My Crack Baguette

baguette

A woman who writes highly-regarded bread books recently contacted me. She’s coming to Paris, to ask me some questions about various bakeries and their baguettes, and which I liked. I wrote her back, that I didn’t want to sound like a dick, but when you live in Paris, you usually buy your bread from the local boulanger (there are four within a block of my apartment) rather than slogging through packed métro stations, being shoved from side-to-side en route or sitting next to some teenage yakking and tapping madly on their iPhone (pronounced EE-phone), and making two or three connections to get to some charming little bread bakery only to find out that they’re closed that day, for a fermature exceptionnelle…from 1:37 pm to 4:06 pm…every forth Wednesday of months ending in “e”.

I hate to have that whiff of “I’m over it, missy” air about me, but if I have a four hours to kill, I’m not inclined to spend a that time crossing Paris in search of a loaf of bread. Not that there aren’t breads worthy of taking a trip like that, but if I have four hours to kill, I need to spend it doing something useful—like I did yesterday, when I used those few hours to go to three different supermarkets to find the lait frais demi-écrémé which I use in my morning coffee.


(Although in reality, I do allow myself to walk a few extra blocks for bread since the quality of the bread at the place around the corner from me became too erratic. And three blocks really isn’t all that far when I’m in need of a fix.)

But the best baguette I know of is on the street where Romain lives, up near Montmarte. The bakery is horrible looking; stained fluorescent lights grimly flickering their way to a slow death, faux-wood paneling whose plastic is yellowed, cracked and peeling, and the couple that owns it (he makes the bread and she sells it) always look like they’re rather be doing anything else instead of baking and selling bread.

But of all the breads in Paris, including the hearty sourdough loaves of pain Poilâne or the crackly-crunchy baguettes at Bazin, this is the bread I crave. I never bother toasting it in the morning; I just make sure the night before that there’s plenty of salted butter left at room temperature so the following day, it glides on in a glorious thick yellow, buttery slick.

No matter what happens the rest of the day, (and considering the way things have been going around here lately, hooo-boy…do I need it…) at least the first ten minutes have been almost close to perfect.

I can’t share the name of the bakery, since not only do addicts never give up the names of their dealers, but the hours are erratic, and they only make, like, six or seven loaves pain au sésame a day and run out all the time. Which is why I buy two or three at once. I’m stockpiling them in my freezer, carefully-portioning them out in zip-lock freezer bags, for the day when those folks decide to let the last flickering light bulb die in their run-down shop and just give it up once and for all.

I can eat one of these sesame-topped baguettes all by my lonesome and it’s become my “crack” around here. But I know I’m not alone. Often I see another fellow, about my age, leaving the bakery wild-eyed, carrying three sesame baguettes as well. I don’t know if he’s stockpiling them too, but I do know that I find myself lying awake at night, wondering if I should be trying to get there before him, to make sure there’s going to be enough for me.

So far I’ve been successful. But mon dieu, may the lord help him if I ever get there and find out they’re all gone. Because we all know how drugs affect the mind, and although the mind is a terrible thing to waste, in my case, the mind is a terrible thing to mess with—and so are my drugs.

Update: Oh no!

97 comments

  • If I got ‘crack’ baguettes as beautiful as those here,I would be trotting to the local boulanger at the crack of dawn. Since that’s not going to happen ever, I shall sit & dream of bread that looks as good as that! It’s moreish!!

  • Ah, yes! Nothing is as important as good bread. Here in NYC I go seven blocks for my bread. Bread, cheese, and craft beer is my afternoon of heaven. I do believe beer works better than wine, but I’m not in Paris.

  • Jon: Wine works very well. Trust me…sometimes a little too well…

  • We’ve yet to find that perfect bread bakery in the Boston area. I know of one from Cambridge that sells its wares locally at a farm market here in Sharon. Supermarket breads are inedible unless they are made elsewhere. We certainly understand that craving for a fabulous crusty bread–save me some!!

  • God help anyone who tries to stand between you and those baguettes!

  • Interesting what you are saying about leaving the butter out… I always keep our salty butter in the cupboard, not the fridge, even in summer. Out of the sun, it keeps at a good “stick your finger in and make a nice dent” level of softness. Just a quarter stick (I’m in the UK and cut a normal 250 g block in half down the long axis) which lasts about two days here, and so never goes rancid.

    But I’ve discovered that 10 seconds (not a second more unless you want a puddle of melted butter) in the microwave will bring fridge cold butter to the right temperature for toast and tartine spreading. (or making cakes for that matter)

    Apart from butter what else do you recommend for your sesame bread – Marmite is my personal drug, but YMMV… :)

  • Oh, I wish you’d give up the Montmartre place — but I do understand.
    I usually end up at Bechu, which is a block away from me. Their bread is good — they won the coveted best bread in Paris prize a few years ago — but the little old ladies that work there always get my order wrong, and then argue with me when I point this out. Mon Dieu! What we go through for a loaf of bread!

  • I think that you were born breton without knowing it, for sure :D

  • One could plan a trip (or longer) to Paris solely based on seeking the best bread…there’s nothing like it.

  • It’s interesting how a place with such a ratty interior would produce such beautiful bread. As Susan Boyle would say, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

  • Ah. Thought you were giving us a lovely recipe for a baguette that looked like that photograph! Miss being able to walk around the corner to get a fresh baguette for breakfast! Miss Paris!

  • That picture has me drooling. Carbs ARE my crack. It makes me laugh that you won’t give out the name of your bakery. I don’t think I would either.

    Lynne, thanks sharing your microwave trick. I detest cold butter.

  • David, I love reading your blog and I’m quite a lurker. The first time I ever made ice cream, I made the salted butter caramel ice cream. The first time, not so good, the second time, fabulous.

    I’d like to point out that your website is displaying advertisements for a certain political party in India on google Ads which is a political party notorious for their discrimination against minorities, responsible for a state sponsored genocide in Gujarat and dissemination of communal hatred and inciting riots and hinduvta pride and violence against anyone who isn’t Hindu.

    This is the Bharatiya Janata Party and I don’t know if you’ve any control over the ads that Google Ads displays on your website but I thought I’d let you know.

    I don’t mean to start a political discussion over here, I just love your blog but I’m a little sad that Political advertisements are being displayed on your website.

    Huda

    Hi Huda: Thanks. I’ll go ahead and try to block the ads. I don’t see them since I think they’re contextual and set by region, but I don’t want political ads on my site. Unless part of their agenda is promoting salted butter caramel ice cream : ) -dl

  • Oh David, I am so with you about the sesame baguette – my absolute all time favorite! Have you tried the Chez Paul sandwich with Camembert, lettuce and a sesame baguette? Even Chez Paul, it’s pretty good for a chain and I can only imagine how amazing it would be with an exceptional baguette and proper artisan cheese. Okay, now I’m having a major craving for something I can’t even begin to assemble here in England. Thanks for that! ; )

  • sounds delicious….

  • I had a big problem with baguettes and butter a few years ago. To curb the westward expansion I have had to enforce strict limits.

  • Never give up your source, I completely understand!

  • There must be a way that we could find out the street that ‘Romain’ lives on.

  • I’m trying to figure out if you gave us enough clues to conduct some kind of scavenger hunt, but I feel like it would only end with me, gone crazy and hungry, asking strangers if they know where the ugly flourescent bakery is as they exit the funiculaire.

  • ahhh yes,’fermature exceptionnel’ – a huge source of frustration. I understand the quest for the lait frais demi ecreme. We have to DRIVE to the next village to get this. I still refuse to drink ‘milk’ that has a posted shelf life of 12 months.

  • Lana: I know. That sterilized milk is pretty vile stuff. But I think because until recently, refrigeration was a luxury, the stuff became popular. Why it still is today is a mystery to me, although I have been known to succumb when I’m out in the country at the little shops and there’s nothing else around.

  • This bread makes me just want to buy a ticket to Paris right now!

  • I can just imagine you challenging someone to a duel – using old loaves of baguettes in place of weapons…

    “En guarde!” *thwap*…….

  • I love your blog, David. You don’t only give incredible recipes and very useful tips but best of all, and maybe the main reason why I keep coming… you always make me laugh!

    Cheers

  • Let’s talk about butter. I’m an american expat living in Bretagne and every summer when I go back to San Francisco, my home town, a pack with me 2-3 barquettes of salted breton butter (the ones in the plastic tubs). Gotta have them with my toasted bagels that I crave. I love the bread here in France but I need my fix of bagels.

  • Pretty please with a blob of salted butter on top? I moved from the US to Montmartre 3 months ago and would love to know the whereabouts of said boulangerie. I promise I won’t tell a soul! ;) Since this is my first time commenting, I also want to say thanks for everything about this blog. I have enjoyed so many delicious things thanks to you! Which reminds me, I’ve looked for the Bordier beurre sale’ but have only been able to find demi-sel…does Bordier make a full blown sale’? Between fabulous bread, heavenly butter, and caramel beurre sale’ macarons, it’s a good thing Paris is a walking city!

  • I don’t have that problem here, I never buy bread in NYC, not worth it when I can make my own bread! As a matter of fact I am making some Baguette Monge today and a nice pain au levain adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman. But you do have it all there in France, makes me sick, here we don’t even have local boulangeries, which is a total shame if you ask me, so it’s chez moi for mon pain quotidien!

    Jeremy

  • Hi David, I’ve got this very important package to deliver to Romain but I’ve forgotten his address. Could you give it to me? He must have this package soon. Perhaps first thing in the morning. You wouldn’t want him to miss this delivery, would you?

  • starman1695: Lol! Ha, that almost worked. (“Almost” being the operative word.) But thanks for the laugh…

  • Sighh were obviously low on “crack baguettes” here in Northern Idaho. I’m going to have to make my own.

    So beautiful!

  • And here I thought I was the only one that stockpiled baguettes!

  • Why are the best bakeries always across town? On my latest in a string recent of trips I stayed on Ave. Kleber and the baguettes in both cafes and bakeries were like cotton! I finally found a palatable baguette “tradition” off the avenue but it’s enough to put me off breakfast and sandwiches both. Next time I’ll be staying in a quieter neighborhood in the same part of town — Paul is about the best they can do. I foresee fabricating excuses to haul back across town to the cheese shop in the Marche Aligre, the wine shop on the Place d’Aligre, and Bazin–those seeded tradition baguettes are *my* crack baguette.

  • David, would you be willing to share the best place to buy bread here in US? Somewhere in Chicago would be great! I

  • Better get a bodyguard and keep your eyes peeled on your next visit, and I’m gonna get me some of that bread even if I have to take you out to do so.

  • I take great pleasure and relief in knowing that while the world stockpiles weapons, vaccines, money, and varied ugly useless crap merchandise that you David, are thriving by stockpiling supremely delicious baguettes.

    In a war I’d want to hunker down with you above all others.

    Bread is life. And great bread with sublime butter is the good life.

  • David…I adore your writings…they always leave me with a smile or a laugh…….keep them coming!

    JR, NYC

  • Tomorrow I am coming with my crack bread. Fresh from London. Just for you. Call it a bribe, a gift, a Gateway Drug, generosity, blackmail. No matter.

    Trade?

  • David: Would be very curious to know how you re-heat your precious bread. Here in the desert (Palm Springs, CA) we have to rely on frozen or par-baked loaves from a pretty good bakery in LA (La Brea). But would love to know how you re-heat from frozen. Just a 350 oven? Thanks.

  • I’m always surprised how good, or at least acceptable, the bread is almost EVERYWHERE in Paris.
    Have you ever had the sesamo loaf from Sullivan St Bakery in NYC? For many years it was my ‘crack’ bread. Something about those sesame seeds.

  • David: your writing frequently makes me smile, but today I laughed outloud several times. And as for good bread, nothing should get in the way of one and a good loaf!

  • Is there anything better than a good loaf of bread?

    NOPE.

  • David, what are the characteristics that you look for in a good baguette? It always seems like a mystery to when I go shopping for bread since I don’t it eat very often.

  • Velops: What people like is pretty personal. Often you’ll hear Parisians ordering their baguette pas trop cuite, “not too cooked”, as they prefer a pale loaf with less crackle. I like baguettes with dark, crusts and chewy (not cake-like) interiors that are a bit stretchy, with lots of holes.

    And although not classical, I like baguettes with seeds and grains. A baguette ordinaire lasts one day before it gets stale since it should only has three ingredients: flour, yeast, and salt, although the baguettes made with levain last longer.

    Irene: I haven’t had their bread for a long time, but it is a great bakery. Balthazar used to have great breads, too, but to be honest, whenever I’m in NYC, I mostly eat bagels…and pretzel croissants at City Bakery.

    Bharti: Since I don’t live in Chicago, I can’t advise where to get bread there.

    Bob Y: I don’t heat it in the oven, but I just defrost a portion the day before, then toast it for breakfast. I know people think it’s best to go to the bakery for fresh bread in the morning, but I can’t face humanity until I’ve had coffee and breakfast.

    One thing I learned from the French is to store a baguette wrapped in a tea towel, which is a good way to keep it fresh overnight. Some bakeries and shops sell linen bags (like these) for storing bread, too.

  • You’re soooooo funny!!! Love your site

  • It’s funny how the best bakery in the neighborhood is always the farthest from where one is living. We have three bakeries within two blocks of our house but I always go to the one 4 minutes away rather than the closest one. It’s worth it!

    As Barbara pointed out, another hardship we expats must suffer: we can’t ever truly satisfy our bagel cravings here in Paris. There are bagel-like products (soupçon du bagel) available here but where can I find a real, NY deli style bagel on this side of the Atlantic? Any tips David that you would be willing to share? Life can be hard in
    France. ;-)

    One consolation, however, is the salted butter which is almost always out on the counter ready to be spread on a warm baguette. Thank the gods for Bretons!

    Cheers!

  • Dani: I haven’t found a real deli in Paris, but we did find pastrami sandwiches at Coffee Parisien, which Romain ordered. It has just a few slices of pastrami and Romain told the waitress they were doing it all wrong and explained to her how it was supposed to be. (Which is why we love the French!)

    You can read about our meal, with pictures, at my post: Coffee Parisien.

    You can get H & H bagels, frozen, at places like Thanksgiving (on the rue St. Paul), which I’ll sometimes buy. And for some reason, they’re about the same price as they are in NYC. Go figure..

  • Dear David,

    I’ve been living in Japan for two years, and want to thank you for being my best virtual friend all this time (BVFATT?). I live in a town 45 minutes from Tokyo, which is suspended in a between-state of urban and agricultural. With all the peach trees coming into pink-and-white bloom two weeks ago, I decided to try your peach leaf wine. My first batch has come to fruition, I just tasted it and am a little giddy. Delish! Unfortunately, a wine that sells for €1.85 in France, sells for around 1000 yen here (around $10). I’m investigating domestic wines, but they’re not so much cheaper, actually.

    But there are bargains to be had. The produce here can be amazing, and with it I’ve tried many of your recipes. Poached quinces were a ruby-colored delight. Someone in the neighborhood has a quince tree and was selling the fruits at the local produce stand. I also made membrillo and quince jam. But, the quince tarte tatin was the thing that had me screaming “OISHII !!!!!!!” (Japanese for “delicious”. Turn on the TV at any time of day and there’s bound to be a cooking show with someone yelling this word.) Another great success was your marmalade recipe– my boss’s friend has a whole unsprayed orchard full of some kind of bitter orange.

    Thanks also for various chocolate cake recipes, butterscotch pudding (probably in the #1 most popular slot), and persimmon bread. The kakis here are insanely good! And I’m gonna try your seaweed cookies soon.

    If you know of anything I shouldn’t miss here, I’d love to hear about it . . .

    Your blog tides me over for the long wait between trips to Dordogne, where mon copain lives, and because of which I blithely squander a substaintial sum (for me, anyway) of money every year in travel expenses. Entretemps, reading your blog is lovely, I’ve learned a lot from it and I’m so appreciative, despite all the unseemly gratuitous salivation it causes. Thank you!

    Brie

  • I have to stay away from City Bakery….Those pretzel croissants are KILLER!

  • David, you’re absolutely hilarious… always! You sum up the foodie mindset perfectly. My weakness is chocolate but my ‘crack’ would have to be nuts – peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, whatever. I’m nuts about nuts! Roast ‘em up (best), eat em raw or mix them into something sweet or savoury – can’t.get.enough!

  • I have learned that satisfying certian food addictions or cravings are best left to the addict. To send another person only to result in them bringing back just some other bread stating they are all the same is most disappointing.
    Also, if the person in front of you at the counter intends to buy all of the bread, you are the only one that will fight in that instance.
    We all must do what we can to keep the food addiction from taking over, but supplying that addiction can be the key to having a good or bad day. I guess the re-hab clinic is holding a place for both of us….

  • Re Bob Y’s comment: We usually do what DL said to do—pull the bread out of the freezer the night before, wrap it in a tea towel, and then make toast with it in the morning. But I have heated up loaves in the oven, too. Simply heat the oven to 400 degrees and when it’s hot, put the thawed, uncut loaf of bread directly on the oven rack and set the timer for five minutes. It’s the next best thing to fresh hot bread. (It only works to do that to a loaf one time—subsequent heatings appear to have lost their reviving powers.)

  • I know exactly what you mean by a perfect ten minutes. I live in a tiny town in South Georgia that believes coffee is by Maxwell House, creamer is powdered, and biscuits are better than bread. There is no olive oil in the local grocery, but you can by a dozen varieties of frozen beans and peas and 13 types of snuff. I order my coffee from a roaster in NYC. I’m off to make a 32 mile round trip to do my shopping in a town where even though they keep the kosher salt in the ethnic food aisle, I can buy panko. There is no real bread here so this post has given me the dt’s. Could you please go the Le Marais and eat a falafel for me?

  • Are we talking about a loaf of bread here? Holy smokes!
    I only read about one person making their own at home. Is it really that hard to replicate a Parisian baguette? Do those special pans I’ve seen work?
    New Yorkers claim it’s the water that makes the bagels so good.
    …(I noticed the time is recorded when we blog, and saw entries at 2:45am, and I thought, these folks are nuts! Then realized we are all over the world and that is even more mind-blowing)

  • teeheehee. funny post. what a tease. i can’t believe you won’t reveal the name. although, since I’m clearly not traveling from NY to Paris for bread, no idea why I need to know the name :)

  • Ritanyc,

    It’s immposible to make bread as good as you can get in the professional bakeries…although I’m highly biased because I have a deep fear of yeast and live at high altitude, which makes baking the biggest pain in the arse imaginable.

    I do agree with David that Balthazar bakery in NYC is very good. Now if I could just figure out how to get to Paris tonight. Sigh. Guess it’s slightly stale bagels tomorrow morning yet again.

    David, love your blog. Love your sense of humor. Love that you freely use the term “dick.” It’s all terrific.

  • David, exquisite writing, as always. The bread sounds wonderful, but honestly, I could feast on your words. I used to take The Great Book of Chocolate to bed and read it before going to sleep, so that I could dream about packing truffles at Wittamer Chocolate. Thank you!

  • David, you make reading about a loaf of bread I will most likely never buy rather fun :) I agree that great bread is indeed crack worthy!

  • SANDRA – I hope you find this comment because it will be a pity if you don’t. Have you tried Clear Flour Bakery http://www.clearflourbread.com/ in Brookline? It is on a hidden street near the Boston University campus, and when I lived in Boston (just a year ago), I would make a trip there at least once a week. Fantastic focaccia, pan miel, olive rolls, roasted tomato rolls, and sweets. I’ve actually never tried their baguettes, but I would bet they are fabulous. Also they have the only chocolate croissant worth eating in the area–but they sell out of those by 10am most days.

  • Bharti and anyone looking for great bread in Chicago…….

    Red Hen — on Milwaukee in the Bucktown neighborhood

    Fox & Obel — on Illinois

    Tel Aviv — on Devon

    Trotter’s To Go — on Fullerton near Southport

    NY Bagel and Bialy on Devon

    Pastoral “artisan cheese bread and wine” — East Lake Ave.

    La Briola Baking Co. — in the burbs, website great for finding your local stores/restaurants that carry their bread

    Bennison’s — in Evanston, my friend’s suggestion I have not been there or eaten that

    ***most of these bakeries have easily found websites***

  • Great post!

    I am having a big bread dilemma. I can smugly say that I have a great little bakery in my Paris suburb (as well as 6 or 7 mediocre bakeries) and, after getting comfortable with their regular baguette, I got ambitious and decided to cozy up to their baguette de campagne. OMG! I love it: crispy, chewy, and altogether more satisfying and filling than the standard baguette. The problem is that it comes liberally dusted with flour and there are now little flour fingerprints on the handle of the coffeepot, my mug, my mouse, the shift key, the tip of my nose, the right shoulder of my husband’s suit jacket… Should I go back to the standard baguette, or is this just the burden that I must bear to snack on such crusty delights? David, David, what should I do?

  • I need a new dealer. My crack isn’t doing what yours is doing for you. I absolutely understand you not wanting to give it up either – the paradox of the world’s most wonderful things. You want to scream it from the rooftops, but that means less for you.

  • I really love your blog! It’s so refreshing to read that there is someone else out there who would also “stock up” on good bread when supply is limited. I thought it was just me …

    Sadly, since moving to Switzerland from Australia, I have embarked on what might be an eternal search for a decent loaf of bread in Zurich. Switzerland might be the land of milk and honey and all things chocolate, but the bread situation is downright dismal!

    Thankfully, Paris is only 4 hours away by train and I happen to be there about once a month for my carb fix (amongst other things!), often coming back with several loaves of bread in my luggage. If only I can pinpoint this bakery in Montmartre …

  • cremebrulee: Can’t you get those über-fabulous Swiss-German breads there, that are packed with grains and rye? A pal from Switzerland, whenever he comes, I make him bring me a loaf…or two.

    (Yes, one for the freezer!)

  • Love this post and gorgeous, gorgeous picture. I can practically smell it. I’m heading to Paris in June — after reading this, that suddenly seems awfully far away!

  • I love the Breton salted butter. I first time had it was at a Breton restaurant in Paris. I wish I could remember the name of it. The gray salt was on the table, the salted butter in pots and the salt topped the bread served. Basically and the whole cooking theme was with Breton salt. The restaurant was vaguely near Canal St. Martin. Anyone know where this restaurant is? In London you can get the butter quite easily, in certain supermarkets and also at markets like Borough. I suggest putting peach or apricot jam on your bread in the morning, preferably French jam.

  • I loved the baguettes when I was in France. And I would do as the locals did and start eating the end off the baguette on my way home. I would eat that with the sea salt flaked butter thick enough that I used to leave teeth marks. Pure, unadulterated bliss. I am salivating just thinking about it.

  • I’ve just recently found sesame baguettes here in Florida and am enraptured. The Uppercrust bakery in Gainesville has a whole wheat sesame baguette that is divine toasted.

    Isn’t it something how people connect on the most ordinary things when written about with passion? I love your writing and I miss Paris and its bakeries and art.

  • David, went to City Bakery yesterday while visiting N.Y. p.c. was fabulous. Did you know that H and H make their bagels?

  • Phyllis: I didn’t know City Bakery even had bagels. I can’t see past the pretzel croissants…

    Prue: That even has its own word; it’s called the quignon!

  • Oh David you make me laugh! Only those of us who live here can understand the bread shopping cult. I brag to my family in the States that my daughter can pop out of the apt, walk around the building to buy a baguette at 1830 and it’s still warm when we sit down to eat our dinner (w/ kids you eat a bit earlier). That’s heaven for me. After reading your blog, I’m tempted to wander to Romain’s neighborhood to spy some crazy-eyed baguette totting addicts. I do have my favorites near Monceau – nor will I share the name of the bakery. But I will say their olive bread is the best.
    So, how hard is a perfect baguette to make? If we move back to the States, I will definitely go into withdraw.

  • David, now what part of Montmartre were you referring to? How about a metro hint -line 2 or 12??
    I’ve heard that the French army hauls sacks of flour out to the field when they go out for exercises/deployments. Soldiers are trained how to make baguettes out in the field or in a ditch or a mountain top…that explains a lot about the bread culture here.

  • That is brilliant that has it’s own name – thanks so much for posting the link. I can’t wait to drop that one into conversation the next time I’m in France.

  • Hello David,

    It’s funny that I once came across a brilliant croissant from a small, unassuming bakery just off a metro station somewhere in Montmartre. (I don’t know if their baguette is any good as I didn’t try any, though.) I tried to remember the name of the shop but I couldn’t even find it except a sign that says ‘boulangerie’. It was, and still is, probably the *best* croissant I’ve ever had in Paris (which automatically means the best anywhere) – but it might potentially have something to do with the fact that back then I was exhausted and starving from dragging hefty luggage after some 24+ -hour journey all the way from my home in Tokyo. Curious to go back and check it out again! But it really does seem like in Paris people just buy their bread from their local bakeries and they are by and large quite good.

    On another note: I made your spiced glazed nut and pretzel mix a while ago for an Easter lunch with friends, and everyone (including myself) absolutely loved them! I changed a few things for the glaze, but it came out great. They all asked me for the recipe, so I’ve pointed them here. Thanks so much for great recipes and fun readings )

  • Delicious looking bread.

  • Pompous and arrogant, writing about your favorite boulangerie in Paris and making a point of not sharing its location. Turns me off to reading your blog.

  • you are so hysterical.

    “…they’re closed that day, for a fermature exceptionnelle…from 1:37 pm to 4:06 pm…every forth Wednesday of months ending in “e”. ”

  • Hi Huda,

    The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) was not responsible for the carnage in Gujarat. The maximum number of police officers were killed in these riots which only goes to show that the government acted immediately and deployed its police forces to take control.

    Moreover, the the majority of media in India is controlled by the BJPs opponents – the Congress. So what you read in the newspapers is extremely biased and innaccurate version of the truth.

    I hated the BJP earlier but on a more careful and thorough research came to realise that the minister in power at the time of the Gujarat riots IS in fact innocent.

    Sorry to make this such a political post … on a food blog.

    Z

    Hi Huda and Zaphia: I appreciate your comments and don’t want to sweep political issues under the rug, but since this post isn’t about politics in India, I’d like the keep the comments on topic. Now if you want to talk about naan breads, be my guests! : ) -dl

  • I could see where you’d be “over” baguettes living in France but for those of us who don’t we’re super jealous of your readily available fresh crack! :)

  • you tease. especially when there is a severe dearth of good bread in malaysia. *crave*

  • Hah hah hah, “pompous and arrogant”? Don’t you love comments like that? Good grief Parisa, get a life. Or go spread your misery somewhere else.

  • Aw David, you can tell me — I’m dying over here in the 16th and I NEVER buy sesame if there’s another choice.

    If you’re crazy about sesame you should give Au Gout Dujour a try–there’s always something with sesame on the menu. Yesterday’s formule dessert was fromage blanc with sesame and honey (it may even have been sesame brittle, but after I saw sesame I stopped reading. Not that I actually hate sesame but I have to be in the mood).

  • Oh — and the rest of my lunch at Au Gout Dujour? Delicious caneton, but oh, the entree: a salad with the MOST AMAZING mozarella I have EVER EVER tasted. Soft, pillowy, creamy…just thinking about it makes me go weak in the knees. Where in town can I find more???

  • Hey David! I’m a college student that lives in Florida..I go to school in Tallahassee, FL so it’s impossible to find good food anywhere. I even go to specialty dinners with local doctors to all of the highest rated restaurants in the area, and I’m still dissapointed! Maybe it’s because I’m from Miami and enjoy my steaks Ruth’s Chris-style….but as a college student, guess I have to live up to the whole “begger’s can’t be choosers” concept, eh!? Anyway, you’re blog was the first to get me into reading foodie blogs on a semi-daily basis…while having to study 12 hrs a day with crappy food, it’s nice to live vicariously through other’s culinary experiences! Anyway, I’m Cuban and am highly addicted to bread…I haven’t found any good bread here! I’ve decided to take care of my bougie bread cravings by buying the best bread I can find at the grocery store and augmenting the flavor in a billion ways in bread pudding (or going to Einstein’s bagels)….but there’s nothing like good bread and butter…something I long for every night and am home sick over (maybe I should be homesick over my boyfriend….but I can talk to him everynight on the phone…can’t do that with food, I don’t think)

    annyyywayy…..glad to see others out there appreciate yummy bread! Thanks for posting up pics of amazing food…makes me happy!

  • Hey David! I’m a college student that lives in Florida..I go to school in Tallahassee, FL so it’s impossible to find good food anywhere. I even go to specialty dinners with local doctors to all of the highest rated restaurants in the area, and I’m still dissapointed! Maybe it’s because I’m from Miami and enjoy my steaks Ruth’s Chris-style….but as a college student, guess I have to live up to the whole “begger’s can’t be choosers” concept, eh!? Anyway, you’re blog was the first to get me into reading foodie blogs on a semi-daily basis…while having to study 12 hrs a day with crappy food, it’s nice to live vicariously through other’s culinary experiences! Anyway, I’m Cuban and am highly addicted to bread…I haven’t found any good bread here! I’ve decided to take care of my bougie bread cravings by buying the best bread I can find at the grocery store and augmenting the flavor in a billion ways in bread pudding (or going to Einstein’s bagels)….but there’s nothing like good bread and butter…something I long for every night and am home sick over (maybe I should be homesick over my boyfriend….but I can talk to him everynight on the phone…can’t do that with food, I don’t think)

    annyyywayy…..glad to see others out there appreciate yummy bread! Thanks for posting up pics of amazing food…makes me happy!

  • Hey David! I’m a college student that lives in Florida..I go to school in Tallahassee, FL so it’s impossible to find good food anywhere. I even go to specialty dinners with local doctors to all of the highest rated restaurants in the area, and I’m still dissapointed! Maybe it’s because I’m from Miami and enjoy my steaks Ruth’s Chris-style….but as a college student, guess I have to live up to the whole “begger’s can’t be choosers” concept, eh!? Anyway, you’re blog was the first to get me into reading foodie blogs on a semi-daily basis…while having to study 12 hrs a day with crappy food, it’s nice to live vicariously through other’s culinary experiences! Anyway, I’m Cuban and am highly addicted to bread…I haven’t found any good bread here! I’ve decided to take care of my bougie bread cravings by buying the best bread I can find at the grocery store and augmenting the flavor in a billion ways in bread pudding (or going to Einstein’s bagels)….but there’s nothing like good bread and butter…something I long for every night and am home sick over (maybe I should be homesick over my boyfriend….but I can talk to him everynight on the phone…can’t do that with food, I don’t think)

    annyyywayy…..glad to see others out there appreciate yummy bread! Thanks for posting up pics of amazing food…makes me happy!

  • Hey David! I’m a college student that lives in Florida..I go to school in Tallahassee, FL so it’s impossible to find good food anywhere. I even go to specialty dinners with local doctors to all of the highest rated restaurants in the area, and I’m still dissapointed! Maybe it’s because I’m from Miami and enjoy my steaks Ruth’s Chris-style….but as a college student, guess I have to live up to the whole “begger’s can’t be choosers” concept, eh!? Anyway, you’re blog was the first to get me into reading foodie blogs on a semi-daily basis…while having to study 12 hrs a day with crappy food, it’s nice to live vicariously through other’s culinary experiences! Anyway, I’m Cuban and am highly addicted to bread…I haven’t found any good bread here! I’ve decided to take care of my bougie bread cravings by buying the best bread I can find at the grocery store and augmenting the flavor in a billion ways in bread pudding (or going to Einstein’s bagels)….but there’s nothing like good bread and butter…something I long for every night and am home sick over (maybe I should be homesick over my boyfriend….but I can talk to him everynight on the phone…can’t do that with food, I don’t think)

    annyyywayy…..glad to see others out there appreciate yummy bread! Thanks for posting up pics of amazing food…makes me happy!

  • This baguette post created a mad flashback of the most wonderful croissants that I was able to enjoy for several years of my life….and so I began a relentless google search for their maker in hope that he may be still making them somewhere in the World.

    Although I recently lived in Paris for over a year, and enjoyed croissants all over the city, I was shocked that NOT ONE of those croissants matched those of Chef Maurice G. Leduc of La Patisserie Francais and then Autre Chose in Cambridge, MA in the 1980’s. This is not a case of fuzzy memory syndrome, but rather the privilege (or curse!) of having experienced perfection. Alas, I was so sad to find that dear Maurice G. Leduc passed away on April 5th, 2009. His memory is a golden one that I will cherish.

  • I remember reading an article about how protective Parisians are of their hairdressers, manicurists, pedicurists, etc. They won’t tell you who they go to unless they know you well AND like you. I didn’t know that this applied to boulangeries as well.

  • Hallelujah, there is un Dieu (or une) après tout. I’m as happy for you as I am for myself, as I’ll be en ville next spring and hope to partake of your preferred Paris crack to see what all the fuss is about. If your dealers’ doors are still open, bien sûr.

    Though I’ve never had le plaisir of a vie in Paris (only the odd and toujours too short vacances, alas), I’ve got Parisian cracks, also: One of the signature falafels with spicy eggplant from L’As in the Marais and any flavor of macarons from any of the many Ladurees. Oh and I’d kill for one of their tartes au citron, too.

    Your blog is fast becoming my newest crack de Paris. It was recommended to me by a friend. As was your book, which is en route via Amazon, and should arrive demain. I can’t wait.

  • I’ve got “crack” bread too, but I’ll give up my source if you’re ever in this particular region of the states. The place is the Door County Bakery in Ellison Bay, WI. The bread is called Corsica Loaf… It’s close to a french bread texture with sesame seeds and olive oil. The oil sits in the bottom crust and man, oh man…

  • A friend of mine forwarded me the link to your blog posting because she knows that I too have my “crack baguette” place in Paris and how picky I am about my baguettes. I live in the 5th arrondissement and the boulangerie w/my favorite baguette ever is in the 17th. I don’t know the name of it, but if you are ever in the neighborhood for some reason I highly recommend you stop by and pick up their “tradition.” The place is on the corner of rue Laugier and blvd. Perreire.

    I think I will do the same as you and buy a couple baguettes the next time I’m there and freeze them…as my morning bliss is a lightly toasted piece of their tradition with the salted butter that I buy by the chunk from the Fromagerie down the street from my apartment. It is my 10 minutes of heaven and one of my simple pleasures of Paris. :)

  • Your posts are hilarious-the only ones that make me laugh OUT LOUD, causing my family to wonder if isn’t time to remind the doctor that he promised to increase my meds.

  • Wow, I am going to try this recipe with mozzarella cheese inside of the bread. Anyone else think of that?

  • David-

    Is it too much to suppose that a mere mortal could recreate this delicious bread at home? Half of my year is spent in Europe, but I miss my banquettes terribly the other half. Are there any recipes or methods of making this heavenly crunch-chewy crusted soft-on-the-inside bread at home?

    Becca

  • Hi Becca: There’s a lot of great books on breadmaking out there; I’d check out those by Dan Lepard, Peter Reinhart, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Dan Leader, amongst other. Good luck!

  • There’s a place that sells the most heavenly sesame baguettes halfway down Rue Monge in the the 5th. They have a sandwich stand there on weekday lunchtimes and fill their amazing baguettes with amazing fillings….Smoked salmon and artichoke, roasted veg, top quality cheeses. I salivate just thinking about that stand!