What to Eat in France: Pain du Moulin

Published by Thursday, June 2, 2016 Permalink 0

What to Eat in France: Pain du Moulin, or “bread from the mill”

by Jonell Galloway

My adopted hometown of Chartres is in the Beauce region, the breadbasket of France. Large, flat wheat fields surround the single hill of Chartres, topped with the most beautiful Gothic Cathedral in the world. You can see the cathedral for miles when driving across the fields, and a quite magical view it is, its spires dominating the flat farmlands. No wonder people have been making pilgrimages here for at least 5,000 years.

Chartrains, as we call the people from here, come from the land. Everyone in the region has a farm or has family who owns one, and because of the abundance of grains of every kind — wheat, barley, corn, rye and many more — grains are an integral part of the local diet.

This traditional recipe is referred to as “bread from the mill,” but no one knows the exact origin of that name. In the past, the Beaucerons (the inhabitants of the Beauce region), of Celtic and Druidic origins, ate this on the Jour des Morts, the day of the dead, which fell on November 2 after All Saint’s Day, when the living were said to communicate with the dead, when tombs and graves were said to open so that the world of the visible and invisible could intermingle for a short period.


Pain du moulin / bread from the mill, French recipe from Chartres/Beauce, France























Early in the morning of November 2, local bakers made pain aux morts, or “bread to the dead” (this could even be translated in a more ghoulish manner, “bread (made from) the dead”), out of flour and milk, for a traditional 10 a.m. breakfast before going to the cemetery.

In the nineteenth century, the church decided that All Saints Day sufficed and such pagan customs were more or less done away with. Beaucerons continue to eat this bread during the All Saints celebrations, however, calling it “bread from the mill” instead of “bread to the dead.”

I often serve this recipe with apéritif, but it can also make a vegetarian dinner, and can, of course, be eaten year round.



Pain au lait, French milk bread, Chartres/Beauce, France














pains au lait or 3-4″-long milk breads
6 cups milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese or similar, grated
Cooking oil
Kitchen string


  1. Cut the bread in half lengthwise.
  2. Use a spoon to scrape the crumbs out of the crust, taking care to leave the crust intact, and put the crumbs in a bowl.
  3. Pour milk over crumbs and mix.
  4. Add the eggs and the grated cheese and mix well.
  5. Fill the crusts with the bread crumb mixture.
  6. Use kitchen string to tie the bread halves together.
  7. Heat cooking oil in a deep pan or fryer. When the oil starts to bubble, drop in the bread and cheese preparations.
  8. Cook until golden brown.
  9. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately while hot.


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David Downie: Guanciale: An Obituary and a Homage to Rome’s Jowl Bacon, Part 1

Published by Tuesday, July 19, 2011 Permalink 0

by David Downie

Click here to read part 2

The inimitable guanciale — Italian “jowl bacon” — made for over half a century by the Carilli brothers in Rome is dead. Long live Rome’s guanciale!

Purists insist that without guanciale it’s impossible to make the true versions of the pasta sauces carbonara (olive oil, butter or lard, eggs, black pepper, pork jowl, and pecorino romano), gricia (subtract the eggs and black pepper, add hot chili and wine), or Food Wine Rome (add tomatoes to gricia).

But guanciale also finds its way onto bruschetta and into soups as well as myriad other pasta sauces, vegetable medleys, frittatas, poultry, beef, and pork. To my knowledge, the only course of a Roman meal in which guanciale does not appear is dessert.

C’ho passione! C’ho passione!” — “I’m passionate, I’m passionate!” sang white-haired pork butcher Salvatore Carilli when I interviewed him a few years back.  When I asked him about the trade his  family has been in for more generations than he can tell me, with paternal pride, the wiry and excitable Carilli, the eldest at 72 of three butcher brothers, thrust a wizened, pepper-dusted, triangular two-kilo hog jowl into my hands. He had cured it in dry salt and air-dried it for months.

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