Bristol Farms, an upscale food store near me, sells bread by Poilane flown in from Paris. I bought the Poilane sourdough and rye currant. Both are excellent. The sourdough had more of a tang than I expected. The crust is somewhat soft and not very crisp, presumably from being packaged in plastic and being as least a day old. It's difficult to characterize the taste, but it seemed to have an earthy taste, almost like of minerals. I assume that the flour helps to impart that flavor.
The second loaf is a rye currant, very dense and laden with currants. The texture is very moist --a most unusual and appealing bread. It's not a bread for all occasions, but it is one that I will definitely try to replicate.
After tasting these breads my main thought is that all of us on TFL can attempt to make good versions of these high quality breads --- and many already have!
I hope to get the chance to try the famed Poilane some time. I have also thought about trying to get the gray Normandy sea salt and the special flour just to see what I could come up with. I have no doubt in my mind that the members of this site could, and have made bread to rival the masters. You eat first with the eyes and I know my eyes have "tasted" some world class bread on this site. I can only imagine the that the flavor and textures would match. Not being on a bakers schedule I think we have the advantage of "Time" on our side. We can let our dough retard in the fridge or make that extra build not worrying about having to have bread baked by a certain time. Flavor first would be a shorter way to put it. I also think home bakers are more personally invested in each loaf and treat each one with the maximum skill and patience we can muster. Gotta go I am starting to puddle up and get all emotional. Hey wait a minute, forget grey sea salt why not use my own tears? See Ya
Da Crumb Bum
Hi F-D-L, I have a version of the Poilane bread in the refrigerator where it should stay until tomorrow morning. I got the recipe from Eric at Breadtopia and this is my third one. I say "should" stay in the refrigerator because I found the dough gets rock hard so last time I took it out and let it stand on the counter in my cool kitchen overnight. I also baked it like I do the No Knead Bread - proofed it in a parchment lined banneton and lowered dough and parchment into my preheated ss dutch oven. I have never tasted the Poilane bread but this one is mighty fine. I shipped the last one to friends in San Diego and they raved over it. Of course they could have been lying... Check out Breadtopia under Whole Grain Sourdough, A.
After tasting the Poilane loaves, my overwhelming feeling was that great IS attainable by the home artisan baker. And, while professional bakers have equipment and conditions that we cannot replicate, I agree that we can and do provide the time, effort, and passion to produce great bread. I truly expected to be "knocked out" by the Poilane loaves. Please don't get me wrong -- they are both extraordinary breads (and not tasted under optimal conditions for the breads). I was just suprised that they weren't SO MUCH better than what comes out of our kitchens. Is this hubris or empowerment????
Annie: Would love to see photos of your Poilane style loaves. I will check out the Breadtopia site.