The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi from Taiwan, where bread really sucks!

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Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Hi from Taiwan, where bread really sucks!

Hi from Taiwan, where bread really sucks! 


After years of frustration with both the locally available bread and my pathetic attempts to make my own, I have purchased the Bread Bible and Bread Baker's Apprentice, am just starting to read them, and have finally made a couple nice loaves!  I look forward to chatting with y'all about artisan breads.

chiaoapple's picture
chiaoapple

Hi there, I also live in Taiwan. I guess your main problem is with the "Asian" style breads (buns mostly). While I love "hearth" style or European style breads, there's nothing really wrong with the sweeter, softer Taiwanese breads that are topped/filled with anything you can think of.


I've also had some pretty decent European style breads here. For instance, at "Angelina" bakery, Peter Lugar bread bar (at least I think it's Peter Luger, it's in 101, B1), and also at "Cheers" in the Hyatt. I'm just naming a few off the top of my head. Of course, I prefer to bake my own bread, not necessarily because of the taste, but as a favorite hobby.


Also, where are you getting your flour from? I can point you in the direction of some sellers who carry great Japanese flour, if you're interested. 

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

LOL  Ni hao, chiaoapple!  Yeah, I'm not really a fan of sweet and soft breads in general (with a few rare exceptions), so I can't stand the Taiwanese interpretations of them (although I do know some who like them -- nothing wrong with that!).  The worst bit is that just when you think you've found a nice little loaf, you take a bite and get an awful surprise of sweet red bean paste or some god-awful custardy filling. 


A lot of bakeries adulterate their breads with all kinds of chemical adjuncts, I'm told. You might find a store with decent loaves, but every one will be saturated with some kind of garlic-flavored grease (rancid butter?), and the average bakery doesn't sell particularly good sandwich loaves either. Substantial multi-grain? Hah!


Sure, the situation has improved a bit in the last few years, with Wendell's up in Tianmu and a few other isolated spots selling decent stuff, but those are the exception. Try finding a nice bread in the outskirts of town or beyond!


Good bolillos, pan de muertos, whole-wheat English muffins, rye bread and so on? Very hard to find.  Fresh corn tortillas? Not gonna happen.  So I've recently decided to make my own. Actually I decided years ago but kept failing, making dense, heavy breads with half whole wheat, stupidly thinking that if the instructions said let rise an hour or until doubled, the 'or' meant I could choose between the two, LOL.  If only I had known...


Thanks for the names of those shops -- where is Angelina?


I know of four baking supply shops, one at Minle near Dihua St., then two tiny ones in Nangang and Donghu, and one big one at the NE corner of the central city. The latter, my main supply for flour, is the DIY baking shop in an alley just off of (underneath) the Minquan E. Rd. bridge; they have some nice flours, although I'm really only taking baby steps at this point and haven't had time to experiment with them yet -- I only got my books in last week, and baked two good batches and one flop; that's the extent of my experience after first hearing of slow pre-ferments and all that jazz. 


 


I'm guessing you shop at the same store? In case not, here's some of what they have:


Superfine hard, whole wheat, finely milled with no flecks, 日清 brand, 13.5% protein, 1.5 ash,NT $120/kg


CDC 法國麵粉 French bread flour, prot 11.0, ash 0.41, $70/kg


日清SK特高筋 extra high gluten, 13.8% prot, 0.42 ash, $100/kg


They have a could whole wheat flours I think, a variety of things like vital wheat gluten, rye, wheat germ and bran.


Their bulk flour is cheapest, at around $100/ 3kg, but other than being labeled as high, med and low gluten, they offer no info on it (e.g. protein percentage). I asked, but they don't know.


I'm very keen on learning to bake proper artisan bread, and I think I'm on the right path so far. I'd love to exchange notes and pics with you.


I'm in Donghu, btw, and you can also find me under this username on Forumosa.com, which is a great site for finding things (including baking ingredients) in Taiwan. Do you know it?

chiaoapple's picture
chiaoapple

Hi, sent you a message, let's definitely talk more about baking in Taiwan.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I thought the Taiwanese used a water roux starter to make very soft and delicious breads?  Or maybe it's the Japanese?  I am very fascinated with how soft the breads are.  Amazing!


simpleann's picture
simpleann

why not try the 水煎包for a change, it's pan-fried and not baking though.