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In love with loaves

WE NOW consume bread on two days - the day it rains and the day it doesn't. It is given to a few items such unmatched popularity, and bread is unmistakably one.

It was a mistake that started it all. Though half-baked, legend has it that an Egyptian slave accidentally fell asleep while making traditional flour and water wafers. He took no notice when the fire had gone out, what he noticed only next morning was that he'd made a meal much tastier than was meant to be. The dough bloated up overnight - that was bread. And that was Egypt, 2600 B.C.

Closer home in Hyderabad, it was believed that bread was a gift from Allah - meant for everyone. It was sin to sell it; it had to be given away.

Times have changed, so has bread and how. There is an Amazonian variety of bread available these days, and bread eating - that not very long ago used to be rare occasions prescribed by doctors mostly to ailing children - is greater than ever before. Across-the-board, bread is now being looked as a convenient and interesting option to dosas or rotis.

"We have more than 20 different types of bread available," says Amar Chowdary, owner, Vacs Pastries, Secunderabad. For great tasting, oven-fresh bread one can't do much better than this place. "Be it the plain variety or the masala-bread, garlic, milk, whole wheat, pita, pav, fruit or sandwich bread - at Vacs, it is something else. Anyone who has sampled our stuff will come back for more," Chowdary claims.

Sunita Jacob, a relationship manager with a private bank, who picks her bread at Baker's Inn says, "Our day begins with bread. Sometimes, it is only bread and butter, jam or jelly; sometimes it is pickles, at times - leftover vegetables from dinner wrapped in a roll of bread, sandwiches - non-vegetarian on Sundays, and slices of cucumber, crushed tomatoes, melted cheese and mustard sauce on other days. It is easy to make, filling, tastes good and fresh and is prepared in less than half the time required to prepare roti or a dosa."

Automobile engineer, Vinod Jumpalla, says, "I like the masala variety. They make lovely bread pulav. For double-ka-mitha, the milk-flavour is fine, it also makes some great bread-kulfi." There are many like him for whom bread ceases to be just that, it is a means to whip up something, not particularly exotic - but a delightful rendition of what they call, mix-n-match.

"Items that can be made from breads are dime-a-dozen. Just go on experimenting with various ingredients, in fact - fresh-new ideas at times become so intriguing, so immediately satisfying that one should note them down lest the taste makes us forget the whole world," feels Kaveri Mohapatra, housewife, who loves snacking on bread dishes. Some people like their bread plain, like Swapnil Baneerjee, a market research analyst. "Breads taste best when served simply warm, straight from the oven with just butter. I love the bread they sell at Big Byte Bakery," he says.

Big Byte Bakery manager, Kiser says, "We make a dozen different varieties; the popular ones however are the plain, brown and the sweet breads."

On the other hand, there are bakers like Country Oven who dish out `sugarless breads'. "These are particularly meant for people who suffer from diabetes. Priced at Rs. 9 for 18 slices, they are also called `Diabetic Breads', and are our speciality," says Srinivas of Country Oven. There seems to be one for all in most of the premium bakeries around town, and they keep adding new varieties every now and then.

If the sales-figures of Baker's Inn and other popular bakeries are any indication to go by, it can safely be concluded that Hyderabadis have fallen in love with loaves. Bread, it seems, is only next to biryani here.

Fresh slice

KEEP BREAD fresh for longer time by removing the slices from the plastic packet. Wrap the slices in a newspaper or brown paper, put inside an airtight box and refrigerate. The bread will remain fresh for about 20 days.

In love with loaves

However, oven-fresh bread is always recommended for better taste and quality.

Double IMPACT

NOT MANY know that double-ka-meetha - a typical Hyderabadi dessert is a by-product of the Shahi Tukda that came to India with the Mughals.

In love with loaves

According to Taj Krishna Executive Chef, Pradeep Khosla, "Shahi Tukda was also made of bread, but there was milk and rabri too as primary ingredients in the dish that came topped with dry fruits in abundance." Down South where milk was not as plentiful as in the North, it was saffron- flavoured sugar syrup that was boiled with bread pieces in it. For seasoning, reduced milk khoya and dry fruits would be sprinkled over the dish - what later attained popularity as the Double-kameetha.

Hyderabad, it appears, was a bread-eating region much before others in India discovered it as a viable option to the roti. Bread was called Double roti, as the use of yeast would puff it up so as to appear twice the size of one roti.

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