In the old days Irani bakers used to slice the loaf by hand - now that’s an art!; to cut parallel slices in a uniform size.
Zend Merwan Zend
Is there anything as delicious as a fresh, hard crusted gutlipao, perhaps, soaked in the gravy of a spicy curry? Gutlis, pao and a variety of other breads are made in large batches daily by the many bakeries scattered around Mumbai
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We learned that Zend’s grandfather, Zend Merwan Abadan, came to
“They probably used hops in bread because it prevents unwanted bacteria from impregnating the dough and spoiling it”, Zend surmises. “Nowhere in
After his own father’s death, Zend’s father joined one of the oldest city bakeries at the age of eleven. This was the Rising Sun bakery at Golpitha presently owned by Shah Behram Sheriyar Irani. “They were famous”, says Zend. “Anton Pereira was their old Goan baker and they used to make seven-tiered cakes which were sent by P&O liners to
“The bakery used to supply cakes and pastries from Colaba Military camp to Chembur Naka in a bullock cart. The bullock knew the journey so well that even if father fell asleep, the cart carried on and the bullock would stop near the shops where deliveries were to be made. My father knew each and every lane and all the bakers in
Today, at the bakery established by his father almost 50 years ago, Zend produces a wide variety of breads to cater to changing demands. The kneading process begins at in the morning and the baking starts at We sample some of his fresh, delicious and nutritious seven-grain bread, made from whole-wheat,barley maize, jowar,bajra, rye, andnachli or kang. He also bakes an array of cheese and garlic buns, chocolate bread, Swiss rolls, brown bread, whole-grain bread, pizza bread, sesame buns, hot dogs and of course, sliced sandwich bread and the ever-popular gutli and pao.
“The so-called ‘American’ bread that some people like these days contains at least five to seven different types of chemicals to make it soft and white and have a longer shelf life. How can you expect that bio-chemical mass to be digested by your system?”, he asks with disdain. “Bread must have a bite to it. In
We speak of flavour and aroma: “Because of the high demand for bread, modern bakeries do not ferment the dough by a bio-chemical process; the gluten matures with intense machinisation of the dough, whereas in our process of hand-kneading and slow machine kneading, the gluten takes at least 3 hours to mature and gets a chance of evolving alcohol and carbon dioxide, so the bread develops that typical sweet-sour flavour. Also, the skin of our bread is harder because we bake it for a longer time.”
Unsold bread at the end of the day is baked into toast. “The only people who appreciate this toast are Zoroastrian Iranis” says Zend with a smile. “During the days of persecution in Iran, they couldn’t afford to throw away anything and they broke up this dry noon (naan) or dry toast into small pieces, put them in a large bowl with salted curd, chopped onions and mint and pepper and it made a delicious breakfast. Today the toast is crumbled into papeta-ma-gosht and of course it’s excellent with tea.”
This is an abridged version of an article originally published by Times of India, reproduced here courtesy of Sharada Dwivedi. With thanks, Sharada!
IMAGES, top to bottom:
Yazdani Restaurant and Bakery, Fort, 2007
Cup and bun, image courtesy Sandeep Paradkar
Bun Maska image courtesy Abodh Aras