Saturday, April 2, 2016

A-Z Challenge: B is for Boulangerie



For those who may not know French just remember...  Boulangerie means Bread. And bread in Paris is not like the pre-packaged, tasteless white loaf we purchase here in the U.S. 

No... bread in Paris (and Italy as well) is its own category on the food pyramid. It is indeed the staff of life. A diet of bread and water in Paris is a culinary delight -  not a jailhouse punishment.

I could eat the same Parisian lunch from now until the day I die and never tire of its simplistic tastefulness: a crusty ficelle or baguette, a small slice of cheese (stay tuned to the "F" blog post), a piece of fresh fruit, and perhaps a glass of Sancerre. C'est parfait!

How is the bread in Paris different from what we buy in the grocery store? Where shall I begin...

First, it has flavor. You can taste the yeast's interaction with the sugar to provide the perfect balance of hearty nutrition and extraordinary delicacy.

Secondly, it looks enticing. The outside should be a golden brown, and the inside should be filled with tiny holes of yeasty goodness.

And lastly, the texture is unmistakable. The biggest mistake we make here in the US is to put freshly baked bread into plastic bags, where the crust softens. NON! When you bite into a baguette, you should hear as well as feel the crunch. In addition, the interior should be soft, yet chewy. A hearty baguette gives a slight mouth workout.


The boulangerie not only offers savory breads, but also sweet.

Of course, you are familiar with the croissant - but the Parisian croissant is not just continental breakfast fare, it is a true culinary experience. So many visible layers of buttery goodness... each bite melting in your mouth with no need for additional condiments.

And if you are in the mood for pure decadence... the pain du chocolat combines two Parisian specialties: buttery bread stuffed with European milk chocolate. Delicieux!



44 comments:

  1. Short but so sweet! I vole the range fo breads you get in France and elsewhere on the continent.

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    1. Yes, so far I stick with those that are familiar, but I'm looking forward to branching out and trying all the other shapes, sizes, and flavors.

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  2. Oooh, my stomach is growling. I have often marveled at how people could give up bread as part of a low-carb diet (except, of course, grocery store bread - I have largely given that up!). Authentically made bread is beautiful and offers such a simple, though wholly satisfying part of a meal. C'est magnifique! :-)

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    1. Nancy - I couldn't agree more! I tried to eat a balanced diet, but I could never give up my daily bread, especially when living in Paris :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  3. That's what I hate about store bought bread in the States - the soft crust. I love a crusty loaf of bread and if you give me some fromage and some vin with it, I'm a very happy camper.

    You've made me hungry now. Off to search the pantry :-)

    Cheers - Ellen | http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/2016/04/b-is-for-boatyard-nancy-drew.html

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  4. I can't agree with you. Bread and water (!) in France... This will be a punishment as there's no wine. But we are still at letter B, so bread it is. The beautiful smell when passing by a boulangerie. One just has to stop by and buy a baguette or a flute or .... It's hard. There are so many choices. And then one needs cheese and ... But this are different letters as well. So, bread it is..
    A great description of the French bread. I can remember it vividly!

    Claudia of www.claowuepotpourri.wordpress.com

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    1. GREAT comment :) Yes... cheese and wine are mandatory for a Parisian lunch.

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  5. Ahh you are tapping into my wanderlust! I've been craving some international travel again lately. Real French bread sounds SO good!

    Happy B Day!
    ~AJ Lauer, an A-Z Co-host
    Twitter: @ayjaylauer

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    1. I'd love to hear about your travels... I am always up for a trip outside the Midwest.

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  6. Now I think I'm going to have bake -- YES on the crust and the sound.

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    1. As much as I love bread, I have yet to learn to bake it myself. That is definitely on my bucket list. Do you have any cookbook recommendations?

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  7. A croissant as we know it compared to a French croissant (the real deal)...well, no comparison!! LOL
    Writer In Transit

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    1. I know... it's sad, isn't it?
      I remember the first time I had a real croissant in Paris - with apricot preserves. Pure heaven!

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  8. I love French bread as well and always have to laugh what is sold here in the US as "French bread". However, my most favorite bread is German bread - there are around 300 different breads available in Germany, and the darker and more grains the better (in my opinion). I really miss good bread, but since I bake my own bread it's not too bad (difficult to get the flour here that I need).

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    1. I am completely unfamiliar with Germany and its heritage - something I hope to remedy now that I'm retired.

      I'd love to hear about the breads you describe here - I'm sure I'd love them :)

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  9. You're making my stomach growl this morning! I remember being in France and grabbing a baguette to take as a snack--something I'd never think to do here in the US. The best part is that with all the walking, there's no concern over carbs or calories! :)

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    1. EXACTLY! It is lightweight and easy to carry in a backpack. A ready made treat when on the run :)

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  10. Oh I love bread, especially baguettes!

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    1. Me too! When my son was younger and I would take him grocery shopping, I would be sure to stop by the bakery first and pick up a baguette for him to gnaw on through the store :)

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  11. Those breads you describe sound delicious! I try to make my own when I can, because store bought just isn't that great. I'm enjoying this a to z challenge! Here's my second one. http://gaylwright.blogspot.com/2016/04/b-is-for-bongo-not-drum.html

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    1. I want to learn to make bread... but then again, maybe my waistline would prefer me to savor it only when I travel overseas :)

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  12. I'm salivating just looking at that picture.

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    1. :) ... hope you can find something to appease the taste buds.

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  13. Well, I'm Italian, so I wont't add anything ;-)

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

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    1. I hope you noticed the parentheses :)

      I have only been to Italy once, but I plan to visit often and learn to adore the bread of your country as much as I love the French baguettes.

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  14. I ate so much yummy bread (and wine) in Paris that I thought I could never eat bread in America again. So much yum!!

    bonne chance ma cherie

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  15. Now I want to go to Paris just for the bread! A plain old white loaf just doesn't compare. I'm looking forward to the fromage post :D

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    1. I think it is a toss-up whether I love bread or cheese best :)

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  16. Oh my goodness, now I'm starving. A bread baking tour of Europe. What a good idea!

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    1. Oh... now that's an idea I can get behind - a bread tour of Europe :) Italy, France, Germany ... are there other countries we need to visit?

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  17. You're making me miss Montreal with this post. So much great bread, and fantastic pastries, not to mention cafés on every corner! I love the pain au chocolate (which people usually called "chocolatines" in Montreal), and there was another one I think called the Bretagne that was a flaky tart with a lemony custard in the middle. Yum!

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    1. I have always wanted to visit Montreal (I figure it is closer than Paris).. but have yet to get there. I'm thrilled to know the breads and pastries and cafes are the same there as overseas. I feel the need to plan a North American trip in the near future :)

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  18. Oh...I am dying to go back and have some more of those good French breads and pastries! My fave for breakfast was the "pain aux raisins." A-to-Z-er Jetgirl visiting via Forty, c'est Fantastique

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    1. Ohhh... pain aux raisins... I never tried that, but you know I will the next time I visit Paris :)

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  19. I can hardly wait to go back to France and eat some more of those delicious breads and pastries! Great theme :-) A-to-Z-er Jetgirl visiting via Forty, c'est Fantastique

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  20. French breads are wonderful. I had a couple of meals on Air France, and could have made a meal of the baguettes and croissants.

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    1. I've always imagined Air France being the ultimate in luxury flying - maybe because of the Concorde publicity.

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  21. I love bread and a good visit to a bakery - what never ceases to amaze me is the queue to get into the good bakeries and cafes.

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    1. Fortunately I didn't deal with that issue, probably because I visited the local, less-famous bakeries. Some day I'd love to try Poilane though - I understand it is the best. Do you have other recommendations?

      Thanks for stopping by :)

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  22. Oooh. This made me hungry.
    I'm not much of a bread person, but at my last workplace, I had a colleague who would stop by the bakery after lunch just to get a baguette. And then he'd tell us reminisce over and over again about the baguettes he had in Paris!

    Anna
    ATSP @ Deeply Shallow
    @natzers

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    1. My waistline wouldn't mind if I liked bread just a little less than I do... :)

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