The Revolution of French Bread Baking (part 1)

Published by Sunday, April 1, 2012 Permalink 1

by Jean-Philippe de Tonnac

Cliquez ici pour la version française.

Translated and adapted by Jonell Galloway

The reinvention of French cuisine: it’s springtime for French cuisine, and it may not all be thanks to French bread bakers, but they are playing a major role

French bread bakers are in the limelight these days, and are considered as much artists as artisans. Marie-Odile Briet recently paid homage to their creativity, unbridled by the French government’s 1993 “bread decree,” defining in very precise terms what could and couldn’t be defined as “bread.” The most illustrious advocates of the art of bread making, which in essence had to be reinvented, were Gontran Cherrier (Paris), Dominique Saibron (Paris), Christophe Vasseur (Paris), Jean-Luc Poujauran (Paris), Basile Kamir (Paris), Eric Kayser (Paris) and Benoît Fradette (Aix-en-Provence).

They merit the name of bread baker, or boulanger, as well as inventors. But we mustn’t leave out the stout-hearted artisans, working quietly in their bakeries in the wee hours of the morning, with no one tooting horns for them, who are nonetheless master bakers. And where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and this is the proof of the true renaissance of the French bread making profession — a renaissance that has spread from a few Parisian arrondissements to the entire country. It is a true phenomenon that has spread its wings far and wide; it is a movement that has started a new chapter in the history of French bread making. In this new paradigm, there is no longer any plausible excuse for bad bread, for flavorless bread, for bread that is too expensive or too anything. The movement is quietly deepening its roots, backed by a history dating back thousands of years, basking in the glow of its established nutritional qualities. But that’s not all: these master bakers are now an integral part of the whole redefinition of French cuisine. Bread is no longer considered a humble food to fill your belly or to sop up your sauce. It is clearly in the public eye.

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