Monday, April 6, 2009

Khara Bread

In Bangalore there's this bakery called VB Bakery that sells loaves and loaves of this bread. While on vacation in Bangalore, this would be a daily tea time snack - a slice of hot, buttered khara (khara means spicy) bread.

I still bring back a loaf every time I visit Bangalore. I tried to recreate it at home, and it was amazing. The same spicy taste with the incredibly soft crumb.


Khara Bread
(Bread with Chillies, Onions and Cilantro)
Makes 2 Loaves

For the Flavoring:
1 cup Onions, chopped fine
2-3 tbsp Green Chillies, chopped fine
1 cup Cilantro leaves, chopped fine

Saute the onions and green chillies (separately) in a teaspoon of oil. Set aside.

For the Bread
(I used a variation of Peter Reinhart's White Bread from the Bread Baker's Apprentice)

4 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Milk (I used 2% milk)
3 tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
1 large Egg, beaten
3 1/4 tbsp Butter, melted
1 1/2 cups Water (you might need more as you knead, so keep some on hand)

Mix together the flour, salt, milk, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Add in the egg and butter and mix to combine. Pour in a little bit of water at a time until the dough begins to come together. There shouldn't be any obvious dry spots, and all the flour should be combined. If the dough is dry, add a few drops of water. If its too sticky, add a tiny dusting of flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and start kneading the bread. Knead for about 8 minutes. The dough will be smooth and soft. Now press the bread out into a slightly rectangular shape. Add the cilantro, onions and chillies in the middle and bring the sides of the dough over the filling to enclose it (I've just found that adding flavoring to dough is easier this way, but you can use any method you want).

Start kneading again for about 2 minutes. As you knead the fillings will get evenly distributed through the dough.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a muslin cloth and leave in a warm area of the house. Allow the dough to double, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the dough and divide in two. Shape each part into a loaf - I rolled them gently into a log, tucking in the corners slightly. Place them in a greased loaf pans, cover with a muslin cloth and allow to double in size, approximately 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. They should also be brown on the sides, when removed from the pan and make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.


Remove from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack for an hour (I waited maybe 20 minutes!).

As you can see the crumb was really really soft and lovely.


The small hole in the middle is from an air pocket formed while rising (didn't affect the bread but kinda let some butter drip through when toasted and buttered!).


This is off to Susan @ Wild Yeast for Yeast Spotting.

60 comments:

Nags said...

I've eaten a good share of Khara bun in my college days :)

Madhu said...

Looking so good, I have eaten so many goodies from VB bakery.Khara bread is very tempting.. I'l try your recipe.

Prathibha said...

Looks great..even i love khara bread from VB bakery...

vegeyum said...

Wow. This looks amazing. I bet it tastes good hot.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow superb... Looks soft and yum....

Arundathi said...


Nags - so have I, but prefer the bread to the buns!

Madhu - Do let me know how it turns out.

Prathibha - :) Its very popular, I see

Vegeyum - It tastes great toasted! Thanks

Kitchen Flavours - Thanks - yes, it was very soft.

magicalsummer said...

im in bangalore next week - want me to bring you some?

Sunshinemom said...

I tried this too sometime back:). The taste was good but not exactly like Iyengar Bakery's! Will try your version - I did not add onions/eggs. Looks fantabulous!

Just in case you are interested I just saw a basic chocolate cake at 101 cookbooks (Heidi Swanson) here:
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/basic-chocolate-cake-recipe.html

Lien said...

What a wonderful loaf! Isn't it just fantastic you were able to recreate the taste that you love!

Asha said...

Wonderful looking bread, love Iyengar Khara buns too.

Suparna said...

Hi
Yumm...looking bread soft and just like the bakery one! I love the Iyengar bakery khara bread...esp with tea the hot tea and the spicy bread hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm what a combo!
TC

SarahKate said...

I have never heard of this bread before, but it sounds so good. It has all of my favourite flavours!

Lavi said...

Arundathi..Khara Bread Looks Perfect, would like to taste it!

Priya said...

Lovely n gorgeous bread, i have tasted it long back...will surely try soon!!

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FoodyGuru (Srimathi) said...

the bread looks good. Will try it some time.

Subhie Arun said...

woww superb...looks yummy..thx 4 sharing...u hv wonderful site wwth wonderful recipes

Divya Vikram said...

Looks airy n perfect!

Indhu said...

looks delicious... a must-try recipe :)

Anonymous said...

Looks great, I will try this recipe out, another favourite of ours from the bakeries in b'lore is the sabsige soppu bread ( dill bread )

Bharati

♥Rosie♥ said...

Oh this sounds and looks such a great bread.

Rosie x

Vani said...

Oh, yeah khara bread. The bakery near my house made yum khara buns too. the loaf looks great!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

mmm, Khara bread should make work easy in the morning just toast and toss :) looks great should definitely try...

A_and_N said...

I could do anything for you, for doing this for me! I love khara bread and I'm trying this this weekend, come what may!!!

And - and I was going to say what Harini - Sunshine mom said. Heidi has a new recipe!

bee said...

rename it. call it 'nirvana bread' or something. gotta market this stuff. sounds so good.

Bharti said...

That looks amazing Arundathi. It's like a masala bread..think I could substitute flax for the egg or should I just go with another bread recipe and incorporate the onion flavors in it?

Irene said...

I love cilantro in pretty much anything and this bread has a gorgeous crumb and crust!

Superchef said...

mmm..khara bread..ive had it just once and loved it!!

DEESHA said...

This looks so so so perfect. looks just like the one from VB Bakery ..

homecooked said...

This looks so good! Bookmarked to try.

Arundathi said...


Magicalsummer - Thanks but now I have my own! :)

Sunshinemom - I think you absolutely have to have the onions - the original Iyengar Bakery one has it. It adds a lot of flavor. Thanks - I saw the choc cake recipe too! :)

Lien - I think that was the best part. So nice to be able to recreate!

Asha - Yup, the khara buns are very nice

Suparna - Yes tastes so great with tea!

SarahKate - :) Do try it

Lavi - I'd love to make some for you

Priya - Let me know if you liked it

Vincent - thanks for the comment.

Srimathi - Thanks

Subhie Arun - Thank you so much.

Divya Vikram - Thanks

Indhu - Thank you

Bharati - I was thinking of that too - just don't know how to find dill here. Must find the tamil name. Thanks.

Rosie - It is!

Vani - Thanks. I'm sure the dough can be adapted to make buns.

Ramya Vijaykumar - Yes, its a great breakfast but perfect for tea time.

A & N - :)) Am so glad I could do this for you! Do try it. I saw Heidi's new recipe - thanks!

bee - lol - is it too late to keep the recipe a secret? :) It's great!

Bharti - I would substitute buttermilk or milk for the egg. That should maintain the soft texture. You could of course try your favorite white bread recipe and just incorporate the flavors, but this bread is so so amazing!

Irene - I love Cilantro too!

Superchef - You've gotta have it more often! :)

Deesha - Thanks - thats a great compliment.

homecooked - I hope you enjoy it.

~Vandya~ said...

Hi Arundhati, this is my first time here. I loved your recipes and the way you write. Will be here regularly.

Lava said...

Arundathi.... thanks a lot.. you made my day !!!!!
Was looking for this recepie for a loooong time. Will try it out soon.
We miss the Bakery stuff here, especially the spicy ones....
Cheers,
Vani

Arundathi said...


Vandya - Thanks!

Lava - :) You are very welcome!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

You had me at "cilantro!" Yum.

churningthewordmill.wordpress.com said...

ur breads always look soooo delicious!!

nirupamasundar said...

Arundati,
I dunno abc of baking, but the fond memories of khara bread my aunt usually brings from VB bakery when we are there for the vacationbrings me the seet memories of bangalore. Thanks a lot

Arundathi said...


Susan - If you like cilantro and savory breads, you'll love this!

Churning the word mill - Thank you!

Nirupama Sundar - You're very welcome.

Kevin said...

That savoury chili bread sounds really good!

Aparna said...

I've never had this but the ingredients that went into it makes me think this would be delicious. Looks good too.

Arundathi said...


Kevin - Thanks.

Aparna - Yes, it is delicious. Try it!

A_and_N said...

Tried. Loved. Munching on another slice as I type!

Arundathi said...


A & N - omg! that's so great that you tried it and i'm so glad you liked it!

Raaga said...

I know exactly what you mean... I love this bread too... used to eat it in Pondicherry where it was also available.

Arundathi said...

Raaga - Oh didn't know it was available in Pondy - that's cool.

Santhosh said...

Thanks, I'll make my mom to try it.
= )

Arundathi said...

Santhosh - I hope she enjoys it! :)

Divya Kudua said...

Hey I thought I had commented on this post...maybe I was too mesmerized seeing the loaf that I thought I had commeneted,but I hadn't!!

I made sure I bought Khara bread,masala buns and Potato buns from Iyengars bakery on our last trip to Bangalore.Just amazing.

The loaf looks perfectly baked and the slices look amazing..I'm scared even to try..:)

Arundathi said...


Divya Kudua - yup i love it too! do try it!

Pooja said...

hey first time here..love ur blog..perfect looking bread .. you are a pro in baking !

Arundathi said...


Pooja - Thanks so much for your kind words!

Soumya said...

Hey Arundhati,
I tried the khara bread recipe it tasted good but my crumb was not soft as yours.Any idea why that happened?

Arundathi said...


Soumya - Hmm. There could be several reasons. Maybe you over kneaded the bread? Or the yeast might've made the rise too fast which also makes the crumb tough. Try adding some buttermilk to soften up the dough next time. Hope that helps. Thanks.

m2bg said...

Hey, how about 'toast' at Iyengar or Variar bakery. I'm not even sure that's what its called, its basically a slice of pan toasted bread with some grated carrot masala on top. Any idea how this is made?

Arundathi said...


m2bg - i've never had that actually. sounds interesting.

Anonymous said...

Tried out your recipe. It turned out perfect! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Archana said...

Hi Arundhati,
You had me at "VB":-) I grew up about 1km from VB bakery in Bangalore. I have been searching for a good khara bread recipe for ages. I just made your recipe and am enjoying it one delicious slice at a time. Thank you!

Arundathi said...

@ Archana - Thank you! SO glad you tried it. Must've been wonderful growing up next to VBB :)

smitha said...

Thanks very much.. I tried the khara bread.. wonderfull recipe.. came out very soft and tasty.. my family loved it and my son gave me 9/10.
Thank you again

Smitha

Bookworm said...

Hi.... This is my 1st visit to your blog & this bread looks awesome. I wish to replace the egg with milk - pls let me know how much milk should i add?