Bread has been the quarantine’s unlikeliest hero, but sourdough starters and DIY focaccia kits may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Luckily, bakers and home chefs in Kolkata are offering a bevvy of fresh, small-batch, artisanal options, from bespoke babkas to audacious open-crumb varieties. Here’s a handy list to help you sort a better bread basket:
Turkish Pide Bread from Bread House
This home kitchen whips up three kinds of Turkish Pide Bread -- a classic variant and two sinful stuffed loaves. The stuffed loaves are filled with either a medley of spinach and three types of cheeses (feta, cheddar and mozzarella) or a chicken/mutton filling with veggies like carrots, capsicums, cherry tomatoes and onions. Each loaf is seasoned with roasted sesame seeds and black seeds, that add in a hint of zing.
The Pide originated in the Middle East and is usually paired with fresh yoghurt and spiced kebabs. Bread House caters to this route and offers the option of purchasing a platter to go with their Turkish Pide, usually comprising a side of hummus, dry kebabs and yoghurt. Another popular pick on their menu is the Korean Mutton Croquette which is essentially fried bread that is stuffed with a creamy chicken or mutton filling, topped with a splash of cheese.
Bread House began its journey in January 2021 and is on a mission to introduce Kolkata to a variety of bread from all over the world.
Fresh Coriander and Chilli Sourdough Bread from Bread and Butter by Manjari Almal
Bread and Butter by Manjari Almal specialises in artisanal sourdough and has a vast menu with over 40 unique flavours, from Italian bread with basil and oregano to spiced Mediterranean bread. “We don’t use any preservatives, additives or artificial flavours. Our loaves of bread are a combination of flour, water and salt, a very healthy option!” says Manjari Almal.
Almal’s fresh coriander and chilli sourdough bread is the most interesting item on her menu. The fresh coriander and spicy chilli work well together be it for a breakfast bruschetta or with a bowl of sprouts.
The whole wheat sourdough pizza base and the gluten-free sourdough pizza base are also delicious and healthy and are made specifically for health-conscious bread-lovers.
Focaccia from Saldanha Bakery
Saldanha’s Focaccia fresh from the oven!
Saldanha’s Italian focaccia is packed with a variety of herbs like oregano, basil, thyme and parsley that lend a spicy flavour to the bread. The essential drizzle of olive oil goes beautifully with the stuffing which is a combination of olives and cherry tomatoes. This Instagram-worthy bread can be savoured as a standalone snack or paired with any Italian delicacy.
Newly introduced lockdown specials on Saldanha’s bread menu are the Tomato Bread and Garlic Bread. “We’ve introduced this range of bread primarily as brunch options. The flavours work together spectacularly and make for a delicious side,” grins Alisha Alexander, the fourth-generation owner of the 100-year-old bakery off Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road.
Their tomato bread is also popular! Check out the Reel.
Whole Wheat Loaf from Cocoa Bakery
The whole wheat loaf is arguably one of the most common household bread, and it’s also one of the healthiest options available. It makes for a quick breakfast and is easy on the pocket. Cocoa Bakery’s whole wheat loaves are made with zero flour and have a low glycemic value, perfect for an everyday breakfast option. Toast it and eat it for breakfast with some strawberry jam and cream cheese or enjoy it at dinner with a side of spaghetti or a succulent roast chicken.
Cocoa Bakery makes a number of contemporary dips to go along with their loaves. Spice up the whole wheat loaf with cheese garlic, pesto or a heavenly sundried tomato dip.
Rye Bread from Calcutta Deli
Pastrami on Rye from Calcutta Deli.
Calcutta Deli claims to make the most authentic rye bread in the city. “We make the bread with a sourdough starter that’s fed with rye. Normally people feed the starter with wheat so what happens is it develops a distinct flavour, which doesn’t taste like authentic rye bread. But we try to maintain the authenticity of a rye loaf,” says Prithvish Chakravarti, owner of Calcutta Deli.
It is high in fibre and low in sugar content and caters to diabetic bread-lovers. The loaf is flavoured with caraway and flax seeds and can be customised as per personal preference. Chia seeds, sunflower seeds and various types of nuts are go-to toppings for this loaf.
Red Velvet Bread from Wild Yeast Stories
Wild Yeast Stories infuses traditional babka bread with the rich flavours of a red velvet cake. The loaf is topped with dark and white chocolate, hazelnuts and cinnamon, and is the perfect comfort food for a gloomy day!
The Red Velvet Bread is part of a special ‘spiced’ menu that also features a Cinnamon Star Bread inspired by the good ol’ cinnamon roll. It’s shaped like a star and has a splash of apple and walnut butter for a tangy twist. This menu is available till the end of December 2021 so hurry and place your orders.
One can visit the Instagram pages of these bakers and home chefs to place orders. Happy bread binge-eating!