Making and Baking of the Daily Bread (Pav/Poi)
Updated: Jan 6, 2019
The Portuguese have had a major influence in India. Goa was the gateway which led to some of the practices being followed to this day. One such tradition was the art of making bread. There are various forms of bread sold around Goa. The most common being Pav and Poi. I was always curious to watch how the age old tradition is being followed in the current times. Fortunately during the monsoons there was a time where i took shelter at a bus stop and i was joined in by a pav seller also known as ‘Poder’ in Konkani. After a bit of small talk, i told him of my desire to see how Pav is made. He gave me the rough directions and timings when they begin making the dough.This bakery makes Pav, Poi and Khatre. The Oven is first fired with firewood and preheated for about 3 hours prior to the baking.
Dough is made using a mechanized mixer to bring together, flour, salt, sugar, water, yeast and a dash of ghee. An occasional intervention by the human hand in the mixing process gets the dough to the right consistency.
The dough is then flung over a platform in batches until it is time to bake. It is a pleasure to watch these huge masses of dough flying over and slapping on to the surface of the platform.
Once all the batches have been mixed, the dough is then rolled into little balls which individually form one unit of the pav or poi.
To make poi, the ball is first rolled to a flat shape over wheat bran. This is the additional ingredient which is why Goans consider Poi as a healthy alternative. Recommended to be consumed by diabetics and the elderly.
Pav on the other hand is made by placing the balls of dough in a tray just the way it is. The trays are covered up so that the dough rises faster. It is left aside for about 90 minutes until it can be baked.
The balls of dough have now almost doubled in size and are ready for baking.
The trays with the dough are placed into the oven for roughly 7-8 minutes to bake. An experienced hand could place multiple trays in and out seamlessly and manage to bake the bread perfectly.
There you have it. Fresh steaming Pav and Poi in front of you. Presently in 2018, each cost 4 Rupees from a Pav seller.
If you would like to see this whole process in action with your own eyes, I'd suggest you do what I did. Talk to a Pavwala and ask him where his bakery is located and the time of preparation. Need i say more?
This art of baking has spread over India, primarily to Maharashtra which has led to the famous Vada Pav in Mumbai. This quick snack is a staple for many in and around Maharashtra and Goa.
If not for the Portuguese, it is hard to imagine a world without Vada Pav, Pav Bhaaji, Bhaji Pav, Samosa Pav, Kheema Pav and many more iconic Indian creations.