Pain de Me (& Him)

Here I am, baker-in -residence, La Chapelle, Arcachon.

house-1-smallNot a bad little gaff, of which more later.

You will remember that about ten years ago Adam, for journalistic purposes, christened me “the sourdough genius”. These days it causes some people to surreptitiously snigger up their sleeves. Well, let me tell you, I knew some of these people before they had sleeves to wipe their snotty noses on. Anyway just before we came away I did actually have a stroke of genius. For about the last fifteen years I have been bringing my starter over to France because of the state of the bread over here. Problem is you refresh it on Friday, keep it in the fridge over night, wack it in your baggage and, being liquid it has to fly in the hold, etc., so that by the time it arrives in situ it’s well in need of a bit of cossetting. Meanwhile you want to dump your bags and get down to the supermarche to get in the basics before it closes. You don’t want to be thinking about flour at this stage let alone dragging it back with all the rest of the groceries. Fifteen years on it suddenly hit me, why not take a couple of hundred grams of flour with us? It would make no real difference to already heavy bags. Genius!

As a result, this is how my stater looked on Sunday morning:
starter-day-01-small
Sunday morning is also the day for Marc Brion’s bread stall at the Municipal Market in Arcachon:
brion-stall-006-smallWhat more reassurance could a man have than an active starter and that wonderful jumble of fantastic breads to choose from? But he’s only there once a week and there are plenty of mouths to be fed:
spug-003-small
First attempt using supermarket organic T65 – nothing clever, just my basic campagne:
1st-buns-002-smallA couple of 200g buns. I have to keep doing a single strand braid so I don’t forget how to do it. On the other hand with no baking gear apart from a pizza tin, it occurs to me that a braid is quite a good way of providing structure to the dough.

Next day, their big brother:
2nd-bread-002-smallAbout 800g.

crumb-002-smallYou got to admit that’s not bad for a confused starter coming to terms with different water and flour and baked in a miniature microwave/combi oven.

The thing about the house: on the way here from the station our landlord told us he’d sold it – moving out mid November. What are we going to do? This is the twelfth time we’ve stayed here, more than a year in total, written books here, battled with ovens here …

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About bethesdabakers

Baker
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4 Responses to Pain de Me (& Him)

  1. The Hill Bakery says:

    Genius was not too strong a word!
    And no sniggering at the back…

  2. rowmarcus says:

    I thought the original description appearing in print was “sourdough guru”, which is surely a league above mere genius…?

  3. Actually, it was “Sourdough gnu”.But like Jeremy Shapiro and his selfies, you have to grab every opportunity. Like the old joke – the Vatican, St Peter’s Square, the balcony – “Who’s the Brazilian looking guy in white standing next to Jeremy?”

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