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Padma Iyer offers cookies and buns with masala, in addition to the standard chocolate and plain variants

Of all the things she could have spent her first salary on, Padma Iyer chose a baking oven. “I was in my early 20s,” says the deputy editor of online magazine Galatta, whose inspiration to take up baking was her late aunt. “My sisters and I grew up watching her bake. We are a pure vegetarian family and my aunt actually brought eggs into a Brahmin household,” laughs Iyer, who took up a professional course at Artisan Institute of Baking in Anna Nagar, a few months ago. What started with supplying to friends and colleagues, soon grew to a Facebook page, PI Bakes (PI stands for the initials of her name), and Iyer, who swears that the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning can be therapeutic, feels that this is just the beginning. “Right now I’m doing a lot of buns, braided bread, cookies, muffins and so on. But I am reading up on gluten-free, sugar-free and fat-free baking and plan to focus on that in the future,” she says.
A believer in keeping things simple, Iyer’s vanilla, chocolate and marble cakes come sans fondant, frosting or decoration. As for her cookies, she prefers to top them with oats, muesli and nuts, in addition to the ever popular chocolate chips. “I also do a masala cookie that has finely chopped chilli and ginger,” says Iyer, who makes buns stuffed with vegetables, paneer and if you like them sweet, dry fruits. “I am looking at doing a lot of quiches and pies in the future,” says Iyer, who hopes that in addition to apple pies, people will start asking for fig or plum pies too. And with jam, vanilla custard, lemon curd tarts on her menu for variety, Iyer, who only does a white bread for now, promises that she is experimenting with wheat, another offering she hopes to add to her menu soon.
Cakes from Rs.250-Rs.300 onwards. Bread at Rs.15-Rs.25 per braid. Details: 9940676484

— Ryan Peppin

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