The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from France. Start at the beginning.

TJ FRANCE's picture
TJ FRANCE

Hello from France. Start at the beginning.

Bonjour à tous !

I am not a baker but I like to make bread at home.

My English is not always perfect, sorry if sometimes it is confused. Don't hesitate to tell me.
Everything I do with breads is mainly for beginners at the moment.
My philosophy is not to make exceptional breads for myself.
I prefer to have fun and test lots of things.
For this reason, I decided to test the maximum of flours here in my region. I am lucky to be in France near the borders of Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany.
So, I will test in the future all the flours that I can find.
Sometimes my breads are nice and good and sometimes less beautiful and less good.
But I will say that it is not up to me to improve them.
From the moment I manage to make a bread with such or such flour, whoever wants to use the same flour can get to know it better than I do. The main thing is that he knows that it is already possible to make bread with it.
My method for making bread is simple. I go out a bit in the traditional way. At the moment I use almost only dry baker's yeast. Simply because in my philosophy there is also that beginners must learn to make bread as simply as possible. By learning from the start to do it simply, we want to continue again and again towards more professional breads.
Too many beginners start with difficult breads that give too much disappointment and abandonment. "Small will become big" as we say with us! Good breads to all! T.J.

tortie-tabby's picture
tortie-tabby

It's exciting that you get to try so many different flours where you are. I learned some French a long time ago and am trying to keep it up by watching French bread baking and cooking videos, its the best way to motivate myself to practice the language. Do you have any recommendations for French books, blogs, or Youtube channels on baking?

TJ FRANCE's picture
TJ FRANCE

Hello thank you !
Yes, here we have a lot of flour!
It's great for training and evolving.
I started slowly placing my bread videos on the internet:
https://francelorrainecollection.fr/All-My-Breads-in-Videos/

On Youtube there are in France great professionals for bread.
In other :
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyukUh-uOQJE6YqedFTkQlw
and also
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRfyoVlvjE6JRKV6RQCfLJQ

But for the moment, I stay in my little corner without trying to do what the big professionals do.
I think there is enough to do when you start and it is useless to want to do too big things.
Good breads! T.J.

tortie-tabby's picture
tortie-tabby

Thank you for the links, and I agree, its first and foremost important to enjoy the process and bake bread that makes you happy.

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

I'm actually going to be in Luxenbourg at the beginning of April and have been thinking about some flours that I may be able to bring home to play with.  If you have a suggestion on which brands of flour are the best let me know!

 

TJ FRANCE's picture
TJ FRANCE

Hello,

Your question is very interesting because it allows me to answer a lot of people too.

I consider myself a beginner and I would like to stay as long as possible.
And here is the reason:

In France, there is, since we can find everything on the internet, a kind of fashion which wants that the good bread, the best bread, must be made with sourdough and "noble" flours. Flours full of fiber and benefits.
And of course, respecting protocols, gestures, baking techniques.
And it is said that anything that is not one of these things will make bad bread.
Far too many people who are just starting out (and I was one of those people) quickly give up trying to make bread at home because all of this is too much of a constraint.
Maintaining a sourdough is not always easy. Finding "noble" flour can be complicated if you live in isolated places. The temperature calculations, the appearance of the dough, its consistency, the material, the gestures, etc ... are countless things that end up discouraging many people.
We absolutely want to make sourdough bread with magnificent cells that will amaze everyone.
It is a challenge that takes time, a lot of patience, waste.
So, instead of giving up, I thought I should have fun.
Take pleasure in making bread.
Why absolutely want to make a sourdough bread that many children will not eat?
Why would you want to make a bread that keeps for a week to eat the same bread every day?
Of course, there is also the reason that making bread that keeps well allows you to make bread only on Sundays and be quiet all week. But this is not the taste of everyone. Even if you look at the internet you may think that everyone is looking for that.
My thinking was simple. When you buy bread, in supermarkets and from many bakers, it contains a lot of additives. It can be very good, but additives are the first things that make you find it good.
The millers deliver to professionals flour which is capable of making the same breads all year round. But it's no longer flour that makes bread, it's additives. Like a magic trick.

So, me the beginner, I decided that I will make my bread at home, every day different. Another flour, another mixture. Regardless of being told that the flours I use are not the best. That my techniques are not baking. What I should do like this and not like this.

And since then, I no longer stress. I discover, I have fun. I don't waste my time, I don't waste my money.
And most importantly, in my breads there is flour, water, salt and yeast. No magic (at least coming from me).
Many bakers could tell me that my bread is not good because I am not in the classic baker circuit. But I can tell a lot of bakers that my bread doesn't cheat.

Voila, so it would be difficult for me to recommend one flour more than another because ultimately, I do not get to know a flour. I go from one thing to another every day. And when I use the same flour several times, it's always in a different way. And it's very easy, fast, very little dirty. And it requires very little material.

I would say that for a beginner, you should not look for a specific result. The only end should be to get bread that can be eaten.
Bread that we love, that family and friends love too.
And it's already a great victory!

What I can tell you about Luxembourg and France:
If you do not have the time to search for small shops of organic products, you will discover stores like Match, Cora and Cactus in Luxembourg. Passing the nearby border, you can go to Thionville in the Linkling area. Here you will find all the big stores like E. Leclerc, Carrefour, shops like Bio et sens, Comptoir bio, L'eau Vive.
In each of these stores you will find first-class flours and organic flours. All sorts. Generally in a 1kg package in department stores and for some (in the organic section) in a 1kg or 500grs package.
The cost ranges from 50 euro cents to around 3 euro per kg.
It is important not to think that the more expensive the flour, the better. It's wrong.

In Luxembourg you can find the flours that come from the Moulin de Kleinbettingen. And also visit the Water Mill and Milling Museum in Asselborn.

I would say, just to finish, if you want to have fun, don't hesitate to test what we call cake flours and make bread from them. These are T45 flours. There are many people who really think that these flours are only reserved for cakes! You will receive nice surprises. Try the T45 from ALDI stores (France and Luxembourg). Just for fun !

Here is !
Good breads! T.J.

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

Thanks, I found that water mill museum in Asselborn which seems interesting.  I've seen a couple mills but that certainly predates anything I've seen in person.  I'll be in Paris for a few days but I have a couple days with little planned, perhaps I'll look into ways that I could get out there.  I don't know how much flour I'll be able to fit in my suit case, I may have to be choosy.  I certainly want to get some nice T65 flours and maybe some higher extractions as well like some T85. 

Obviously you're doing a lot of your own baking but are there any bakeries that you would recommend in Paris?  I know my brother has been there a good amount so he'll be of some guidance as well but it would be cool to check out some less well known places that are putting out good products.

TJ FRANCE's picture
TJ FRANCE

Hello, I think your brother will be better advice than me for Paris! I know very little about the capital.
Today I thought of you by making my bread with 100% T65 flour.
Here is the bread:

Good breads to all ! T.J.