Where to go for crusty, freshly baked loaves, the artisan kind, if recent headlines about additives like potassium bromate are worrying.
FROM unrecognisable ingredients on food labels like stabilisers to high sugar content and additive chemicals making headlines, it is time to re-evaluate what we feed our system and cut down on further risk factors. Finding humble daily bread by artisan bakers in the city is no longer just another hashtag. Simple ingredients, wholesome flavours and traditional techniques are now a way of life. From the everyday Farmers Loaf to Berry Bagels and gluten free Turmeric & Cumin Bread, these city specials have you covered.
Turmeric & Cumin Bread @ Terra Earth: The sesame jaggery bread is reminiscent of sweet sesame brittle with naatu vellam. The gluten-free breads (think beetroot-raisin and olive-rosemary) made with brown rice, jowar and thinai, and their almond flour rosemary-sea salt bread are promises well kept. Rs 125 onwards. Details: 42821088
Orange Brioche Loaf @ old Madras Baking Company: Their popular orange preserve loaf is low-sugar and with natural ingredients. Handmade with natural butter and bromate-free flour are their cereal bread with 13 grains. Expect familiar tastes in their three-cheese chilli and chicken makhani puffs. Rs 50
onwards. Details: 43210033
Traditional Sourdough@ Krust Artisan Bakes: For the past six years now, Karan Suri has been dishing out classic sourdoughs that have been traditionally sole baked (dough in direct contact with a stone in the oven) using a live culture imported from Australia. Known for whole wheat crusty bread, Suri incorporates classic flavours in his sourdough like cheese-onion-dil, cinnamon-mixed spices and the popular potato-pepper-rosemary. Rs 80. Details: 9840477330
Scandinavian Kuchen @ Kuki-Jar: Home baker Kuki Ravindran handcrafts exquisite international breads like an apple-walnut kuchen — a sweet yeasted white loaf bread cake. Also try her braided bubka roll that has traces of chocolate, fig and nuts. Made in small batches are parker rolls, a white bread dinner paired with soup and salad. Rs 1,200 per batch.
Levian@ Tryst: Hand making breads using bleach-free flour and in-house yeast cultures,the options here are crusty yet soft, courtesy a steam and gas oven. With wholesome country flavours are the sourdough baguettes and egg brioche — a milky sweet bread perfect for French toast. The gluten free breads are made with horsegram and millets in flavours like olives, chocolate and more. Rs 100. Details: 64575575
Pumpernickel@ The Park: Skillfully baked the authentic way creating original textures with the right taste are international festive breads like the Italian Panettone — a sweet bread cake with candied peels and raisins. Another cake-like bread using pre-made culture is stollen, complete with almonds and sweet spices like cinnamon and cardamom. Looking for something more intense? Then their dark, heavy pumpernickel bread is just the ticket, made with a combination of rye flour and whole rye berries. Rs 200. Details: 42676000
BOULE by Divya Eapen: For the goodness of homemade artisan breads, pick up Eapen’s boule — a classic round sourdough that is crusty outside and chewy inside. Also made with starter dough at home is batard — a long slender loaf, ideal for sandwiches. You can also request to spruce it up with sunflower seeds, cheese and dried herbs for a flavour punch. Rs 250. Details: 9840121023
hit #Artisanbread on twitter to get results that include pictures of dishes like musells and white wine combine with artisan bread, to recipes with hummus, tomatoes and part baked sourdough
German Farmers Bread@ ITC Grand Chola:
A welcoming change to your bread basket is the traditional Italian dark ciabatta that is all about flavour, made with a fermented dough of roasted wheat flour and grain. Another great pick is the farmers bread containing a healthy dose of grains and roasted broken wheat. Rs 260. Details: 22200000
Blueberry Loaf@ Artisan Breads: New baker on the block, K Somasundram uses unbleached, high-gluten flour to make his impressive range of handmade and sole-baked breads like fresh fruit loaves and classic sourdough, with culture sourced from Belgium. Also try his sweet cinnamon-raisin loaf and aromatic rosemary and garlic baguette. Rs 80. Details: 9941221465
danish kringle@ hilton: These unique crisscross strips with brown sugar and walnut along with a sweet glaze personifies comfort food, artisan style. Another sweet treat not to be missed is the chocolate babka — rings of rich yeast dough filled with warm cinnamon and chocolate topped off with sweet streusel. For the less adventurous, there are loads of varieties of bagels (in berry and sesame flavours), ciabatta and gluten free breads too. Rs 545 onwards. Details: 22255555
The DIY Club
Are you looking for some hands-on bread making workshops?
Nicky’s Cafe, Egmore: Chef and entrepreneur, Nicky Mahboobani will teach you how to make breads with simple and natural ingredients. The three hour workshop is lessons on the cracked wheat or flaxseed loaf, bagels and a fruit loaf. July 3. Rs 1,800. Details: 9840884826
Sara Koshy, Kottivakkam: Sara Koshy demonstrates various techniques to excel in making your own free-formed stuffed buns, pretzels, cinnamon rolls, bread and a Greek onion-olive loaf. July 6. Rs 2,000. Details: 8124145884
Artisans Institute of Baking, Anna Nagar: A favourite of enthusiasts and professionals alike, Lisa Isaac, who has over 30 years of baking and teaching experience, guides patrons on the subject of yeast and will work with different yeast doughs. Learn to make buns, breads, doughnuts and more. July 19. Rs 3,500.
Harini Sankarnarayan, Chetpet: A member of the Home Bakers Guild group in Chennai, her classes are technique-driven with a scientific approach to studying ingredients like yeast and gluten. Get familiar with making dinner rolls, stuffed buns, focaccia, whole bread and a honey-oat sandwich loaf. July 6. Rs 2,850. Details: 9841428798
Frangipani Culinary Expressions, Boat Club Road: Chef Piyusarya demonstrates 12 varieties of breads in a single day-long workshop. Also learn techniques of reduced kneading while making multi-grain loaf, focaccia, pesto pinwheels, choco-orange monkey bread and more. July 30. Rs 3,000. Details: 9381201984
Sweet Nothings, Chamiers Road: Learn up to eight varieties with Shivangi Daga, who will also lead you through breakfast rolls, breadsticks, pickled pull-apart bread and pizza base. July 14. Rs 2,200. Details:9840713199
Swad Cooking Classes, Vepery: Reema Jain makes sandwich breads, pav, cheese burst pizza base and doughnuts. July 7. Rs 2,000.Details: 8939566195
Saee Koranne-Khandekar demystifies bread making at home with her new book, Crumbs, and a workshop.
ALTHOUGH we excel at kneading and making our daily chapatis and maybe an occasional banana bread bake, the art of making a simple loaf of sweet milk bread or even an akki roti, let alone a sourdough, is intimidating to most. “Yeast can be a deal-breaker to many, but it need not be tricky. Simplifying techniques and keeping bread-making accessible to all is what my book, Crumbs! is about,” explains Saee Koranne-Khandekar.
The author reminisces, “Growing up in Mumbai in the 80s with the sights and smell of delicious Irani cafe eats and carrying a humble bread-jam sandwich for my school tiffin nudged me to take up a vocational course in baking. This, combined with observing the delightful reactions of students at my workshop of a simple rising loaf of bread, is inspiring to say the least! The book is a culmination of such stories, our nostalgic experiences and over 40 recipes of breads — from the basic dinner rolls and whole wheat loaf to an international pita and fougase. There are also Indian staples from different regions like a Gujarati dhebra and a Maharashtrian bhakri.” The book also has a breakdown of theoretical facts on process and equipment along with interesting anecdotes of the history of bread and progression.
Khandekar is quick to reassure that bread making is far more forgiving than cakes and cookies when proportions go slightly off the mark and it is well within our DNA about dough know-how and kneading to be competent in the craft. With simple language and a relatable analogy of comparing prep bread dough to idly/dosa batter and puri/chappati dough, the book personifies ease in baking your own pound. “While the book is insightful and handy for a novice, a seasoned baker will find it equally interesting to explore stories about bread traditions across regions and try their hand at new recipes like a traditional Goan poee, Amritsari kulcha and know about artisan bakeries in India too,” she shares.
It is undeniable that while artisan breads are readily available in stores, the joy of conquering your fears with bread making,with the wafting aroma of freshly baked bread at home is certainly a fulfilling thought. With recipes like the no knead-overnight bread too, Khandekar’s book assures you that making bread is a pleasant daily routine.
At Rs 450 on Amazon.
Get your copy signed by the author who is conducting a demo & book reading event today (July 1) at Batlivala & Khanabhoy, Alwarpet at 6 pm. Details: 9597218598
— Preeti GT