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Dec 7, 2011 10:49 AM

Where, or where, has my little neighborhood boulangerie gone?

That is, of course, a rhetorical question. It's been eaten up by a chain.

It used to be Malineau, on the rue St. Paul. Not fancy for pastries, but a decent artisan bread selection. Now we have Retrodor. The Artisan Boulanger sign is gone, so I assume some part of the bread is made offsite. Sad.

Last year it was the opening of a Subway on the same street. "There goes the neighborhood," as they say.

Then, again, it could be worse than Retrodor. In the rural, mountain area where I live in Washington state, the local version of a baguette is 2/3 the size but twice the weight of a French baguette. I've been told that the baker doesn't have time for a full, final rise. So she uses more dough to have a product large enough to sell. It's really a shame. The bread does have an excellent taste (good levain and long, slow first rise) but is basically inedible. I (a pastry baker) have been forced to make my own bread!

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  1. Paris seems to lose 3-4 good old time boulangeries every year. They are taken over by crappy chains such as happened to Malineau, or good chains as Kayser or Moissan. The trouble about the multi-store boulangeries is they generally have the same products storewide, thus the special thing you go to that old little baker for is no longer available. It makes my heart cry,as my number one food group, ever higher than cheese, is bread. To make it worse, a store like Mayer on rue Theatre has changed their bread that i went all the way there for, thus no longer available. To make it better a boulangerie is at Place Voltaire on the Bastille side on Bd Voltaire that has just started carrying the bread of my dreams. Some times it gets better, more times it gets worse, ah progress.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Ok, that's in my hood, almost. What is the bread you dream of? I'll check it out tomorrow or when my cold gets better.

      1. re: RandyB

        Bakery is next to restaurant Le Rey, called Landemaine.when you walk in there is a table on the right near the register that has a loaf eccentrically shaped that will take your teeth out, it is perfect, it is a version of pain des Amis. On the same table is a loaf similar to Au Pain et Des Idees Pagnol loaf, also wonderfully chewy with big air holes. If you cannot find, let me know. l will be back to Paris ina week and l can show you the bread.

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          I thought I was the only one who knew. Well, except for Julot because I alerted him but he does not partake in the bread so it was almost a secret. How did you find it?
          OK, I am being selfish but let us not let it get out too much.
          It is the bread they serve(or served) at Septime. Truly top class. The one great point about having lunch there was this discovery. Certainly nothing else but I digress.
          I think Des Idees is bad. I cannot understand why there is so much love for it. Had a few items, some were plain poor, one was okay. I would dare people to take a blind taste test and rave.
          This is nothing like anything at Des Idees. Mayeur's Pain des Alpages(did they really stop baking it or they changed the recipe? I thought it was their big fish) is leagues beyond Des Idees, too, if you are discussing dark, heavy, yet airy loaves. Then again, so many boulangeries are superior. Actually, it was possibly the worst I have been to amongst names that I targeted.
          Anyway, let's keep this between us. Okay, Randy, you can be in, too, BUT THAT IS ALL!

          1. re: dietndesire

            My mouth will soon be open but my lips will be sealed

            1. re: dietndesire

              Bread they serve at Septime is from a bakery on the corner of Rue Charonne and Bd Voltaire, a very different animal, and too nothing as well. This info from Julot also and confirmed by Septime.Bread served at Saturne is Pain des Amis from DPED Idees, they buy the whole loaves, size of small card table and 'butcher' at restaurant.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Any of you know the bakery that makes the bread served at the Constant restaurants? It's been more than a year since I had it, but I remember it being very good.

              2. re: dietndesire

                I went to Lendemaine this morning. I found a dark loaf called the Voltaire, which was a little less than half whole grain. Lovely crust and delicious flavor. Not a good loaf for sandwiches, however. Too alvéolé. But for eating with a strong cheese or dipping in the sauce, mmmm.

                Their croissant was mediocre. I also bought a lovely looking chocolate pastry, but that's to try later.

          2. re: Delucacheesemonger

            What has changed with Mayeur's Pain des Alpages is that he used to big ten pounds loaves that you would get a cut of. But he said that, as most client love the crust more than anything, and so he started doing one-pounders instead. If we are enough to ask for the old formula (and actually buy it), he'll happily get back to it, all the more since he knows it's much better.

            1. re: souphie

              Yes smaller loaves no big deal, goody more crust, but, and a big but, last two times was vastly under raised and undercooked so dense and gluey, feh.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Sounds like a weather thing. When you make pure sourdough and there is a sudden change in weather, it messes with the bread. But hey, in any case, let's just tell him. He used to do good so it's not like he'd have no idea what he's doing.

                I still blame you and your people (the crust loving people) for the change.

                1. re: souphie

                  My new acronym, CLP, wish it were my initials.