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chezjim

18th century French breads

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It may be superfluous to announce this here, since I'd guess some here at least are on lists where I've already done so, but for those who aren't... I have finally put up a few pages on 18th century French breads:

Chez Jim: 18th Century French Breads

This includes "common breads" - for commoners, middle class masters and servants, as well as consecrated bread and bread for soldiers -, "pains mollets" - more for the well-off - and soup breads, which reflect the importance soup long had in French meals.

I've tried to find useful links for subjects that I'm weaker on, like milling and the differences in flours, but if anyone has better suggestions or further information on the technical side, I welcome them.


Jim Chevallier

http://www.chezjim.com

Austrian, yes; queen, no:

August Zang and the French Croissant: How Viennoiserie came to France

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Though I might regret it, after looking at the site from your link, I instantly put it in my "favorites" folder, to peruse at leisure. It looks like a lot of pleasurable reading, whether or not I ever make anything from the site.

Ray

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My dearest hope in putting this up was that it would inspire some of you who (unlike me) are bakers to try some of these. If anyone does, I hope they'll post an image and/or recipe here. It would be delightful to see this thread stretch into a series of period breads.

My own favorite candidate would be the bread that was least appreciated - nay, despised - in its own time: soldier's bread (pain de munition/French ammunition bread). Period soldiers may have felt that a bread made from wheat, rye and bran was one of the many insults of their lot, but today such a bread sounds pretty tasty, especially if baked as described:

The loaves are made round and flat; they used to be made eight inches in diameter: today they are ten inches, which makes them flatter and gives them more crust than if they were raised; they succeed better too being more spread out; they are better being more baked, and they keep longer.

Low, crusty and whole-grained. Sounds pretty good to me.

Not to mention when your friends ask what it is, you get to say, "French ammunition bread." Pause. "EIGHTEENTH CENTURY French ammunition bread."

For those who like to faire un effet.


Jim Chevallier

http://www.chezjim.com

Austrian, yes; queen, no:

August Zang and the French Croissant: How Viennoiserie came to France

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