Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bread in London

Greetings from London, everyone. I haven't posted here in almost a year. I don't know if any of you still check this site, but I figured I'd come and say hi to anyone who might be listening. I'm most of the way through my master's degree, exams and term papers are over, Boyfriend's been "kidnapped" for a family vacation, I've got the house to myself for a week, and for the first time in months I have free time on my hands. And I need an excuse not to start working on my dissertation right away.

Since this is a food/craft blog, let me start by saying that bread in England is bland. Well of course bread is bland, you might say. It is bread. But the grocery store bread you get here does not even taste like bread. It tastes like...nothing. The white bread tastes like styrofoam. The brown bread tastes like cardboard. I gave up on grocery store bread and went to the local bakery. It was marginally better, but still tasted like a puffy matzo cracker. Compared to British bread, even the humble, standard Hong Kong "Garden" loaf is bursting with nutty aroma. I can't understand it.

So now that I have free time, I've taken matters into my own hands and started making my own bread. I am operating under the general principle that the more egg, milk, butter, cheese and cinnamon (but not at the same time) I add my dough, the better. I have no idea how any of this works scientifically, but I don't care as long as it turns out anything but bland. Or burnt. Burnt is bad.

I've got some whole grain-ish, eggy, milky, buttery dough rising right now, and I'll post pictures when it's done.

Aside from the bread and the sausages (don't get me started on the sausages - ick), I am enjoying quite a lot of the food here in London. I can get so many ingredients that were rare or ridiculously expensive in Hong Kong. Like almond powder. Or whole wheat flour. And the yoghurt! It is so cheap and plentiful, I don't have to make it at home anymore. Boyfriend is in love with the cheese. And the Vietnamese food here is much better than what you can get in Hong Kong.

But seriously? How does every single commercial bakery in this country screw up bread?