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Blending Bread and Beauty in a Classic French Way

A baguette is a staple of French food and learning to prepare them properly is considered an art. I first encountered baguettes in their truly authentic form when our high school French Club visited Boulangerie Jean-Jacques in Richmond, VA. The head baker explained that his schooling for preparing bread took 4 years!

The French take their bread seriously, so seriously that there’s a whole class of traditional furniture dedicated to bread preparation and preservation. For example, a petrin is an elegant dough box that provided a place for both the kneading and rising of dough.

Then, the finished bread was safely kept in a wall-mounted panetière or “bread safe.”

In classic French form, these pieces not only reflect function, but also beauty. How French is that . . . to bring such beauty to an everyday task? And unlike a plain bread box, it's the beauty of these pieces that allows them to live on in our homes when few of us are baking bread daily.

To learn more about the details and history of these pieces, click on the linked specific terms above or review all the entries in our ANTIQUE DICTIONARY.

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