Bread, Glorious Bread. Don’t we all just love it!
With gluten-free becoming ever more popular with the gluten-tolerant consumer, and with carbs still having the reputation that they are the devil’s spawn, you would have thought bread bakers everywhere would be facing some tough times. Luckily you would be mistaken! Artisanal bakeries continue to bloom all over London like never before, and with scholars proving that bread has been part of our diets for over 30,000 years, it seems that we are not letting the snobbery get in the way of our beloved loaf.
Allow me to introduce to you one of the couples who are refusing to pander to the gluten-free faddists – Fergus and Sharmin Jackson, owners of the Brick House Bakery. They have brought their delicious ‘San Francisco style’, slow fermenting sourdough breads to East Dulwich and have reminded us that all you need to make the perfect sourdough is flour, water, sea salt, naturally occurring yeast, and a little love and care. All of their sourdoughs are hand-made over two days, baked on stone, and use organic flour and other wholesome ingredients including nuts, seeds, grains and dried fruit.
This ‘no frills, all flavour’ bakery is light, bright and airy. It has communal style dining tables and is family friendly, despite what current reports say. The converted warehouse houses a cafe and shop, and hosts bread baking classes on Sunday mornings for those keen to learn the skills of their ancestors. As soon as you walk through the doors you are welcomed by a rack of sourdough bread in all shapes and sizes, as well as a counter full of sweet and savoury treats.
Naturally I had to start with a sweet treat and the jam bostock was the first thing that caught my eye. If you have never tried a bostock, but are an avid lover of french toast, you are in for a treat! These little delights are difficult find in the UK but when you do, grab them with both hands and never let them go! Like most delicious desserts these originated in France and are what happens when chunky, day old brioche meets creamy frangipane and makes sweet sweet love on a bed of melted butter… absolutely scrumptious. Proper classy comfort food.
Being the Easter weekend, the sight of freshly baked hot-cross buns was also welcomed. Beautifully golden, glossy and full of plump raisins, these were excellent specimens and went perfectly with my almond milk cappuccino.
Other treats included Parisian brioche buns (one of my all time favourites), cinnamon buns, cheese and tomato muffins, carrot and lime cake, and rich chocolate loaf cake.
On the savoury front we had to test out the sourdough, and on both it’s avocado-holding and egg-dunking capabilities – SPOILER ALERT – it passed with flying colours! The sourdough was just how you would want it to be. It had the characteristic tangy flavour, a lovely open texture perfect for buttering, and deliciously thick crust. The accompanying bacon and greens were well cooked and of the best quality. The eggs were lovely and runny, and the avocado, well you just can’t go wrong!
This little gem of a cafe in the leafy suburbs of South London is well worth the journey. It is a fantastic place to go for good food, good bread, and a strong cup of coffee whilst catching up on the Sunday papers and letting the stresses of the world go by.