"Food for me was a connecting link to my grandmother, to my childhood, to my past. And what I found out is that for everybody, food is a connector to their roots, to their past in different ways. It gives you security; it gives you a profile of who you are, where you come from." - Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
Brun Pav is as quintessential Mumbai food as Vada Pav is. Every Mumbaikar has to have a taste of this bakery delight. It's one of the many cultural phenomena that glue all the Mumbaites together.
Brun pav is not soft. It's rather hard & crusty from outside. You have to smear a dollop of maska/Amul butter/loNi - homemade white butter. You need to have a cup of hot tea to dunk it. If you are serving it as a breakfast item, you need to have a hot pot of curry - batatyacha paataL rassa boiling on your stove top. That's it. You are set to enjoy something really close to the hearts of the Mumbaikars.
For me, Brun bread transports me to my grandparents' house. Every early morning, my grandfather used to go for a morning walk by the nearby beach. While returning, he would stop at the Irani bakery to get his fresh brun. Brun Pav, loNi and a steaming hot cup of tea - that used to be his most favorite breakfast.
It is also known as kadak pav which translates to the exact description of Brun pav which is nothing but a crusty bread. In our neighborhood bakeries of Bandra, Brun bread is also known as gutli or gutli pav. I wonder if the word gutli is derived from the Marathi word - guThaLi meaning lump? I don't know for sure! But I like to ponder over such small pleasures in life!
I decided to play around the recipe of French Bread. Just like you would do for French bread, you need to keep an oven resistant bowl/tray full of water inside the oven which gives that signature crust to the bread.
Crusty Bread from Mumbai Ingredients
1 1/3 cup water
4 cups organic bread flour (King Arthur brand)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp bread machine's yeast
1. Add all the ingredients according to the bread machine instructions.
2. Select "Dough" Cycle
3. After the dough cycle is over, knead and make 12 circular rolls. Flatten all the rolls on top. Mark "x" on top with a knife.
4. Cover with a clean, wet kitchen towel. Set aside for 45 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 450 F
6. Place a rectangular oven safe tray with 1/2 cup water, on the lowest rack. This step generates the steam while baking, thus creating a hard, crusty bread.
7. Spray oil on the baking tray. Place the rolls. You may need to bake in two batches.
8. Bake for 30 minutes.
1. Do not try to add more water to the tray once bread is getting baked.