bread baking sunday

Today was bread making day. I followed this recipe from the baker but with a few differences: I added some whole wheat flour and kneaded the dough with this very energetic french kneading technique which I've been wanting to try out.

It came out beautifully, though I do tend not to over bake. (I miss my grandfather's wood oven....) If anyone wants a bit of starter to bake their own bread, I have plenty to share.
I think next time I'll make small little round buns.


here's me being social:
the apple tree is now available on facebook.

Paris mon amour

paris needs not words

it's that time of the year

this is my kind of happiness
(there's a basket full of them in the kitchen!!)

boulangerie á la ancienne

Most people go to Paris to say hello to Mona Lisa and stare at certain metal tower. I went to Paris to check off number 12 and number 7 ;) But on my list of things to do in Paris was also a visit to a special bakery: La Boulangerie par Véronique Mauclerc near the Buttes-Chaumont park. One of Paris's finest bakers... and she's a woman... which makes me feel very inspired!

This is probably the only bakery in Paris that uses a starter, all natural ingredients and bakes the bread in a wood-fire oven from the early 20th century (one of two that still exist in Paris). The whole bakery dates back to that time and still preserves it's original aspect. 

Unfortunately, Veronique wasn't in when we arrived so I wasn't able to ask about her baking process nor have a closer look at the oven. I guess I'll have to go back to Paris someday to have a talk with her, but next time, I'll make sure she's in. (I wonder if she needs an assistant....)

The bread on display is carefully labeled with the flours used. We did buy different types of bread to taste. The weird thing is that you expect the flavors to be out-of-this-world, but in fact they are so simple and natural! Eating industrial bread for so many years has taken away the real flavors of bread and everyone forgot what bread really tastes like. 

Tartine Bread

After several attempts at baking the basic country bread recipe, I realised something wasn't right because all my loaves were coming out pancake styled and nothing like the beautiful loaves in the book. Until one day the Baker enlightened my path and discovered what I (and everyone else who strickly follows recipes) was going wrong. Recipes are meant to be reinvented! When it comes to artisan bread you really have to understand the bread making process. So the problem was the original recipe has too much water. In this wonderful post, the Baker explains exactly what was going wrong and how to fix it.

After testing out my grandfather's amazing stone oven, I tripled the original recipe, plus the extra amount of flour suggested by the Baker and mixed in almost 400gr of organic seeds. The rest of the process went smoothly... exactly as discribed in the book, though I did give the dough some extra turns. 

I don't know if the secret is in the dough or in the oven, but I was astonished at how fast it baked: 15 minutes! I saw it rise and crisp, right before my eyes. In Lisbon, the baking process took more than an hour.

Nine beautiful and perfect loaves: crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside. 
In the end, it was a scary feeling because I had just realized that I would be very happy as a bread baker... 

use less

we all have them: useless objects we collect and cherish.
I was never so persistent to the point of sticking to one single object, so I'm not a true collector, maybe just a gatherer.

we are family

My lastest commissioned worked is hanging at her sister's home. It was a special birthday present to remember a special childhood memory. I'm glad to be a part of it. 
Thank you for the post and the fotos!