Bakery industry in India has changed through the decades. The Indian bakery market is estimated to be worth Rs.16,500 crore, growing at a CAGR of 7.5%. The bakery industry is one of the largest sub sectors within the food industries. During the early 1990’s, only the elite sections were inclined towards bakery and bakery products. But with growing disposable incomes and changing lifestyle trends, bakery is becoming very popular among the middle class Indians as well.
Breads and biscuits form more than 82% of the Indian bakery market and other items like puffs and pastries account for around 18% of the total market. The cakes and pastries segment of the industry is worth Rs.1,250 crore of which 65% is accounted for by the unorganised sector. The bakery industry is still largely unorganised. The bakery market is the most affordable ready-to-eat food available in the market. India produces second most quantity of biscuits in the world. Almost 67% of the biscuits are produced by unorganised sector and about 80% of the total bread and 90% of the other bakery produces, which include pastries, cakes, buns, rusks, kharis, and muffins, are contributed by the unorganised sector.
The spike in demand in the sector has ushered in a lot of changes. The industry has taken an organic turn. With rising obesity and diabetes, as well as a growing interest in unconventional sweet eats, organic bakery has witnessed a surge in popularity. India has one of the highest number of obese and diabetic individuals. Organic bakery has emerged as a healthy alternative.
Indian bakers are now crafting desserts that can be enjoyed without worrying about their side effects. Consumers prefer organic baked products that contain no pesticides, chemical fertilisers and are sugar- and gluten -free. Ritika Agarwal, a nutritionist and a bakery expert, informed, “The traditional way of baking desserts uses refined flours and processed ingredients, which are exactly the ones we need to avoid. They are the prime cause of all sorts of health problems prevalent in our society- obesity, diabetes, even cancer and so on. So why not use the right ingredients which are going to be building our health and also to a large extent prevent the occurrence of some of the problematic diseases too.”
Every year, during Christmas and New Year especially, there is a huge demand for cakes and pastries. The October-January festive season is the busiest for the industry as festivals, weddings, and corporate events have become cake-smacking occasions. Cakes and bakeries are now considered an important part of gifting, mainly in metro cities. The fact that people are so much into desserts during any special occasion has led bakers to come up with innovations that are healthy, as well as sapid. Home bakers have influenced the market in a big way by introducing healthy substitutes in baking cakes. People are now moving towards the healthier options when it comes to eating what they love the most.
There are many bakers who are solely interested in baking organic healthy bakery items.
Tantraa Organic Handbaking - Bangalore
Taantraa Organic Handbaking located in Bangalore was among the first organic bakers in India. Founded by Chaitali Raizada in 2011, Taantraa was among the first few to introduce multigrain cakes with jaggery or almond flour cakes. Taantraa also initiated baking exclusively vegan bakes, which were gluten- free. Chaitali Raizada, a self-taught baker with no formal training at all informed BE, “I am apparently the first in the world to bake a cake with a local bean called moong dal, which remains one of my signature bakes till date. Oil-free, sugar- free, flour-free, eggless, dairy-free - you name it and I can bake it.”
Taantraa specialises in allergy avoidance and diet specific bakes. Their products cover a large spectrum of diets and dispositions including gluten allergy, nuts allergy, salicylate allergy, diary allergy, diabetics, oil free living, flour free living, sugar-free living, paleo diet and the ketogenic diet.
The ingredients that they use are mainly almond flour, millets, oats, nut meals and jaggery. They do not use white flour and sugar at all. Other key ingredients are wheatgrass, asafoetida and a whole lot of spices. Chaitali added, “We are in the health segment and the fat content in our bakes are negligible. Some are totally fat-free. Taantraa is not about desserts. It’s about a way of life that is free of the clutches of white-flour, sugar, preservatives, and additives. Our food has maximum health benefits and we just have to make sure we start to use those ingredients which are the best for our bodies in this climate and not ape the west and their junk food disease inducing culture. The aim is to keep our bodies as away as possible from all chemicals which are used in fertilizers and pesticides.”
Recipe: Goji Berry Red wine Truffles - Oil- and Sugar- Free
Prep time: 15 mins, Cooking time: 15 mins, Serves: 4
10 medjool dates, 1/2 cup Red wine dry, 1tsp Unsweetened cocoa powder, 1tsp grated orange rind, 1tbsp Dried Goji berry powdered, Pinch of Rock Salt
15 oven roasted Hazelnuts or Goji berries for garnishing, 1 1/2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling the Truffles
Roast the dates slightly in a heavy bottom pan- without oil
Add 1/2 cup of Red wine, 1tsp grated orange rind, 1tsp Unsweetened cocoa powder, Pinch of Rock Salt & the powder of the dried Goji berry.
Once the wine reduces to half remove from the pan. This happens very fast. Remove the seeds from the dates. Mash all the ingredients in the pan with a fork by hand not in a blender.
Chill this thickened batter for a while then make bite size ball from this batter and roll it in the plate where the 1 1/2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder is spread out. Roll it well so that the Truffle gets thickly covered in the cocoa powder. Place this in a truffle liner for storing. Similarly make 15 such balls.
Insert one Roasted Hazelnut on top of all the Truffles and keep it in the fridge to get cold.
Once cold it’s Heaven. A healthy heaven to be in - oil free with only natural sugar.
Vegan baking tips:
Apple cider vinegar is the magic potion. Apart from being a girl’s best friend it helps to bake amazing cakes.
1 tbsp of flax seed with 3 tbsp of hot water is equivalent to 1 egg in all recipes.
Apple sauce works wonders in baking.
You can substitute anything and everything to suit your requirement with the stuff readily available at home.
Townhouse 10 is a healthy, organic, and gluten-free, home-bakery based in Kolkata, which was started by Mallika Bhandari. Four years ago, she had visited Phuket Cleanse, a detox and wellness/fitness boot camp in Thailand and was introduced to the world of healthy desserts and gluten free, organic, raw, and vegan cuisine and it amazed her that such food actually existed. “Can you imagine a dessert without butter, flour, white sugar, without eggs or any animal product? Once I came back from Thailand, I was so inspired that I tried and tried innumerable recipes just to see what worked and what didn’t.”
At her bakery, she substituted the ‘bad-for-you ingredients’ with healthier options to cater to many dietary needs and restrictions. The ingredients are sourced responsibly and are devoid of artificial colour, flavour or preservatives. Townhouse 10 also avoids the use of white sugar, refined wheat flour, and butter to produce nutritionally rich and delicious baked treats.
“With a rise in lifestyle disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and intolerances such as lactose and gluten intolerance, gastro intestinal disorders, the need to bake healthy is more important now than ever. Going organic is the only way one can limit harmful chemicals and toxins entering your body,” says Mallika.
According to her, the key benefits of organic baking include a lower risk of chemical pesticide, fungicide, insecticide and fertiliser residues, toxins and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Not only does that mean that it is beneficial for the environment, but it is also much fresher as there are no chemicals added to it to make its shelf life longer.
“We at Townhouse 10 use only certified organic products such as organic jowar flour, organic sunflower oil and organic coconut oil, organic brown sugar, organic honey, even the eggs used (although not certified) are high quality and near-organic eggs. Apart from this, we make sure our customers get the best of cacao powder and (organic and/or vegan) dark chocolate, that is shipped to us all the way from the USA. Frostings used are all organic as well. Although the cost of using such products is high, we believe that it is a price worth paying for. Nutritionally rich, organic, gluten free and completely natural products is the way to go,” adds Mallika.
Their most popular cakes are the strawberry and dark chocolate cakes. Their dark chocolate chip cookies with sea salt are quite popular as well. The cakes range from Rs.710- Rs.1150 per pound and cookies from Rs.360 to Rs.380 for a pack of 5 and are all made freshly (sometimes the very same day) and on a made-to-order basis.
Raw, vegan and organic peppermint dark chocolate bar
One of her favourite recipes is a raw, vegan and organic peppermint dark chocolate bar, which she likes to eat as a snack every now and then.
Ingredients: 1 cup of coconut oil
1.5 cups raw cacao powder
1 tbsp spirulina powder
2 tbsp maca powder
3-4 tbsp agave nectar
A pinch of sea salt and some organic vanilla extract
Method: Sieve all super food powders into the coconut oil and whisk. Add sweetener and culinary extract and pour this chocolate mixture onto a tray to create a bark, freeze and voila! It’s ready!