Bakeries are not all created equal.  When we vacationed in Paris, it made me realize that bakeries ought to be an important part of our lives.  I’ve made several pleas in my entries that we ought to create time to cook.  To turn away from the sugar and sodium laden artificially flavored frozen foods this country has grown to subsist on.  The boulangerie in Paris should be a way to tell us here in the States that we rely too much on pre-packaged breads.  White, wheat, sourdough, multi-grain, are just a few that you can find in your local grocery store.  We all buy them and we all eat them without really thinking about what goes into these loaves.  I’m not suggesting Orowheat is lacing their wheat breads with toxic chemicals, but a recent trip to the grocery store has again reminded me that a simple thing like bread can also contain things like sucrose and other artificial flavors that also keeps the bread in your refrigerator a lot longer than freshly baked breads.

If you take the recipe of a classic French baguette, it contains yeast, flour, baking soda, salt, and water.  That’s it.  To transform these ingredients into a beautiful 18″ loaf takes time, patience, proper temperature and proper steam in the oven.  And this is where I tend to give all of us a culinary break.  It’s not feasible, in this day and age, to carve out a whole day a week to make fresh breads.  The baking time maybe 40-50 minutes, but with proper proofing, making bread can take up to 18 hours.  And really, we just don’t have that kind of time anymore.  That’s why it’s so important that we all find really good bakeries where we live.  The breads that you get at a bakery is so much better and fresher than your local grocery stores.  And more importantly, it will be better for you.

I realize that not all of us live near a really good bakery.  And that in itself is tragic.  I know, because we do not live close to a good bakery either.  We cannot walk or even drive a short distance to have a really good croissant and a cup of coffee that is remotely close to a boulangerie in Paris.  Below is a non-typical Parisian breakfast we had while we were there.  The croissants were fantastic and the coffee was also out of this world.  It tastes so much better than the croissants you can buy at Costco.  There’s just nothing like freshly baked breads.

I still buy bread from my local grocery store, but if there were an Eric Kayser [the boulangerie in Paris where these pictures are taken] where we live, I would buy my breads here every week.  The fact that the city we live in doesn’t help create a community where these bakeries can thrive is also a shame.  But there’s nothing we can do about that.  At the Eric Kayser boulangerie, while we were eating our breakfast, we noticed customer after customer coming in to buy 1, 2, even 3 loaves of baguettes at a time.  I wish we had that kind of bakery near our house.  I wish that was part of our culture here.  But I realize it is not.  We’re in it for the quick and satisfying while many of cultures are in it for the quality of the foods they eat.  That’s something we can re-learn to follow their lead in.  I’m not imploring we all bake our own breads, but let’s at least drive around to find a really good bakery where we can rely on to get our daily breads from.  That would a huge start to living better and living healthier.

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