A two country bread tour and not a hole in sight

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How do I get those big holes in my bread?  That is a question we often get from students.  In fact, we get it so quickly that there is a post dedicated to it. However, take a set back and ask yourself these questions:

  • why am I baking bread
  • how am I baking bread
  • what is the purpose of my bread
  • how will I eat my bread
White and rye - no holes
White and rye – no holes

Bread with holes in it is simply one kind of bread, made in one particular way. It’s perfect for mopping up sauce, and rips up nicely so one can dip it in things and apply lashings of butter to individual pieces.  However, bread with holes is not so good for other things. Toast? Sandwiches? Better to use bread without holes.

Wonderful home baked bread at a restaurant (no holes)
Wonderful home baked bread at a restaurant (no holes)

You can be proud of bread with a closed crumb. You do not have to pander to the opinions of people who think “real bread” has to have holes. In fact, you have to ask them the following question: “Travel much”?

A bit odd - turmeric, beet root, charcoal loaves - no holes
Turmeric, beet root, charcoal loaves – no holes

On a recent road trip in Estonia and Latvia we visited plenty of markets and saw plenty of amazing bread. There was not a single hole in sight.  Why is this? Firstly, there was plenty of rye bread – this being the north – and there is no way you will get big holes in your dough if it contains a lot of rye flour. Secondly, the way bread is eaten here requires a closed crumb. Bread is a carrier – butter, lard, cheese, meat, jam…you name it. And you cannot have big holes if the function of your bread is to carry something.

Lovely white bread at a market - no holes
Lovely white bread at a market – no holes

In our wonderful baking courses you can learn to bake bread with holes or without holes! Our suite of e-learning courses includes ciabatta and focaccia – both famously holey! Our suite of face to face and Zoom courses includes basic bread (no holes), sweet bread (no holes), GF bread (no holes) and sourdough bread (lots of variety here so some have holes and some don’t).

A range of rye bread - no holes
A range of rye bread – no holes

Two whole countries (among many) simply cannot be wrong!  Go on – take a break from holes and you really get to PILE the butter on your bread.

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