Not too long ago, authentic European-style bread were available only within the confines of cafes and restaurants of five-star hotels. Outside of them, bagels were often nothing more than ring-shaped, soft, white bread, while croissants were crescent-shaped versions of the same thing. Urban India, accustomed to consuming various forms of commercial, white bread for several decades, was yet to get a taste of, let alone develop a liking for, European bread each of which comes with its distinct flavors, crusts, textures, and characteristics.
In the last few years, however, thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of a growing bunch of bakers, European style bread have become more mainstream than they ever were, becoming available in multiple cities, cafes and restaurants, grocery stores and online delivery platforms, and even delivered to your doorstep. So now, a bagel is not light and fluffy anymore, but dense, moist and chewy, like it is supposed to be, and croissants are light and flaky, with layer upon layer of buttery goodness. And then, of course, is the sourdough, which has emerged as the unlikely hero in a year plagued by Covid-19.
“When we started the bakery we made a decision to not have a bakery and patisserie together and instead focus only on bread, even though cakes is where you make the money,” says Aditi Handa, head baker and co-founder of The Baker’s Dozen, who started her journey as a baker with one outlet in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi neighborhood in 2013. “A lot of people told us, ‘How much bread will you sell? How will you make a sustainable business out of it?’ But when you have fallen in love, whether it is with a boy or bread, nothing else seems to matter.”
The beginning was not easy either, with clients not accustomed to an entirely new range of flavors and textures. “I think my sales team hated me and would keep telling me that no one wants to eat the bagels I made,” she laughs. “But I insisted on boiling the bagels, as they should be, and eventually it has paid off.”
From the single outlet in Prabhadevi, The Baker’s Dozen has grown to three branded stores in Mumbai and 21 delivery outlets pan-India and plans to expand to 50 stores across 15 cities by the end of 2021. With a massive scale-up in demand, manufacturing moved from its initial unit in Mumbai’s Wadala neighborhood to a larger space in Navi Mumbai, and finally to a 25,000 sq ft unit outside Ahmedabad. It is no surprise that revenues too have kept pace with this growth, rising from ₹6 crores in 2018-19 to an expected ₹20 crore in 2020-21.
From the Navi Mumbai unit, Handa started supplying to Pune, and then to Bengaluru. “We wanted to keep our processes artisanal, but at the same time, scale it up, which is a difficult proposition. So we wanted to have a central manufacturing facility, as well as improve the shelf life of the products so that they could be transported to different cities,” says Handa. “Since we don’t use preservatives, we turned to use ‘modified atmosphere packaging’, which is similar to how products like paneer are packaged.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
THE PANDEMIC HAS CAUSED WOMEN GREATER LABOUR PAIN
Covid-19 has shown that women are more likely to face the brunt of job losses than men, and find fewer opportunities when they want to resume. That apart, several have to deal with increased hours of unpaid work at home and even domestic abuse
LEADERSHIP WILL BE ABOUT SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE
Leaders must not only guard their teams first during a crisis, but also deal with stakeholders with respect and dignity. And apart from pursuing business goals, they should remain committed to our planet and the environment
PHILANTHROPY SHOULD BE HUMBLE, BUT NOT MODEST
Apart from building a flexible and resilient framework for the future, philanthropists, civil society and the government must work in tandem so that every rupee is absorbed on the ground
INTEGRATED HEALTH CARE, TECH WILL DISRUPT SECTOR
While clinical research will get a boost, having a skilled workforce and public spending on health care will be challenges in the near term
DIGITALISATION WILL HELP IN VALUE CREATION
As the pandemic brings technology and innovation to the core of business and daily life, the next decade will see about 150 million digital-first families in India
Home-Cooked Meal Is Now Greatly Valued
The pandemic has also brought with it an improved focus on hygiene, use of technology in dining, rise of cloud kitchens and resurgence in popularity of Indian ingredients
A virus has caused us to scramble for oxygen but our chokehold on the environment is slowly strangling the very waters that breathe life into us. The virus is a timely reminder: We are merely consumers, not producers of life’s breath on this planet
How Beerud Sheth made Gupshup a profitable unicorn after one pivot, two near-death experiences and 15 years of slogging
Will Tech And Small Towns Give StanChart an Edge?
Unlike rival Citibank, standard Chartered bank has the option to explore retail banking more aggressively. backed by a digital thrust, Ceo Zarin daruwala has more opportunities than challenges ahead of her
Flames of Destruction
Forest fires and their alerts in the country have gone up sharply in recent times, posing a serious threat to our environment, wildlife and biodiversity. Can wildfires be prevented in a world dealing with climate change?
Sometimes, an idea needs time to incubate until it’s ready to grow. That was the case with Sujata Massey’s series about Perveen Mistry, a woman attorney practicing in India during the 1920s.
THIRTEEN FASCINATING 4X4S from the2020 Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Recap of the 39th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Klara Landrat & Her Journey with Endometriosis
Klara Landrat is an American-Israeli actress of Polish origin, producer, a writer known for her talent worldwide. She is starring in the Irish TV series – “Gods & Fighting Men” due for release in 2021.
HER MAJESTY PEDDLING HOMEMADE HOOCH!
QUEEN ELIZABETH looks like a dowdy, straitlaced granny, but she’s turned into a heck of a bartender — serving up her own brands of homemade hooch!
The Winter of Discontent
Even though america is preparing for a summer reopening, the Coronavirus will still be around to dog us when the temperatures fall.
India thought it had the virus beat. The virus had other ideas
Governments around the world keep repeating the same mistakes. In a country of 1.4 billion, the consequences are on a whole new scale
Reincarnation And Realpolitik
China, India, and the U.S. are vying to influence the selection of the next Dalai Lama
An Exclusive Interview With Nandakumar Narasimhan
The Little Red Train
A Room for Dad
Before Mom passed, I made a promise to her