The Old Bakery Goa: A Hidden Gem You Won’t Find On Trip Advisor


 

 

Now when you are a baker at heart and by profession and you stumble upon a hidden gem tucked away in a hole in the wall kind of place,your joy knows no bounds. And for a bread baker there is no better excitement than to get lost in conversation with a Poder (Goan bread baker).Well these were exactly my sentiments on un earthing this old bakery nestled in a  inconspicuous bylane of Ribander Road Goa.

This Bakery has been christened as the Old Bakery of Goa for the want of a name as none seemed  to be  displayed on the facade or any signage of sorts. I recall having read about this place on one of the Goa forums as a post from a member and hastily  book marked it as a “Must visit” place.

Visiting local markets gives a great insight into local traditions and customs. The true essence of a city comes out alive by  wandering around these rustic settings  in search of local flavours I for one am a huge supporter of local artisans and vendors and ensure I keep aside a couple of hours to take in the sights and delve deep into history where food seems pure and simple and time is enhanced by a new discovery.I was keen to write about the old Goa bakery in a small attempt to revive this delicious profession before it faces extinction.

 

 

We happened to be driving around the area and asked around for directions. The local folks around this village seemed to keep directing us by saying “Halter” which translated into Konkani (the local Goan language ) means “just a little ahead” or “at the next turn”. Not quite an easy find, but driving down the the narrow and quaint lanes in anticipation of our destination made it all the more magical and worth going down the Poder path.Bread making in Goa (albeit a dying art) is still very much a integral part of the Goan way of life.Bread making is an art that was brought to Goa by the Portuguese. Traditional Goan bread is called Poee or Poi. This bread quite easily resembles the middle eastern Pita bread as it can be sliced into halves and made into pockets. The dough calls for standard ingredients of Flour or a mix of wholewheat and all purpose flour, water and yeast. However traditionally toddy was used for fermentation instead of yeast which imparts a characteristic flavour to the bread. 


This display of Poee grabbed my attention and also because we usually grab a couple of dozens of this lovely bread and bring it back to Mumbai. I often put them into freezer bags and they stay well for months.
Incidentally Pao in Portuguese means bread and a Goan bread baker is called a Poder who has a basket attatched to his bicycle and rides around the neighbourhood selling freshly baked bread. He announces his arrival by honking the horn and is sort of a wake up call in the morning.
There are various other traditional breads such as the Kakan (bangle shaped) Undo (crisp bread ) and Katriche Pao (scissor shaped bread)
I now have  Poee baking on on my to bake list for sure and would be posting the recipe here soon.

Here are some of the Traditional Goan Breads baked by local Poders.

1.Poee or Poi (Similar to Pita Bread)


 

2. Katriche Pao (literally translates into Scissor shaped bread)

3. Kakan Pao (Bangle shaped bread)

The entrance to this bakery is extremely narrow and I waited patiently for the customers ahead of me to complete their bread purchases. I then went forward and stood by a small counter with Ronald (the Poder) smiling and quite amused at my ecstatic behaviour. Probably not quite used to his regular local folks buying bread with such sheer joy and contentment. It seemed to be a family run place. I happily got my stash of Poi packed to bring home and freeze for later use. These breads were warm and fresh out of the wood fire oven. I decide to wander around the place a bit and find mounds of gorgeous sticky dough and then trays neatly stacked with beautifully formed balls of dough, proving patiently till they are well risen and ready to be baked.The atmosphere here is dark,gothic and quite dungeon like , but the aroma of freshly baked bread  wafting through the air is intoxicating and unbeatably the simple pleasures of life.

 

 

 

Viva Goa, Viva Poders Of Goa!

Location: The Old Bakery

Ribander Road

Old Goa

 

 

 

Give Us Today Our Daily Bread: Easy Spelt Loaf

Spelt watermark

 

The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…

Bread Making is one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”
M.F.K.Fisher, The Art Of Eating

 

And I couldn’t agree more.  I absolutely love bread making. For me the entire process is one of the most satisfying experiences in my kitchen. Right from kneading the dough (which I must admit I love doing with my hands) to knocking it down,letting it rest and baking it.Gentle bread aromas wafting through the house as I wait impatiently for my loaf to turn into that wonderful golden brown. A perfectly made loaf for me is a euphoric sense of accomplishment and gratification.Now it’s another story how antsy one gets  once the bread has been baked, as I just can’t wait long enough for it to cool and devourer it.

I had some Spelt flour which I had picked up on a trip to Dubai last year and had been wanting to experiment with this ever since.

Some Facts about Spelt:

Now mind you this grain is not gluten-free as it a form of  ancient wheat, all though the gluten content is lower and hence better tolerated by those who are gluten sensitive (This is my own opinion as I do have Gluten Sensitivity)

Packed with nutrients,this grain is much in demand and is making a huge comeback.Spelt has high water solubility, so nutrients are easily absorbed by the body making it easy to digest. It is high in protein (significantly higher than wheat), higher in B complex vitamins, and spelt is high in both simple and complex carbohydrates. Spelt’s nutty flavor doesn’t just taste good, it has so many other nutritional benefits that are amazingly good for you.

TIP WHILE KNEADING SPELT DOUGH:

The gluten in Spelt is pretty unusual, while wheat flour that needs a lot of kneading to strengthen gluten to give bread structure, the gluten in spelt breaks down fairly easily. So just make sure not to over knead this flour.

Well enough said about Spelt flour and now for the recipe for this wonderful Bread. Please do try it out. I have made this a couple of times now, with some not so great results. This time however it came out just perfect.

Go ahead and bake some ,I’m quite glad I experimented with Spelt flour.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 grams Spelt flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon  Active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 300 ml Luke warm water
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • Pumpkin seeds(optional)

METHOD:

  1. Pre heat  the oven to 200 C
  2. Activate the yeast by mixing it in about 100 ml water and the sugar.
  3. Once the yeast is activated mix the spelt flour, yeast, salt and remaining water and make it into a smooth dough .I like to use my hands. Please do ahead and do this in a mixer with the kneading attachment.
  4. The dough will be soggy so you could add a little more oil and mix till smooth.
  5. Place this in a glass bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let this rest for about an hour.
  6. The dough will have doubled in size within the hour.
  7. Knock down the dough.
  8. Now place this dough in a bread tin that has been lightly greased.
  9. Make deep cuts on the surface of the dough.
  10. Cover again with a damp cloth and let this rest for another hour.
  11. Sprinkle with some flour and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 34-40 minutes.
  12. Remove from the tin when done and place on a wire rack to cool.

Happy Baking dear friends!

Cherry Tomato & Oregano Foccacia

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  “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” – James Beard

 

This wonderful Cherry Tomato is my first bake from the wonderful book that I received when I bought my Kitchenaid Artisan Standup Mixer in Dubai last year.Well I have experimented with lots more from the book,just haven’t got around to posting these beautiful recipes. Well I’m quite a recipe book junkie. Aren’t we all?Most often bed time reading lands up being recipe reading.I just love browsing through the multitude of recipes and images and of course make notes of what’s next on the baking agenda.Sometimes the lists are endless and don’t even get to even half of the recipes.

The Kitchen aid recipe book has an assortment of various recipes,ranging from  Sauces, Pasta dough recipes, Breads of all kinds,Pastries and Pies and lots more. These images have been in my folder for ever so long.Well that’s just a normal day in the life of a blogger I guess. I sometimes worry that I may suffer from ADD.I probably bake one thing,I’m editing images of another recipe and well land up blogging about something totally different.Well what matters most is that I do post all the recipes that I try out.So here goes.

This Focaccia is an easy recipe to follow and does not require much skill at all.I’ve used cherry tomatoes and some Oregano and flavoured it with Olive oil and sea salt.Nothing beats the taste and smell of warm and fresh bread out of the oven.So worth the effort!

Warning: Won”t last long as tastes delicious, hot out of the oven.Highly recommend baking two loaves at a time:) Happy Baking!

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Makes 2 Loaves: Ingredients:

  • 30 grams Yeast (Instant or Active Dried)
  • 400 ml Lukewarm water
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 800 grams All Purpose Flour(Maida)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 125 ml Olive oil
  • 12 small cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried Oregano
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil and sea salt for garnish

Directions:

  1. Mix the yeast in the lukewarm water.Stir in the sugar and let it rest for 10 minutes or until foamy,if using active dried yeast.
  2. Stir in the Olive oil.
  3. Mix the flour and salt in the mixer.
  4. Use the dough hook to knead and gradually add in the yeast.
  5. The dough should be soft.
  6. Knead for 2 minutes.
  7. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave it to rise for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  8. Knock down the dough and add in the dried Oregano.
  9. Divide the dough into two equal portions.
  10. Roll each portion into circles.
  11. Place them on a greased baking tray.
  12. Make indents with your fingers in each circle.
  13. Push a cherry tomato into each indent.
  14. Cover again with a damp towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  15. Pre heat the oven to 200C.
  16. Drizzle the dough with Olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt.
  17. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Challah Bread with Vanilla & Chia seeds

 

 

Mother’s hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever…

Happy Mother’s Day lovelies!

 

Challah watermark

 

It’s but natural I write this quote as it felt like just yesterday that my son was  really little and only five. How time has flow by and that little one is now eighteen and quite an  independent adult. He is down from university for the summer and yes it’s baking mania in my kitchen!

He’s away at a friends and I’ve been baking up a storm tonight. Started off with a batch of double fudge brownies and then was just aching to try this Challah recipe that keeps wanting to be made. I’ve adapted this one from my lovely Kitchenaid cookbook that I received, when I bought my food processor last year. Now the recipe calls for using the dough attachment for kneading ,all though I’ve just used the hand technique. The recipe called for vanilla pods which I’ve substituted with regular vanilla extract and have used chia seeds instead of poppy seeds. You may even use sesame or sunflower seeds if you like.

Challah: An easy and straight forward Jewish bread most often made during the festivities.The pure, simple, unadorned word challah means “a loaf of bread.The braided challah, which is made with eggs, is the Jewish Sabbath‑and‑holiday bread. Continue reading

Za’atar & Buttermilk Cluster rolls

 

 

Good Morning!

The dear son has arrived on summer holidays and it’s a Bakathon (Baking Marathon) of sorts in my kitchen once again. A fussy eater as a child, he is now happy to sample a variety of cuisine, breads and bakes from my kitchen. I had baked up these easy and fool-proof Buttermilk Cluster rolls a couple of days ago.

These work great as an accompaniment with Dinner or can be served by at breakfast as well. I’ve used up some Za’atar that I had around but you could use any other topping of your choice. Sesame, Onion and sunflower seeds do equally well for this recipe.

Za’atar:

Za’atar (zaatar) is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs frequently used in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas.

It is often mixed with olive oil and spread on bread; sometimes this is done at the table, other times the mix is spread on the bread rounds which are then baked. Za’atar also serves as a seasoning to sprinkle on vegetables, salads, meatballs or kebabs.

Trust me these warm rolls out of the oven are quite a show stopper and delicious in every bite.

Go ahead and bake some up today!

Cluster bread watermark Continue reading