Going once, Going twice, Going French

France and Pain Du Jour

When I first decided I wanted to learn how to bake it was almost immediately decided that I would have to go to France. I knew that if I wanted to be the best baker in the world then I would have to learn from the best first. My year in France was by far one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Now back, with Pain du Jour, I hope to re-create some of my best memories of the country, most importantly those of its food and culture.

When I first began work on the Pain du Jour menu I was in a complete fix. I found it very tough to gauge what products would sell best. When I think about that time I always go back to this one conversation I had with my cousin when she came to visit me in Paris. We were eating breakfast one morning when she made the funniest observation. I had bought back some pesto and tomato bread from the kitchen I was working in. While eating it she remarked that she now knew why French people had such angular jaws; it was because their bread was so damn hard to chew. It was then that I realized that most European food found in India is very Indian in its flavors and textures and so most people aren’t accustomed to eating real French bread.

Although I flirted with the idea of a fusion of Indian and French flavors in the beginning I soon realized that it’s best to focus on one cuisine and do the best you can with it. Sticking to the French cuisine which is my expertise, and not trying to come up with a new concoction of flavors has allowed me to channel my energy better. I’ve worked and re-worked my recipes to find ways to make my breads as traditionally French as possible, while sticking by our principles of being chemical and preservative free. Today Pain du Jour is respected for its authenticity and I’m glad I stuck by it.

The smell of freshly baked baguettes always takes me back to my 6 am bakery classes in Yssingeaux where the wonderful aroma would wake me up in an instant. The entire process of making and baking breads and croissants brings back immensely happy memories of my time in France. I’m happiest when I bake and I believe that’s reflected in the end product.

So for me it wasn’t so much as picking a cuisine that was popular but more about picking something I truly love to make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand made- The Philosophy Behind Pain Du Jour In 4 Simple Points

We talk about the beliefs and ideas which make us work hard everyday

I started Pain du Jour with the hope of making it a one-stop shop for all things wholesome, French and preservative free. Over the past year we have worked and re worked our menu to ensure we put out only our best produce. We are still a continuous work in progress and with each day we strive to make the same product healthier, better and tastier.

croissant-au-beurre-the-parisian-affair-blog

One of the biggest problems I have had to encounter is categorizing my products. To put it across very simply, they are wholesome, healthy and preservative free. I am very skeptical about calling my products healthy because the concept of healthy today is so confusing. Are our products good for health? Absolutely! Are they better than their packaged nemesis? Of course. Will they help you lose weight? Now, that’s entirely up to how you consume it.

Pain du Jour products are not synonymous with diet food, nor do they pretend to be. Our baguettes are within the standard size requirements and it’s ingredient quantities are within the limits of a healthy diet. However, whether it will aid your weight loss is not something we can vouch for. We advice you to speak with a nutritionist or dietician to better understand your bodily requirements. Once you have that information we can then guide you on what products will best suit your needs.

Below are a couple of pointers with regard to our products to help you understand our products and why we term them healthy.    

 1. Preservative & added gluten free.

All our products are made using refined flour unless specifically mentioned. We stick to using refined flour as it contains sufficient amounts of gluten required for bread making without having to use additional chemicals like emulsifiers, dough enhancers or added gluten. We don’t use the help of any artificial chemicals or enzymes to increase the shelf life of our products.         

2. No Saturated or Trans fat

Apart from the butter we use for our croissants, none of our ingredients contain any form of saturated fats or trans fats.     

3. Whole meal, not whole-wheat

A product is called whole meal when whole grains are used in production. Whole meal is a healthier and more nutritious alternative to whole-wheat flour. We use only whole grains for our multi grain baguettes.                

       4.Fresh, for the day!

We don’t use any artificial means to enhance the shelf life of our products. We make all our products fresh for the day and dispose them once they’ve expired. For this reason we require a minimum of 48 to 72 hours’ notice when placing orders.

Kneading With Love – The Concept of Pain Du Jour

 

From The Pain Du Jour Trailer

From The Pain Du Jour Trailer

It’s been a little over a year since Pain du Jour first kicked off and I feel like we’ve only just begun. What started as just a doodle on the back of a notebook is now slowing materializing into something larger than I could have ever dreamt of. With the commencement of a new phase in Pain du Jour, I am extremely excited about what future holds for us and I hope to share it with as many people as possible. Pain du Jour is my love child. My love affair with the concepts of sustainable agriculture and whole foods first began when I interned with Greenpeace India as a public engagement campaigner. My job required me to research on the ill effects of genetically modified organisms as one of our campaigns was against the BT Brinjal crop in India. I was engulfed the first time I read about these concepts and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve now spent four years and counting and I still feel like I’ve understood only the crux of the problem.

Another problem I feel strongly for is that of misinformation and illiteracy with regard to food labeling and processing. In bakeries today, it’s normal practice to add large amounts of preservatives, additives like colorants and added gluten, emulsifiers and other such chemicals to add to the product’s shelf life and texture. Most people consuming these products aren’t aware of the number of chemicals that go into making their daily bread, nor do they realize its ill effects. Food labels are ineffective and a lot of times harmful chemicals are disguised in the form of fat or sugar substitutes.

Starting out with Pain du Jour, I knew one of my biggest strengths would lie in being able to create a product that is truest to its original form. I truly believe in the concept of wholefoods and sustainable agriculture and I wouldn’t be happy creating anything else. More than getting a product to look perfect or last long I think it’s more important to believe in it and its value. I think its passion and love that make for the best food.

We are going to be baking and blogging a lot so watch out for both!

 

Rohan Chakravarthy