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Baker’s Dozen

The widely held belief about breads,that the softer the texture the fresher it is,hardly holds true. At Sidewalk...

Written by Meher Fatma | Published: February 1, 2009 3:42 am

Soft,fluffy loaves are taking a backseat as bakeries concentrate on dense,chewy breads

The widely held belief about breads,that the softer the texture the fresher it is,hardly holds true. At Sidewalk,the snacks corner at The Hyatt,oval loaves of hard crusty bread come in a variety of flavours. For instance,sample their Sourdough Bread. A thin and long roll of layered bread,resembling a baguette in texture,has a curious recipe. For every new batch of fresh dough that the chef kneads,he adds a little blob of old dough that has been fermented for over a month to get a distinctly sour taste. “The sales of these hard crust breads have gone up by 30 percent in the last one year,” says Krishan Chander Yadav,executive sous chef at Hyatt. Surprised? Just pluck out a portion from the loaf,butter the bread and munch on this deliciously sour bread.

At Bagels and Brownies,a bakery shop that opened four moths ago in Malviya Nagar,chefs are rolling out bagels that have suddenly become a hot selling item. “We started offering bagels and French crusted baguettes on popular demand. They are common picks for bulk orders,” says owner Adnan Vahanvaty.

“People have begun appreciating these chewier,denser breads for their unique and wonderful characteristics,” says Uni Vaid,who runs a takeaway bakery store called American Ambrosia. “We cater to well-travelled people and approximately 90 percent of our clients have already tried a bagel in another part of the world,” she says. “The sales of bagels,that we boil twice before baking to make them harder,have increased phenomenally over the last year.” Half a dozen bagels cost Rs 350 and mini bagels are priced at Rs 350 per dozen here.

And flavours are in plenty,like sesame,cinnamon sugar and cranberry. Canadian couple Anna Hambly and David,who set up Red Moon bakery in Sarita Vihar a year ago,offer a similar fleet of tough breads. The 850 square feet bakery stocks an array of bagels,sticky buns and dense breads. “Bagels were a major hit with expatriates initially but we now have a growing Indian clientele too,” says Anna.

If you drop in for a quick lunch at Grapes in Safdarjung Enclave or The Living Room in Hauz Khaz village,your sandwiches will probably be made with a ciabatta or baguette. The popular chewy breads,baguette is patted and folded to get a thick crunchy crust and a salty and earthy taste while ciabatta,also called slipper bread,has a very thin crust and is light weight.

While Delhiites are taking to international breads,especially since these breads can easily be made with healthier ingredients,Vaid says it is also important to know how to consume them.

“We put instructions on each box of bagels as many people don’t know that they can never really be eaten without toasting. Bagels can even be frozen,” she says. “The way to gauge the freshness of these breads is to feel the hardness of the crust. The crust gets soggier with age. Bagels should be crispy and firm on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside,” adds Vahanvaty.

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