Over the years I have struggled to get a good loaf of bread and fresh soft Croissants in Bangalore. The hunt ended when we discovered Sourhouse. They make the best Sourdough and fermented products in Bangalore – there is no distant 2nd. Add to this their collection of pastries and dips – its a place to bookmark for a connoisseurs of good food.
With products of this quality you would think that the Chef is trained in one of the famous Boulangeries of Paris. You will be surprised to know that the owner is an engineer with a MS in Human Computer Interface. A simple middle class South Indian lad from Coimbatore. A campus recruit at Wipro, MS in Indiana, a short stint at Siemens US and then the 2008 crisis forced him to come back to India. A brief stint at an NGO in Chennai and then 3 years at a Product design Company. His friends working at the NGO in Chennai started Blue Tokai Coffee and that is when he had the first idea of breaking free and doing something of his own. With no formal training he started baking Sourdough bread at home.
I asked him – When most people start experimenting with Cup cakes, Muffins, Biscuits and regular bread why Sourdough? He felt that regular bread with Yeast was not challenging – making Sourdough was more exciting and it was a eureka moment when everything worked out perfect. Practise and Passion makes things perfect, add to this the skill and expertise of his British wife Mia the couple started small and went from strength to strength to establish a name for themselves all over Bangalore.
Whats the secret behind their success? Perfecting the art of Fermentation. Thats when I realised that a bakery is not about cream, cheese, chocolate, sugar and butter – Its all about FERMENTATION.
At Sour House, we want to bring the focus back to fermentation – to create products that are naturally processed, using ingredients sourced directly from producers. In short, we aim to bring you good, honest, healthy food in a socially responsible way
What Is Sourdough Bread
Sourdough is one of the oldest forms of grain fermentation.It’s believed to have originated in ancient Egypt around 1,500 BC and remained the customary form of bread leavening until baker’s yeast replaced it a few centuries ago.
What is the difference between regular Leavened bread & Sourdough
A leavened bread is a bread whose dough rises during the bread-making process as a result of gas being produced as the grain ferments. Most leavened breads use commercial baker’s yeast to help the dough rise. However, traditional sourdough fermentation relies on “wild yeast” and lactic acid bacteria that are naturally present in flour to leaven the bread.
The mix of wild yeast, lactic acid bacteria, flour and water used to make sourdough bread is called a “starter.” During the bread-making process, the starter ferments the sugars in the dough, helping the bread rise and acquire its characteristic taste. Sourdough bread takes much longer to ferment and rise than other types of bread, which is what creates its particular texture.
I looked at the wide range of Sourdough bread at the store – Whole wheat, Seeded Loaf, Olive & Rosemary, Sour Loaf, Dark Loaf, Sprouted Buckwheat etc. And I wanted to know why the shape of the bread was in a certain way.
This shape is called a ‘BOULE” . Boule, from French, meaning “ball,” is a traditional shape of French bread resembling a squashed ball. A boule can be made using any type of flour and can be leavened with commercial yeast, chemical leavening, or even wild yeast sourdough. The name of this rustic loaf shape is reason the French call bread bakers “boulangers” and bread bakeries “boulangeries.”
While Sourhouse positioning and claim to fame is around Fermented products (Not just bread but also Kimchi, Fermented Drinks, Dips etc) – they also have an excellent collection of Pastries. (Sourdough pastries are difficult to make and more chewy – the Sourhouse pastries are not made of Sourdough). Sourhouse makes fabulous Pastries. The best Croissants & Cinnamon rolls I have tasted in India. Soft, fresh and massive in size. They also make delicious Palmiers – A classical French pastry made using 80% whole-wheat and 20% white flour coated with sugar.
And here again there was some education for me. As a I kid I grew up knowing two type of cakes – A pastry (a sweet bread block with a thin layer of icing and cream on top) and a Roll Cake that was filled with a white sugary semi solid. Today I realised there is a lot more to the family of Pastries.
The word Pastry comes from the word PASTE. Credit again goes to the Egyptians. One of the earliest forms of pastry was made by combining flour and water into a paste which was then wrapped around meat to be baked. Pastries were later developed in the Middle East and would eventually be brought to Europe, gaining popularity in the medieval period. By the 1600s, different types of pastry were developed. A Pastry is a small bun made using a stiff dough enriched with fat
There are five basic types of pastry – shortcrust pastry, filo pastry, choux pastry, flaky pastry and puff pastry. Two main types of pastry are nonlaminated (when fat is cut or rubbed into the flour) and laminated (when fat is repeatedly folded into the dough using a technique called lamination) An example of a nonlaminated pastry would be a pie or tart crust and brioche. An example of a laminated pastry would be a croissant, danish, or puff pastry. Baklava is an Ottoman Pastry and Gujiya an Indian pastry. ( Wikipedia even classifies a Samosa as a pastry)
All of this made by a few passionate, dedicated staff. Its all hand made – there is no mass production. Business is booming and large outlets like Foodhall, Nature Basket, Namdhari and Organic world have started placing bulk orders. Its a lot of hard work.
They make almost 25 different products and the best time to visit the store is at 2 in the afternoon. I assure you the smell of freshly baked products is heavenly. Almost everything is made to order and there is no stock that is carried over to the next day. They have a retail outlet in Koramangla near Ooty Chocolate.
And its easy to get their products – they deliver all over Bangalore. You can place your order before 4 PM for the next day delivery. https://www.sourhouse.in. You can also call them at + 91 98940 62073.
Christmas is round the corner, but unique that they are there is no Rich Plum Cake in the menu – instead you can enjoy STOLLEN – A German speciality. Stollen is a fruit bread of nuts, spices, and dried or candied fruit, coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar. It is a traditional German bread eaten during the Christmas season. They also have plans to start breakfast at 8 AM on Sunday – Fresh Bread, Pastries and Coffee. Selvan wanted to experiment with Bread and Chicken Curry – now that is something I frowned at. I would rather they stick to a traditional English Breakfast.
A few More Interesting Facts
A Patisserie is a type of Italian, French or Belgian bakery that specialises in pastries and sweets, as well as a term for these types of food.
Croissant – A buttery flaky bread named for its distinctive crescent shape. The Kipferl, ancestor of the croissant – has been documented in Austria going back as far as the 13th century, in various shapes.The “birth” of the croissant itself – that is, its adaptation from the plainer form of Kipferl can be dated back to 1839.The French version of the Kipferl was named for its crescent (croissant) shape
Why Sourdough Bread is one of the healthiest Bread – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sourdough-bread
What is wild yeast?
Wild yeast are single-celled organisms that exist all around you. They feed on carbohydrates, and as they do so they release carbon dioxide, B vitamins, and alcohol. Because they release carbon dioxide, yeast can leaven bread, and because they convert carbohydrates to alcohol, brewers use yeast to make beer and wine, too.
Traditionally, all brewing and baking used wild yeast – or the yeast found in the natural environment on your skin, in flour, on grains, and in the home.
With time, brewers and bakers cultivated these wild yeasts and, in the 19th century, chemists were able to isolate and domesticate certain strains from the yeast species saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is what you find in packets of baking yeast today.
What is the shelf life of a Sour House loaf?
Consume your bread while it is still fresh. If you leave it outside for more than 2 days the crust may become hard. However, sourdough has a good shelf life and you can still eat it until it begins to go mouldy. (We hope you won’t leave it that long!)
How to store Sourdough bread?
Avoid refrigeration – it will remove all the moisture. Also avoid putting your loaf in a plastic bag, as that will make the crust begin to soften. Storing your loaf in a clean cotton cloth bag will help keep it fresh for longest. If you are planning to save it for later consumption, we advise slicing the loaf, wrapping it in cling-film and freezing it.