bread maker in mumbai - will it work out?
July 31, 2014 3:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of taking a bread maker as a gift for a family that I'll be visiting in Mumbai, India. What potential problems might I be overlooking?

I'm thinking of taking a bread maker as a gift for a family that I'll be visiting in Mumbai, India. Can anyone tell me how hard it will be to get ingredients locally? The specific ingredients that I am most concerned about are: bread flour, dry milk, dry yeast.

I know 220V power will be an issue as well so I plan to either include an adapter with the bread maker or, if possible, buy one that works with 220V and has the right kind of plug. If I go with the 220V bread maker I could buy it in Mumbai but I don't know if these things are even sold there.

Thank you for any feedback on either of these concerns.
posted by metadave to Travel & Transportation around Mumbai, India (13 answers total)
Bread flour & yeast are ingredients in Naan bread. Milk powder is pretty universal but if they don't have it for some reason bread does not need to have milk in powder in it. Amazon India sells breadmakers, not a huge selection but there are a few available, which suggests they might be available in stores, or you could buy online and have it shipped to them.
posted by wwax at 4:55 PM on July 31, 2014

I've used appliances (microwaves, etc.) with voltage adapters and the results have been generally ... not good. Cooking temperatures/speeds were off and while that's manageable for reheating leftovers, I can see it causing real issues with something as finicky as making bread. I'd definitely recommend trying to buy one with the appropriate voltage & plug.
posted by belladonna at 4:56 PM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

They sell plugs in India.
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:10 PM on July 31, 2014

2nd belladonna, ruined my lovely icecream maker this way
posted by cacao at 5:13 PM on July 31, 2014

You will be able to get bread flour for Indian-style breads, but it may not be possible to get the right kind of flour to make good quality 'European' bread (eg Italian 00 flour); or it might be available but very expensive.

If you can't get a clear answer here, may be worth posting on an expat forum specifically for Mumbai? eg
posted by ontheradio at 5:30 PM on July 31, 2014

You would need a converter not just an adapter (the adapter just changes the plug, the converter also changes the electricity). The thing is that most converters are made for relatively low powered things. A bread maker is not a low powered thing and you might either burn out the motor the moment you plug it in (I've done this) or it might not transmit enough power to bake bread.

Also, if they don't have breadmachine yeast, you'll want to look up how to convert recipes to use other yeast.

Why not just buy a breadmaker already made for the correct electricity?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:09 PM on July 31, 2014

Definitely buy one that's 220V. Converters don't cut it.
posted by redlines at 7:43 PM on July 31, 2014

The voltage in India is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. Therefore, if you wish to use any electronic devices from the United States or any country with 110 Volt currency, you'll need a voltage converter and plug adapter. People coming from countries with 230 Volt currency (such as Australia, Europe, and the UK) only require a plug adapter for their appliances. This webpage might help you understand the issues further. If you go down this route of buying a 110V bread maker, you should visit your local electrical goods supplier to make sure you are buying the right adapters and converter/transformer. Don't buy the cheapest chinese goods either, basically you need good quality ones that can handle the power rating (I'm guessing 500-600W but you can check that with your local electricity shop).

Also, Indian utility power supply can be very unreliable. Have you been to their house before? Are they already running appliances at home? If the answer is yes than a gift like this is a lovely idea... but i think you should buy one for them locally once you get there. This website has some options for you which deliver to Mumbai.
posted by Under the Sea at 7:49 PM on July 31, 2014

You are possibly going to need a 50 cycle unit, as the transformer inside the bread maker may not like the 50 cycle power if it is designed for 60 cycles. It is possible it may not matter but it is worth looking at.
posted by boilermonster at 11:54 PM on July 31, 2014

Buy a breadmaker in India. They are available there, certainly online.

And yes flour, powdered milk and yeast will be available of course. It may require some trial and error to get the slightly different ingredients to deliver the results expected.
posted by tavegyl at 3:32 AM on August 1, 2014

Best answer: metadave, I have so much to tell you! My husband and I are both avid breadmakers (with a bread machine) who live in Mumbai!

We used to have this 220V bread machine we bought online from a 220V specialty store based in the U.S. I got about six years good use out of it before the motor gave out--which I think is fine. As many people mentioned, you could get one locally. I see that Amazon India carries a few models. Just from experience taking appliances around the world, definitely get a 220V model. I have jumbo step-up transformer, and I still won't use it for anything bigger or fancier than a hot water kettle.

You can buy regular bakers yeast at any grocery (provisions) store. The one we usually buy is Bluebird Active Dry yeast. However, sometimes we like to splurge and buy the "fancy" Bob's Red Mill active dry yeast from a chain called Nature's Basket.

My husband has done scary amounts of research on flours. Trying to retrace his steps, I know he's read at least a few of these discussions online about bread flour in India: 1, 2, 3. For all that, we have been just fine baking with regular white flour from the grocery store -- it's called "maida" and is used for making naan/samosas/birthday cakes. "Atta" is your whole-wheat equivalent. All atta, bad bread. All maida, good bread. Atta/maida mixture, ???

Real pros will say that maida does not have enough gluten to make a really excellent loaf of bread, so we bought some extra gluten to throw in. However, we haven't gotten around to that yet, and I still think it's fine without.

I did't quite realize I had so much to say about breadmaking in Mumbai.

Next up: Monsoon and what to do when 90% humidity makes your dough all gloopy!
posted by whitewall at 6:16 AM on August 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: I really appreciate all the answers here. I'm going to purchase from Amazon India and aim to have it get there at about the same time I do.

whitewall, your feedback based on first-hand experience is exactly what I was hoping to get when I posted my question. You've made this decision a lot easier.

posted by metadave at 1:04 PM on August 2, 2014

Just one more point of input in addition to the wonderfully specific advice from whitewall: as someone familiar with Mumbai I can tell you that apartments there are often small and cramped, so if the breadmaker takes up a lot of space, might be good to make sure that's OK beforehand.

I lived in India a while ago, and at the time western-style leavened bread (often called 'double roti') was not something people ever made at home, but times have changed - still, just make sure it is something your friends will be interested in.

Also, speaking of bread, Mumbai has wonderful Parsi bakeries, so if you have a chance, try some freshly made brun pav or khari biscuits. Enjoy!
posted by splitpeasoup at 4:12 PM on August 2, 2014

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