One could write volumes about French Bread. It is legendary. What do I love about French Breads? Well, mostly, their beauty. From a Provençal fougasse to a Parisian baguette, I find them thrilling to look at. I would rather go to a good French bakery and study the line-up of breads than go to a museum and study paintings on a wall. C'est la verité. They are all showstoppers to me and I have a hard time deciding which one to purchase. I anticipate the mystique of a good crust and am rewarded when a crust flakes off and falls like petals onto the table-forming a mosaic of contentment.
An exciting new development is the resurgence of the communal bread oven in France! Crumbling stone ovens are being refurbished and reactivated! How I'd love to tote my dough over to one of those, wait for it to bake, inhale intoxicating aromas -- all the while communing with friends and neighbors. Carrying home the warm and precious heart of my next meal....How excellent would that be? Sounds like bread utopia. To discover more about communal bread ovens in France, read William Rubel's fascinating article : "Ovens in France"