Travelling around Denmark it is clear just how much bread is consumed. Open faced sandwiches make up the bulk of most menus and are eaten most of the time at both breakfast and lunch. The toppings are great: herring, prawns, caviar, roast beef, pork tenderloin, smoked salmon, eggs….you name it, you can get it on top of a Danish open faced sandwich. The bread, however, is another story altogether….
At the sign of the golden prezel, you will find the bakers. Inside, on gleaming glass shelves you can find a wide variety of bread: the famous Danish rye, lots of white, lots of buns. Much of it is unsliced and it does not come in a bag – two plus points. However, there the compliments end. Most bread in Denmark is in fact industrial. Baked or pre-prepared or pre-mixed centrally, the bread – whilst utterly superior to most of the rubbish we get in the UK – is still pre-fab goo with plenty of unnecessary ingredients.
It was a pleasure, therefore, to be in a tiny port on the North Coast of North Zealand. Because we cannot pronounce anything in Danish, we call it Gillybee but it is spelled Gilleleje (see what I mean?). There, outside the pub, there was a little cart with three loaves of bread. Inside there is a baker who bakes the bread daily. Fantastic bread: dense, chewy and flavoursome. The baker bakes two different kinds of white bread and one Danish rye whose obvious ingredient (other than the rye, of course) is beer. Sadly, the baker declined to meet us, nor would she share any of her recipes which, as you may know, really makes me cross for two reasons: Firstly because people are starving in this world and the idea of keeping methods of food production secret really winds me up. Secondly, because it diminishes the notion that hand made loaves are unique. I could no more imitate her bread than fly: I am a different person and I will be baking in the UK which means the loaves will be fundamentally different. Grrr. Nevermind, excellent bread from a wholly Germanic baker (in attitude at least). A great find and a reason to visit Gillybee if you find yourself in Denmark.
As a second thought – where are the pigs?