05 November, 2016

Herbed Wholewheat Bread, with Doddapatre (Indian Borage).

The best bread, ever.

Richly coloured and flavoured with herb, wholewheat flour, red rice flour and flax meal.

Doddapatre (Plectranthus amboinicus), or Indian Borage, is a common herb in the Indian kitchen garden.

Also known as Ajwain Patta ('carom-leaf') because it’s succulent leaves have the distinct aroma of carom seeds, or ajwain, though this is not the ajwain plant.

It is often used as a herbal home remedy for coughs and cold, or used as a culinary herb (as in this recipe), in dishes like thambli and the like. It is conveniently easy to grow from cuttings and low maintenance. At least it is in most parts of India.
So what better choice to use when  it’s time to flavour a home-made, wholewheat bread with some healthy greens. Plus, it’s always such a great feeling to use anything harvested from the garden, however small, isn’t it?!
The flavour is quite distinct, though, in this bread, subtle after baking. This is a herbed version of the bread that I've posted earlier.

Mixing the chopped leaves in the dough will make it a bit of a challenge since they make the dough stickier. But don’t let that deter you. It’s worth the extra trouble. Wholesome and delicious, too.

Though it is looks and tastes like a regular wholewheat bread, this one also has some whole red rice flour and ground flax seeds in it. Both the texture and flavour of this bread are excellent.

Ingredients (For two large, or three small loaves):

Whole wheat flour – 4 cups, freshly milled, organic (if possible)
Organic rice flour – 2 cups (preferably red rice flour)
Flax seed – 1 cup, coarse powder, freshly ground/milled
Doddapatre leaves– 2 cups, chopped (or any greens of your choice, like spinach)
Jaggery – 4 Tablespoons, grated/powdered
Active dried Yeast – 1 Tablespoon
Seeds for topping,  – 2 Tablespoons (or as required). Optional
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Oil – 4 Tablespoons


In a bowl, add a quarter cup lukewarm water to the yeast and leave to proof (say around fifteen minutes) till frothy.

Dissolve the jaggery in another quarter cup of warm water, and strain.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then  add the frothed yeast, the dissolved jaggery, the oil, (all the remaining ingredients except the doddapatre), and with enough water to make a soft dough, knead really, really well together till it becomes elastic and soft.

Leave, covered with a damp cloth or lid, to rise in a warm place till doubled in bulk (in a temperate climate around 2 hours approximately).

When doubled, gently deflate the dough (knock-back).

Add the chopped doddapatre (or any other herb/greens), and knead it again lightly, and place into a well-greased loaf pan.

Lightly brush the top with oil or water.  Top the loaf with seeds, if using. I used watermelon seeds (charmagaz) as topping.

Cover, and allow to rise again, till doubled in bulk. This second rise will be faster than the first.

Note: I used a pan that was a bit too large, the only one free at the time, so the loaf, though well risen, was rectangular rather than square! So it appears brick-like, but it is not a brick by any means.
See the crumb up close, to get an idea!

The rich colours of the red rice flour and flax meal add  further depth to the wholewheat flour, flecked generously with the herb.

Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees Centigrade for 45 minutes to one hour, or till done.

Allow the loaf to rest in the pan for a few minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool.

To test for done-ness, tap the loaf firmly - it should produce a hollow brick sound.
The crust should be firm.

Turn out and cool on a wire rack completely before slicing. Keeps for two days.

Even the plain bread tastes delicious. Makes for great toast.

But we mostly made open-faced sandwiches topped up with some fresh, green, mint chutney and tomatoes growing in our balcony along with cucumber, salt and freshly milled pepper.

The best topping - those tomatoes made it from that pot to plate! :D



  1. I love finding out about completely new ingredients! My boyfriend's family is Indian and he's just informed me that we've had ajwain seeds in a few snacks his mum made, but he's not familiar with the leaves. He also says he just switches for cumin usually when he's cooking. Is that a similar flavour?

    1. Hooray - so you have a whole lot of interesting spices to discover! I love discovering new ingredients, too.

      The leaves in this bread just have the flavour of Ajwain but are not related to the actual Ajwain (Carom seeds/Bishop's weed).

      Ajwain and Cumin taste quite different, but they could be substituted in quite a few cases - especially in snacks. I have a picture of them in Pictorial Glossary under Visual Index.

      And here are two snacks that have them in the ingredients where they could be used interchangably -http://thatsthesecretformula.blogspot.in/2015/12/baked-ajwain-namakparas-method-1.html
      and http://thatsthesecretformula.blogspot.in/2015/12/jeera-atta-biscuits-cumin-wholewheat.html
      Hope that helps.. :)



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