What do an electrical engineer, a monk and an IT trainer have in common? These are all the things Abhilash was before he turned his attention to bread baking. Not the one to pick an easy path, Abhilash started with the most temperamental of breads - the sourdough - as his baking adventure. At first, he was baking these loaves for himself. Accolades from friends and family quickly followed and much to the delight of this writer, he turned his passion into a full time career six months back.
For the uninitiated, a sourdough bread is made by fermenting the dough with naturally occurring yeast, making it harder to perfect than the bread made with commercial yeast. The bread's signature tang and the open crumb, with lots of holes, is only made better with a high hydration dough that is super tricky to master. While extremely popular around the world, good sourdough is an elusive commodity in Mumbai and there are only a handful of bakers I would trust when I am looking for bread.
Thoroughbread, Abhilash's delivery-only bread brand, easily makes it to the top of my list of favourite breads. My first loaf, full of cranberries and walnuts, had both a delightfully open crumb and the chewy texture that is the hallmark of a good sourdough. The crust was less toothy than other sourdoughs I've bought in the city. Abhilash said this was a deliberate choice, based on his customer's feedback, and the loaf tastes better for it.
Similar care seems to go into every aspect of bread baking. The flours are locally sourced and turned into a secretly fine tuned blend for each variety that Abhilash bakes. My favourite San Francisco loaf is a blend of three different flours. And for the more tricky breads, like the whole wheat sourdough, Abhilash mills and grinds his wheat in house. The equipment and special ovens came from Europe. And for delivery, Abhilash works with a team of differently abled people. The very sweet gentleman who's now been to my home a few times is a big fan of Abhilash as well as his breads.
Thoroughbread primarily focuses on sourdough loaves for now though the menu also has its fair share of baguettes, ciabattas and bagels. Abhilash says cheddar and jalapeno is his most popular flavour, and there are plenty of others like olive and pesto to catch your eye. Plans are also afoot to cater to folks who don't like sourdough (who are you people!) so there will soon be sandwich loaves made with regular yeast on the menu.
I know the world seems to be going a bit crazy around us right now so if you are looking for a little pick me up this weekend, go order yourself a sourdough!
Thoroughbread delivers all over Mumbai. Call or message Abhilash at 96196 03524 a day in advance to order.