Sick of the local bakeries telling us to take our ‘unusual’ bread requests and shove them…. uh… into… umm… our own oven (what did you think I was gonna say, huh?!), we finally decided to do it ourselves. Besides, it was kinda getting embarrassing for us to NOT bake our own bread, especially since our sandwiches are now counted as some of the best in the city! So in a particularly adrenaline-induced, chest-beating, macho display of bravado, we announced to ourselves that we’d just do it. When the adrenaline-induced (some erroneously call it alcohol-induced) hangover was over, it dawned upon us that we didn’t really have even the foggiest idea how bread is made!
Like any skin-saving manager, we decided to hire ‘bakery consultants’, who promptly quoted prices that we couldn’t swallow, as if we were choking on one of our huge sandwiches. This followed by a lot of bitching, moaning, ‘I told ya’, ‘who the fuxx ever thought of this’ type of interactions. After a lot of that, to our utter amazement, we found that the problem was still there: we were lusting after it and still not getting any! This last sentence should be a lesson in understanding the power of pronouns! ’It’ means bread variety, mind you (again, what did you think?!)
So as world-class engineers with world-class education from world-class universities such as UT-Austin and UPenn and world-class experience from world-class technology companies such as Intel, we followed a classical engineering approach to bread-making: collect a whole lot of scholarly articles on theory, start reading them, not understand much of it, get bored shitless, not admit it, claim you have fully understood it, then neatly file it all in impressively named folders and then follow global engineering’s best known method: Trial and Error!
Armed with the half-baked (no pun intended) knowledge that bread is made with flour, salt, water, and yeast (and constrained by Grubshup’s philosophy of not using any additives/preservatives) and watching countless YouTube videos on not necessarily bread-making, we devised a classical ‘design of experiments’. This was based on the basic principle of ‘first hold everything constant and vary one of the ingredient values in a haphazard way, then move onto the next ingredient et cetera’. We silenced the stupid critics who tried to point out that ‘we may have to vary two ingredient values at the same time’, we convinced ourselves that knowing our kitchen staff, it was impossible to really hold everything else constant anyways! That meant that unbeknownst to us, we were going to conduct a very complex set of experiments anyways!
After a couple weeks of such ‘highly structured’ trials, sticking to the experiment plan as doggedly as an old post-it note, we finally reached nirvana with our very first bread: the amazing Ciabatta (pronounced chuh-baata, with the ‘chuh’ being pronounced as in churchill). And man, what an amazing bread it is: absolutely crispy on the out, tantalizingly holey (as in lots of big holes) and fluffily elastic crumb on the inside and a very good rise!
Just look at that Mushroom Pesto in Ciabatta! (Photo courtesy Shruti Nambiar). And the taste, the feel, the texture and the fluffiness! There’s nothing quite divinely like it anywhere else in town! But don’t take our word for it. Here are a few reactions from some of our guests:
Neeraj Karandikar writes on our FB page:
This is no ordinary bread folks. This bread is softer, fluffier and more porous than the usual bread. Also this bread, even though is a bit crunchy on the outside surface, it somehow retains its softness inside.
In case of usual bread, when you take a bite of the sandwich, after chewing it for some time, the flavor is done with and you are left with a dry ball of dough in your mouth which you have to force swallow. But in case of this new bread, being so fantastically porous, it absorbs the flavor of the stuffing as you chew and the flavor is retained till you swallow the whole thing. Thus giving you the actual tase of a blend of stuffing and bread that is actually expected in a sandwich.
And here’s Bibek waxing hypnotized by our Ciabatta:
Ciabatta simply blends along with the juicy chicken strands, yields a sensation of simply pure food. It hugs the stuffings and gives out an aroma that is hypnotic!
Wow, couldn’t have said it any better ourselves…! But it’s no time to rest on our laurels, there are too many varieties of exotic breads to be baked and too little of an oven! But our engineering genius will see us thru. Just as it did with our Ciabatta… and we’re not talking about the amazing see-thru porousness of it!