Skip to main content

Breaking Bread with Friends - The Indian Food Bloggers meet & a recipe for Pain d'Epi

AAAH.. Summer holidays, the kids are out of school and my home looks like it gets hit by a daily tornado, that somehow magically manifests itself 2 1/2 minutes after I clear up a spot. On the bright side, The farmstands are all open with a bounty of fresh 'just picked' sun kissed produce. And, as my 8 year old phrases it, 'Mommy's going cuckoo about vegetables'. I need to keep him in my good books, since he is grown to be a valuable culinary consultant, with a near perfect sense of taste and flavors combinations.

Food seems to have drummed into me an alternate deep meaning to the term 'Home Sweet Home'. My vegetable patch (over ridden with weeds and seeds of plants that survived the intense winter last year) is almost like a pet that I look forward to taking care of every day, and there is a real tangible reward, a handful of strawberries, a couple of cucumber for the day's salad.


Emotional attachment to the vegetable path makes it all the more harder to go on a short vacation, because I just know that a part of me is going to be thinking constantly at the daily harvests I'll be missing out on. But the bonus here is that I will be meeting up with some wonderful, talented bloggers from the Indian subcontinent. Yes, I will be attending the very first Indian Food Blogger's Meet in Bangalore, India early next month, and I have my cards from all ready!

This stellar effort is being coordinated by Aparna Balasubramanian (My Diverse Kitchen), Arundhati Rao (Culinary Escapades), Nandita Iyer of Saffron Trail and Revati Upadhya of Hungry & Excited.
There are plenty of informative sessions & workshops planned over the course of two days, and I'm excited enough to actually say that my little kitchen garden may be moved to the back of my brain for that period of time! Especially looking forward to meeting Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, whose recipe for a Date loaf, I've been craving for way too long!

Well, in the spirit of meeting old friends & making new ones, today's recipe is for a a bread, a rustic Epi. The bread was cobbled from multiple recipes, a bit from here , a bit from there with some of my carefully jotted improvisations in between. My son wolfed his way through a whole loaf by the end of the day. After all, he did suggest the rosemary & flaked sea salt addition.

I used Biga (pre ferment) from a recipe for this months 'We knead to bake' project and combined it with another adjusted quantities from a recipe from Yum sugar. Since the Biga was already made using bread flour, I decided to continue with that instead of using All purpose flour. The result was a chewy satisfying bread which wasn't exactly a sourbread, but had some of the tang.

Pain d'Epi with Rosemary & flaked sea salt. (Makes 3 loaves)

You need:

For the Biga (Pre ferment)

3/4 cups Bread flour
1/4 - 1/3  cups milk
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

For the bread

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup warm water (plus extra if you need)
Milk for brushing
Dried Rosemary
Maldon flaked sea salt (or any other similar salt of your choice)

Combine the flour, milk and the yest for the Biga in a bowl. mix well with a wooden spoon, cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture rest overnight at room temperature. If you don't plan to make the bread the next day, refrigerate. The Biga stays viable for about 2 days. Just make sure that you bring it to room temperature before using.

The next day, combine the bread flour, yeast, salt and water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Keep the machine running and add the biga in small bits, allowing each piece to incorporate with the flour before adding the next. Once the Biga has been mixed in gradually add the water. Keep the machine running on a medium low speed and allow the mixture to combine into a smooth ball of dough that does not stick to the bowl. If the dough appears 'feathered' (little bits fraying), add a bit of water to allow the dough to shape itself into a smooth ball. Transfer the dough into a bowl cover and allow to proof for about an hour. The dough would have doubled in size by this time.

Transfer the dough onto a working surface and divide into three equal parts and shape each one into a smooth ball.

 Using the palm of your hands roll one of the balls of dough into a cylindrical roll about a foot long.

Using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors make 2 deep cuts at a 45 degree angle snipping the dough to about 1/4 inch from the base. Gently turn the piece of dough to the left forming a 'leaf'. Continue making parallel cuts alternating the pieces of dough to opposite sides. The end result should look like an ear of wheat.

Place the shaped loaves on a baking tray lined with parchment. Brush with milk and sprinkle the rosemary and salt over the surface, gently patting it down to 'embed into the leaf.

 Cover with plastic wrap and allow the loaves to proof in a warm spot for about an hour.

Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Place the loaves in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the top surface turns a golden brown in color. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the loaves to a wire rack to cool. 

Serve warm with fresh butter, cheese or jam. (or just rip the leaves off and scarf them down straight up!)

My favorite way is to smear the rolls with Brie or Camembert cheese and Fig preserves.

Remember that these loaves have no oil or fat to retain their moisture. They will become stale pretty quickly  if left out in the open. Wrap them in plastic wrap and store in a freezer for long term storage, and thaw out when the craving strikes.

Bon appetit!


  1. Thanks for writing about the IFBMeet. I'm really looking forward to meeting you again. And that Epi is perfect.

  2. Lovely recipe and the writeup Niv. I am looking forward to meet you at IFBM. :-)


  3. What beautiful loaves, Panfusine! Love the recipe and pictures. I bet some grated Manchego in or atop the bread would be lovely! Best, Em-i-lis

  4. Thanks for writing this wonderful post.

  5. Love the art work on bread, it give bread a complete stylish look. Thanks for sharing the process of making bread we never make it in our home usually buy it but now will try it.

  6. Beautiful loaves, Panfusine! Love the recipe and pictures. Awesome!!


Post a Comment

I'd love to hear feedback from you, your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Popular posts from this blog

Sputtering back....

I seriously feel like this scene from the movie 3 idiots .. remember this one? The way I kept racking up drafts and eventually stopped doing that as well. Lulled into complacence by the quick high from Instagram posts. Recipe measurements hastily scribbled into a Moleskine notebook faithfully depending upon my moods. The truth is that I keep over thinking the backstories needed to make the post more interesting while in reality the truth is that ideas and inspirations just occur spontaneously (like little itches , sneezes or twitches) whenever the opportunity happens to strike. Some really cool ideas that scare the beejeezus out of me and yet prove to be utterly delightful and simple in the end. Others, that seem so trivial that I feel it wouldn't be worth crowing about -- even if there are enough other recipes in that genre that get so much publicity simply because the author happens to have the right marketing knack. So in the past 4 years that I've been

Product Review: Ninja Mega Kitchen system and a recipe for Masala Dosa

 One of the biggest reasons for attending conferences is the priceless experience of meeting fellow bloggers and get an invaluable exposure to all things  culinary. This includes vendors with new products to savor and get inspiration from. I had no complaints about whatever appliances I had for making traditional Dosa (Traditional South Indian rice & lentil crepes) batter, a sturdy tabletop stone grinder that you could add the Urad dal, turn the timer on , and 30  minutes later, come back to a container full of fluffy, batter with the consistency of whipped egg whites. The The cons of this is the cleaning up, of the various parts, the roller, the grinding bin, the multiple trays on which the rollers need to be placed while transferring the rice & lentil batter, the invariable drips of thick batter on the counter.... you get the point, It takes quite a bit of time. I was pleasantly surprised when the appliance company, Ninja asked me if I'd like to try any of their

Pickling & preserving the Buddha's Hand!

 Got your attention with that sacrilegious sounding title on this post, didn't I? Well, I'm as spiritual as the next person out there, and never in my life will I ever commit that variety of Blasphemy, so nothing to fret about. I still wonder why these curious looking citrus entities (other than the obvious visual reason) were called such. It turns out that these fruits are used as a religious offering to the Buddha. My neighboring Whole Foods Market (which is quite some distance away, in Princeton) had a stock of these weird looking citrus and I must have been the oddball customer who immediately went cuckoo on spotting them. Since I had never seen one before, I immediately went for the biggest fruit with the most tentacles (since they were sold as individual units rather than by weight) The first three 'tentacles' were peeled off for their zest, dried in the oven and went into making a citrus salt for my Food52 Secret Santa .     Making