Few things in life are as delicious as fresh bread straight from the oven. Spread on some soft, creamy butter, and voila! You are enjoying one of the most simple and satisfying pleasures in the world. Few cultures seem to know this better than the French, who have perfected the art of bread and butter.
Boulangeries are as common in Paris as air, and to the French, probably just as necessary. Freshly baked daily in the earliest hours of the morning, baguettes are stacked neatly in baskets like cheerful pieces of firewood. The outside is golden and crisp, while the inside is light and airy. If you are walking home with a warm loaf, and just can’t resist a bite… no judgement here.
In the event that you don’t have an authentic boulangerie on your street (and that’s probably most of us), you can try your hand at making your own baguettes.
Try this recipe from Simply in Season, A World Community Cookbook:
Seeded French Bread
- 4 C Whole Wheat Bread Flour
- 2 C Bread Flour
- 2 T Active Dry Yeast
- 2 T Sugar
- 1 t Salt
- 2 1/2 C Hot Water
- 2 T Olive Oil
- 1 Egg
- 2 T Water
- 1–2 T Fennel Seeds, Sesame Seeds or Poppy Seeds
- Mix together in a large mixing bowl.
- Gradually add. Mix well. Add more flour if needed to make a soft dough. Knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turn to grease both sides, cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down and let rest for 20 minutes. Divide into 3 parts; shape each into an oblong loaf. Place on greased baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 4–5 diagonal slices on the top of each loaf.
- Beat together in a small bowl. Brush on the loaves.
- Sprinkle over each loaf. Let rise until double. Bake in preheated oven at 400F for 20 minutes.
Serve your handmade bread on our handmade French Bread Board, crafted by our partners in Haiti with sustainably sourced wood.
But don’t forget the butter!
Tradition holds that if you are eating baguettes with lunch or dinner, butter will not be on a French table. But if it’s breakfast time, and bread is being served? Butter and jam a plenty! And with charcuterie and cheese? Pass the butter, s’il vous plait!
Of course there are exceptions, but you will also find a traditional French butter crock in many kitchens. This ingenious storage device keeps butter fresh with a natural air-tight seal. Because it doesn’t require refrigeration, the butter stays soft and spreadable.
Curious how it works?
Here are our best tips on how to use our handmade butter crocks, so you always have creamy butter ready for your fresh bread.
1. Take a stick of butter from your refrigerator and let it soften slightly. Scoop and mold the butter into the cup on the underside of the lid.
2. Pour about an inch of water into the crock. Add some salt to the water if you use unsalted or low-sodium butter. This will keep it fresher longer.
3. Place the lid on the crock. The water will form an air-tight seal around the butter. Because oil and water don’t mix, the butter will not be damaged.
4. Place the crock in a cool part of your kitchen, out of direct sunlight. Change the water ever few days.
5. Admire the craftsmanship of our artisan partners every day when you reach for your crock, and wonder why you didn’t try this sooner.