The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Terrible London (UK) bakeries...

Cob's picture

Terrible London (UK) bakeries...

....are all over my parts.

I've not had much luck with those recommended by the Real Bread campaign. Some of the bread I've bought have really shocked/peeved me off equally.

£3-4 for a sourdough that's worse than mine (my SD is not actually bad!)? Just because it's organic and real. Do not know what's up with that.

Most days I love to bake bread. Some days I like to buy bread and take a day off.

Now I've heard of many good bakeries, such as the E5 Bakehouse and Old Post Office bakery. I don't mean chains such as Gails, Paul's or le pain quotidienne.

What are your favourite loaves worth paying for at which bakeries? I never hear of small, local bakeries.

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

I don't have any personal experience with their products, but Levain Bakery is an artisan bakery selling at Greenwich Market, and there are at least half a dozen artisan bread vendors at Borough Market.

dabrownman's picture

find a good baker  like Andy at the markets, you can always make a double batch the day before you want to take a break.  All of my SD breads are better the next day - some are much better.  It's almost good enough reason to bake every other day as a regular schedule.  Then you could use old dough, dump the starter and take very other day off - I guess not so good for those who love to bake every day like you do.  Baking one loaf a week has been hard for me but my freezer sure ins't as full as it used ti be either :-)

A $6 loaf of white or wholemeal bread sounds pretty steep for what you can make it at home for - cost wise.   But, if you put in a scald or sprouts, meaty and aromatic seeds, some nuts and dried fruit and use a $5 beer like Ian does double chocolate stout, a $10 loaf at home is pretty easy to get too as well.  Even with my $2 limit or the beer in breads, I get to $8 for the materials pretty quick for a 1.000 g boule.  Still, they taste unlike any breads I have ever bought for $8 since I would never spend that much for a loaf bread - even though I do every time I make one!

I've really got to reign in the apprentice's ingredient list.

Happy baking 

Cob's picture

LN, thanks for the tip but what particular loaf would you recommend I HAD to try? Faced with them all, I'm weak and have a tendency to carry home the whole storefront. The bad bread I mentioned was all bought at Chapel Farmer's Market but Borough looks great. I still can't believe I've never been....


I don't know if it's allowed to name (erm, scandalise) bakeries and loaves (but I think that's the idea of the forum) but I bought the driest, hard 'Light Scandinavia Rye' for over £3 by the Celtic Bakers. The meat cleaver had trouble penetrating the crust. Nearly did damage to my own hand.

And from Flour Power City Bakery, a sunflower loaf that was drowned in oil. It was gross; wrapped in paper, I came home to discover my bag was drenched by what I though was a bottle of water.  Taste-wise, I could have bought it from Sainsbury. Pathetic.

I see Backhaus sell at Borough, I am dreaming about their pretzels and ryes. Anyone recommend a particular bread? I've also heard good things for the Polaine bakery but it's a right trek.

debrownman, it's equal measures learning (new breads) and dinner (pizza most nights!). I simply cannot freeze any more bread (it's stuffed) since I bake nearly everyday. Suffice to say, me and toast are not great lovers anymore. (Found a new angle, fried bread. Yep, not great for the insides, but boy, it tastes fabulous.) You're like those old bakers of old, fire up the stone oven for two hours to get it hot enough to bake that entire week's bread. Cool. If only I knew dough's that kept so long. Besides, who's not addicted to fresh bread? That crisp and crackle is like the sound of music.

Love your ideas, and indeed, I already do too much for my bread already. I do not want to get into growing my own wheat (unless, it were absolutely necessary.)


Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

I started baking my own bread b/c of the high prices, I just can't bring myself to buy bread. Of course, I continue to bake bread, not b/c of the high store prices but b/c it's just great fun!

Yeah Borough Market is amazing, unfortunately it's a bit "hip" and all the foodies go there, but the range of produce and baked goods is unrivalled. Probably the meats too, but I'm a veggie so I don't really look. It's mostly too expensive for my taste, but I love to look.

Last time I was there, an italian olive oil vendor was sampling different oils, and comparing them by the first/second press, and the process temperature. It was very educational.

Anyone visiting London should go to Borough Market (check which days they're open before you go!).

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Cob,

If you want to try Poilane bread - you might find it in some upper class Delicatessen shops around London.

For example, Neil's Yard Diary in Covent Garden (Neil Street) stock it. Worth a visit anyway, for the cheese.

Cob's picture

LN, I agree, bread prices have soared but that's not due to quality but the increase in the price of wheat. Good bread - something I've rarely bought myself too - is best made at home, unless naturally, you've the money to buy it and it's readily available. Alas, we don't live somewhere like France where they bake up to 3 times a day, and good bread is everywhere.

At Sainsbury actually - it may be anathema to say it - but they do a great smelling fermented TTD bloomer. It doesn't have the greatest texture/keeping qualities, but the aroma is good. £1.20 I think, for a 800g loaf. I have yet to try any of Waitrose's artisan brands, except for a Paul's Brioche that was horribly dry and crumbly.

And Juergen, if I went to NYD, I have a terrible feeling I'd get distracted by all the smelly cheese. Nothing like buying a stinky lump for a homemade loaf. About the easiest dinner one could make. Thanks for the tip, I never knew they sold their bread elsewhere.