Attention bread lovers!In the first of his famous books about Provence, Peter Mayle shared with us news of a bakery in the town of Cavaillon where the baking and appreciation of breads “had been elevated to the status of a minor religion.” Its name: Chez Auzet.Now, several hundred visits later, Mayle has joined forces with Gerard Auzet, the proprietor of this most glorious of Provençal bakeries, to tell us about breadmaking at its finest.Mayle takes us into the baking room to witness the birth of a loaf. We see the master at work–slapping, rolling, squeezing, folding, and twisting dough as he sculpts it into fougasses, bâtards, and boules. Auzet then gives us precise, beautifully illustrated instructions for making sixteen kinds of bread, from the classic baguette to loaves made with such ingredients as bacon, apricots, hazelnuts, garlic, and green and black olives. There are tips galore, the tricks of the trade are revealed, and along the way Mayle relates the delightful history of four generations of Auzet bakers. One of Provence’s oldest and most delicious pleasures is now available at a kitchen near you, thanks to this charming guide. Read, bake, and enjoy.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Confessions of a French Baker|
|Release Date: 04-02-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Confessions of a French Baker
The Birth of a Loaf
Cavaillon, the melon capital of France (and of the world, according to the local melon fraternity), is a market town of some 23,000 inhabitants, about a thirty-minute drive from Avignon. By day, it’s a lively, crowded place. Cars prowl the streets in search of a parking spot, housewives sniff and prod the glistening piles of fruit and vegetables laid out on sidewalk stands shaded by striped awnings, café regulars study newspapers over their morning beers as dogs sidle between the tables hoping to find a fallen croissant. The sounds of laughter, vigorous argument, and les top hits of Radio Vaucluse burst out through open doors and windows.
That was how I knew Cavaillon, and how I always thought of it, until I was invited to take a look behind the scenes of the Auzet bakery by the patron himself. It was to be a working visit. I wanted to see bakers in action. I wanted to witness mounds of dough being transformed into loaves. I wanted to run my fingers through the flour, squeeze a warm boule or two, and generally soak up the atmosphere.
That was no problem, Gerard Auzet told me. I could have the freedom of the bakery while it was still calm and uncrowded. He suggested that I turn up for work, like everyone else, at four a.m. He could guarantee I’d have no trouble parking.
Cavaillon at four on that August morning was cool and ghostly. There were no cars, no noise, no people, no hint of the heat that would come with the morning sun. I was aware of hearing sounds one seldom hears in a busy town: the ticking of my car’s engine as it cooled, the wailing of a lovelorn