The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Scotland

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dilys's picture
dilys

Hello from Scotland

Hello Everyone. 

After 8 years living in the Uk I am finally fed up with all this soft bread, which seems to be the only thing you can buy here. They look good , but as soon as you touch them, your fingers sink right into the bread with no evidence that there ever even was a crust. So, I decided to start baking my own, and what a difference . Beeing an newbie, i looked around , came across a recipe for a Ciabatta and just did it, and wow....it was the best Bread i had for a very long time. 

Then i stumbled on this website, and was amazed by all you people , so enthusiastic about bread, and baking ....and all the things i did not know , and still don't , about how to bake bread. Guess it was just luck, that the first one turned out so good. Well , anyway, got myself "Crust and Crumb", and started reading, baking and making .....well good bread, but not yet perfect. The Universe obviously decided , that my start was to easy, so it employed several obstacles in my way to perfection. The little dog gnawed on my book, thank good, most of it is still readable, the oven decided to work as he wants , not as i want, my old handmixer finally gave up on me in the middle of doughmaking ......but, i must say, i am having the time of my life here, and nothing will stop me from baking my own delicious bread . By now, my first sourdough starter is on his second day, a foccacio is about to be baked as soon as i finish writing this, and my new standmixer is already been ordered. 

I wanted to thank you all for already being a big help by all this little problems with yeast, what kind , how long and so on. This site is a wonderfull inspiration, and a relief, as i am not the only person crazy about bread , sooo......Thank you , all!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi dilys,

Welcome to TFL!   I'm just down the road from you, in Northumberland.

Best wishes

Andy

Graid's picture
Graid

Hello! I'm Scottish myself, and I feel a need to point out that there are a few places you can get excellent (though pricey) bread in Edinburgh. Peter's Yard and Valvona and Crolla have absolutely delicious bread, the like of which I have sadly failed to every approximate in my bread baking attempts. 

I wish you luck in your bread making endeavours. It's an engrossing and tasty hobby!

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, dilys. Welcome aboard!

Being originally from another country, I really can understand your frustration!  ;)  ....but I can tell you, though you may not believe it, things are much, much better than when I first came here more than 25 yrs ago.   But yes, I must admit a good bread (or other food items) is still far and between in UK, and sadly you may have to be in the right area and often need to know exactly where to get what to meet your standard.  Don't know where in Scotland you are, but usually a large city with cosmopolitan environment is a good place to find quality food suppliers. (The reason I can't live outside London....:p)  As Graid said, try Edinburgh or maybe Glasgow.  Or there're a few artisan bakeries who do mail order services, though I haven't tried any of them myself, I can't guarantee the quality.

And good luck with your new journey of baking your own bread.  My obsession on baking bread started precisely because I was sooooo desparate to get a decent bread, too.

best wishes,

lumos

dilys's picture
dilys

I don't go to Edinburgh often, but I will certainly visit those place you mention, thank you so much for the info :) 

Susan Kline's picture
Susan Kline

hello Dilys,

It was interesting to read your comments on the texture of the crusts because I ran into the same thing when I moved to Quakertown, PA about 15 years ago.  It surprised me because there are still so many farms in the area and perhaps the home bakers are making nice crusty loaves, but the stores had what looked like Kaiser rolls, but a slight squeeze would let me know that I would be getting hamburger buns.  At one point, a local supermarket brought in the good breads from Philadelphia, but while I was a frequent customer apparently others were not because the store stopped selling them.  It finally sunk in to my thick head that the soft bread and rolls were what was popular in this area.  I guess that's my long winded way of saying that perhaps the same is true in the area where you live in Scotland.  Keep on with your home baking and maybe if you share some loaves, you will make converts! 

I live near Baltimore now and have no trouble finding good crusty rolls at a local Italian deli.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Pretty soon you will be making your own great SD breads and never think of the fluff stuff as bread any more - unless you have a nightmare :-) 

Happy Baking!

Nici's picture
Nici

I live in Edinburgh and found this site about two years ago,  it is fantastic.  Reading the posts each day has now become quite addictive, one learns so much.  Whenever I have a problem ( ususally because I have not followed the recipe, or advice here exactly ) I use the "search" box at the top left of the page.  Happy baking !

Graid's picture
Graid

My impression is there's little that's localised about the bread selection in much of the UK these days, since outside of a few specialist bakeries like those I mentioned in my above post, the source of bread is supermarkets. Those tend to be the same UK wide.

Supermarkets carry quite a selection of bread, not all of it soft. Most of them I'd say have some French-ish baguettes, rolls etc, with a crust, though not particularly great texture wise.  There's also the La Brea breads, which are intended to be sort of artisan-ish. I like some flavours of those, though certainly they're not of the crusty, proper artisan bread type.

My favourite British (I think..) bread is without a doubt granary bread.  That's a pretty soft sort of bread generally speaking mind you.

The west of Scotland has its own characteristic sort of morning roll in newsagents, unlike anything available in the East. Much crustier and with a very unusual texture, no idea how they go about making that! 

plevee's picture
plevee

I yearn for the breakfast rolls in the west of Scotland. I also miss the "plain" loaves which used to be available unwrapped and unsliced, had fantastically chewy top and bottom crusts and made great toast.

Of course you'd need the old Ayrshire bacon to fully appreciate the rolls, which were also dipped in the bacon fat! And maybe a slice of square sausage and black pudding.

Scotland used to have marvellous bakeries with wonderful tea breads. The variety of breads wasn't extensive but they were good. Some must survive; they were an essential component of the spectacularly unhealth diet of Western Scotland!

Patsy