I am on a constant quest to find good bread – good sourdough, in particular. The ones with a good crust – the kind that crackles and sings when a knife saws through it; with a moist, elastic and stretchy interior, like a sponge featuring holes large and small; and importantly, a deep earthy flavor with a slight sour edge. To ensure one ticks all the boxes, one needs to really understand the science of it all, and really devote their heart and soul into it. I was therefore thrilled at the news that Andy Strang, the man behind the new bakery Bread by Bike in Kentish Town, is a physicist.
I love a bakery with a good story. Andy Strang was in the process of writing his PhD dissertation in Physics and needed to procrastinate, like the rest of us. But unlike the rest of us his procrastination wasn’t watching animal videos on Instagram but rather dedicated to a greater cause: figuring out how to make the perfect sourdough. And after his doctorate he decided to just bake full time, leading to two World Bread Awards and now a permanent bakery after a successful round of crowdsourcing.
Bread by bike is 26 minutes away from my house by foot. First time I went, I purchased a still-warm loaf of Hippy Bread – their classic sourdough studded with seeds. It’s a big, half kilo loaf, I’d say. And in the 26 minute walk back home I managed to eat through exactly half of it. It is simply a gorgeous sourdough, fulfilling all my criteria (though if I’m being super critical I wouldn’t mind the crust being a bit crunchier).
The next day I went back for brunch. Brunch is okay. I won’t complain about the slow service as they’ve only opened recently. The menu’s the usual – it’s got your avocado on toast, tomatoes on toast, baked eggs and tomatoes with toast. I’d happily just go for two slices of bead and some butter next time. They also have a range of sweet baked goods like various cakes, none of which looked very tempting as they looked quite… homemade and lacked a bit of finesse. I tried a cardamom bun – it’s also okay. London’s got better cardamom buns elsewhere, but it is perfectly adequate.
Their strength is their sourdough. Bread by Bike gets their returning customers with that. They’ve been open for less than a month so they may need to figure the rest of it out, but they’ve mastered their sourdough, and if my waistline wasn’t an issue I’d happily have their bread accompany all my meals.
Bread by Bike
Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace, London E8 3PH
Daily 7:00 – 19:00