Bread - why I hate Americans

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ptram
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Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:36 pm Post

After nearly two months in Paris, I must admit that one of the fears I had during my latest visit can be considered true. Bread, at least in this area, is no better than the chemical mixture we have in Italy since some years. Baguette used to be crispy, and now it feels (and tastes) a bit more like chewing-gum. Integral bread is no better. The so-called "rustic" bread is no longer edible the day after you buy it.

I live in the notorious banlieu, and this maight make things bad. The only flour supplier to the local bakers is Baguépi. No variety lets me suspect a Coca-Cola like policy: kill all the competitors, and give the cheapest, standard products to all your dealers.

I'm looking for some gems in the city of Paris. This is still a heaven for gourmets, with both astonishing quantity and quality. Ingredients are only a part of the game - the other being incredible skill even in preparing a simple quiche, or an everyday crèpe. I'm confident that there will still be some conscious bakers, still in love with their job.

Paolo
Last edited by ptram on Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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vic-k
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Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:38 pm Post

As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

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ptram
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Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:53 pm Post

Vic-k,

I don't know if you saved my day. For sure, you saved my dinner!

Yum,
Paolo

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vic-k
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Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:59 pm Post

Paolo, il mio vecchio amico,
Were the links any use to you? I`ve got an appetite just visiting the websites.
vic
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ptram
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Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:49 pm Post

I'll be in Paris' centre during the next days. Obviously, I'll be back home with some of those fine products. I've not eaten real bread since my last vacation in Italy, when my mother let me find a pagnotta from an artisan near L'Aquila serving my area. The ones described in the pages you reported are really inviting.

But I must say that I've seen some bakery shop at the Marais, not far from the Grand Cerf passage and Place Goldoni, not listed in the guides, that are very promising. Just imagine: I first confused them with shops of accessories for dolls, or exotic tissues, or carrillons. Instead, they had cakes at the window. I immediately understood the meaning of "eating something with your eyes"...

Paolo

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vic-k
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Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:24 pm Post

Bonn chance mon ami! Bonne chance! :wink:
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Wock
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Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:32 pm Post

vic-k wrote:Bonn chance mon ami! Bonne chance! :wink:



Engrish speeks da Engrish!
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

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vic-k
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Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:16 pm Post

pfffrrrrrrrrrrrt!!
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gr
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:49 am Post

ptram wrote:The so-called "rustic" bread is no longer edible the day after you buy it.


It was not until I started baking bread that I discovered what toasters were really for. I had always foolishly thought they were a bizarrely prevalent specialty device for making toast. No! A toaster only finds its true purpose in "encouraging" slices of days-after home-baked bread to a happy semblance of freshness. (Just until the crust re-crisps.)

I also discovered what bread boxes were for. Placing fresh bread in any kind of wrap makes it become chewy. We place the cut side down on a piece of foil and place the loaf unwrapped in the bread box.

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gr
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:57 am Post

In the interest of full disclosure . . .

Not long ago there was a flurry of interest hereabouts in "no knead" breads. The following is an improvement requiring little kneading. It has become our regular bread -- no it is not rye, as requested.

Little Kneads Bread

15 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (3 "Northern" cups)
1/4 tsp instant (rapid) yeast
1 1/2 tsp table salt
7 fl.oz water at room temperature (3/4 cup + 2 Tbs)
3 fl.oz mild-flavored lager "Bud" (1/4 cup + 2 Tbs)
1 Tbs white wine vinegar

1) Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl.
2) Add water, lager, and vinegar. Use rubber spatula to fold mixture until shaggy ball forms.
3) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and sit for 8 to 18 hours.
4) Lay parchment paper in an 8"-skillet and prep lightly with oil.
5) Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead 10-15 times. Shape dough and place seam-side down on parchment.
6) Prep plastic wrap or dough lightly with oil and cover with the plastic wrap. Let rise 1 1/2 + 1/2 hours.
7) One-half hour before rise time, place oven rack to lowest, put covered, empty dutch oven in, turn oven to 500°F and wait 30 minutes.
8) Lower heat to 425°F. Unwrap and lightly flour top of dough, cut a slit across the top, and, using parchment as a sling, carefully place the dough into the dutch oven. Cover and bake 30 minutes.
9) Move dutch oven to middle rack and bake maybe another 10 minutes until crust is nice & internal temp is 210°F.

Cool on wire rack. BTW, it will be 2 hours to room temp.

To store: Place cut side down on a piece of foil, and store uncovered in bread box or equivalent.

After the first day: "Encourage" slices in the toaster just until crust is re-crisped.

This recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated (Feb 2008)
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a little knead fulfilled
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Last edited by gr on Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vic-k
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:56 am Post

Typical of the,'gr' approach to everything. 'Only do half a a job'. You missed the bit that says, " Take two, 1/2 inch thick slices of bread, spread each with 1/8th inch thick layer of butter, cover one slice with 1/4inch thick slices of extra mature farmhouse Chedder`n`onions, or 1/4 inch thick slices of, 'ham on the bone' `n` Dijon mustard. Cover with remaining slice. Consume with pint of, 'best bitter'. :twisted:
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gr
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:23 pm Post

Hoah geez, did I leave that part off?

But I must beg to differ on the matter of spreading of the butter. An opportunity to use the word 'slaver' has been squandered there.

-gr

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vic-k
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:45 pm Post

All right! OK! If y` gonna be nitpicky. "spread each with 3/16th inch thick layer of butter", how`s that?
gr wrote:An opportunity to use the word 'slaver' has been squandered there.
I take it we`re talking the, 'lust after/drool over', thingy here, are we, hmm?
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gr
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:07 pm Post

No no no. Try 'Then slaver all with a full 1/8" thick layer of unctuous butter.'

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Wock
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:09 pm Post

Who here owns a "bread ruler". Simply tear off a chunk to swab up all the gravy or other semi liquids on your plate then chew. Down south they are called bisquits. Usually buttered, smothered, or covered, and go hand in hand with a fork. What the fork can't pick up the bisquit will make quick work.

Hence the term "clean your plate".
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.