Sweet and sour: Sourdough specialists make baking look easy

Through their virtual workshops, sourdough specialists Dr Kasturi Neil Sonalkar and Megha Ruparel Datany teach how to bake simple, healthy and classic loaves 

Published: 02nd May 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st May 2021 03:53 PM   |  A+A-

Whole-wheat sourdough boule

Whole-wheat sourdough boule

Express News Service

As India retreats indoors again, new chefs' hats and breads are popping up on Instagram. A healthy option is BakeoGurll, whose virtual workshops teach how to bake sourdough from scratch, sans refined flour, commercial yeast, eggs, refined sugar, edible gum and artificial sweeteners.

Its founders are Dr Kasturi Neil Sonalkar, a qualified doctor and nutritionist who had given up a healthcare career to start Bakeolog, and Megha Ruparel Datany, a telecom professional who owned MangoGurll. They got together to create BakeoGurll that specialises in baking gut-friendly sourdough breads and conducted nearly 30 workshops last year for bread aficionados around the globe.

Homemaker Kanchan Patil from Germany has attended three of the modules and is satisfied with the experience. Suchita Jain in Mumbai is appreciative of the post-workshop assistance of the founders who "are very talented, approachable and great teachers. I trust them with recipes and with my health"!

BakeoGurll, which claims to be a 'mini sourdough school', teaches the  basics of baking whole wheat sourdough, gluten-free sourdough, whole wheat pizzas, burger buns and Laadi Pavs. They even instruct how to make gluten-free pita pockets.

"We believe in practising and promoting healthy eating. Our workshops and bespoke products are more expensive since our USP is not mixing maida and artificial additives that gives bread fluffiness. Our wheat sourdough boule means 100 percent whole wheat boule, made with whole wheat flour, water and culture," the two bakers explain.

Their virtual workshops are popular with amateurs since only home ingredients are recommended. Sonalkar and Datany even demonstrate pressure cooker baking their mantra is: work with whatever you have. Even experienced bakers turn to them for tips. The reason, as LeeAnn Fernandes, a Pune home-baker, says, is their comprehensive guidance. 

Niche seems to be one of the few welcome aspects of the pandemic. 

SOURDOUGH WHOLE-WHEAT FOCCACIA by Dr Kasturi Sonalkar & Megha Ruparel Datani, Co-Founders, BakeoGurll


  • 10 gm mother starter

  • 275 gm whole-wheat flour

  • 250 gm water

  • 6 gm salt

  • 15 gm extra virgin olive oil

  • Vegetables for toppings - tomatoes/capsicum/olives


  • Feed mother starter with 15 gm whole-wheat flour + 15 gm water to make levain

  • Let it double at room temperature and keep in the fridge

  • Add 260 gm whole-wheat flour + 6 gm salt + 33 gm levain + 210-220 gm water + 15 gm extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and mix it like chapati dough

  • Wait an hour, then first stretch and fold

  • Repeat the stretch and fold two more times, with one-hour gaps in between

  • Transfer the dough to a tin greased with extra virgin olive oil, which will be used to bake the Focaccia, and leave it for Final Proof (continuation of yeast fermentation allowing the dough to relax and expand) at room temperature

  • Once the dough doubles up, preheat the oven                                     

  • Dimple the dough and top with vegetables of choice 

  • Bake at 210° c for 30-40 minutes


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