Every culture has a staple dish. A type of food that is enjoyed by all walks of life and in a variety of shapes and forms.
In celebrating our French Heritage with the Bastille Festival, we can't ignore the importance of bread. The French are renowned for their love of bread and how this seemingly simple ingredient makes out an all important part of the acclaimed French food culture.
Although it is a contentious quote, the story of Queen Marie-Antoinette having said “Let them eat cake”, the traditional translation for “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” and the anger with which it was received by the French population, does give one an idea of how serious the French regard their bread. In fact, today, bread dough categories are protected by French law!
For breads with traditional French names, this law only allows the addition of ascorbic acid and rye flour to the four basic ingredients of water, flour, yeast and salt. French bakers therefore rely on various techniques of kneading, proofing and baking to create an assortment of breads. Of these various types of French breads, the Baguette is the best-known.
The history of the Baguette is more complex than one would think. While it seems that it has evolved directly from long French breads in the seventeenth century, another theory is that the longer, thinner baguette originally developed in Vienna in the middle of the 19th century. Viennese bakers were not allowed to bake before 4 am and this type of bread could be prepared and baked much quicker than other loaves.
Despite the complexity of its origin though, the Baguette’s crispy crust and chewy interior has made it popular globally, while the classic “wand” shape after which it has been named, has become an unofficial symbol of the French lifestyle.
Nine out of ten French people enjoy an average of half a baguette each day. Whether it is used to mop up the last sauce of the coq au vin or on its own with a glass of wine.
But French bread is not limited to the baguette. Pain de Campagne or French Country loaf is a very popular sourdough. Chef Eric and Ricardo from the Pierneef à La Motte bakery share a recipe for this delicious bread in celebration of the annual Franschhoek Bastille Festival.
Proper bread is sometimes all the therapy we need. Whether you eat bread to comfort, to celebrate or just to enjoy, make sure you find a beautiful farm-baked loaf from the La Motte Farm Shop and enjoy with a smear of butter and a sprinkle Sel de Mer!
390 g Cake flour
110 g Rye flour
55 g Whole wheat flour
410 g Water
10 g Salt
10 g Yeast
2 packets pitted green olives
1 chopped onion, roasted.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Proof for 40 minutes and fold.
Proof for another 20 minutes.
Cut in 500 g balls and bench proof for 20 minutes.
Shape in rounds and bake at 200 ˚C for 20 to 25 minutes.