Phitti

Hunza bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    8

Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Studded with raw nuts, raisins, goji berries and dried apricot, this energy-building bread is rich in proteins and antioxidants, and has sustained the local inhabitants of the remote and spectacularly mountainous Hunza Valley region in northern Pakistan for nearly 2000 years.

I remember eating this wholesome bread while trekking through the Himalayas, after trudging into another hill town, feeling the lack of oxygen, and watching school kids running up the stairs past us as if they were on flat ground.

The Hunza people live highly secluded lives, barely mingling with neighbouring communities. Perhaps this bread is one of the keys to their famed longevity!

Preparation 5 minutes + 2 hours proving
Cooking 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons (7 g) active dried yeast
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz/ cups) lukewarm water
  • 150 g ( oz/1 cup) strong (‘bread-making’) flour
  • 125 g ( oz/1 cup) millet flour, or 150 g ( oz/1 cup) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 8 dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon goji berries
  • 1 teaspoon raisins
  • 1 teaspoon chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, or rice bran oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Method

Add the yeast to the lukewarm water and whisk briefly, then set aside for 5–10 minutes, or until bubbles appear on the surface.

Combine the remaining ingredients in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or mix by hand with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

Stir 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) of the yeasty water mixture into the flour mixture until combined. Now work in enough of the remaining yeasty water to give you a dough that isn’t too wet or too dry — it should come together and not be sticky.

Set aside in a warm place to allow the yeast to work, for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Grease a baking tin measuring 30 x 15 cm (12 x 6 inches), with 3 cm (1¼ inch) deep sides, and line with baking paper. Add the dough to the baking tin and leave to rise for a further 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). When the oven has reached the right temperature, turn the setting down to 50°C (120°F) and bake the loaf for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Traditionally this bread is enjoyed fresh, torn up and either eaten with tea, or actually put into the tea, to make a kind of porridge.