People

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Mayank Gupta

I recently left my regular work for doing something I love. In the time leading upto this risky transition, before I knew what that would be, I yearned for a craft and wanted to make a living doing something I could truly call my own. After a long time and a series of evolving ideas, I ended up with a perhaps naïve plan to open a bakery somewhere. My hope was to recreate the style and quality of best breads and other specialties found at boulangeries all over France. The aromas, the tactile nature of the work and the way the finished products look takes me to a faraway place that is still present and to have that be the way I spend my days continues to thrill me.

On my journey to learning this craft, I was guided by several masters of the craft, if only through the knowledge they have graciously shared through their books. Ken Forkish, Chad Robertson, Jeffery Hamelman, Peter Reinhart are a few whose writings taught me to bake, guided me through the various nuances of the deceptive simplicity of making bread. As I grew more aware, I drifted away from the recipes and techniques and closer to the dough. It’s smell, texture, feel, and taste. The temperature, weather conditions, the quality of ingredients and the mood of the starter, is what guides a true baker. The challenges and the learning both come from understanding and adapting to the Indian climate and wheat quality these books which are written for American or European environments and ingredients, both well suited for bread production. Unlike India. Our wheat is low in gluten, weather is extreme, hot or cold, and humidity is high. Nothing like the perfect French or Bay area weather that is ideal for bread making.

Through my bakery, I hope to include others on my journey of learning and of trials and errors. In the end, having brought out the best of flavours from the simplest of ingredients, eating healthy and fresh.