My obsession with good bread is one of a kind. I spoke some about it in my post for Eat Around The Corner, and I still maintain that the bread eating culture in our country can be described as awesome only when it comes to breads like Roti and Naan. Last month I had the privilege of visiting the baking area of a brand new Bread stop called The Baker's Dozen in Wadala,
and I feel happy, proud and excited all at the same time, with a little sparkle in my eye that after all, there may be some hope for us.
Breads are more complex than what meets the eye. A good loaf of bread should feel right, sound right, smell right and of course look right. The general notion of our public goes like maybe a Wibs bread is good because it is perfectly square shaped and the crumb is tightly packed. Well, you couldn't be more wrong, and with the awesome foursome running The Baker's Dozen, it shall be ensured that no one misunderstands bread hence forth. The lovely couple Aditi and Sneh are always ready to answer all your bready questions!
Did you guys know that a Baker's Dozen consists of 13 but not 12 items? This is because Bread originated in the 13th century and Bread Bakers used to sell 13 for the price of 12 just so that the customers wouldn't be cheated if the bread turned out too hollow inside. I've also been told that legend has it that bakers baked an additional loaf for the devil to spoil, which made it 13 in a dozen (Thanks Sid!) . Since it was not machine work, all the breads didn't look identical back then like all those commercial loaves available in the market today. The Baker's Dozen menu also features 13 items, from Multi Grain bread to Ragi Bread and to their amazing Focaccia and their Pain aux Levain. What amazes me is that they are not at all overpriced! Here is the menu:
We got to interact with the whole bunch of lovely bakers who arrive at 5 AM each morning to make a fresh batch of amazing bread. As of now The Baker's Dozen operates out of their central kitchen in Wadala and delivers breads to the nearby areas, but they are expected to open operations in the Prabhadevi area soon too. I can only hope that some day they come towards Bandra and Andheri!
For me, bread making is like making love. You have to make love to your bread for it to rise well. And witnessing it being done with so much TLC was a feast for both my olfactory sense and my sense of sight. We got to see the Focaccia which is made two ways, one with Olive Oil and the other with just bits of Olive, and no oil. Surprisingly the one sans Oil tasted just as good as the one with it, if not better. We also got to take back a little tile of the Focaccia home with a lovely loaf of Pain aux Levain, which is a simple multi grain bread with Walnuts and Plump Raisins.
And what better way to treat myself and the family to a serving of beautiful Focaccia with classic mixture of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar? Everybody loved it. Next morning we had the Pain aux Levain with our morning Coffee. The bread was so delicious by itself that it did not need anything except maybe a pat of butter. Simple, no nonsense and clean flavors coupled with an amazing texture.
The Baker's Dozen is the future of the Bread Culture in Mumbai. I recommend everyone to try it out!