|Mill's butter-hued brioche (front) and nutty cranberry-walnut pain de campagne (Lee Sang-sub/ The Korea Herald)|
When Mill owner Joo Eun-suk moved to Seoul’s Seochon, she felt the time was right to open up a small local bakery, one that would fit right in with the storied neighborhood.
“It is a great place for strolling,” said Joo, 49, explaining how she would frequently take her dog out for walks.
Pleased by the lack of high-rise buildings and the organic fusion of new and old shops and stores, Joo scouted out a nice, semi-quiet spot in the area.
Here she would create a gathering place for people to congregate, chew and chat.
“I wanted to open a place with a communal table, where people could drink coffee and munch on bread,” she said.
On March 12, she launched Mill.
True to her word, the 10-seat space boasts a long table, a chocolate-color wood affair that invites bread lovers to draw up a seat and linger, and indeed, according to Joo, “We have already attracted a lot of regulars.”
Joo said she put the focus on natural leavenings and organic flour to create the bread at her new artisanal bakery, adding that some breads feature yeast, in addition to the natural starters that are used in all of Mill’s bread.
Seven varieties of bread are currently available at Mill.
Tall toast-friendly loaves, olive-studded ciabatta, cranberry-walnut pain de campagne and brioche all beckon, ready to be eaten on the premises.
“I like brioche a lot, so that’s why we do it,” said Joo, explaining how she put her favorite breads on the menu and enlisted the help of her baker niece to craft them.
The brioche at Mill is spot-on and best enjoyed in-house, ordered sliced, so that the loaf is served up in bouffant, soft slices the color of butter.
Each bite is slightly sweet and slightly eggy, delicious all on its own, no toppings or toasting necessary.
When paired with a cup of Mill’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, it is even better, with the slight bitterness of the brew acting as the perfect foil to the richness of the dessert-like bread.
The whole experience of eating that fresh, supple bread and brewed coffee in-house is all the more enjoyable because it can be savored at the solitary long table inside the bakery, amid all the smells and sounds of bread being baked.
Then there is Mill’s walnut, cranberry, multigrain pain de campagne, with its clean yet nutty finish and crisp crust.
Plain toast-friendly bread is great after a quick stint on a griddle or in a toaster oven, slathered with creamy butter and eaten, one thick, fluffy slice at a time.
In addition to the current lineup of bread, Joo revealed future plans to add some tangy sourdough and, perhaps, a rye bread to Mill’s repertoire.
For the time being, Joo looks more than happy with her bakery, with the bonhomie of her communal table and with the steady flow of regulars who come frequently for the bread.
“It’s working out just how I imagined it,” she said with a smile.
|Mill serves up artisanal bread in Seoul's Seochon (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)|
- 6, Jahamunro 9-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- (02) 733-1178
- Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, closed Mondays
- Bread costs 3,500 won to 7,500 won
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org)