Instant Bread Gulab Jamun are soft balls made from bread and milk submerged in sweet syrup and perfumed with saffron and cardamom. The version I'm sharing today replaces the Authentic Gulab Jamun that’s usually made from Khoya. Bread Gulab jamun is a quick recipe that you can prepare in a shorter time when you have guests and want a quick, impressive dessert on hand. This post has a video explaining how to make this delicious dessert, so do check it out!
What is Bread Gulab Jamun?
Gulab Jamun is a classic Indian dessert that people enjoy on special occasions. You may not know, but this dessert originated from Persia; it landed in India (and I'm glad that it did.) it got modified to suit the Indian taste. Gulab Jamun is usually made of Khoya; you can make Khoya at home by cooking the milk while stirring it continuously until it reduces in volume and forms a sticky dough-like texture.
The process of making Khoya is long and tedious. Hence, many versions of Gulab Jamun were created to save time and money. Gulab Jamun can be made of bread, powder milk, semolina, and even flour.
The steps to making Gulab Jamun are almost the same in all the versions; however, the instant bread Gulab jamuns’ texture differs a little. Honestly, Bread Gulab Jamun doesn't taste exactly like the Authentic dessert, but I would say that it resembles it 75%.
Ingredients you need to make bread Gulab Jamun
Making Gulab Jamun consist of three steps. Making the dough, frying the dough, and then making the syrup and adding the Gulab Jamun to soak.
To make the dough, you will need:
Slices of white bread. (I cut the edges, but you don't have to.)
Fine semolina. (If you have coarse semolina, pulse it few times in a blender and use it in this recipe.)
Milk. It's best to use whole milk; it adds more flavor to the Gulab Jamun balls and keeps them soft.
Baking powder. Usually, the Gulab Jamun puff up while frying, which makes them lighter. Since we are using bread instead of Khoya, we need to help the balls puff up a little with baking powder.
We are not making thick syrup here because we want the balls to soak as much as possible.
To make a delicious aromatic syrup, we will need:
Sugar. I have used fine white sugar, but you can use raw sugar instead.
Whole green cardamom. Instead, you can use ¼ teaspoon of cardamom powder.
Saffron threads (optional)
To fill the Gulab Jamun, I have used pistachio, but you can use the nuts you prefer or even dry fruit.
How to make Bread Gulab Jamun?
If you are using fresh bread, it will be soft, so in a bowl, add the bread, semolina, and baking powder. Pour the milk over the previous ingredient and mash it with your hand or a fork. Knead until you get a soft dough. Stiff dough means hard, Gulab Jamun! Let the dough rest aside for 15 minutes, covered and in a cool place. Resting the dough will allow the semolina to soak up some of the milk and become softer.
If you are using stale bread, you can use a blender to make breadcrumbs and then follow the steps above.
After 15 minutes, make small equal size balls from the dough. Press the balls gently and fill them with pistachio; then form a ball again. You should get 10 balls from this dough.
When making the syrup, add the sugar and water to a saucepan, then add the cardamom. Let it come to a boil and allow to cook for 8 minutes. You can add the saffron, mix the syrup, and cover it.
In a frying pan, add enough oil to reach halfway up the balls. We are not deep frying the balls. Fry the balls in batches of five or depending on how big or small is your saucepan. It would be best if you didn't crowd the pan to make it easy to move the balls and fry them evenly from all sides. When the balls are brown, remove them from the oil and immediately add them to the warm syrup or place them on a kitchen towel to get rid of some of the oil and then add them to the syrup.
When the Gulab Jamuns are in the syrup, turn on the heat to low, this will help the Gulab Jamun to soak up more of the syrup. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and cover the pan.
Serve the Gulab Jamun warm with vanilla ice cream on the side or garnish with pistachios.
Tips to make awesome Bread Gulab Jamun
- The slices of bread you have might be thicker than the one I used, don't be shy to add a little more milk to make the dough soft.
- If the dough is sticky, rub your hands with oil and then form the balls.
- Do not over-knead the dough, and make sure the balls are smooth and have no cracks. If the oil enters the balls through the cracks, it will fry the balls from the inside, leaving it crispy and hard.
- Keep the balls covered until it's time to fry them, or it will dry out.
- When forming the balls, keep a light hand, which will allow the Gulab Jamun to cook evenly.
- When shallow frying the balls, keep the heat on medium-low.
- You can use wheat flour but make sure it doesn't have nuts or seeds.
- Use a flavorless oil when frying the balls.
- If the syrup turns thick, add a quarter cup warm water, let it boil one time, and then turn off the heat.
- Do not remove the Gulab Jamun from the syrup, even if it soaked enough.
- It's best to serve the Gulab Jamun 2 hours after making it!
More about Khoya
Khoya is reduced milk. The whole milk cooked on a low flame until it reduces to a thick sticky dough-like texture. Khoya can be found in many Indian desert-like Kulfi (Indian Ice cream), Kheer, Burfi, and Gajar Ka Halwa. In India, you can find cakes made of Khoya too, which tastes out of this world. Making Khoya takes 2 hours, and you have to stir the milk regularly to prevent it from burning.
Khoya can be found in Indian stores too!
How to store Bread Gulab Jamun?
- Place the Gulab Jamun in an airtight plastic container, and it can stay on the kitchen counter for a week.
- When you store the Bread Gulab Jamun in the fridge, it can stay up to 15 to 20 days.
- I wouldn't advise to freeze the Bread Gulab jamun. They will turn soggy and might lose flavor.
- To heat refrigerated Gulab Jamun, place it in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 13 seconds.
Easy Bread Gulab Jamun
TO MAKE THE DOUGH
- 6 medium white bread cut into slices. Read more in note #1.
- 2 tablespoon fine semolina. Read note #2 if you have coarse semolina.
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoon whole milk at room temperature Read notes #3.
TO MAKE THE SYRUP
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 ½ cup water
- 4 whole green cardamom or use ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder instead.
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads optional
- Oil to fry the Gulab Jamun
- 10 shelled pistachios + a few more sliced to garnish with
MAKING THE BREAD GULAB JAMUN DOUGH
- In a bowl, add the slices of the bread, add the semolina and baking powder.
- Gradually pour the milk and lightly knead until you get a smooth dough. A stiff dough will result in hard and unevenly cooked Gulab Jamun.
- Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. The semolina will soak up some of the milk and become softer.
- Make 10 equal size balls from the dough, gently flatten the balls, fill them with pistachio, and then close and form a smooth crack free ball. Cover the balls to prevent them from drying.
- In a frying pan, heat enough oil to come halfway up the balls. Keep the heat on medium.
- Fry the balls in batches until they turn brown. It will take a minute or two to brown.
- Remove the balls from the oil and place them on a kitchen towel, or you can add the fried balls immediately in the syrup.
- Heat the syrup and allow it to come to a simmer. Let the Gulab Jamun simmer in the syrup for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover.
- It's best to leave the Bread Gulab Jamun in the syrup for at least 2 hours before serving.
MAKING THE SYRUP
- In a pan, add the sugar and water.
- When it comes to a boil, add the cardamom.
- Let the syrup cook for 8 minutes on medium heat.
- Add saffron threads and stir the syrup. Turn off the heat.
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