Old Madras Baking Company’s secret behind their 100% aata bread

This bakeshop serves an array of artisanal baked goods, from iconic Iyengar bakery treats to 100% whole wheat bread

November 11, 2023 09:09 am | Updated 01:12 pm IST

Old Madras Baking Company, Bengaluru

Old Madras Baking Company, Bengaluru | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Amidst the world of bakery chains and mass-produced confections, the Old Madras Baking Company (OMBC) aspires to carve a niche for itself as a bastion of artisanal baking. It is a name that harkens back to the rich history of Iyengar bakeries in the heart of Madras, now Chennai, says Sweta Garapati, director of OMBC.

At the bakery, iconic Iyengar bakery products such as the egg puff, coconut bun and Madras coffee, share space with modern European favourites like the croissants, apple pies, Danishes, and brownies.

The story of Old Madras Baking Company began in 2014 with a simple vision: to make fresh, preservative-free bread and quality bakery products accessible to everyone. Their journey commenced with a solitary store on Chennai’s TTK Road and later expanded to Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Bakery items at Old Madras Baking Company, Bengaluru

Bakery items at Old Madras Baking Company, Bengaluru | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

With the bakery, Sweta plans to return to the basics, using natural ingredients, and employing traditional baking methods and hand-crafted techniques to make baked goods. In addition to this, OMBC curates a range of artisanal product offerings, including jams, pickles, meats, cheeses, and more.

“We use the sponge and dough method for baking which ensures a longer fermentation period and delivers softer and smoother bread, without adding preservatives,” she informs.

Store-bought breads often contain artificial additives and preservatives, offering little nutrition, but at OMBC, the team bakes everything fresh daily and nothing is carried over to the next day. As Sweta puts it, “The idea is to cater to both the health-conscious and the indulgent gourmand.”

Most brown breads in the market are made using maida and caramel for colour. “Our breads are 100% whole wheat, high in fibre and nutrition. For longer shelf life, patrons can freeze their bread at home. Our ethos is ‘baking for family by family’,” she says.

Bakery items at Old Madras Baking Company, Bengaluru

Bakery items at Old Madras Baking Company, Bengaluru | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“In the market, FSAI regulations allow the bread to be labelled as 100% atta (wheat) even if it’s not entirely atta. Unlike most brands in the market, which use an 80%-20% or 50%-50% atta and maida blend, we deliver 100% atta bread. The challenge lies in the fact that atta doesn’t rise as effectively as maida, but we devised a recipe that overcame this hurdle,” Sweta explains.

“My dad is in the yeast business. So his team has a lot of technical knowledge because of which were able to develop this 100% atta bread”.

The bakery launched its outlet in Bengaluru in 2021. In the city, they offer a range of coffees such as the Madras coffee, mock stout and cold brews such as iced Madras coffee and espresso tonic.

The bakery’s most popular items are classic sourdough bread, egg puff, apple pie, and olive bread. Health-conscious patrons can take a pick of their whole wheat and cereal bread, which is made with 100% atta and does not contain maida. “We recommend our coconut bun with freshly grated coconut and chocolate caramel babka,” says Sweta.

Old Madras Baking Company has stores in Koramangala, on BEL Road and St Mark’s Road in the city

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