Senior Achintya Prasad utilizes his unique background in cooking to sell homemade bread and raise money for the UM Food Pantry
By the time Achintya Prasad’s bread-making business began to flourish in late summer of 2020, his background in cooking was already well established. Growing up with a mother who was “super interested in cooking” and a grandmother who used ancient Indian techniques in the kitchen, Prasad has spent his life “eating foods most people don’t even know exist”.
This unique relationship with food led him to begin his own culinary career early on. Cooking involves a “creative process of your brain, and exercising that part of your mind is something a lot of people don’t do,” he explained.
When asked about his biggest inspiration outside of his family, he answered with Mark Iacono, founder and owner of Lucali’s Pizzeria in New York. “I think that his approach and mentality to cooking and the way he runs his restaurant is a source of inspiration,” Prasad said.
“Some of my favorite recipes come from combining what I’ve learned from Andrew Rae (host of the popular YouTube show Binging with Babish) and J. Kenji López-Alt (a food scientist and chef) with my own experiences,” Prasad said.
His favorite dish to make is Coconut Curry, a savory Thai meal. “I have a tendency to make carbonara [for a midnight snack] because it puts you to sleep,” he said. “My most-used ingredients are garlic and basil, and since music is very important in the cooking process, I make sure to have music on in the background while in the kitchen. My go-to genres are EDM and old country music.”
Prasad’s favorite food to make is bread, a love that he recently began sharing with the world. In August of 2020, he discovered a special type of flour that was particularly hard to find during quarantine.
“After that, people started telling me that if I ever sold bread, they would love to buy some,” he said. He quickly was swamped with orders for his herb and cheddar jalapeno loaves. “It was overwhelming. The first day I posted on Instagram, people started swiping up… saying they would buy.”
Once Prasad began receiving five or six orders in a row, he decided that he would donate the profits from his booming business to the UM Food Pantry, and has been faithful to do that since. Thus far, he has raised $150 for the organization. “I’ve been privileged, so I have the need to remember those that are not,” he said. “Donating [this money] makes the impact of sharing bread with others more substantial.”
“I think one of the greatest moments in your life is when you make bread. [When you] take it out and are so proud of it,” he explained. “It is something everyone can try.”
ACHINTYA’S BREAD MAKING PROCESS:
1. Start off the night before by mixing bread flour, yeast, salt to create the bread base. Then add herbs or other flavoring ingredients.
2. Put in water; let sit and ferment.
3. Let rise overnight.
4. Preheat oven to highest temperature. Heat in cast iron.
5. Bake each loaf for 30 minutes.