The Ethical Entrepreneur's BREAD with Care

Arabindh is a content entrepreneur. People meeting him will understand the entrepreneurship nurtures not just ambition but contentment as well. This engineer did his education at Kerala. Arabindh has put in about 10 years in the information technology sector. He began by helping his mother, Gokila Devarajan to conduct workshops connected with Nature cure.  

“Basically Plan B got seeded in 2015 and we did a lot of trials for a few years. The venture got kicked off in 2019. I was basically interested in food. If it had not been engineering, it would have been a culinary school for me. I basically like and appreciate food which does not contain chemicals. One day my volunteer friend, Raghunath gave me the book, ‘Cooked - A Natural History of Transformation’ by Michael Pollan. The book basically talks about food history. ‘Earth’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Air’ have one chapter each. Bread making was present in the chapter which deals with air. One could make bread with just three ingredients - flour, water and salt. It just had a one page instruction. I was amazed and it led me try it out. They had used all purpose flour, but I used whole wheat flour. I understood that sour dough baking was like learning to swim or ride a bicycle. It is difficult but once you get a feel, you are comfortable with it. The first loaf was like a brick and I threw it away. I kept trying about ten times over the next six months. Simultaneously, worked on oven setting, dough nitty-gritty issues etc., and understood more about the types of ovens, wood-fired and commercial. Around 2016 & 2017, a sour dough discussion was going on in the social media and I took inputs from the interactions. Made some more bread and it was barely eatable. I then understood that I had to get a mud oven in order to reach the next level,” stated Arabindh over a discussion.

Arabindh, his wife, Arthi and son, Aaditya had been used to visit Raghunath and Nisha often. It was here that Arabindh stumbled upon the book, ‘Build Your Own Earth Oven - A Low Cost, Wood Fired Mud Oven, Simple Sour Dough Bread, Perfect Loaves’ by Hannah Field and Kiko Denzer. He teamed up with an old colleague who had been interested in pottery. They made a small mud oven. A curious Arabindh decided to bake a few loaves even before fixing a door for the oven. It happened , “oven spring came.” The instant result inspired him to move further. However, he understood that it was a long way to go.

“It happened in December 2018. I was reading a lot and also stumbled upon people in Bengaluru and Goa. Got an opportunity to attend a few workshops. It gave me a chance to meet a few bakers. All of them used all purpose flour (Maida in Tamil) all the time. They said that Indian wheat was weak in protein. It meant that it was of lesser quality with lesser gluten. Tried different types of wheat. Would buy one or two kilograms, mill it nearby, and make the bread. I tried about eight to nine varieties of wheat. Meanwhile, one more book came my way. It was, ‘Open Crumb Mastery - For the Intermediate Sourdough Baker’ by Trevor J Wilson. The author was stating, “one would ever find a perfect flour, do not worry about it, but master the technique.” So, I began focussing on basics and techniques. At the same time, got the big oven ready. The mason Robinson had been trained by the renowned architect, Laurie Baker & team. He helped me to build it. The stone miller was from Edayarpalayam and a speed of 90 to 120 rpm was ideal. It was not available hence opted for this one with a higher speed. Low speed ensured that cold milling took place and it was important. Everything was in place now,” added the baker.  

Now, Arabindh and Arthi tried to make sourdough bread for their near and dear. However, it had issues and therefore they wondered if they could make ones with bakers yeast instead of the natural yeast. It was soft but was not palatable at all because of the old flavour and odour. That is when it made Arabindh understand that sugar, milk and vegetable fat etc., were added in order to supress the undesirable flavour and odour. Arabindh checked out if he could use good Maida without chemicals. Therefore, he searched for a suitable flour manufacturer. Even went to a large commercial mill. They were unable to give Maida free of additives. These additives helped the mills to standardize the flour irrespective of the farm, territory or the climatic conditions under which the wheat had been sourced from. Nature is not uniform and different conditions produced different variants of the same wheat. Every harvest was unique. Additives helped the flour mills to give a standard/predictable output irrespective of the variations in the input.

“The third book, ‘Open Crumb Mastery’ helped me to choose the right wheat for me. I focussed on the technique while zeroing on Emmer wheat. It is one of the three types of wheat that was originally grown in India. It is one of the three ancient varieties of wheat. You can say that it belonged to the era when farming originated. This wheat has not undergone the modern hybridisation process. It has adapted based on location and time. Thus, it has undergone a process of natural selection, landrace variety. This is how we chose and began using the golden wheat, Emmer, that’s organically grown,” smiled Arabindh while taking us around his facility.

Arabindh decided to sort out the yeast issue. He decided to make natural yeast without additives. The baker felt that it could be just like fermenting Idli batter. He mixed flour and water first and kept it aside for a few days. A little of it was taken in a new jar and once again flour and water were added. It bubbled after a few days. He continued this activity for about fifteen to twenty days. At once stage he did it twice a day. Yeast was ready. The discard was used as a fertiliser. Then, Arabindh made the dough, left it overnight. He mixed the yeast that next morning along with the dough before baking. And lo! Good bread was produced and it was the type of food which could keep a person healthy for Life.

The social entrepreneur shared some points in connection with the query, “what next?” “Food we eat has an acquired taste because of the harmful additives. My focus is on food which is safe. Whatever can be done naturally will be processed by us. Cakes are happening now. Pizzas are also going to happen. Research is going on in that direction. I am a social entrepreneur who wants to create an impact in my chosen field. Therefore, am trying to empower people understand food ingredients so that they can differentiate between the synthetic and the natural. Looking at the impact is more important than looking at only money. Our intention is to pay the staff well. We do not wish to place our products in the niche territory. Knowingly or unknowingly organic and natural stuffs have become fancy today. In order to succeed in our mission to ensure that everyone stays ‘Healthy for Life’ it is important to keep the product accessible for all. We hope to do the same in the near future,” confirmed Arabindh while giving us a slice of his fabulous and tasty bread.

Arabindh and his ilk are sure to make the world get rid of toxins and poisons. Let us become their clients and make the world a better place.

Arabindh - 95005 42986


Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of the Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, entrepreneur, and a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.