener because it tends to go well with whole wheat.

It has a slightly sweet, wheaty taste and, while the curry is noticeable, it is subtle enough not to overpower the bread or the eater’s tastebuds. If you want a more dramatic curry taste, feel free to add in another teaspoon of curry powder. I added a bit of turmeric to improve the color of the bread and help ensure that it took on a nice yellowish tint. I didn’t add enough to make a big impact on flavor, so you can omit it if it isn’t something you typically have on hand. The bread is fairly soft and, once it has cooled, should not have a hard crust; like many sandwich breads, it slices very easily.

The bread is excellent with soup (especially tomato, since I am eating some with tomato soup as I write this) and, of course, works well with sandwiches. I’d recommend something like chicken, turkey or even egg salad to go with this bread, although I’m sure that almost anything would be good on it.

curried bread, sliced

Curried Wheat Bread
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp curry powder
pinch turmeric
1/2 cup water, warm (100-110F)
3/4 cup milk, warm (skim/low fat/whole)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 – 2 1/4 cups bread flour (not all purpose)

In a large mixing bowl, combine active dry yeast, curry powder, turmeric, water, milk and honey. Stir and let stand for about 5 minutes, until yeast is slightly foamy. Stir in vegetable oil, salt, whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups bread flour. Gradually mix in remaining bread flour until dough comes together and pulls smoothly away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes (This can all be done in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, too). Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and deflate slightly. Shape into an oblong/rectangular loaf, about twice as long as it is wide. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, dust with some flour and cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
When loaf has risen, bake for 30-35 minutes, until bread is golden and an instant read thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf reads about 200F (loaf will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom).
Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.

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  • Julie O'Hara
    November 13, 2007

    This is such a nice recipe for a simple sandwich loaf. I love anything with curry flavor and I think this would taste amazing with coronation chicken salad–it’s made with curry and mango chutney.

  • sonia
    November 14, 2007

    Hi Nicole,

    This is a great recipe. But I always have one problem while baking loaves- the crust is always too hard. Could you please tell me how to get a soft crust?



  • Nicole
    November 14, 2007

    Sonia – Different types of bread have different types of crust. A higher fat bread will always have a softer crust than a bread made with no added fat. So, for example, a baguette made with yeast, water, flour and salt will have a hard crust, while challah or brioche will not. This bread, since it has some fat added to it (oil and milk), has a crust that is softer.
    If your crust is burning, try covering the loaf very loosly with a piece of aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes or so of baking.

  • Karen
    November 15, 2007

    Hi Nicole,

    Longtime reader of your blog and amateur baker (aren’t we all), what a great recipe! If I wasn’t surrounded by great bakeries and incredibly lazy, I’d bake my own bread… Curry sounds like a perfect foil for mild cheese and roasted-veggie sandwiches!

    Linked in my blog!

  • A
    November 24, 2007

    Hey Nicole,

    I’m a bread baking novice, but a huge fan of curry so I decided to bake this bread. The outside of the loaf got nowhere as near brown as yours did, but the inside seemed as though if I were to cook it any longer it would be over done. Unfortunately I don’t have a thermometer, nor the funds to buy one right now, so maybe that was the problem. I did use all the ingredients listed, including the bread flour. Do you think it was an issue of just under baking?

  • Sophia
    January 14, 2008

    I made this two days ago and it turned out great, but a little too spicy. Next time I’ll put in less curry.

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    November 12, 2007

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