Baking in a winter wonderland

February 7th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Guiri Guest | What's Happening Prague - (Comments Off)

So it’s finally here, the much vaunted Czech winter, it’s minus 10 outside and the ‘iron’ cold grips you as soon as you leave your house or apartment. Many layers are necessary and so is something to cover your head and face. It’s never fun for glasses wearers as we always have to put up with cold noses or steamed up glasses. Much to my admiration while there seems to be a profusion of burst pipes and mini glaciers everywhere, the city had not ground to a standstill like the UK does every time a flake of snow settles on the ground. The plight of homeless people dying in the streets however is no laughing matter and no one in government, local or national seems to have a solution to this ongoing and widespread issue.
More bread related issues on Friday and some ideas for ‘undiscovered’ Prague.

Our Daily Bread

February 1st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Food and Restaurants | Household | Lifestyle | Paul | Shopping - (Comments Off)

It might be just me, but one of the things that surprised me on my arrival in Prague, was that the Czechs seem to do bread really well. Now we all know the Czech Republic is world-renowned for its beer and should also be well known for its wine too, from what I’ve tasted, an opinion I’ve formed despite my undeveloped palate. But enough of wine and back to the bread. In the UK, bread is a bit of a sad affair; it’s usually bought in sliced loaf form and is usually white. Most Brits stock their freezers with slabs of this white ‘plastic’ mush and then get it out of the freezer let it defrost and make sandwiches with it. Seeing that the sandwich is an English invention, we pay little heed to the quality of the bread and fixate on the fillings. In the UK, content is king.
I always thought bread was the staple of the French, with their delicious baguettes, but the Czechs seem to do pretty well. While they don’t seem to have too many bakeries, at least in Metropolitan Prague, the supermarkets seem to hold their own; a visit to Billa, Albert and Lidl will reward you with the smell of freshly baked bread. Much of my small change has also disappeared into the floury hands of bakery shop assistants as I have been seduced by the smell of cakes etc as I ascend one of the escalators on the city metro. The only lingering memory of these hastily wolfed snack treats is a lighter wallet and an expanding waistline.
The most basic form of Czech bread is the humble rollick. This simple white roll is the friend of the perpetually hungry, the pacifier of wayward children, and the time pressed workman and commuter. They are incredibly cheap and are usually purchased by the bag full. My guess is that given the nature of Czech cuisine with its myriad soups and heavy sauces they are useful accompaniments to mopping up operations on many a dinner plate. This has been my personal experience anyway. Onwards and up from the rollick there is a veritable cornucopia of white and brown rolls with seeds and without seeds. Here the bread is definitely an integral ingredient of any self-respecting sandwich and not just something to slap some cheese on. More of my baking adventures and travails with Czech names for flour on Friday!