GHADI AOUAD, OWNER OF MASA (CON MI) MADRE
Ghadi Aouad, a 27-year-old Lebanese-Brazilian hotelier-turned-baker and entrepreneur, successfully launched Masa (con mi) Madre, his bread concept, a couple of years ago. Here, he talks about his concept and everything related to sourdough.
How did it all start?
I started Masa Madre by pure accident from my home kitchen in 2020. Initially, the plan was for me to go back to South America before commencing my Grand Diplôme at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, but the pandemic changed everything, and I found myself baking at home to pass the time. What began as a hobby quickly turned into much more. Demand for my bread grew at such speed that I turned my home storage into a kitchen and gradually hired staff. By September, I was fully operational from home. In a few months, Masa Madre started supplying bread to some of the biggest names and businesses in the country. That’s when I decided to pursue baking and fully embrace this journey.
What sets Masa (con mi) Madre apart from others?
The culinary, artistic and business aspects of my bakery help make it a success. Each and every one of our products has a strong identity. Our unapologetic approach has helped us connect with people and businesses.
The unprecedented curation and use of ingredients from all corners of the world help us stand out. For example, I have made recipes with sea fennel and Lebanese juniper berries, ishpingo flowers from the Ecuadorian Amazon, Gochujang from South Korea, as well as cocoa beans from Ecuador and Colombia.
I believe my conservative approach to business expansion put Masa in that sweet spot where it was able to grow organically and steadily during the economic crisis.
What are the health benefits of sourdough?
Sourdough breads have higher nutritional value than yeasted breads and are generally easier to digest due to the gluten breakdown that occurs during the lengthy fermentation process. This also results in tastier bread.
What are the ways to use sourdough other than for bread making?
For thousands of years, humans have used wild yeast cultures, and “sourdough” is simply a thriving culture of wild yeast used to leaven bread. It could also be used to leaven baked goods such as pastries.
What are the available sourdough tastes, and what do you have available at your bakery?
We currently sell more than fifty items that we produce from scratch. Wheat bread, rye and spelt bread, pastries, and nibbles are also all available. Since we began our business three years ago, not a single gram of sourdough starter has gone to waste. Any leftovers are turned into fruit and crisps, baked rolls, grissinis, and other baked goods.
What are the top bread and bakery trends to watch in 2023?
I feel like anything Instagrammable sells these days, which also extends to baked goods. A cool and satisfying reel of a loaf being sliced or a video of a cubic croissant grabs people’s attention.
As for baking trends, I believe that the current demand for naturally fermented bread stems from intolerance issues and greater awareness of the benefits of consuming naturally leavened baked goods.
My goal is to make sourdough bread accessible to everyone and assist consumers, as well as businesses, transition to naturally fermented bread.