Everybody loves French Bread. I have never known exactly why because after a day or two of bread in France I get utterly bored. Yes, a good baguette is good (and a bad one is bad and most of them are bad, by the way…) but – REALLY – there is more to life than white bread in different, sexy shapes. However, if you love French bread, and you are in France, please remember that the best bread in France is found at markets, not in the bakery and certainly not at the supermarket. At the markets in France you will find plenty of hand made bread prepared with different kinds of flour – with and without sourdough, beautifully shaped and normally baked in a wood fired oven. Yum.
In the UK, the same is true for sure. Markets have popped up all over the country. Some are good and some are less good. Some are full of “take away” food of differing quality (Borough Market is mostly take away food now, as is the market in Duke of York Square, for example) but others still have a selection of ingredients that you can buy and take home to make something yourself. Whether they are sold by the actual farmer or even originally bought from a farm (rather than from, for example, Covent Garden Central Market and simply re-sold) you will only know when you ask, and you do need to shop around. Don’t just think the one closest to you is necessarily good. It could be worth while to travel slightly further afield. The Saturday market just by Notting Hill, for example, is wonderful – in addition to organic leafy greens, plenty of meat, cheese, and eggs, you can get Hurdlebrook Farm’s raw milk and milk products and it is worth traveling there just for that.
There is all sorts of bread at all sorts of markets. Once again, taste is in the mouth of the eater and some of it is good and some of it is not. I can say, categorically, however, that the markets where the Bread Angels have a stand are markets where you can get great bread. Brixton Market and Windmill market are two markets at which Bread Angels make an appearance. The joy of buying from Bread Angels is the quality and the variety – with different bakers, each following his or her own style, you get a whole world of bread at one stall!