The bread behind the sandwich

A quaint Mazgaon lane close to Dockyard Road station — is home to 41-year-old, Mumbai institution Wibs, the bread most city sandwich sellers swear by. Spearheading Wibs (short for Western India Baker’s Association) is the Irani trio — Khodadad, Hoshang and Shehryar. 
Sliced bread was called ‘services bread’ back then because it was popular with the armed forces. It was an English influence. Before that, Indians mostly had pav.
When Wibs burst onto the scene in 1973, it had two fierce competitors to contend with: Britannia and Modern.
The signature red, white and blue packaging with wax coated paper is synonymous with the brand and hasn’t changed since its inception. Revamping the packaging doesn’t help them penetrate the market. Maintaining product quality does.
Wax paper is used for their 800g variant (the larger-sized sandwich bread) since it allows the bread to breathe. Polythene bags trap moisture faster, and that’s harmful to the bread.
They believe that the secret to their success is getting the fermentation process just right, since overdoing it causes the bread to be sour, and under-fermenting makes it flat. When a widely popular sandwich seller was asked about the popularity of Wibs, he answered that Britannia bread in comparison is a bit hard and sour.
Wibs has four plants in the city, each designed to make specific kinds of bread making three thousand loaves an hour. Unlike others, they don’t make their white bread, wholemeal bread, sweet bread and buns in one place. The ovens for 400g and 800g bread are different. The making is a continuous process, with only two days a year for maintenance work.
A lot of thought has gone into its making because when a sandwich seller makes a sandwich, he puts butter, chutney, cucumber, tomatoes, beetroot, potato etc. The bread should hold all this, and people eating the sandwich should be able to pick it up without the stuffing falling all over the place. Wibs is made keeping in mind how people treat their bread, thus delivering what consumers truly need.

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