The “honmono” of bread: Poilâne Bakery
In Tokyo, we can taste flavors from all over the world, however it is difficult to find good bread there. Unlike Paris which excels in wine, cheese, chocolate and of course bread. All are foods resulting from fermentation and this is what connects French and Japanese food culture.
The traditional country bread was replaced by the baguette after the industrial revolution, because it was necessary to produce more to consume more, while making everything profitable.
It turns out that the baguette cooks faster, but in return it hardens faster and therefore has a shorter lifespan (hence the French toast). This is how country bread was forgotten until the post-war period, when it could be kept for several days. Except that Pierre Poilâne, founder of the bakery of the same name, revived this tradition!
In connection with Apollonia, the current heiress of this brand, since the founding of MIWA, she previously showed me the traditional stoves of the shop in rue du Cherche-midi, where the loaves are baked every day. And this time, she suggested I go see the factory where the breads for Monoprix or Le Bon Marché are produced. "These industrial products that just borrow the name", I thought...
What was my surprise and wonder during our trip. The idea I had had of this “factory” was far, very far from reality.
There were 12 stoves identical to those of the Cherche-midi, arranged in a circle and all heated over a wood fire. In the center of this crown lay a huge mountain of the most impressive sticks, used to feed the furnaces.
Each stove is guarded by a master craftsman who takes care of everything, from kneading to baking.
Weighing is done with an old-fashioned scale, dosing by hand and placing the dough in the same baskets as those of the Cherche-midi. We note that all these stages are rituals during which the artisan puts his heart into the bread. Although it is indeed a "mass production factory", the spirit of the craftsman is very present. Even if they remain in the shadows, day after day, they put their heart and soul into it. I must admit that I couldn't help but think of Japanese craftsmen.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I recommend Poilâne bread during your visit to Paris. Their bread is “honmono” even in supermarkets.
8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
01 45 48 42 59
Mon - Sat
7:15 a.m. - 8:15 p.m.