Meet Ibakeit’s Naina Bhargava With Her Focaccia Recipe!
- JWB Post
- October 16, 2015
Started only a year ago, and run from home, we were surprised by the artistic and delicious treats Ibakeit had to offer. Since the pictures on her FB page had done the magic, on the occasion of World Food Day (October 16, 2015), we visited Ibakeit’s Naina Bhargava to splurge on our hearty appetites.
We all have dreams, and there are some whose eyes show the true determination to accomplish these dreams. Such is Pastry Chef Naina Bhargava.
She welcomed us with cupcakes, cheese sticks, “Toasties” and “Jalapeno Dip”. Slurp.
Team JWB – When did you decide you want to be a Pastry Chef?
Naina – I think on some level I always knew. I remember even at school when we used to discuss ambitions I always said I wanted to own a bakery.
Team JWB – What about your family? Were they always supportive?
Naina – Initially, no. My siblings, cousins, everyone in my family have been brilliant students. They had all graduated from India’s finest colleges. I had a lot of pressure upon me to live up to the expectations of the family. But since the beginning I was very clear about what I had to do, and once I was clear, no one could really argue.
Team JWB – Tell us what led you to Le Cordon Bleu.
Naina – When I was studying at HR in Bombay, I randomly went to Bombay’s Trident, because I had this dream of baking there. The chef told me that I can’t just randomly walk in and that I needed to study the course first. On a piece of paper, he wrote “Le Cordon Bleu.”
Team JWB – Interesting. What happened next?
Naina – Alongside HR, I began juggling with Institute of Hotel Management. I knew I had to get to Le Cordon Bleu. And my parents were only allowing me to pursue IHM because I convinced them that it won’t affect my B Com. Fortunately, I secured a good 85% at college so didn’t get in trouble there. I finally went to study at Le Cordon Bleu, London.
Team JWB – Has it been a “cakewalk” for you then? Did you work anywhere before starting your own bakery business?
Naina – Bakery business, sounds so intense when someone else says it! Well, no it hasn’t been a “cakewalk”. I worked at Rambagh, Jaipur as an intern for six months. Then I worked at Conrad Hilton, Dubai for a year in the bakery division.
Team JWB – What was more fun? Dubai or London?
Naina – London! Because it was much less hectic! Dubai was, oh, you cannot imagine! We had to work all the time. The only thing that kept me strong was the feeling that everything I learnt there would help me with starting my bakery back home.
Team JWB – What’s the ultimate goal for you, where do you see yourself?
Naina – Honestly, I see myself having a bakery that belongs to me. People ask me about the future, if I’ll ever have my bakery chains, but for me baking is love. That’s why I call it, “baked with love”. Commercializing it is one thing which I don’t even think about, right now. My dream is to own MY cafe where I bake, someone else can handle the accounts. I believe in quality, not quantity.
Team JWB – Wow, Naina! Have to say, we are impressed. What recipe is closest to your heart, and why?
Naina – I think making plain breads is my favourite thing to do. I mean even more than baking cakes, I like baking breads.
Team JWB –What are you teaching us today?
Naina – I’m going to teach you how to bake Garlic and Herbs Focaccia bread.
Team JWB – Let’s begin then!
Naina – Okay. So we need:
Refined Flour – 250 gms
Yeast 10 – gms
Grain Sugar – 10 gms
Salt – 5 gms
Olive oil – 80 ml
Garlic (chopped) – 10 flakes
Mixed Herbs – 10 gms
Sea Salt – 1 and a half tsp
Water – 150 ml
Soak the garlic and herbs in olive oil overnight (it is for two days, overnight for those who want it quicker)
Sieve the flour, make a well, add yeast, sugar and make a soft dough. Yeast helps for the bread to expand and sugar is its food.
Knead well. Add the salt with a little bit of olive oil by rub in method. Leave to prove till doubled in size.
Smart tip: Take a small part of the dough, and stretch it slowly, if you see holes being formed, it’s not ready. This is called the window test.
Knock back the dough in a rectangular cake tin. Pour the olive oil, herbs and garlic mixture, and place the focaccia dough into the tin by kneading it gently with the back of your hand to occupy the entire cake tin.
Leave it to prove for 20-30 minutes.
Knead once again to occupy the cake tin. Repeat the procedure a couple of times more to ensure the oil is incorporated into the dough.
Leave to prove for 30 minutes and bake at 200 degree Celsius for 25-30 minutes.
Those thirty minutes we tried her muffins, and I think it’s impossible to describe how delicious they were. I think I brought back a potbelly.
Perfectly moist. Scrumptious. And even a delight to look at.
The Focaccia is ready!
We even helped her with cake dressing! Yum.
I think this was the best Focaccia I ever had, thank you Naina! And thanks for the bonus garlic breadsticks (ALSO DELICIOUS!)
Photo credit – Nupur Agarwal