‘October 26’ is run by the delightful Raluca Micu, a self-taught baker (hard to believe when you taste her creations) and being the nosey parker that I am, met her when she was fitting out the shop, almost two months ago. As we’re half way through Real Bread Week, I’ve just got around to writing about the wonderful bread she makes and I think the images speak volumes.
As soon as she opened, the first loaf we tried was a large round sourdough – all her bread is, sourdough (not round) and it is one of the best I’ve eaten. Great crumb structure with a wonderful crust, in part because she bakes on hot stone. Since then, we’ve been slowly working our way through her repertoire.
When she didn’t run the bakery, and in the days before her toddler she wrote food blogs and baked lots and lots. Information from other blogs, including The Fresh Loaf spurred her on to bake excellent bread and propelled her forward into taking on her own shop.
Her bread begins life with one of two starters – a wheat and rye – the latter mainly for spelt for the allergy sufferers.
She bakes in small batches – 9 loaves at one time in, as I said before, a stone oven. She bakes at 250°C for ten minutes, lowering the heat to 220-230°C for 35 minutes which seems to be her secret to a great crust.
Cookies, madeleines and eclairs are also on offer, dependent on her workload.
And, if you balk at the price, don’t. Raluca uses high quality ingredients, spends most of her life making her products with love and care so that the customer can really enjoy a quality loaf. I can safely say that as a Guild Fine Food Judge I’ve tasted some pretty average bread which masquerades as artisan sourdough, her loaves would almost definitely be in for a star or three.
Buy something. You won’t be disappointed.
October 26, 153 Askew Road, London W12 9AU