Bread and all its wonderful variations

“Bread – like real love – took time, cultivation, strong loving hands and patience. It lived, rising and growing to fruition only under the most perfect circumstances.” 
― Melissa Hill , Something From Tiffany’s

Often the villain in the culinary story is the bread.  It’s delicious and satisfying carbs – and their endearing way of attaching themselves to your midriff and hanging on, with the tenacity of old chewing gum.

The offer of bread is regretfully refused by those of us who know and love it, secretly crying.  Bread is virtuously demonized by the health influencers,  posing with their tops hoisted over the washboard abs in the bathroom mirror.  Bread is the thing the hungry crave the most.

It’s the thing that sneaks on to the table with oil and vinegar or garlic butter, and despite your stoicism, you are beguiled.. bewitched by the siren song, you don’t even care that another 5 euro goes on the bill.

I know all of this, and yet, the first place we check out in any village is the bakery.

Enjoy this carb-free journey, but I can’t promise you won’t run out for some first thing in the morning…

Pita Bread – Kalkan, Turkey

Pita bread is made just about everywhere, and comes to the table inflated just like a football, with sides of yoghurt or hummus and variations of shakshuka, a spicy tomato tip. If you venture into the kitchen (which we did) we had a fabulous demonstration, but I think the tandoor oven is really the hero in this case. Its immense heat, and the bravery of the operator, sticking the dough disc to the wall of the oven, are key to this fantastic bread. Its light and crisp with a bit of chew to it. Irresistible.

Baguette, St Foy Le Grande, France

There is no equivalent for this loaf from France, with its chewy crust and fluffy centre.

A line of people snaked out of the door of La Petrisane Patisserie, in Sainte Foy Le Grande, France, which immediately alerts you to the fact that something good is going on inside. Patrons departed clutching a veritable bunch of baguettes, I think we were the only people to buy one. That poor loaf barely made it back to our digs to be devoured shortly thereafter.

There is something about french bread that just can’t be replicated. Is it the water? Is it the wheat? I would love to know….

Icelandic loaves, Reykjavik, Iceland

The reputation of Braud & Co, Bakery preceded it with good reason. I would love to show you a photo of the still warm loaf we purchased, but it went straight home and was consumed covered in slathers of butter and honey. This was New Year’s Eve and staff were busy pumping out stock in preparation for their day off the following day. There were crowds drifting in and out waiting for the famous cinnamon rolls. Whilst waiting we worked our way through the other available options.

And it was all spectacular. Can’t recommend this place enough.

and back to Turkey again

Lachmucan, Istanbul. Watching the maestro of the oven was a massive treat, the dough was deftly shifted around the oven with an enormous paddle. It was important to stand clear of the paddle handle as it poked in and out of the oven, producing piles of flat bread, dimpled with the imprint of fingers, or coated in toppings to produce the wonderful pide.

a craftsman at work

Do you love bread too? I’d love to hear your stories of breads you’ve enjoyed….

Don’t be a stranger, I’d love you to like this, or better yet, follow me. No spam, no selling, just pretty great stories from a couple of ordinary travellers.

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Is it too late to have a gap year in your late 50s? To take back some time from our day to day working life to travel - unplanned, unescorted, unfettered? To take that leap? It was a defining year - liberating, challenging, humbling, scary. It was many things, but it wasn't a holiday.

5 thoughts on “Bread and all its wonderful variations

  1. You are speaking (writing!) here for me! I love bread, bread&butter, any kind of bread. I’m in Ireland now and can’t stop myself from eating whole grain Brown Bread at least once every day. Breakfast of that bread plus West Cork yogurt — the best! Outside Ireland I find it hardest to avoid pastries for breakfast, especially in hotels where chocolate croissants, cinnamon buns with raisins, newly baked croissants are always on offer it seems (except in Turkey).

    1. Im talking your language then…. yep, good bread and butter is the best. Nutella croissants are nice for the first day, maybe two, but after that I craved something more “worthy”, Proper.

  2. Wow, that pitta bread certainly doesn’t look anything like those flat, dry little pockets for sale in the supermarket!

    Despite living in France, I’m not as ‘in love’ with French bread as everybody else seems to be. Yes, a fresh baguette from a good bakery can be extremely scrummy but after a couple of hours you could beat somebody to death with it. I blame that for my neighbours contributing to global warming by making three separate car journeys a day to get the obligatory breakfast, lunch and dinner baguettes.

    My two favourite breads are focaccia with it’s lovely dimpled, slightly oily surface with little treats like cherry tomatoes or olives popped into those dimples and sprinkled with rosemary. My husband makes a mean focaccia when the mood takes him.

    I also have a soft spot for a good old English crusty loaf. Back in the day, when there were proper bakeries on the high street,, my Dad used to go down to the town on a Saturday morning and buy a white bloomer and some cream cakes for tea. Thick slices, slathered with butter and jam. Yum! Enough to make the health and lifestyle bloggers faint, I know, but my parents both lived, in good health, into their mid-80s so ……

    1. I once tried to make ciabatta, which ended up being a nine hour epic as the dough is supposed to be really wet. I ended up standing in the dark in the cold watching nothing happen in the pizza oven. I pondered why I had bothered when I could buy a better one for about $3. LOL.
      There is a middle eastern bakery not too far from us where I can go to indulge in stretchy still warm pita bread too. One day I’ll have a go at it here. And probs fail dismally but…that’s the journey 🙂

  3. Wonderful post, and especially those Icelandic loaves look so delicious! When bread is that good, you don’t need much else besides a smear of butter 🙂

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