Did you know today is World Baking Day? You do now. This is a happy day for bakers, who try baking something challenging on this day, get over certain baking fears in the kitchen and add a fresh feather to their caps. At home, we are playing with whole wheat pizzas. This is also a happy for people who get to try out these fabulous experiments that bakers come up with.
As a baker, I often get asked one odd question: what cake do you bake for your birthday? I don't bake on my birthday. I pretty much laze around and hope that I don't get way too many phone calls. The good thing is, the older you get, the more you filter people and things out to the point that only the vitals remain. The man buys me a non-chocolate cake (not a chocolate fan) and we mostly eat out or order food at home. So no, I do not bake.
So on World Baking Day, when I am supposed to be baking my socks off, I was rather happy when Sneh, who is one of the founders of The Baker's Dozen, Mumbai's first specialised artisan bakery for breads, called to tell me that he and his baker wife and co-founder, Aditi, would be sending over a loaf of challah, the Jewish Sabbath bread to me. This would mark not just the day of Sabbath but also coincide with World Baking Day. Why is this awesome news? Because these guys make the best artisan breads in Mumbai. And they are such an enthusiastic, genuine couple that I am pretty sure love is a huge part of why their breads turn out to be such works of art.
So this challah came home. Glorious, shiny, glossy, fragrant, with a texture like lacework. Delicate handwork by the bakers at The Baker's Dozen, I'd say. The challah is a lovely braided breads, bound together with eggs. There's a religious and historical significance to the challah which you can read here.
The challah is eaten in numerous ways. In the recent years, people have started making casseroles, puddings and French Toast with this bread. Because it is a lovely textural white bread, it also works well with garlic butter and as a bruschetta base. What did I do with it?
Kept it simple. Because this bread is magical. You have not eaten anything like it before. And you have to allow the bread to shine on it's own. Do not overprocess it. Do not overdo it. Keep it simple. At home, we used it for breakfast.
The man ate it in French Toast. But the regular one - this is savoury, with pepper, rosemary, red chilli flakes, a dash of rock salt, some fresh cream. And the lovely sliced challah, soaking in the eggs, lightly fried in butter.
I ate it in a simpler way. Lightly toasted, drizzled with some rich and fragrant, organic, wild flower honey from Shop for Change. While the man is an egg fan, I think he's a bigger fan of the honeyed toast! Win!
I highly recommend that if you stay in South Mumbai or in the Central region surrounding Sewri, visit their shop or give them a call. If you are anywhere in Mumbai and haven't tried their breads, you are missing out on a seriously elevating culinary experience. Follow them on Twitter and on Facebook to keep track of their latest breads!