Pandemic Pastime: Breaking Bread With Top Chefs

Pandemic Pastime: Breaking Bread With Top Chefs
Representative Image: Bread in the making, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The word "bread" has hit an all-time high in Google searches. People have taken to baking bread to get some solace

Rupali Dean
April 20 , 2020
04 Min Read

The pandemic and the lockdown has meant that everyone is staying home, and trying to think of ways to spend time. There has been an increase in activities like reading, binge-watching, yoga, and cooking. Many people have gone back to cooking with whatever is available at home.

One of the most popular ways to spend time right now is by baking bread. Google Trends reported that among the words most searched for right now is “bread”. There has been a worldwide revival in bread-making during the pandemic. People seem to be finding some solace in this ancient culinary art. However you serve it up, there is little that can equal the aroma of fresh-baked bread slathered with butter or some homespun fruit preserves. 

We've got you some baking experts to tell you how to do it right.  

SOURDOUGH
Kainaz Messman Harchandrai, Creative Director, Production & Development, Theobroma Foods Pvt Ltd
Sourdough bread

Honestly, I love all and any kind of bread. I can eat any variety but the ones I love the most are sourdough and baguettes. In sourdough, I prefer the ones with whole grains or alternative flours because these give a prominent sweet lactic acid taste. This makes the bread perfect to eat on its own, slightly toasted or with butter and jam, or just in simple sandwiches with tomatoes, or as an accompaniment to salads. If you have great bread you need very little else to make a great meal. 

Tips to make good sourdough:

  • Have loads of patience and dedication.
  • Decide what kind of starter you would like to have depending on the final usage of the bread. You do not need to have a very old sourdough starter to make a great bread, three to five days is more than enough.
  • More important is the kind of water and flour you use, the temperature at which the starter is maintained (this must be a stable temperature through and through), and the environment around it.
  • Sourdough bread requires a long slow knead and water at the correct temperature. The final dough temperature is also important, and a good strong oven with steam.

Check out this video:

TRADITIONAL IRISH SODA BREAD
Chef Abhishek Basu, Executive Chef, JW Marriott, Juhu, Mumbai
Making Irish soda bread
They have outstanding whiskeys and the typical black stuff, but there's something else that the Irish have mastered over the years—bread. With recipes handed down through the generations, bread is synonymous with Ireland and is one of its top food treasures. Bicarbonate of soda is used as the leavening agent, other breads also use the same, but this is the most popular simply because it has been around for eons.
It is still staggeringly simple to make and bake your own soda bread today. So why not give it a go with the help of chef, writer, TV presenter, founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School and all-round Irish foodie legend, Darina Allen? 

BAGUETTE
Chef Vikas Singh, Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Kolkata
I love bread for its texture and taste. A great baguette should be robust and hold its contour when you pick it up. A good baguette will also have an aroma like apricots.

Tips to buying a good baguette

  • It’s all about the crust. Bring it near your ear and give it a squeeze. If it sings, it’s good.
  • You should be able to smell the fermentation.
  • If it’s made by hand, it’s the best.

Check out this video about how to make a baguette: 

BRIOCHE
Vinesh Johny, Co-founder and Executive Pastry Chef, Lavonne Academy of Baking Science & Pastry Arts

Vinesh Johny, Co-founder and Executive Pastry Chef, Lavonne Academy of Baking Science & Pastry Arts
My favourite bread to make is brioche, or any enriched type of breads. It’s therapeutic to indulge in the process of making it. Breads like kugelhopf, brioche, babka, etc, are delicious. They hit you in the right spot.

Tips to make a brioche: 

  • The key to making this bread is to be able to incorporate all the fat in the dough without the butter oozing out.
  • Working in ambient temperature is important.

Check out this video:


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