Praktik Bakery, Self-Service Bakery / Cafe, La Dreta de l’Eixample

Praktik Hotel BakeryI avoid making bread. Cake, cookies, tarts? Yes, yes and yes. Work clean, measure accurately, get the oven temperature right and with a good recipe, success can always be achieved. Bread on the other hand requires time, commitment, nurturing and being open and receptive to what it’s telling you. Bread making is like taking care of a child. And I have 3 of those so my patience and intuition are worn thin, I am full to the point of bursting in the deciphering mercurial temperaments department.

So bread? Not so much in my house.

Praktik Hotel BakeryI do like to eat it though and watch Anna Bellsolà make it on Youtube. All topsy turvy and not the way I do it at all (the way I do it is stick everything into the Kitchen Aid, mix, put cling film on top and wait for it to rise – no art or beauty in the process. But Anna, to make a ciabatta, she starts by mixing flour, water and salt. She works that dough. She rests it. Later she adds crumbled yeast to it. (!!!) She rests it. Then she pours green olive oil on and somehow coaxes the bread to suck it all in. By the end, having worked with a dough so wet, it would have intimidated me into adding an avalanche of flour  (but not her) –  she has a dough so round, pert and perfect that when she slaps it, it sounds like she is slapping a baby’s bottom. Read more of this post

La Blanca, Bakery, L’Eixample

One of the first things I did when I moved to Barcelona was to attend a baking course at Espai Sucre.  Not because I need to learn how to bake but to get a glimpse at who might be doing that kind of course.  I loved my baking teacher, Betina Montagne, a woman who wears brightly coloured dangly cupcake earrings without a hint of self-consciousness.  At some point she mentioned she was starting her own bakery so I made sure to get all her details, follow her on all the social media available and sure enough, right on time, she’s opened her bijou store.
L1103198 Read more of this post

Forn La Llibreria, Traditional Bakery, Eixample

Forn La LlibreriaThere are many indistinct bakeries in Barcelona. Forn La Llibreria stands out from the bunch.  Because of the original design – sure – but mostly because they use stone ground flour and traditional baking methods.  Which means that your bread doesn’t transform into a doorstop 24 hours later.  And the crust is crunchy but there is also a chew to it – not just a shatter.

Read more of this post

Zeit für Brot, Bakery & Cafe, Mitte.

Zeit fur brotThey have cinnamon buns in Zeit für Brot.  Cinnamon buns make me think of Louie CK.  Louie CK always makes me laugh (and who doesn’t need a laugh with so much winter ahead of them?).  He is like a mild-mannered, unkempt accountant type except when he opens his mouth the most incredible amount of expletives and shocking ideas emerge.  To which he shrugs his shoulders and grins sheepishly, like he just unexpectedly passed a bit of wind and it’s never happened before…IMG_1204Cinnamon buns are the antithesis to all those dinkelbrots and bauernbrots I consume.  Like the hussy men take up with immediately after leaving their reliable, supportive but oh so boring mother of their children.  Heston Blumenthal illustrated this phenomenon perfectly when he left his wife Zanna for Suzanne (Please, please watch the video promotion to her book The Pleasure Is All Mine, you will keel over laughing if you are a woman or think the recipes look really good if you are my husband.).


I see the cinnamon buns and I think: “This is what I need, yeast, sugar, pillowiness – badness.”  Then half way through I feel a bit bloated, a bit blah.  I’ve peaked quickly and now it’s still a grey winter afternoon except I’ve got half a cinnamon roll lodged in my gut. Read more of this post

Wiener Brot, Bakery, Mitte

Wiener BrotOn Tucholskystrasse, there is a little brown fox with what looks like a button mushroom (but is more likely a chef’s hat on one ear) surreptitiously climbing up the shop front of Wiener Brot. Inside the shop there is a shelf into which loaves of bread are filed vertically. Large red swirly lamps that look like thick brushstrokes hang from the ceiling.  A colour picked up in the lipstick and cat’s eye glasses of the buxom woman behind the counter.

On the back shelves are jars of Berliner Honig (a perfect Berlin themed stocking filler) and Berliner Bären Gold.  Then I spot a hoard of Sarah Wiener books.

“Is this a Sarah Wiener shop?” I ask the shop assistant
“Yes.” She beams back.
Oh.” I think flatly.

I had high expectations for another Sarah Wiener place Das Speisezimmer and although the design of the place was nice, the food was less than lacklustre.  Still that was over a year ago and I had only eaten there once.  I could be wrong about Sarah Wiener.

Except I’m not. Read more of this post


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