Fresh baked goodies off the shelf

Wood Fire

Within a couple of years, the business grew so much that they had to relocate to Hosur Road taking up a part of the All Saints’ Church premises. Soon the brothers (always impeccably clad in identical snow white shirts and trousers) realised that business was literally booming, so they branched out individually. Thomas, who used to head operations, started his own bakery on Brigade Road, naming it All Saints.

Still very much family-owned-enterprises, both bakeries a few hundred meters apart, have their own sets of dedicated clients, many having been patrons for decades. “Today people gravitate towards the fresh cream confectioneries like pineapple and black forest although many still favour the old-time favourites like rock cake and mutton patties. We have not really discontinued much but have added many more varieties to the menu,” says David, who runs Fatima Bakery and Department Stores, today retaining the old flavour along with the wood fire oven which co-exists happily alongside the modern electric one.

Plum cake around Christmas time, hot-cross buns at Easter was as popular as the masala dosas and crisp vadas dunked in flavourful sambhar, which was served in Tom’s Cafe, next to the bakery which now has a buffet breakfast serving Kerala style dishes like appams and stew.

Butter beans, chocolate eclairs and donuts fill the glass cabinets while the intoxicating smell of freshly baked bread permeates the store around noon each day. Many Bangloreans, from businessmen to bureaucrats, maintained an account on a monthly basis at the bakeries for years and were friends rather than customers with both brothers and their families.

Anthony, who runs All Saints, says that the old style of functioning has changed drastically from salesmen behind counters to self-help and from wood fire to electrical ovens. Fresh-cream cakes in fruity flavours like peach, litchi and mango and chocolate truffles have overtaken the Japanese and apple cakes in demand.

Biscuits too have evolved from the standard salty butter biscuits (that melt in you mouth when fresh) and nankatais to more exotic ones like Shrewsburys and Melting Moments (made from cornflakes). Both places stock sandwiches, burgers, spicy-stuffed buns and spongy donuts with a light dusting of granulated sugar on top, very popular with the student going crowd as a filling snack.

A mention must be made of the famous Swiss Roll available here, a loaf of oval-shaped bread with an unusually hard crust. Made daily in small quantities, it usually flies off the shelves fast so late comers are left disappointed. “It is the last batch of bread that goes into the oven and is left in longer while the crust hardens.With a wood-fired oven, it gets much harder on the outside but stays softly delicious on the inside,” says Anthony.

Housewives with a yen for cooking are encouraged to supply sannas, iddiappams and other home-made delicacies that the two stores stock depending on the quality and popularity of the products. The two brothers Francis and Thomas, now pushing 88 and 83, have retired from the business but do make an occasional appearance to keep a benign eye on things.

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