Behind the scenes… one photo, one loaf of bread.
A flour dusted wooden table.
Late afternoon light naturally bounced through the western window… and the knowing eye of Tim Clinch- Camont’s favorite photographer.
Yet behind this behind-the-scenes picture emerges a new portfolio of food photography as Tim and I document behind-the-scenes growing of the good food of Gascony.
This week at the organic market (Saturdays- Agen) Cecile Berthollet invited us to stop by and see the wheat grown for bread baking at Ferme le Roc before it was harvested. ‘Wheat’ is too broad a term to describe the 200 different variety of lost wheat, old varieties and heirloom grains that Cecile and her activist husband Jean-Francois grow.
- Concorde Inra.
- Fromento Cuppo.
- Rouge de Clairvaux.
- Petanielle Noire de Nice.
- Ble de Mesnil.
One hundred-ninety-four more varieties of wheat march down these carefully tended fields. Think of them as a living growing seed bank, of wheat from another age, of past loaves of bread waiting to be re-discovered, re-baked, re-eaten. Think about it. Do you know where your flour comes from? And who grows it?
The small numbers of paysans-boulangers are as dedicated to growing their wheat as they are making their pain au levain. At Ferme le Roc they start with just this stone ground flour from 50 different varieties of wheat and plain water; they nurture a ‘chef‘ that will transform by slow fermentation into a living culture of naturally risen dough to be baked in the wood fired oven on the farm.
Twice a week, bread is made. Twice a week, this bread is delivered to shops, markets and customers between Agen and Bordeaux. But everyday, the wheat is tended as fields are fed, plowed, sown, cultivated, tagged and harvested. The Berthollets tend their land with a particular vigor embraced by a concerned international community. Organic? Yes. Biodiversity? Yes. Delicious? YES!
Inspired? Need a little instruction on starting a sourdough starter? This is a good place to begin. Emmanuel Hadjiandreou is coming to Camont to do a Bread Making Workshop Aug 4 & 5- Join us! Too far away? Just order the book and get some good flour.
Need some help getting started?
- To learn about making sourdough at home, we used my friend- Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s great “How to make Bread…” book. http://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Bread-Emmanuel-Hadjiandreou/dp/1849751404/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342077624&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+make+bread
- Read about American Baker Jonathan Stevens visit to Ferme le Roc- (http://www.hungryghostbread.com/pages/projects/france_report.php-
- And I loved watching this video in french but you will learn something!- http://vimeo.com/36096812#