Friday, 15 August 2008

Morning Bakery

morning bakery of fresh bread at Bebot's Siargao Island PhilippinesEvery morning at 5am, as the sun rises, reluctantly, Bebot's wife makes bread rolls, and they're wonderful.

They're not the usual Philippines pan-de-sal, that are altogether too sweet and mushy. These are almost genuine, unsugared, bread rolls.

I buy them for breakfast (for dunking in coffee or Milo) or even, sometimes, as a special 'English' treat (sliced hot with plenty of butter and a bit of Marmite).

The oven is very high-tech. It's a galvanised iron box, with a folded corrugated-iron roof folding over. This one even has a heat shield at the front. It's fired by a pile of smouldering coconut husks on top. Bebot's wife manipulates the bread rolls with something like a bugsay (paddle), with which she whips them around like a flock of sheep.

But the main problem is that no-one in the Philippines has ever learned to make bread properly. They use soft flour; they don't mature their yeast, etc. There is nothing here remotely resembling the fresh early morning French baguette; they learned bread-making from the Spanish, who haven't a clue.

And that's a big disappointment; I would love to eat a fresh hot baguette every morning. Maybe I'll get out there one morning and start preaching. I love fresh morning-cooked bread.

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