In my trip to Paris last year, I not only made sure to visit a number of the best patisseries (Pierre Hermé, Ladurée and Gérard Mulot), but also boulangeries. The bread I sampled at these bakeries was truly a treat. Back home, I have been inspired to bake my own bread.
I have been reading a great reference on sourdoughs called Local Breads by Daniel Leader. It focuses on regional specialities across France, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic. I have also supplemented my bread research with a sourdough class. Last week I attended a Sourdough and Artisan Bread class with Brett Noy at Black Pearl Epicure. We covered the fundamentals, of sourdough, made white and wholemeal dough plus our own levain to take home.
I love the slightly sour taste of these breads, and this crusty loaf was baked last weekend as my first foray into the artisanal bread world.
Despite the probably more appropriate choices of continental butter and fruit conserves as an accompanying condiment, I must confess that this bread tastes delicious with vegemite, too. Perhaps sacrilege, but it is the Australian in me!
I have a range of other bread delights to bake this month. Many probably better for my waistline than my recent spell of maracon baking. Some, well, not so sure… But for now, it is all about the sourdough.