Here I am, baker-in -residence, La Chapelle, Arcachon.
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:
Sunday morning is also the day for Marc Brion’s bread stall at the Municipal Market in Arcachon:
What 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:
First attempt using supermarket organic T65 – nothing clever, just my basic campagne:
A 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.
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 …