What can you say about Bread apart that it comes almost in all shapes or forms but also that it has been a stapple for many throughout the ages. Sharing a Bread is so deeply entranched in our culture that it became a symbol for Companionship.
Home Bread Sharing Bread with Bacon and Stilton following a recipe of Paul Hollywood.
The love and care, the craft which goes into a loaf of bread is commandable. Bakers getting up in extremelly early hours to nourish their customers. Dough which needs to be kneaded, rested then baked. In Paris this is the five AM busiest hour for Bakers to open their Boulangeries on time for the day ahead.
The scent of Bread Baking is enticing. Fetching a Baguette from a Bakery has been a sort of morning cult for the French. First it gives something to dip into a Hot Chocolate or a Café au Lait to the children before school with a good amount of Butter upon the slice of Bread (Cut Lengthwise). Second it provides a Sandwich for the Bread winner within a family which has to go to work. It is a bit of a tradition.
The Baguette, a crusty delicious Bread with a white soft 'Mie' in the inside.
This long stick of a Bread has a long history. For myself I dare to confess that when, as a child, we were going on a long road trip for example to Saint Michael's Mount, my Mum used to prepare Baguette Sandwiches for the road, with just Ham and Butter and sometimes Tomatoes and Gherkins added.
Another memorable Bread during my childhood was a Pain au Lait (Milk Bread). It was soft, buttery, shorter than a Baguette, tasting a little like a Brioche which we used to have coming back from school.
Little Milk Bread, gorgeously soft and buttery.
It was what we called the 'Quatre Heure' which equates to roughly, give or take due to homeworks, the Tea Time for French Children. Served with a Jam and a hot milk beverage of our choice: It was so nice. I am not going to do the 'Madeleine' of Proust here with the memory of the past but... smile.
With Bread comes also the Spread most of the times: Jam comes into mind, here are my pots of Home Made Plum and Cinnamon Jam. Delicious and very handy for the colder days of the year to make a slice of bread swing.
Another little Jam to preserve Summer Fruits during the Winter Months: Apricots, Peach and Nectarine Jam with Almonds.
If I learnt from my Mum and by myself to make Jams or Preserves, I must say that it is a delightful skill to have to please others and yourself. The combinations are endless. But there are always your good favourites. For me it is Apricot Jam and a good Blackcurrant Jam. For my Partner it will be a Raspberry Jam or a Marmalade, and for my Mum it would be either a Blackberry Jam or a Rhubarb Jam. Now a question is what came first the Bread or the invention of the Jam???
Now all Breads are not to be spread with Butter or Jams, some are to be enjoyed by themselves, or as a side for dinner or Lunch, or to be the main part of a Lunch or to be dipped into a Soup, a Sauce or a Fondue.
The Fougasse. Ready to be enjoyed by itself or as I would say a Bread perfect to dip.
There are some very artisanal Breads which are better suited to accompany savoury dishes. The Fougasse is one of them. It aims to ressemble Wheat. Pretty and Herby it is delicious to break into and dip into a soup or by the side of a Medditerranean Dinner.