Bread can be very personal. A chewy, dense sourdough with a hard crust may be perfect for some, whereas others prefer a soft granary loaf.
We asked bakers at PX+ Festival last month what was the best bread they had ever eaten.
Aidan Monks, owner and baker, Lovingly Artisan in Kendal:
“It was the first time I had bread made by Poilâne bakery. It was their sourdough that I had bought fresh in the south of Paris. That was, without a doubt, full of flavour, really chewy and moist. It was just one of those breads that didn’t try to be anything else.
“You know it’s good bread when you immediately go back for another one. It was a beautiful sourdough with a lovely sharp edge and a well-developed taste.”
Monks was recently named Baker of the Year in the Baking Industry Awards 2019.
Wing Mon Cheung, baker, Ten Belles Bread in Paris:
“My favourite bread that I’ve had recently was Richard Hart’s miso rye. It was really quite special and just packed a punch of different flavours. I already love miso, so there’s a bias there, but the balance of the acidity and sweetness of the rye and the salt and umami of the miso was delicious. Plus, the texture was perfect for a rye.”
Kimberley Bell, owner, Small Food Bakery in Nottingham pictured above (right) at PX+ Festival with Louise Bannon, baker, Tir Bakery in Denmark:
“I can’t give just one loaf. When you have a bread that you really love, it’s so delightful. For me, what makes it delightful or makes me love it is when it’s made with incredible skill by a dedicated baker, when the grain is a very high quality and the milling has been well considered.
“It’s important that the loaf represents a local grain network and the freshness of the flour comes through. Bread tastes better when people are working in that way. It makes it more special.
“I have a memory of a loaf of bread when I was a kid. My granny took me to a bakery in Norfolk. It was just a soft granary loaf, but it was delicious.
“I also had a great loaf of bread in the north west of the USA made by Sophie Williams of Raven Breads. It had a high proportion of rye and buckwheat in it.”
Luke Duffy, baker, E5 Bakehouse in London:
“It’s a close competition. I would probably say either the porridge bread I had this week, which was made by Wing Mon Cheung of Ten Belles Bakery and had malted barley in it. Also, Louise Bannon did some really nice bread at PX+ Festival last year, where she porridged some really nice semolina and folded it back through the dough.”
Dawn Woodward, baker, Evelyn’s Crackers in Toronto:
“I love Wing Mon Cheung’s oat porridge bread because she toasts the oats and it’s simply delicious.”
Lydia Schofield, baker, Aston’s Bakehouse in Incpen, Berkshire:
“The last time I went to France I had my first proper French baguette made by a bakery in Paris. It was next level – it was sourdough and so crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.”