Chef Aditi Handa on sourdough bread, what makes it popular and three ways to consume it
What one must understand about sourdough is that it’s not a fine dine or gourmet product. It is really the humble bread made with authentic techniques.
It was in 2012 that Chef Aditi Handa started an artisan bakery, The Baker's Dozen. Her dream was simple - supply authentic preservative-free sourdough. For the uninitiated, sourdough is a type of bread that's made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast.
This September, Chef Aditi's bakery registered a sale of one million sourdoughs. But, what is it that makes it popular? "The sourdough bread isn't a fine dine or gourmet product. It is used how one would consume any regular bread but what makes it a favoured product is the fact that it is gut-friendly and ensures higher absorption of micronutrients," says Chef Aditi, adding that while bread has been consumed in India for decades, it is only in the last few years that we have been able to identify and find good authentic bread.
Sourdough bread became even more popular during the lockdown with many trying to bake it at their homes. But, making it isn't an easy task considering it doesn't use cultivated baker's yeast, which makes baking less complicated.
"It is a tedious affair right from slow mixing to several steps of fermenting the dough, and then gently shaping to ensure you get the perfect crumb. But perfection at each and every step leads to a fabulous crusty sourdough," adds Chef Aditi, who refuses to share her method or recipe of making the bread.
When it comes to having it, the bread can be consumed as a grilled sandwich or toasted with butter, as it is popular in Chef's family but one can make it as fancy as they please. And, if you are looking for some ideas, we have three recipes courtesy Chef Aditi. Check them out below and tell us which one you would try first!
1. Egg Burji Sandwich with Sourdough Bread
Ingredients: 1 Four Grain Sourdough, ½ bell pepper (red), 1 egg, 1 tbsp. chopped onion, ½ tsp. chopped and deseeded green chilli, 1 tbsp. chopped and deseeded tomato, 1 tsp. chopped fresh coriander, ¼ tsp. cumin seeds, a pinch of turmeric, ½ tsp. vegetable oil, 1/8 tsp. salt
• To make the filling, heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, chopped green chilli and onion. Saute until the raw smell disappears.
• Add turmeric and tomatoes. Saute on high flame until the tomatoes soften. Tip in the fresh coriander.
• Add the egg and salt and stir to scramble until dry.
• To assemble, spread the filling. Top with chopped/sliced bell peppers
2. Sourdough Baguette with goats cheese, beetroot and apples
Ingredients: Baguette, butter, goats cheese, beetroot - parboiled, granny smith apple – diced
• Toast the baguette to get it crusty.
• Spread some butter on it
• Spread a thick layer of goats cheese
• Place some thinly sliced beetroot (I personally like them parboiled to ensure the crunch is there)
• Sprinkle it with some diced apples
3. Sourdough Bread with sautéed mushrooms and garlic on hung yoghurt
Ingredients: Butter, sliced mushrooms, finely chopped garlic, black olives, salt, pepper, fresh oregano and hung curd
• Melt the butter and add the chopped garlic
• Add mushrooms and salute
• Add spices and black olive and cook for a couple of minutes
• Mix some chopped garlic, salt and pepper into the hung curd and make a creamy mixture
• Spread the hung curd on your toasted sourdough
• Add the mushroom mixture and enjoy with your family