As I write this post my mouth is coated in the sour, unpleasant aftertaste of a sourdough English muffin. It's breakfast: a little butter, a little Italian honey, and a crunchy muffin. Why is my muffin sour?

It's sour because in the US, particularly in San Francisco, it's hard to buy good bread. About 75% of the decent bread in my grocery store, both fresh baked and industrial, is sourdough. Consumers think sourdough is shorthand for quality. It's not. In fact, sourdough is seldom the appropriate bread for a meal. It makes lousy sandwiches, lousy breakfast, it clashes with cheese. It's good with creamy soups, and it's good plain with butter. But the premium bakeries all push sourdough, and so sourdough becomes synonymous with "good", when it's not.

The flipside of sourdough is hideous American industrial bread made out of sugar. Sugar has no place in bread. OK, maybe a pinch to proof the yeast. But bread should not be sweet. Pretty much every industrial bread in my grocery store is sugary; particularly second-rate breads like hot dog buns. Yuck.

  2008-06-21 15:36 Z