The Rex Baker managed to get away for a couple of weeks to Barcelona & Catalunya in August 🙂
As always, the family knew to expect some fieldwork with side-trips to Spanish artisan bakeries. Unfortunately – not only are real bakeries as few & far between as they are in the UK, but they tend to close down for 2 weeks in August themselves, so we didn’t manage to find too many exciting new loaves.
As it’s hard to imagine a Rex family meal without a basket of bread or not sandwich-based, this meant exploring what presumably so many people consume on a daily basis – pre-part-baked baguettes with their telltale dots all over the base, supermarket “artisan” loaves (yuk) and chain bakeries where OK appearances prove deceptive & disappointing.
Our best discovery was that the Catalans do like to cut up white loaves & top each slice with juice & seeds from fresh tomato plus chopped onion, then drizzle olive oil over before eating with cured charcuterie & fresh cheese – that’s common for breakfast, lunch & supper and what in theory should ever taste better than that when well made?
But because of the bread available, very rarely was a simple meal converted into the delight it should & could have been with a delicious real bread centrepiece. Most breads we tried did not even contribute any added desirable taste & texture themselves, they at best worked as carriers. Some were actually net detractors from the meal – too dry & dense, too uniform & woolly textured, too bulky, largely inedible.
Ironically, at the same time as trying these disappointing daily fast-made breads, we were seeing enquiries into our Rex inbox regarding “gluten-free” bread. One was on TripAdvisor here (click on image to see in new window):
This leads us to spell out a few home truths comparing & contrasting fast-made fashionable gluten-free bread with Rex:
|Rex certified Real Bread sourdough||Factory gluten-free Bread|
|Only organic flour, natural leaven, water, a little salt
And plenty of time
|Typically more than a dozen ingredients
Added raising agents to fast develop Wheat flour alternatives with chemical additives such as improver, accelerators, preservatives
|Hand-shaped||Heavy or all machine-use|
|3-days to allow full fermentation. The leaven naturally, slowly denatures the wheat & gluten in the flour & dough rises in this time||Chemicals force fast dough rise within a few hours. Unfermented.|
|Resulting bread has delicious taste & texture||Resulting bread can be dense, cloying. A filler.|
|Clinicals have shown real bread (slowly made, fully fermented) sourdough is so benign to eat, it doesn’t even raise the blood sugar. Highly tolerable & easy to digest, doesn’t bloat.||Spreading across industry with big bread brands like Allinson’s & Warburton’s investing in gluten-free production facilities & charging premium prices|
|Gluten-sensitives find they can tolerate||Gluten-sensitives & coeliacs can tolerate|
Whilst it’s reassuringly healthy for all Friends of Rex including gluten-sensitives to know that they can comfortably digest Rex without bloating thanks to our long fermentation principles – the real benefit for all of us is that the taste & texture of real bread is so, so much better than any factory made bread (be it gluten free or not). We really can’t see the value of consuming anything so inferior – couldn’t be given away free to us now 🙂
We were happy to return to Blighty just for our Rex breads !!! Did you have the same experience? Or was it more bread-y where you were? Enjoy this Indian summer back home all of you…