The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Three weeks in France raises the bar

davidjm's picture
davidjm

Three weeks in France raises the bar

Since most break-baking professionals tend to emulate French bakers, I thought it might be instructive to post this picture and present some questions I am unable to answer at this time. 


We recently spend three weeks in France (in Northern Brittany and Paris), which really raised the bar of my bread baking aspirations.  Take the following sour-dough rye loaf I purchased in the "inter-marche" (normal grocery store) in Brittany, France.  Notice the shape of the loaf.  It is triangular.  In France, each bakery has characteristic shapes, sizes, and slashing patterns.  This was the only time I ever saw a shape like this.  The crumb was light and hole-y, but still had the "cake-like" texture characteristic of good rye loaves.  There are a few things I would like to know:


1. How did the baker retain the shape of this loaf while still maintaining hydration?


2. There were no slashes, but the crust was also not broken.  How?  Is that a feature of hydration and extensibility?


3. In France, to be considered rye, they have to have a certain percentage of rye flour to white.  This bread had a crumb that I cannot replicate with the 50:50 rye:white mix I use in my siegle au levain.  How did they make a nice dark rye loaf and keep an airy crumb?


 


Siegle au Levain


 


 


 

Comments

stevel's picture
stevel

do you have a picture of the crumb?

davidjm's picture
davidjm

Actually, yes I do!  Here you go.  But see the post further down from a woman who lives in south France.  She has more detail on HOW they got the loaf that way.  It's a great looking crumb, but our French friend tells us that they used addatives.  Now that I think of it, when I looked at the label, I saw a bunch of extras in the bread, but being only a novice at French language, I didn't know what it meant.


leucadian's picture
leucadian

I'm envious. I'll bet that wasn't the only picture of bread that you took. Please share pics and comments. I see a bag of type 45 flour in the picture of the seigle. Did you bake while you were there?


 

davidjm's picture
davidjm

I didn't bake any bread while in France.  My idea was to eat as much local bread as possible!  But here is the only thing I did bake.  It was the best pizza I've had in a long time.  Although, I prefer round pizza.  I think it tastes better ;-)


 


Eli's picture
Eli

look good! Did I understand correctly, that is a rye?


Eli


 


www.elisfoods.wordpress.com

davidjm's picture
davidjm

I encourage you to read the post directly below this one.  Our French friend has a lot of light to shed on this loaf and how they made it.

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I know this brand of bread. It's sold all over France in Intermarché.


First of all, it probably isn't pain DE seigle, it's pain AU seigle, which means it has LESS than 60% rye flour. Only a pain DE seigle must comply to the over 60% rye.


For the crumb and texture, don't forget that this may LOOK artisanal but it isn't... it's an industrial bread that is supposed to look and taste "countryish". That means the flour is certainly NOT organic and probably full of helpers (additives like malt, extra yeast, ascorbic acid, possibly fungicides and leavener helpers and weird stuff I can never remember the names of). The levain most likely isn't the kind of levain you worl with at home and I dare say has an addition of yeast if it isn't already in the flour.


These breads have become quite popular because the taste isn't too bad and they are esthetic. But my feeling is that you can't aspire to replicate this, you should look at TRUE artisan breads in bakeries like Nury's in Auvergne, pain Poilâne, Anis Bouabsa's baguettes. I gave you MY list of inspiration, there are many others.


In my blog Au levain, I use only organic flour which obviously poses challenges. Bread that has stuff in it is easier to bake with. The results are often more spectacular with other flours. This is the case, I think, with some American flours. When you bake with stone ground organic flour, other things come in to play and even the final look of the bread is often much different. Technique means everything.


I tell you all this because I often look at the breads in the supermarket bakeries because they show different shapes and flour blends. But I always remain realistic as to what it actually is!


But if you really like this bread, you can get the same thing by doing the Nury's light rye and with ten times better taste. A number of people have done it here with excellent results.


Jane


 

davidjm's picture
davidjm

Thank you for your insight!  That is really helpful.  I must say that my wife and I wish we were back in France. 


I am vaguely familiar with Poilane's bakery in Paris.  I could kick myself for being so close and not going for a visit.  Of course, I didn't learn about him until after we returned.  I did try to make a version of the Poilane Miche (10 cups of wheat, 100% wild yeast culture!)  It took my 6 days of cultivation, but it was spectacular.  I'll do another blog post because I did a variation of Reinhart's recipe in "Bread Baker's Apprentice".


Thanks again for your input.

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I just saw your Poilâne miche. Nice! In my blog I talked about a visit I had at the Poilâne bakery where the baker basically told me all about the making of the bread. it is 100% T80, no rye.


http://aulevain.canalblog.com/archives/2008/10/27/11124363.html


Those types of recipes can only make a "type" of miche, never actually getting REALLY close to the real one. But I don't really care about that. The Poilâne miche I bought the day I was there didn't have big holes in it which is normal seeing as it is a T80 bread (quite a bit of fine germ and bran).


They do a pain DE seigle that is very good at Poilâne.


But you MUST try the Nury's rustic light rye:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5500/pierre-nury%E2%80%99s-rustic-light-rye-leader


Make it and you may never yearn for France again since you'll be able to produce exceptional bread at home!


Jane

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


"Make it and you may never yearn for France again since you'll be able to produce exceptional bread at home!"



I don't think it would be too heretical to observe that there is more to la belle France than bread.


And I speak as a lover of Nury's rye, which I haven't tasted since dinner last night. :-)




David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Oh David... if you get me on the subject then I guess I could REALLY make someone pack their bags, move to France and never get homesick (speaking from experience ;-)


But, I do think that you over there can make bread that is as exceptional than what can be bought in a bakery here. I don't know if I told you, but I went to a bakery near my home, run by a MOF baker. I bought his baguette "tradition" which I thought wasn't as good as the Bouabsa baguette (also labeled "tradition") and a rustic rye that I was SURE exactly like Nury's. That one was divine... but so is the one we make at home.


Moral of the story, no need to yearn for France when thinking about bread...


but for cheese, wine, vegetables, culture, beauty... ok.


Have a great weekend!


Jane

davidjm's picture
davidjm

Thanks for the link!  I'll give it a try.  But I think I'll end up still yearning for France.  As you said, maybe not for the bread but wine, cheese, culture - yes!  Grocery stores here want $6-8 for a bottle of California red!  I can get a great bottle for 2-3 euro in France.  Not to mention ciders!

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 


I also like to change the shape of my loaves and rolls. ;-)))) qahtan


Wholewheatbread.jpg image by qahtan

davidjm's picture
davidjm

How do you keep the nice shape of the triangular loaves?  Do you reduce the hydration?  Or set up some proofing basket in that shape?  Curious.


Thanks,


David