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Pain de tradition française
Edited  6 May 2015

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Le public ignore généralement que le pain, comme le fromage ou le vin, représante un patrimoine considérable, diversifié en d'innombrables variétés régionales. Le boulanger français lui-même par nature est peu enclin au traditionalisme.
Lionel Poilâne, Guide de l'amateur de pain, 1981, 159

J'adore le pain français. Je souligne français parce que je suis américain, et que le pain dans mon pays est généralement immonde (Steven Kaplan, Cherchez le pain, 2004, 9.

Well-made bread
"strengtheth the stomach and carries truly with it the staff of nourishment." 
Thomas Moffat, Health's
, (1595?, published 1655)

I love bread - not because I am French - but because bread is  awesome!
Vincent Talleu, Opening statement on his site: VincentTaleu.com

    Hearth Breads, Craft, and Community Since 1988

   According to the décret du 1 septembre 1993 de la République Française any bread in France pretending to be traditionally French had to meet certain conditions: no freezing whatsoever in the course of its elaboration; to contain no additives (excepting 2% bean flour, 0.5% soya flour and 0.3% malt flour); to be composed exclusively of a mixture of baking (panifiable) flours, potable water, and kitchen salt;  and to be fermented with baker's yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae)  and/or levain. Article four allowed the addition of a tiny amount of yeast in the last kneading phase, 0.2% by weight of flour.
    Of course, the French writ does not extend to Grand Manan. We have used the appellation as a guide, to the extent of using only unbleached and or organic flours, no bean nor soya flours and occasionally, when the enzymatic qualitities of the organic white flours appeared to droop, we have added malt flour. Our salt for most of the period since 1993 has been sel de Guérande, and until 2014, we used ''fresh, wet yeast'', the local wholesale name for that kind of yeast.
    Under the heading of pain de tradition française, we make four breads daily, baguettes, boules, demis and miches, in two separate doughs. The larger breads are made with a dough that is fermented in bulk overnight, with divisionn, shaping, baguettes closeup on cooling rack final proof  and bake early the following morning, while the baguettes are made en directe,
usually the first dough mixed and kneaded in the day, around 05h00. Both doughs feature an
autolyse of 15 to 30 minutes, slow mixing,  in cooler weather a bassinage at the end of kneading of 5-10%, and a détente of about 30 minutes before shaping. Division and shaping are done by hand.  Proofing is sur couche (on linen clothe).

 (Photo of baguettes, 10 May 2007, by Richard Rice)

  (Photo by Richard Rice, April 2005)
miche on display rackMiches
are  large 'patty-cake'  breads, shaped  by  patting , or more often by rolling pin, after detente and then baked without the cutomary period of final proof. Consequently, they emerge from the oven an hour and more ahead of the other breads from the same dough, and are consistantly ahead of them in flavour, texture and keeping -  bearing out a maxim of Raymond Calvel,  "toujours jeune de fermentation".

BOULE   (photo, Richard Rice 3 October 2007)

boule on cooling rack The boules and demis are both 'cut' at the same dough weight (500g), shaped, proofed and baked together.  The different shapes, hence their names,  result in breads with slightly different characteristics, mainly a relatively softer crumb and crust for the boules. Essentially, the difference is rooted in the relative thickness and smaller surface area of the boule. It may be pointed out that a baker in French is a faiseur de pain en  boules,  un boulanger.

    (Photo, Richard Rice 16 September 2004)

demis levain de pâte 2004  

(made and photographed at home by the baker, 11 April 2010)

Demis made at home 11 April 2010

© 2015 North Head Bakery, 199 Route 776, Grand Manan, NB, E5G 1A4   506-662-8862