The room is engulfed in a warm sweet scent. There is that familiar aroma of melted butter and caramelised sugar that is always a treat for the olfactory sense. A couple of tactful hands are at play kneading the dough while some others sprinkle tiny bits of candied fruit. The massive ovens hum along in the backdrop as if indicating that they are ready to assimilate the prepared mixture. After a seemingly long wait, the doors are opened to reveal the baked goodies. Golden brown with generous portions of a maroon confectionery, the much-in-demand Karachi Bakery fruit biscuits are ready. This and much more is a customary exercise at the 60-year-old baker’s factory unit near Shamshabad in Hyderabad that produces three to four tonnes of biscuits daily. The franchise is fondly known as the ‘True icon of Hyderabad baking’.
As good as new
This bakery enterprise was the creation of Khanchand Ramnani, a native of Karachi in Pakistan, who chose to settle in India after the Partition. At a time when the scarcity of fuel for cooking resulted in deaths due to starvation, Ramnani ventured into the bakery business and he began making rusk and bread with his three sons: Hassaram, Narayandas and Ramesh. In 1953, brothers Narayandas and Hassaram chose to take a bigger leap and diversify the business into biscuits, cakes and pastries. Thus, Karachi Bakery’s first outlet was set up in Moazzam Jahi Market, one of the busiest markets in the city of Charminar.
The bakery today, offers a wide range of products ranging from biscuits, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, macaroons, rusks, sweets, pastries, chocolates, snacks and artisan varieties of bread. It is managed today by the third generation of the Ramnani family — Rajesh, Harish and Vijay Ramnani — who are eager to take forward the legacy of the franchise. “In 1953, we did not have a manufacturing unit; we procured material from other bakeries and sold it. Then, in the 1960s, we started our own small production unit and eventually discovered our signature product (the fruit biscuits),” recalls Rajesh Ramnani, director, Karachi Bakery.
However, defying conventional business beliefs, this little bakery store decided