Monday, March 17, 2008

Poilane Bakery

The Poilane Bakery in Paris is not a legend. Here to prove it is a photo I took at the Blvd. de Grenelle Poilane in 1976. You can see croissants, apple turnovers (that is, chaussons -- divine!), and little nut rolls. Outside the window, you can see the elevated Metro line, which we suffered to hear outside the window of our apartment across the street. Below are scans of the two halves of a bread bag (too big for one scan) from that era:

Several years after our stay, I bought the book by Lionel Poilane, Guide de l'amateur de Pain par Poilane.

Here you can see an illustration from the book, as well as the cover. The wood-fired oven, which was in the basement of the building, kept the whole shop warm. Sometimes we saw truckloads of wood for the oven being delivered to a trap door that led down to the basement. Paris bakers -- as shown here -- dressed in shorts because they kneaded heavy dough in overheated workspaces near hot ovens, whatever the fuel.

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