Saturday, May 24, 2008

pain (the other kind)


You know, the kind you make out of flour, yeast and water, shape into long doughy cylinders with the aid of a baker's couche, and bake to crusty deliciousness. Pain means bread in French, and, in France, bread means baguettes, like the ones the baker in the picture above is getting ready for the oven.

Of course, you can't live by bread alone, but I certainly wouldn't mind trying. While I like pastries well enough, my favorite baked good by far is bread. In Paris there seem to be bakeries on practically every corner, selling a huge variety of loaves ranging from pains de campagne to boules to ficelles to miches. And if, as usually seems to happen, the baguettes are sold out, I heed Marie Antoinette's sage advice: "let them eat brioche."

What's your favorite kind of bread or bread-like foodstuff?

35 comments:

Tash said...

Name it, and I'll eat it, even though with IR I'm supposed to avoid the stuff like it's poison. Personally, I love a good croissant, which is almost impossible to find stateside without it being gummy on the inside.

thirtysomething said...

Fresh, lightly grilled to buttery perfection, sourdough bread.
But, a good Panini sandwich runs a close second.

Karen said...

challah, food of my childhood in New York, which I now make myself for - as my toddler says - challahdays & also for the creating of chocolate bread pudding. yum.

Magpie said...

I love your title.

I am partial to crusty bread, slathered with butter and jam for breakfast, topped by tomato and goat cheese for lunch, dipped in the juices from a grilled steak for dinner.

Julia said...

Funny you should ask that now. The bread I love and can't get is the dark rye and wheat mix made only in the Old City, and it doesn't come out right anywhere else in the world, even 30 miles outside the city. Crazy, I know. The locals suspect the water. I suspect black magic. Either way, currently Monkey and JD have unfettered access to it, and I have to content myself poor substitutes available here. Darn.

Second place for me is baguettes, although they really are terrible for me, so I try to be conscientious and not tempt self with it much.

Somewhere in there is also a well-made cranberry muffin, which Starbucks tempts me with extremely regularly. And sadly, I succumb. But since I have started failing glucose tests after that treat, I need to cut that out too. Sigh...

thordora said...

Crusty italian bread with fresh cheddar, or sesame montreal bagels....ultra fresh pumpernickle...

dammit now I'm hungry...

Beruriah said...

Mmm, everything Tash said. Josh has started making bread pretty regularly and he just made a focaccia that was really good. Pecan rolls are a weakness, but it's been probably 8 months since I had one. I'm headed off to an engagement brunch so now you've given me something to to hope for.

Maggie said...

Oh bread...you have found my weakness. I am grateful that I am not allergic to gluten because bread...ANY bread, is probably my favorite thing ever. Warm bread of any kind is my favorite...in fact I think now I am going to have to go off and make some!

The Town Criers said...

Well, you know bread is the center of our kitchen--we make bread 4 times a week and never go store-bought. My favourite is a baguette that I make (sans couche! I have rigged a homemade couche). A close second is a chocolate cherry bread that we sometimes eat for breakfast. Mmmm...and bagels.

On Friday, we made these great bread sticks with dinner and I'm making another batch right now.

Kymberli said...

Like Tash, I also have IR and have to watch my bread intake. It sucks, because I could eat bread all day.

I've never ventured to make fresh bread from scratch, but occasionally I'll buy some pre-made frozen dough and will bake semi-homemade bread at home. That's definitely my favorite, slathered with lots of butter and honey.

Frank makes killer chocolate biscuits for dessert sometimes, served with mascerated strawberries, vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Whatever type of bread it is they serve at Romano's Macaroni Grill with olive oil and cracked pepper is also a favorite.

Antigone said...

Oh, Niobe, bestill my heart. BREAD. yum yum and yum.

Awake said...

My grandmother's pumpkin bread. Made in an old can, it is cut in circles. I could eat many, many loaves in one sitting.

calliope said...

a few years ago I had something called a pretzel roll. It was a roll, nice & yeasty, and it had salt baked on top & oh MY was it good.

But really- bread, all bread (with the exception of a too strong rye) is good.

Betty M said...

Bread is one of my absolute favourite things. From fresh (Persian) nan at a local kebab place, through Swiss "ballons" with Alpine butter (you can taste the flowers from the Alpine meadows honest) and on to sourdough I can't get enough. Unfortunately London is a hopeless city for bread outside the fancier restaurants. The arrival of Paul from France has been the highlight of the last few years and thats not saying much. So I am glad that my husband has developed a bread obsession. We now have couches, peels, obscure razor things for putting slashes in the top of loaves and, as I noticed from my email, 3 "how to build a bread oven" books arriving next week. He makes beautiful sourdough and, given the the constraints of a domestic oven, excellent baguettes. Cinnamon rolls on the other hand are my department.

Virginia said...

Baguettes, in the morning, warm, with butter (real butter) and jam. At night, with dinner, with olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Croissant. In France. The first time I had a croissant in France I swore I would never eat one anywhere else agai.

Christine said...

tortillas and San Fransisco sourdough.

painted maypole said...

oh I love bread of just about any ilk. French baguettes with some hazelnut chocolate? divine.

Heather said...

I love the breads of so many cultures -- naan from India, flour tortillas from Mexico, lefse from Norway, etc. However, I'm brought to my knees by a crusty sourdough loaf. All, eaten warm and fresh from the oven with a bit of melty butter, are amazing.

SO, SO glad I'm not IR or have celiac disease. I think I would die if I could never eat bread again.

My Reality said...

Mel's chocolate cherry bread is to DIE for. I made it and it was fantastic.

I love to make bread. There is something about kneading bread that is very cathartic for me.

Monica H said...

With the title paired with the picture- pain (the other kind) I thought you meant pain in the ass!

Lisa b said...

a perfect baguette is the most perfect food in the world paired with a nice stinky cheese
I had birthday brunch at nice french restaurant today
http://www.thuet.ca/menu.asp
the chef is from Alsace.

Mrs. Spit said...

MMM. Crumpets. Dripping with butter and honey. . .

JamieD said...

Whatever I smell baking fresh is usually my favorite!!

Right now, cinnamon bread sounds yummy.

Thanks for the delicious pictures!

Rosepetal said...

it doesn't really count as bread, more as patisserie, but I love almond croissants. Yum!

The bakeries in France are definitely the best I have been to in Europe.

Rosepetal said...

Oh and I love buttered crumpets too - although they're more of a British thing

NotSoSage said...

My parents used to buy loaves of bread in bulk and then freeze most of it. I remember as a young teenager billeting at a swim meet with another girl my age, who suggested that we go out and buy a loaf of bread and "just eat it". I thought, 'Why on earth would anyone want to do that?'

And then...I had baguette and calabrese bread and raisin walnut bread and all of a sudden realised what the heck she was on about.

Amelie said...

Just about any fresh bread, so good you could actually eat it by itself. Perhaps even more delicious with a bit of butter on it. Mmmh. I have to go home for dinner now.

Nicole said...

I am all about freshly baked soft pretzels!!! I could eat them all day long.

The Nanny said...

Any. kind. of. bread.

You name it, I'll eat it. Except cheese bread, cause I don't eat cheese.

I especially love:
a) fresh, buttered French bread or sourdough
b) toast of ANY kind
c) well, any bread, really.

Eva said...

The list is too long and varied to go into, but I am really into freshness.

Molly said...

My weakness: bread that is soft and dougy, and just warm enough so that when you put a slice of cheddar cheese in there and fold it over, the cheese gets a little melty and seeps into the pores. Oh, it's so delightful. Sigh.

Beck said...

Mmm, homemade bread. And the answer is, of course, my cinnamon rolls, hot from the oven and insanely caloric.

Kami said...

I love any well made bread. I used to bake every week or so until I got married, then it was often, then I gave up wheat as part of TCM diet and have rarely baked since. It will come back though. Some of my fav recipes include homemade candied citrus peel made into English style tea cakes and cinnamon rolls made out of croissant dough. Mmmmm . . .

beagle said...

Olive rolls or a real honest to goodness bavarian fresh pretzel!

(Starch in general really . . . )

Katie said...

Here from NCLM. Unless it has raisins or jalapeƱos in it, I will probably eat it. My favorite bread though is french bread baked fresh in the bread machine.