C’est long comme un jour sans pain.
say law kuh muh zhoor sah PAA. Click below to hear this. (Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s a link to the audio file: cest_long_comme_un_jour_sans_pain.mp3)
It’s as long as a day without bread.
Which is very long indeed, if you have ever tasted real French bread. It’s the good stuff: crunchy and crisp on the outside, chewy and dense yet light on the inside, it is satisfying like nothing else.
Once I had been to France, I pined for French bread. What passed for “French bread” in American supermarkets bore no resemblance to what I remembered. Years went by.
And then a miracle occurred. Several in a row, in fact. One year, my son gave me a book by Bernard Clayton Jr., The Breads of France, which got me baking again. The bread was good, very good. But it took all day, sometimes three days in a row. But I was launched, and grateful to have “real” bread again, the kind that contains no ingredients other than water, salt, flour, and yeast.
Then Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day was born. Zoë Francois and Jeff Herzburg are my heroes. If you pine for French bread, le vrai pain français , you need this book, or one of their other two books. I promise you will love the bread you bake, that it will taste like the good stuff, that you will have fun doing it, and that it is easy. It’s eat-it-with-your-eyes-closed good. It’s M-is-the-only-letter-in-the-alphabet-that-I-need good. Mmmmmmm.
Here’s a link to the master recipe from Zoë and Jeff’s website, with photos and detailed directions. You can shape your dough like a baguette, the long thin loaves that France is famous for, or like a traditional round loaf.
Just remember to send photos, before you eat it all up. And then go buy one of their books, and go a little crazy. It’s okay. You look cute with flour on your nose.