Annyang Hasaeyo from South Korea
I've been around the forums a little bit but don't think I've formally introduced myself yet. I'm an English teacher in Daegu, South Korea, originally from Seattle Washington. Korea has a humongous void where bread should be. Most of their baked goods are overly sweet and steamed. One of the things I miss most is crusty, rustic, SIMPLE bread. After 16 months here, necessity has called and I'm attempting to make my own bread out of brute force. I've acquired a fair amount of kitchen equipment, all things considered and I can also find my way around the grocery stores and markets with relative efficiency. It's been pretty successful, but the hardest part of baking in Korea is finding ingredients. All the basics are readily available - flour, baking powder, yeast, etc, but I'm having a hard time finding things like high-gluten flour, cornmeal, many spices, semolina, rye flour, or other "special" flours. Today I actually found powdered wheat gluten available in small amounts that I added to some bagels I'm making. It's expensive and in very small amounts though. The other major limiting factor is my oven. It's a counter-top, convection oven, which works reasonable well but it's really small (about the size of a microwave) and only goes up to 440F. So far I've been able to make ciabatta, foccacia, english muffins, banana bread and cinnamon rolls with great success. I have some bagels retarding right now that I'll boil in a day or so.
Are there any other expats in South Korea out there? Do you have any insider hook-ups or have you figured out how to find baking ingredients? I also brew beer and was lucky enough to almost literally stumble upon a Korean homebrew supply store! However, I haven't been able to find the equivalent for baking supplies.
Also, one other question. I have acquired a precious amount of cardamom! What are your favorite cardamom recipes? I want only the best, this is like gold to me!