The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguette Tasting in Montreal

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DonD's picture
DonD

Baguette Tasting in Montreal

Background: 


Having a number of high school friends living in Montreal, I have had the opportunity to visit this city quite a few times over the years. I have always enjoyed its cosmopolitan charm and the French influences that have permeated its history and culture especially in the area of gastronomy.


Recently, my wife and I drove to Montreal to visit a close friend. He and his wife always treated us to the best breakfast of baguettes and croissants with farm fresh butter and raw milk cheeses, the kind that came closest to what you would find in France. Being the avid baker that I am, I came up with the idea to do a tasting of the best baguettes that Montreal has to offer.


Setting:


We decided to taste a traditional baguette each from four of the most popular artisanal bakeries in Montreal. The tasting took place within three hours of the purchase and our tasting group consistted of six people.



From the top down, the baguettes were from Au Pain Dore, L'Amour du Pain, Le Fournil Ancestral and Premiere Moisson.


Results:


The results were unanimous and the rankings were as follows


1- Premiere Moisson



Good overall appearance. Nice golden brown crusy exterior. Smell of toasty wheat. Slight flaw with one undercooked side probably caused by the loaves being baked too close together. Creamy color and very soft open crumb with just the right amount of chewiness. Sweet tasting and a little tangy. Overall an outstanding baguette.


Probably the largest bakery in Montreal with multiple outlets throughout the city. The flour comes from Meunerie Milanaise, an organic mill in Quebec that also supplies to Daniel Leader's bakery in upstate New York.


2- L'Amour du Pain



The darkest of all the baguettes with a sweet caramely smell. The crust is a litlle bit hard but the crumb is creamy with huge irregular holes. The taste is sweet with a hint of acidity. A very good baguette.


This is a Retrodor baguette made with flour imported from the Meuneries Viron in France.


3- Au Pain Dore



A close second in appearance to the Premiere Moisson Baguette. The crust has a wheaty smell but is not as crackly. The crumb is nicely open with good balance of softness and chewiness. Overall, a good baguette.


This baguette is made from unbleached, untreated flour and is fermented for 6 hours.


4- Le Fournil Ancestral 



Good appearance but the lightest in color. The crust is on the soft side with no noticeable smell. The crumb is white, tight and cottony probably due to an intensive mix. Although called artisanal, this is a forgettable industrial type baguette.


Epilogue:


Following the tasting, I set out to find the flour from Meunerie Milanaise and was able to buy and bring back three 20 kilo bags of different grades of flour. I have been experimenting with the flours and will publish the results on future postings.


Don


 

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

At least the majority of baguettes were worth eating.


I'm looking forward to your flour review, Don.


David

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Neat idea. Amazing too how the crumb of the top one is the most impressive and the taste reflected that.


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Sounds like you had a wonderful time.  I'll really enjoy looking at your photos again tomorrow after a good nights sleep.  Thanks for sharing!    


Sylvia 

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

How fun!  So nice to be in a big city where there are so many high quality choices.


Summer

DonD's picture
DonD

David: It was a tough job but somebody has to do it... The flour experiments are very promising, I will keep you posted.


Floyd: It is also very interesting that a baguette from Canada using flour grown in Quebec edged the famous Retrodor baguette made with imported French flour. I understand that a bakery has to be licensed by Retrodor to make the baguette carrying the name and you have to use the flour from the Viron mills in France.


Sylvia: I am hoping to do a baguette tasting in Paris when the economy gets better!


Summer: Montreal is a great place for Pastry Shops also but that's another story!

di trep's picture
di trep

as I live close to Montreal I read your blog with great interest.I am also surprised that Premiere Moisson ranked better than l'Amour du pain which is far more "artisanal" and RETRODOR:) I stop here because I have to go to Premiere moisson to buy flour. I won't be embarrassed to answer questions about the kind of flour I used (anonymus ,at the health food store) to miss the rustic bread which is becoming my own Everest...

DonD's picture
DonD

The Retrodor baguette from l'Amoure du Pain was very good but I felt that the crust was a little too thick and hard to be a great baguette. When I was at Premiere Moisson, I saw that they carry All Purpose and Whole Wheat flour from Milamaise. I was able to buy larger bags which worked out to $.75 Canadian per pound, a pretty good deal for organic French style flour.


Don

moreyello's picture
moreyello

Hi Don, I live in Montreal and yet wasn't aware I could buy 20kg bags directly from Milamaise. I checked out their web site and will try to go by this week. Was it easy purchasing 20kg bags or did they require a company registration#? Next time your in Montreal try the baguettes and croissants from Boulangerie Monsieur Pinchot 4354 Rue Brebeuf about eight blocks east of métro Mont Royal its my place of choice to get superior breads and croissants.  I also go to Bonaza which is in the east end to get 5kg bags of Italian 00 flour for $7CDN which I use for my pizza dough, so far its the cheapest I can find. Glad you made it to Montreal and thanks for your post.

DonD's picture
DonD

When I was in Montreal, I contacted Meunerie Milanaise to inquire about purchasing large bags of their flour and they refer me to their distributor Farinex which carries all kind of large format flour for bakeries, although they also sell to individual consumers. They are located at 3780 Rue La Verendrye, Boisbriand, QC J7H 1

moreyello's picture
moreyello

Sorry for the tardiness I was away. Thanks for the info Don.