Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mumbai Special Pao

After my success with Classic White bread I picked up some courage to make Mumbai Pao. Let me tell you my first attempt was better as the only missing thing was salt! The second attempt was with just 1 cup of flour and the pao turned out a little hard as I baked it for the same period as for the large quantity. However since I was the one who made it no complaints ;). The third time I try hope it will turn out perfect.

I am sharing this recipe on demand from my readers but remember I'm still tweaking it. It is ofcourse adapted from the Classic White bread


1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115F)
1 tbsp active dry yeast (.25 oz)
1 tbsp sugar
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp butter softened

These are the perfected proportion as on 17th Feb 07

Mix 1 cup water and sugar then sprinkle yeast over it. Leave it to stand for 10 mins till the mix is frothy.

Measure out the flour in a big bowl. Don't forget the salt. Mix in the frothy yeast mixture in the flour with a wooden spoon. Then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and mix till it form a ball and leaves the sides of the bowl. Now add the soft butter and oil and knead till you get smooth dough.

Sprinkle some dough on a counter and then knead the dough on it for 2 mins. Make a smooth ball and store it in a greased bowl untill doubled or min 1.5 hr. Keep it covered with a wet kitchen towel. The towel should be dipped in water and wringed a bit to removed excess water.

Grease a baking tray of 8X10 inches and keep ready. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on the counter and divide the dough into 9 equal parts. Shape them into balls and line them up in the tray like shown in the picture. Leave the tray covered with wet cloth again to double up or for atleast an hour. Once risen brush the pao with molten butter or whole milk to get the glaze.

Now preheat oven at 190 deg cel for 10 min. Then push in the tray laden with pao into the oven and bake for 25 mins or till you see a slight glaze on the pao as in the picture. Once you get the glaze it indicates the pao is well cooked from inside.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on a grill or in a bread basket. Don't leave it in the tray else the pao will sweat.

This pao is so ubiquitous in Mumbai that it has several combos like:

  1. Vada pao
  2. Maska Pao with tea
  3. Pao bhaaji
  4. Misal pao
  5. Masala pao
  6. Samosa pao
  7. Fiery Sunday mutton/ chicken curry (especially in Colaba koliwada)
  8. Chutney Pao like chutney sandwich
  9. Homemade burger when burger buns were still not available in India.
  10. Stuffed and fried Masala pao.
  11. Farsan pao to have with tea (quite far fetched)

Well I think thats enough!

Mumbai and Pao are synonymous. Some gyan on Pao. It is the humble bread made in Mumbai its name originates from the Portugese word for bread Pao. It has a very distinct taste and it does not taste the same anywhere outside Mumbai. In Mumbai it is called just Pao but outside Mumbai it is called Mumbai Pao so I added the special to the title of the post. The Christian People from Goa, the neighbors to the state of Maharashtra eat a lot of Pao hence their nick name paowale. They were only consumers I guess but the real poawala were the Iranis in Mumbai. In old Mumbai bakeries were mostly owned by Iranis and Parsees. In most Mumbai households it was a Dad's job in the morning to get a bottle of milk and maska pao for the family as well as keep a stock of 1 ladi at home to feed anyone hungry in a jiffy. Now you will say what is ladi? It is a set of six pao stuck together on baking like you see in the picture above but here my ladi is of 9 paos. Pao is almost indespensible to Mumbaikars. As a kid I always prefered pao to chapati and that I went to a convent school labeled me as a paowali at home. To add to it my neighbourhood Irani baker in 1st koli lane, Colaba showered so much love on me that if any home deliveries were needed they just had to be told to deliver to my home. I am still teased about it. I wonder why it took me soooo long to try making pao at home.
See the cross section of the pao it is so fluffy!
Updated: Also read
Today 8th Sep 2013,

I made the pao with 1 cup atta + 3 cups Maida. It had even crumb and was flavourful. Will try 50-50 next time.


  1. Anjali, you're making me long for pao! Must try this! You tweaked Anita's recipe, you say?

  2. Manisha yes thats right. I had mentioned it on my other post 'I'm simply exhausted' too.

  3. HI Anjali,

    So you are becoming a bakery master now-a-days.
    I liked your long but clear explanation of the procedure.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I looooove you Anjali :-) Thanks so much for this...I owe you one.
    If you do tweak in future can you share with us the changes you made? Thanks again

  5. They really look good.I just get Square dinner rolls!:D
    All that Chaat making me drool.I love to have some right now!Good job Anjali!

  6. Ushi there is no shortcut for good things in life ;)! Yeah lately I am hooked to baking.

    Ashwini was a deal wasn't it? Yes I will update here and repost on the date.

    Asha thank you for the pat.

  7. This looks like the bakery pau. Amazing!!!! I need to get a packet of yeast and try this on the weekend. Thanks for posting.

  8. Hi Anjali,pao looks so good..hmmmcraving for for some pav bhaji,thanks dear you have given me the idea for tonight's dinner!

  9. Hey Im hooked to yeast too nowadays and its not beer! What a love bunch of Pao - i can almost smell it there..
    Great job Anjali!

  10. Those pao look totally professional! I may never buy pao again! Way to go...and that chef friend of yours must be even more impressed now!! He may suggest switching jobs, you think?!!

  11. That pao looks good, have been meaning to tell for long, but somehow the comments don't work for me some time

  12. Hey all you gals thanks for the comments. I need feedback so go ahead and try it out.

    Vini keep watching there is going to be one remake shhh..shhh..

    Anita you know what I am waiting for the chef to visit soon but he craves for roti/ varan bhat so can't get him to eat pao when he come over.

    Sandeepa your comment is published now. I guess issue is resolved.

  13. Hey Anjali -

    This looks so good..I am definitely gonna try this out!

  14. Have you heard about Pavachi Bhaji? Not Pao Bhaji. MAde from the stale pao.

  15. Yes I had made it last week and have taken pictures of it too I will post it some time soon.

  16. Great job girl. Now do you have the recipe for brun pao? Keep up the good work.

  17. Hi,
    Great recipe Anjali, Tried it yest...didnt quite turn out the way your pics look...but sill a start, I didnt get the brown top :(, messed up the temp settings maybe, I have a gas oven and it doesnt show the temp...

    Went through some of your other recipes too...they all look fantastic..will try them all...

  18. Anjali, can you kindly let me know what qty of water has been used as ingr list shows 1 1/2 and the directions mention add 2 cups of water...sorry to bother you but your pics n my craving for mumbai pav is tempting me todo so! Thanks in advance again!

  19. Purnima pl. use 1 1/2 cup water. I had updated the measure in the ingredients list but missed in the process para. Thanks for pointing out. Do let me know how it turns out.

  20. Okay --Thanks!! Shall use 1 1/2.

  21. Hello Anjali. Came over from Purnima's. I baked for the first time yesterday, and blogged about it too.. Thanks for this post!

  22. but my ovan is convecation kenstar
    it is posibal bake pao? and which function use on ovan plz. tell me
    give replay

  23. Anjali, I made these today and they were awesome! We made about 10 rolls but I might make them even smaller next time cos the dough rose so much! Thanks for this recipe! **hugs**

  24. That's great to hear Manisha! Yeah this recipe rises really a lot in Mumbai too while in Cold Blr not so much. Hugs to you too your feedback is always means a lot to me.

  25. Hello,

    your receipe did not mention puching down the dough after it has risen. Do we need to do that?

    Thanks much

    1. You don't need to as you are handling the dough to shape into ball after the first rise.

  26. Thank you Ma'am.

  27. Loved it.....i love your blog....


  28. Great. i love it..will try them soon..


  29. Hi
    I am little confused... In the ingredients section you have mentioned 1 and half cups of water. But in the recipe you have mentioned to use half cup of water to make yeast preparation which leaves 1 cup to be used later. But as per your recipe half cup is used for yeast and remaining 1and half cup is used later. So my question is whether the quantity of water in the ingredients section should be 2 cups????

  30. Hi Ishani, you need to use total of 1.5 cups water.


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