Behind Closed Doors – Poilâne Bread from Paris

Many many years ago, I visited a local townhouse that was for sale – thinking my charming cottage was filled with endless to do lists of repairs. The owner was nonchalantly noshing on a beautiful bread round, he offered me a bite. I thanked him and marveled at the magnitude of the loaf and delicious flavor. He casually commented, it was just delivered by FedEx from Paris!

I forgot the townhouse, but I NEVER forgot that bread and the notion that behind unassuming ordinary doors, some clever people have their bread delivered from Paris! Don’t judge a book by its cover comes to mind.

I added Poilâne Bread to my Paris list of must visits and eventually met and interviewed the young owner, Apollonia Poilâne. You can read the tragic tale with a happy ending: My Daily Bread.

Multiple Poilâne bakeries in Paris, 8 rue du Cherche-Midi in the artsy Saint-Germain-des-Prés district is one of my favorite locations. I use their linen lined bread proofing baskets to serve bread.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had yummy Poilâne bread FedExd to my cottage and to my friends. With the forthcoming pandemic holidays ahead, I encourage you to make it a bit more magnificent and memorable with Bread from Paris! I’ve already placed my order for the decorated Thanksgiving sourdough, it’s enormous and serves a crowd or hoard it and nibble with a scrumptious cheese and a flute of bubbly.

We all deserve to be a bit spoiled during Covid.

Poilâne

Paris Exclusives – My Daily Bread Poilâne

There is much to adore about Paris: architecture, parks, museums, food and especially the divine French Bread and Pastries. Several years ago, I discovered one could order delicious Poilâne bread direct from the brick ovens in Paris to your front step, a decadent treat!I interviewed Appolonia Poilâne, granddaughter of the bakery founder in the charming rue du Cherche-Midi, Saint-Germain des Près storefront. Vibrant and passionate about the family business, she grew up at her grandfather’s side in the original bakery. She feels baking was imprinted on her soul, spending hours in the office at a very worn work table assisting her grandfather. We sat at this very table, the walls decorated with oil paintings from artists who bartered bread from her grandfather. Salvador Dali was an early customer and convinced the family to design bread in whimsical shapes; in homage to this memory the room is adorned by a bread chandelier.
The boulanger is well known for the round decorated two kilogram sourdough country bread loaves, authentic French bread, the recipe has been handed down over generations. The only change from the original formula is machine kneading; the bread is still baked in wood fired brick ovens. This is not white bread, basic ingredients are stone ground flour flavored with sea salt from the marshes of Guerande, nutritious whole grain bread enjoyed daily by Appolonia. I visited the ancient stone cellar where several men were watching over bread rising in linen lined baskets, pulling warm loaves from the cavernous brick oven, a step back in time, respected methods have been honored and elevated to produce daily bread.

Deep in the brick basement Poilane baker

When her parents unexpectedly passed away, she was thrust into the business at a very young age. Harvard educated, boulanger bake house trained, she is a natural to inherit and run the family business. Appolonia has continued and expanded the business, retaining the authentic nature of the bakery. She is inspired by her clients, as was her mother who was an artist. The shops sell Belgian glazed bowls designed by her mother; she clearly has inherited the bakery gene and the artistic sense of her mother. Motivated and dedicated, she also finds balance in her busy life with ballet and horseback riding. Naturally curious, she is always looking for new ideas, new experiences revamping the corporate web site, introduced new products -the bakery will always be the main focus of her life, flour is in her blood. Poilâne is unique in its approach: developing a modern marketing plan, however retaining the old -fashioned country loaves. Artisan cachet will surely override larger bakeries who are more interested in quantity

Art for Bread

Rising Baskets

Aside from the oversized boules, Poilâne makes raisin or walnut loaves, butter cookies called punitions or “punishments,” delicate flaky croissants, apple tarts, pain au chocolat, and also brioche bread – all heavenly!

Decorated loaves weigh over 4 pounds and will serve a dinner party!

Dough Chandelier

Do Order Poilâne and wait at the gate for Fedex!
http://www.poilane.com/index.php?lang=en