This Bread Tastes Like Home
“One bite and I’m transported straight back to my childhood” says Christian Aeby.
Born and bred in Basel but a Hamburg local for 30 years, he can hardly believe to be lucky enough to make a living doing what he loves best – making sourdough. He spent most of his working life travelling around shooting commercials until he finally decided to turn his passion for baking bread into a career in early 2019. He had been experimenting for years, picking up tricks of the trade from top bakers until finally perfecting the sourdough recipe of his dreams. These days, he sells that bread in his own shop in the Eppendorf district of Hamburg. Spanning four square metres, it is styled like a designer shop with black walls and a traditional apothecary counter as the only piece of furniture. Every single loaf is lovingly wrapped up in pink tissue paper – a true culinary status symbol.
This is a bakery like no other. At “bread.”, there is only one product for sale. It’s sourdough bread or nothing here. Five ingredients (flour, water, salt, acerola cherry and natural yeast) baked in a wood-fired oven to create a crusty, almost overdone finish on the outside with a superbly soft and fluffy middle. If you ask this maverick baker, quality is more important than quantity. “The aim is to get as close to perfection as possible.” That’s quite a big ask considering that “sourdough is temperamental.” It has to prove for 36 hours and it responds to the slightest change in temperature, humidity or air pressure.
If the 63-year-old isn’t happy with a batch, he’ll sell if off for a reduced price. And it pays off … A local newspaper dubbed Aeby the “best baker in Hamburg” after he outshone his professional competitors in a ranking of a renowned culinary magazine. His perfectionism has actually been stopping him from expanding his business. Until now! Another branch of “bread.” just opened up in his hometown of Basel.
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