Mmm…Supermarket versus Bakery… I’ve used both in my time…
The independant bakers may well be complaining about the supermarkets taking their business, but perhaps they would do better to review their product lines in favour of products that people would actually wish to buy instead of being stuck in the world of ‘Tradition’.
We buy our bread at the supermarket simply because we regard the village bakery’s offering as being in the uneatable category. On the other hand the local baker’s Brioche, fancy cakes, and pizzas are truly excellent and are well worth the extra money.
I don’t believe that it is all about price, as people will always be prepared to pay more for quality. However, it does need to be a quality that they like, rather than one imposed upon them by tradition.
We always buy bread at the local boulangerie as it is so much better, croissants however we get from the supermarket in big packs and freeze them.
We use a very busy boulangerie on the edge of St Foy La Grande …their ovens are fed with
However I rarely by cakes etc in the shops or supermarket as I find them over saturated in
We sometimes buy the supermarket bread, softer and not so crunchy as the boulangerie bread, but a bit tasteless. But as the nearest boulangerie is about 9 km away and supermarket 10km, we use a bread vending machine just a couple of km away by the nearest recycling bins. One euro for a pain rustique, and it’s warm!
Mobile Bakery comes around to all our hamlets and delivery our baguettes.
We are a ‘bit local’ around here…
We live in a small town of 2,400 inhabitants, and there are FOUR boulangeries/patisseries in the town centre. One sells only baguettes, large or small, nothing besides. I do wonder how they make a living. The longest-established baker sells a very wide variety of breads, savouries and cakes. and produces wares of the very highest quality IMO, but I’m no bread connoisseur. I sometimes buy bread and escargots a raisin (!) in Lidl in Vire, as they are both good eating and fresh.
I’ve observed lots of people buying their daily baguette in one of the two supermarkets in the town too, including many older folk.
The boulangerie I use mainly…well at a guesse they sell 5.000 loaves a week the cheapest being just over a euro.Like every commodity if you are selling goods which people want then the volume will create an opportunity to be profitable. The place I go to has added morning goods and gateaux etc.And in the last year or so they have an eat in area which offers a lunch formula . I think that they are doing very well.It is always clean and the staff are efficient.
I’m just offering a comparison of ingredients for Pain au chocolat…
Pour la pâte feuilletée :
300 g de farine
150 g d’eau
10 g de sel
10 g de levure
35 g de sucre semoule
Pour la réalisation du pain au chocolat :
200 g de beurre mou aplati
Une tablette de chocolat noir (70% ou 90% à votre goût)
Un œuf pour la dorure
Farine de blé
Farine de Blé malté
Agent de traitement de la Farine
I eat and enjoy both sorts but the differences in ingredients did come as a surprise…
Jim makes our bread using multi cereal flour. We have a Panasonic breadmaker. The nearest boulangerie is 10k from us.
When we put together the welcome pack for our gite our neighbour brings us croissants and a flute tradition, he is a baker in another village.
If I want to make baguettes eg. to serve with moules, I use the part baked bread from Super U.
OH has volunteered to make some pain au chocolat using the Maison recipe… yippee…hope his enthusiasm holds…
Yes Jane making bread is rewarding but takes a lot of power and can produce arm ache.
In the restaurant we made several huge ones a day with different things added.Smoked bacon and red onion, sun dried or oven baked tomoto ones, walnut and prune for the cheese…and just plain.
We have pizza sometimes and buy the dough from Le Clerc.We have an outside pizza oven which is
like a tandoor and this is wood fired.
We only buy fresh bread if we’re in a town shopping or passing by a baker’s. Living a 15 minute drive from civilisation means a special trip out otherwise. So, we eat mainly Super U sliced multigrain, which tastes great and keeps very well.
Very proud of our Boulanger Their bread is excellent and they always have a good range of shapes sizes and tastes. I do buy from the supermarket for emergencies and for whichever of my kids has a brace
Braces and baguettes do not work well together
When we were looking for our holiday home one of the main criteria we had was to be near a boulangerie. We succeeded and have one just 2 mins walk away. He makes fabulous bread and even nicer cakes (although it is a challenge to down the “small”cakes in one sitting as they are pretty large), but sadly he has changed his recipe for croissants and pain raisin over the last year or so and they are not great.
The next village down (5mins drive) has two further boulangeries, one which is fairly basic, it they are always open when the others go on holiday, and a second one with a very ambitious selection of bread and gorgeous cakes.
My husband is happy to eat supermarket bread and some of the brown bread (my preference not his) is very nice. We prefer to support our local boulangerie, but they often take holidays in August when we have visitors!! We survive.
Our local boulangerie usually organises to have the option of ordering bread the day before it is needed and it is then delivered from the next village to our bar or town hall. Great option, but we can always pop to buy it ourselves and maybe indulge in some nice cakes too!
Veering off the subject a little… as good as traditional French bread is it’s not that great for toasting. I love my toast and it’s really difficult to find bread suitable for toasting.
Most of the sliced supermarket bread is way too sugary to the point of tasting like cake. I’m not sure why anyone would want to use it for savoury sandwiches although, bizarrely, it’s often labelled as sandwich bread. The best I’ve found is Toastaligne which has zero fat and sugar but it’s very difficult to get, I imagine because it’s not generally popular with French consumers.
I’ve tried lots of boules and pavé breads and they are usually all crust and full of holes. Really not very suitable for toasting.
My quest continues…
French bread makes great toast, it just ends up a different shape.
Our local Carrefour are now selling own brand sliced wholemeal bread, makes great toast!
Sadly, the nearest Carrefour is an hour and a half away. Thanks for the suggestion though.
Our local small town has 7 boulangeries and we use most of them for different products, and, of course, one needs to know which days they shut and when they are on holiday. Each of them has its own style and the people running all of them are charming. Deciding what bread to buy is one of the pleasure of living here. We have never felt the need to buy bread from a supermarket so I cannot comment on their quality