At Carasid Miramar… new introduction sourdough bread (not seen in pic) I recommend the baked cheese cake; mini burgers with mushroom and chickpea petty are also new offerings

By Tara Narayan

WHEN I last met her my friend Satyashree Gandham of Simply Sourdough Café at Caranzalem said she was now also reaching folk how to make sourdough bread, if I am interested I may come along and learn! Seeing how much I prefer her range of sourdough temptations including her scrumptious croissants (of course, loaded with Amul butter, others don’t use Amul butter, she tells me). Satya is irresistible and I go catch up with her every now and again simply to cheer myself up from whatever blues plaguing me.
Actually I notice how more and folk are discovering the charms of sourdough bread! Is sourdough healthier to eat? But, of course, reportedly sourdough’s health brief is better than that of your ordinary run of the mill breads made of refined flour maida and whatever hydrogenated fat they put in it, glycemic index is much higher than that of sourdough breads. So I dare say if you’re diabetic you may indulge in a slice of sourdough bread toast if you like, sourdough bread is rated healthier to eat and especially if you’re gluten-intolerant. Reportedly in the slow fermenting and baking of sourdough breads and other temptations something happens to break down what’s not good for digestion – and the result is super delicious and agreeable for weak stomachs! Check it out.

Sourdough bakers generally don’t use yeast fresh or dry but depend on a cultivated starter to bake their sourdough loaves and other confectionary (all falling in the sourdough baking category). This cultivated starters are nothing but a culture you breed (like say making curd at home) and so we have this sourdough culture of water and plain flour ferment over time to offer something sour, use a culture of this to bake fresh sourdough bread. Make sure your natural culture doesn’t rot though!
The trick is to keep it growing by feeding it with fresh wheat flour or any flour (millet or barley or wholegrain flours) – I remember the master sourdough home baker of them all, Sujit Sumitran, who lives in Goa and I think pioneered the magic of sourdough breads, he gets his starters from abroad. There is also all this talk of “wild starter” which is basically only a mixture of flour, water and air and microbes in the air which you whip into your natural starter and so it continues to ferment from go into ad infinitum baking sessions. One of these days I think I will go see how sourdough bread is made, Satya makes the traditional boule sourdough bread but recently while at Sam and Cristobel’s Carasid at Miramar I was surprised to see they had put out at their popular cake shop loaves of sliced sourdough bread. I love sourdough with its hint of delicious wee sour taste and usually it is hard to find in capital city’s Panaji’ many cake and bread shops.

At Fermentstation, Mala…some designer sourdough offerings including the traditional boule loaf and other specialities, of Buland Shukla. Incidentaly sourdough keeps very well in deep freeze and can be returned to room temperature whenever required

home bakers
Mostly one may get a sourdough loaf from one of the crème de la crème home bakers in town, of whom there are several now! There’s brilliant Vandana Naik and Sujit Sumitran, Sujit I think just conducts sourdough classes, I’m not sure if he supplying his sourdoughs to any café or eatery or cake shop or bakery, if he is let me know! Sourdough bakers are few and far between. The thing is commercial yeasted breads get done in five six hours while sourdough will take up to 18 to 20 hours of slow fermentation and baking – it entails a lot of work and sourdough bakers are a breed apart, often considered part time microbiologists because they keep experimenting with sourdough cultures fresh or dehydrated and turn out amazing flavoured sourdough breads (Satya is currently doing beetroot juice sourdough or so she told me) and last heard of Sujit was going off to Belguim to participate in a glamorous hi fi sourdough event organized at the iconic Puratos Sourdough Library.

carasid specials
I CALLED up Christabel Shrivastava about the sourdough loaf she is putting up at Carasid and she was happy to tell me they are now offering large as well as small loaf at Rs100 and Rs70 (sliced, so that it is easier to toast, while the first loaf uses a 50:50 ratio of maida and atta, the smaller loaf is a 100% atta loaf, “Try it, you will like it, it is naturally sweeter and toasts beautifully!” Both she and hubby Sam are not sure if sourdough will take off at Carasid though “for most people don’t know about its health values like low glycemic index, better breakdown of gluten in the flour to make for better digestion and so on.”
There is a lot of funda around sourdough baking and the variety of magical starters used (which some eccentric bakers go to sleep with to keep warm)! Bakeries in Europe specialize in sourdough loaves and it’s quite a well settled down craze now. In India we’re just waking up to sourdough notes in breads and confectionary in big urban centres, where there is a growing health-conscious citizenry, presumably connoisseurs of healthier breads along with eating to live instead of to die! The sourdoughs are more expensive too of course and I’m thinking I better not get too carried away by them…although the loaf I bought from Carasid lasted me over a week.
Quite simply one may not eat too much of sourdough bread for they are nutrient dense affairs and one may be happy with a slice or two – sourdough toasts nicely and of course butter and marmalade atop it livens up flavors to live or die for. Mercifully, I’ve abandoned my Amul butter successfully for some time and now relish the Carasid sourdough small slices spread minimally with this “yummilicious” Society Spice Secrets onion chutney or garlic dry chutney (no coconut in this thankfully)! Can’t find this good stuff in the market anymore, it’s a brand owned by Hasmukhrai & Co from Mumbai, marketed by Amar Tea. The garlic, onion and tamarind chutneys are the best I’ve discovered and when I say this believe me! (Sigh) Good things and good people are just going out of my life nowadays – and also the marketplace.
BUT to return to Carasid at Miramar this is primarily a cosy cake shop and I will swear by its baked cheesecake (Rs100 a wedge). A friend of mine loves the croissants and often picks them up from here, they have both plain and garlic croissants (Rs40 and Rs50 respectively) but please note, these are of normal unhealthy bread and are not sourdough croissants.
Sourdough hasn’t gone commercial yet on a large scale in Goa, but lately I’ve been hearing these amazing things about Buland Shukla’s Fermentation ( a bakery and fermentary) at Mala (Panaji) — he’s got two companies here, one is Audiophile Goa and the other is For the Record – a vinyl bar if you please (only vinyl records for music). Cocktails are fused with feni and have dehydrated fruit slices in them! Interesting. Must go see his range of sourdough temptations one of these days.
This is to say yes, go for sourdough breads and let’s hope they become more affordable!

Goodness of Sourdough Bread!

By Christabel Shrivastava

In 2020, we saw the dawn of sourdough bread, with YouTube ‘how-to’ videos amassing over 21 million views as curiosity grew. Sourdough bread proved to be a little more than just another pandemic trend, with experts and home bakers alike, appreciating the humble bread.
Lockdown made the rare bread more of a common occurrence — especially for those looking for a health-conscious choice. It gained a lot of hype, and for good reasons. Once you’ve got a sourdough starter, there’s a whole new world for you to explore with it. From bread to brownies, if you haven’t already, jumping on the sourdough bandwagon is easy!

What is sourdough bread and how is it made?
The difference between traditional bread and sourdough bread is that the process of sourdough removes commercial yeast. Instead, sourdough bread uses a ‘starter’ that contains naturally occurring yeast and bacteria (lactobacillus and wild yeast) to help the bread rise.
This natural fermentation process is what gives sourdough its name and its distinct flavour.

What’s a sourdough starter?
A sourdough starter begins with two simple ingredients — flour and water. Put aside for up to a week to two weeks, the mixture uses naturally occurring wild yeast from its environment and the flour to start a fermentation process.
While effort-intensive, this starter is essentially what gives sourdough a majority of its flavour. Before baking sourdough bread, this starter is ‘fed’ with more flour, and put aside to reach its peak. Once done, the starter can be used to make sourdough bread or any sourdough delicacy you’re planning on making.

Health benefits of Sourdough bread
The reason Sourdough is gaining in popularity is because of its unique taste and health benefits.

  1. Easy to digest
    The fermentation process used throughout, alters the breakdown of enzymes in wheat, due to the bacteria present. Regular starches are already broken down too, making it easier on your gut. While sourdough bread is not gluten-free, studies show it aids in the digestion of gluten due to the fermentation process.
  2. Healthy blood sugars
    It reduces the number of bad starches commonly present in commercial bread. Sourdough has a lower glycemic index and glycemic load. This means you’ll experience less of a sudden spike to blood sugar in a short span of time, as compared to white bread. Additionally, it means it’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer!
  3. No preservatives
    Sourdough bread’s natural acidity prevents the growth of mold, giving it a longer shelf life than regular bread. It also means you get to consume bread minus all the added preservatives normally associated with commercial bread.
    Goa already has quite a strong sourdough presence with bakeries and home bakers trying their hand at the highly requested bread. The pandemic taught us all a new trick or two, but learning how to make Sourdough bread was definitely a highlight of it all. As it continues to grow in popularity, it’s interesting to see how fellow Goans are showing their own take on it!

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