During my regular “buyer’s walk” at BJT (Balti Jaama Turg), I hit the trifecta with Küps. In other words, all my favorite horses won their race. But first, let me back up a little bit. The “buyers’ walk” is what London’s wholesale markets call those areas where their buyers are allowed. At these huge markets like Smithfield (meat), Billingsgate (fish), New Spitalfields (fruits & vegetables), and New Covent Garden (flowers), the buyers’ walk is the circuit you complete if you can’t find what you’re looking for or if you’re just trying to see what’s new. Vendors put whatever they want to sell you out along the edge of that walk. In keeping with this tradition, I’ve come up with my own buyer’s walk for BJT – at least on the first floor where all the food vendors happen to be. Hardly a week goes by when I don’t notice something new. And last Tuesday, it was Küps.
Küps is an unusual Estonian word as it can mean several things including “done” – or even “ripe,” “mature,” or “mellow.” But when you call your new bakery Küps, it probably stands for the root word (küps-) in baking (küpsetamine) which reappears everywhere from the verb to bake (küpsetada) to the word for cookie (küpsis). If it were up to me, I’d translate the name of this great new bakery as Bake! And, let me tell you, Liivi the baker knows how to bake! As her business is just getting started, she’s focused on bringing her sourdough to market from her secret home bakery on Vana-Kalamaja (Old Fish House Street).
Those of you who have been following flatfish know that I have at least three recurring obsessions. As an avid market goer, the first is markets – and especially BJT which I revisit constantly as it is Tallinn’s finest market. As a former baker, the second is bakeries – especially my Kalamaja neighborhood’s secret bakeries. And because it’s the “staff of life,” the third is bread – especially as I’ve been able to witness Tallinn’s Glorious Sourdough Reformation taking place. So now you can see why I might regard finding Küps as a triple win: it is a secret Kalamaja bakery which bakes sourdough bread that can only be bought at the BJT stall known as “Italian Taste.” Well, you can also order it – and much more – directly from Liivi herself.
So, rather than go back and rewrite my earlier texts, I decided to write this one instead. You’ll find that Küps’ sourdough is nicely sour – perhaps more so than Tallinn’s other sourdoughs thanks to its 10-year-old starter. Plus Küps’ crust is extra crunchy – and there even seems to be more of it on each round, compact loaf. It’s this smaller size – and lower cost – which might be Küps’ competitive advantage as these loaves are perfect for singles or couples who don’t want their fresh sourdough going stale. Now that’s a bread worth betting on!
Image Above: Three painted horses from Arkhangelsk (carver and painter unknown).
Image Below: My winning ticket from Küps – the DIY packaging for their sourdough – available in plain, sesame, or rosemary.