A loaf like no other
By Shaan Bajaj
Mother of three, Jaganpreet Kaur Bajaj, began her bakery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Love U Knead (Instagram: @love_u_knead) offers a variety of baked goods, both savoury and sweet, for any kind of occasion. Having started with a delivery-only bakery, Jaganpreet is now opening a physical bakery in Narathiwas Soi 24 at Vrindavan. She was motivated to offer other strict vegetarians and vegans, who do not consume eggs, delicious baked options. She sat with Masala to answer a few questions about her bakery, while sharing two very special recipes.
What inspired you to begin your culinary journey?
If you had told me in my 20s or 30s that I would be working within the food industry, I would have replied with, “You’re mad!” I was very lazy when it came to cooking despite coming from a long line of very talented home cooks and bakers.
On both sides of my family, the women are well-known for their recipes within the community. Somehow, the love for cooking had not passed down to me. My late mother-in-law, Amrit Kaur, developed her own eggless bread recipe when she was a teenager. She often baked loaves of bread and other snacks for langar.
She used to encourage me to help her, but I was the daughter-in-law who would make excuses to get out of it. Then I had to learn once she broke her arm and asked me to make bread for her. I eventually got the hang of it and started enjoying it. I took a few courses after that, and I now find it very meditative. The rest is history. Who would have thought?
Why eggless breads and foods?
Although I have always loved bread, as a strict vegetarian, there have been very few options. The worst was when I would go on holiday and the hotel had laid out an amazing spread of breads and pastries as part of their breakfast buffet – that I could never touch. When I would ask for an eggless option, I would get a hard, measly bun. With Love U Knead, I wanted my kids and anyone else who has any dietary restrictions – e.g. if they are vegetarian, vegan, keto or gluten-free – to have options.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting their own home business?
I started at 40. I have three children, a husband, and I am active in community seva. If I could do it, anyone can. Don’t jump straight in though, take your time to research and study any courses that might be necessary. Especially learn accounting, it is a must. Like a kid who stumbles when learning to walk, keep getting up, brush yourself off, and try again. It is a journey, so prepare as much as you can and improvise for whatever you could not. As a family woman, it is important to have the love and support of your family, and I would like to say that my biggest supporter throughout this journey has been my husband, Raghwant Singh Bajaj. He has helped me every step of the way.
GLUTEN-FREE BANANA BREAD
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 45-60 MINUTES
SERVING: 10 PEOPLE
- 150g overripe bananas, mashed
- 10g lemon juice
- 45g coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 90g brown sugar
- 40g almond milk
- 115g gluten-free flour
- ½ tsp psyllium husk
- 30g ground almonds
- ½ tbsp baking powder
- A pinch of Himalayan salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 45g walnuts/pecans (optional)
- 10g chocolate chips (optional)
- ½ overripe banana, halved lengthways
- Preheat the oven to 160-180°C on fan
- Grease a bread loaf tin with oil or butter
- Mash bananas in a bowl
- Add the lemon juice, oil, vanilla essence, brown sugar, almond milk, gluten-free flour, psyllium husk, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, walnuts, and chocolate chips; and mix well
- Place in the greased bread loaf tin and spread evenly
- Place halved banana on top
- Bake for 60-70 mins, or until you insert a skewer and it comes out clean
- Cool completely before serving
VEGETARIAN SPINACH BÉCHAMEL CROFFLE SANDWICH
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES
SERVING: 4 PEOPLE
- Frozen croissants, available to purchase at Love U Knead
- Spinach béchamel sauce
- Sun-dried tomatoes
FOR THE SUNDRIED TOMATOES
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
FOR THE SPINACH BÉCHAMEL SAUCE
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ cup cooking cream
- 1½ cups of spinach, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 1 cup vegetarian mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp plain flour
- Cut the tomatoes in half and keep in the sun for two days
- The next day, mix the sundried tomatoes, half of the olive oil, salt, and Italian seasoning in a bowl
- Spread evenly on a baking tray and place in a cold oven. Switch the oven on at 50°C (or at the lowest setting)
- Bake for two hours or until it has dried, and the texture is to your liking
- Place in a jar and add the remaining amount of olive oil. Store in refrigerator for up to a month
FOR THE SPINACH BÉCHAMEL SAUCE:
- On a low flame, melt the butter in a pan and add flour. Mix until you get a nice, fragrant smell
- Add in the cream. Bring to a boil; then add in the chopped spinach, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, mozzarella cheese, and mix until thick
TO ASSEMBLE THE SANDWICH:
- Place your croissant in a waffle maker
- Once cooked, slice the croissant in half without breaking it into two
- Spread the spinach béchamel sauce and sundried tomatoes inside. Serve hot