Aaaah – there’s nothing like the smell of freshly-baked bread as I take my delicious creations out of the oven each morning. I admit I may be a little sleepy-eyed as I’ve been up since 4am, but that delicious aroma soon perks me up!
Maybe only a baker can get so excited about bread. Making it is certainly not for the impatient – all that folding and fermenting and waiting! – but I love the whole process. It starts with having a really good flour and for that Délices is really lucky to have our wonderful French miller, Les Moulins Foricher, who supply craftsmen bakers like us with flour sourced from wheat fields in mainly the Loiret and l’Yonne regions of France.
The flours we buy from Foricher are either organic or CRC recognised – that stands for Culture Raisonnée Contrôlée, which means they’re from a sustainable source and don’t use pesticides. They’re also highly traceable – our miller can tell us exactly what field each bag of flour comes from. Clever, no?
Of course here at Délices we use different flours depending on what we’re baking. I have rye flour, wholemeal wheat flour and a five-seed flour for my granary bread. For my viennoiseries – croissants, pain au chocolat and pain au raisin – I use a “farine de gruau” (a specific kind of strong flour) because it gives a good feuilleté, or flaky effect. Meanwhile, Diana uses a multi-purpose wheat flour for her pâtisseries because it doesn’t interfere with the taste of the ingredients in her gâteau (and if you know Diana, you’ll understand that getting the perfect taste sensation for her is absolutely vital!).
Now for my baguette de tradition I use a special wheat flour with a ‘label Rouge’, a very prestigious certification delivered by the French government. It doesn’t contain any additives and can’t be frozen at any stage of the bread-making process – and so the bread must be baked and sold on the same day. Which is why I’m up with the lark to bake our Délices bread!
Don’t laugh, but sometimes I can’t seem to get bread out of my head. I’m always thinking of new breads to introduce to our customers and at the moment I have three lovely new ones in the shop...
* Four-seed baguette My clever little trick here is to roast the seeds – poppy seed, yellow linseed, brown linseed, sesame – before mixing them with the dough to create a really tasty baguette.
* The All-Black This delicious little number is made with five flours (wheat, rye, malt, barley and oat) and four seeds (sunflower, yellow linseed, brown linseed, sesame). Dense and moist, this bread partners beautifully with cheese and chutney.
* Wholemeal I make this bread using wheat flour and a very special levain made with milk. It belongs to what we call in France "les pains de santé" – or "breads for health" – thanks to all its nutrients and fibres. The levain makes the bread deliciously moist and fragrant.
Who knows what bread I’ll bake next for Délices? Already my mind is thinking of new tastes...
* Haven’t tried my bread yet? Come on – you’re really missing out so pop into Délices today.