Passion fermented to perfection—that is Bengaluru-based chef Aditi Handa’s story in a nutshell. From falling in love with sourdough to selling over a million loaves since the inception of The Baker’s Dozen (TBD) in 2013, she helmed the ethnic sourdough explosion. For it, she used sprouted, roasted, and pounded moong dal. She also made one with intrinsic Indian ‘kadha’ flavours, and another in the ‘laadi’ pao style, not to mention the masala pao style sourdough—all new improvisations.
Aditi believes she drew sourdough out of the elitist closet. “Sourdough is the gentlest on the gut, the most fulfilling in taste. I was born to bake it. I still get very upset when people think of sourdough as gourmet bread saved for special occasions,” she shares, now having brought in variations in fourgrain, blue berry, cranberry, walnut raisin, chilli cheese to her sourdough kitty. Handa’s first dalliance with the culinary world came when she began training in a Lebanese kitchen in the US (to perfect the hummus), and then baking bread in Bengaluru— “Where all my friends said they loved the kinds of bread I baked, but everything tasted the same! I realised that since bread wasn’t birthed here, I had to learn from the best hands to get that expertise home.” She soon left to pursue a Diploma in International Bread Baking from International Culinary Institute (New York), followed by a Diploma in Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, to power her own.
Today, Aditi’s artisan breads, fitkneads (gluten-free, high protein cakes and breads) flavoured butters, cookies, crackers, cupcakes, lemon cupcakes, and more are zooming into shopping carts across the country, forming an oasis of fresh, flaky goodness. “I offer honest dough, free of preservatives,” says Handa. “There is a completely transparent approach: everything baked by us is safe for regular consumption by children too, a free tour of our factory is possible for everyone. It has been fun, but a challenging ride, fighting our Indian fixation with the traditional white bread pumped with chemical additives and emsulsifers
Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard