Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bread for May 31

This week I am a little pressed for time tomorrow, my mixing day, but I will have Country French, Semolina, an organic American Sourdough in sandwich style, and probably an organic version of the Country French, as a batard. I will have the sprouted grain batards and I hope to have a few baguettes as well. I am already making one cheesecake on special order and the weather is predicted to be quite cool, so I may make two. I'll probably have a small number of lemon tartlets and I should have a batch of chocolate croissants. My friend Fabien hates it when I call them that -- he says a croissant is a particular shape of pastry (same root as "crescent" in English), and we Americans need to come up with a different name for pain au chocolat. He's from France, and these are serious matters to him.

Did you know that until 2015 Parisian bakers were prohibited by the French government from choosing their own vacation days? The French authorities were concerned that all the bakers would go on vacation at the same time, leading to a bread shortage. You can't blame them -- the last time there was a serious bread shortage in France the government collapsed, many lost their heads at the guillotine, and there was a Reign of Terror that lasted years and claimed many lives. It took Napoleon Bonaparte to set things on track again. Breadwise, I mean.

Anyway, bakers had to live with whatever vacation days were set for them by the French government, which apparently divided Paris into zones and distributed vacation times so that no zone would ever be without more than half its bakers. The law was finally revoked in 2015 and the government did not fall, which I take to be just one more sign of the plainly evident decline of civilization.

See you on Thursday from 5-7 PM!

--Erik Ryberg


  1. Semolina and organic American Sourdough in sandwich style
    Chocolate chip cookies 4 please

  2. I agree! People ought to be discerning enough to call/order something by its proper name. The French are very good about naming their pastry and bread items, and when you see the name you know exactly what it looks and tastes like. Conversely when you see an item you know by what name to order it.

    Of course, Napoleon not only was instrumental in the city planning for Paris, metric system, among many other things, he also ordered the weight, measure and fixed price for the baguette. One more thing: in France rabbits are sold with its head on so people know it's not a cat.