Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Goan Pao and its closest cousins.

poeeOf late the Goan pao has caught my attention and this is probably the fourth article of the series. The Goan has been eating the pao for centuries and it would be worth noting the different varieties of bread made in Goan bakeries for a long time.

In Portuguese times we had the suriche pao which were prepared with toddy as one of the main ingredients. This delicacy is no longer made in Goa but many Goans, especially the senior citizens will nevertheless have nostalgic feelings for the suriche pao. The various types of goan bread are the Pao, the poee, pocso or pocshee (also known as undo) katryancho pao, revdo kancon and godd poee.

Making bread is an art which is perfected by experience and skill. It is therefore important to follow proper measurements of ingredients and maintenance of the right temperatures while baking the pao. The preparation of various types of Goan bread is broadly described below.

To make the pocso, a ball of dough is taken and a cut is made across the centre so that the baking is proper. It requires a temperature of 250 degrees and above for baking. It should form a crispy upper crust on the bread.

For poee, whole wheat flour without adding sugar is used. The other ingredients for the poee is the same as the pao. However the poee is rolled like a puri and often dusted in kundo ( wheat husk).

Revdo and Katryan pao
katryan paoFor revdo, flour is kneaded into flour balls and are then given a shape by cutting with a knife and then with the palm and the little finger it is pulled without applying pressure.

The kancon is in the shape of a bangle. The dough kneaded for kancon has very little water content and is also baked above 250 degrees.Some people in Goa still like the hard kancon which is almost like a bangle shaped toast.

The ingredients used for pao, pocso, katryan pao, revdo and kancon are the same.

Suriche pao
Suriche pao are made with fresh toddy from the Goan palm tree and sugar with whole wheat flour.

Goan pao
To make the Goan pao super fine superior quality maida with more than 10% gluten is chosen ( if whole wheat flour is used then the product is called brown bread). This is because gluten less than 10% will make the bread hard on the inside which is undesirable. For ½ kg of maida 1 measure of lukewarm milk is used. After thoroughly mixing till dissolving, 1 heaped teaspoon of fresh yeast and 4 teaspoons of sugar in lukewarm milk with a sprinkle of maida is added.

Sugar provides the reddish colour to the pao during the process of baking. This is kept for around 10 minutes to ferment and froth.

Fresh or wet yeast is a must for the pao as it contains active yeast cells and therefore yeast kept un-refrigerated loses its power to ferment and cannot be used, Adding this ferment to ½ kg of maida and a little salt for flavor will also help the dough to puff up during baking.

After this gently knead the flour with only the fingertips, add clean water and 1 tbsp of oil. The dough should not be pressed now as it will not ferment. The dough should be kept loose, firm and left closed to ferment for around an hour or two.

After 1-2 hours the risen dough has porosity. Now it needs to be kneaded well with 1 tbsp of oil till it acquires an elastic texture.

Dough balls are then placed on a well greased baking tray leaving gaps between each other and left for around 20 minutes.

After the time is over preheat the oven at 225 degrees and place the tray with dough balls inside without shaking it. In Goa, bakers bake bread in traditional ovens called as” fhorn” which are made of stone.

When the colour of bread becomes golden brown it is removed from the oven and brushed on top with a mixture of ghee and oil.
pao inside
A well made pao will have thin cell walls on the inside just like a honeycomb and a golden brown crust on the outside.
The Goan pao will always remain as the favourite for the Goan breakfast, luncheon and dining tables.

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