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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Ted’s rolling in dough …


Oh how I wish that were true in the colloquial sense, as in being really rich and well heeled, but actually I mean it in the sense of bread dough … and maybe a little pastry dough for good measure.

Where to begin with bread eh ... one of the staples of daily life, and the answer is about 30,000 years ago, but in reality it was more like 10,000 years ago that we learned to make it properly edible.  The first breads were of course flat breads as we had yet to learn about yeast, and in fact many cultures today still have unleavened bread as their preference, whereas many others like their bread well risen. In medieval Europe stale bread was even used as a dinner plate or “trencher”.  If you were still hungry at the end of your meal you could quite literally eat your plate.

One of my favourite sayings is “it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread”.  A chap called Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented a machine to slice bread in 1912, but bakers resisted it fearing that a sliced loaf would quickly go stale.  Not to be deterred Otto took another 16 years (a very thorough chap indeed was Otto) and invented a machine that not only sliced the bread but packaged it as well.  Then he convinced a bakery in Missouri to use it, and the rest shall we say is “history”.

The French have a long and illustrious history of bread or “pain” as their most important of all daily staples.  Not so long ago your only hope of getting a really good French baguette in London was quite literally to go to France. There’s just something about a good French baguette, crisp, light, fluffy, yet chewy and dense all at the same time. My favourite one is the “ancienne” as it has the crunchiest crust. In recent times a number of French bakers have bought their trade to London and one of the latest is “Aux pains de Papy” a family of bakers “from father to son since 1948”. 

Their breads are the real (French) McCoy, even their flour comes from France. I usually go in for bread and come out with a range of pastries and cakes that the Doll tells me I can’t eat for breakfast … anyone else noticed how long it is in stomach minutes between breakfast and lunch.  

8 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Great! it is really hard to find good bread or baked goods in the city.

Luis Gomez said...

Great! it is really hard to find good bread or baked goods in the city.

Sharon Anck said...

Here it is, 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning and now I'm wondering where I can get some great bread for my breakfast. I'm kind of wishing I could reach through the screen and pick something up.

Denton Harryman said...

sadly we have changed our diet to eat "sandwich thins" which are healthy but a poor replacement for a good French baguette

Dianne said...

I only wish it was around the corner from me .... I would take a walk there right now!! looks soo.... scrumptious.

"Adelaide and Beyond"

William Kendall said...

And now I'm hungry!

VP said...

Great post! So the French now have an edge on us for bread, but I am sure not on every type of bread...

Jack said...

Ah, Ted, thanks for this illuminating post about bread and in particular, French bread. I always learn from you.

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