A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to the launch of Weston’s Première Fournée breads along with several Montreal bloggers and journalists. In the “it’s a small world” category, I also happen to freelance for the bakery, which the inviting promotional agency didn’t know. Maybe you’ve found yourself comatose at the breakfast table, sleepily waiting for your coffee to finally percolate and half-reading the sleeve from your bread to pass the time? Well, then you’ve been saved from boredom (!) by my efforts. (To this day, though, my most published opus has been… the romance copy on the side of Québon milk cartons. It’s Faubert, not Flaubert.)
So there I was, on a beautiful Wednesday night, on my way to Auberge Saint-Gabriel (gorgeous!) in Old Montreal for a breadmaking mini-workshop. On the menu, appetizers from the Auberge’s celebrated chef, Éric Gonzalez, which convinced me that I have to come back for an actual meal. The evening’s programme included a 101 class delivered by chefs Mario Fortin and Dominique Homo*, two bakers who def know their way around homemade bread and generously shared their knowhow.
The best insight as far as I’m concerned? I learned that the longer you let the yeast do its magic, the more acidity your bread will develop, thereby naturally lengthening shelf life. In other words, it pays to be patient. Of course, I’m not, patient I mean, so God knows when that little tidbit will serve.
What I liked enough about these breads to blog about them? And no, I wasn’t paid to do so. Espousing the clean label trend (for an explanation of clean label manufacturing, see here), Première Fournée has a short ingredient list, without weird preservatives. And it makes a darn good toast. Finally an artisan-style bread in the commercial bread aisle, let’s hope many will follow.
* By the way, if you are from Greater Montreal, chef Dominique Homo shown above owns a bakery school, L’École du pain in Bois-des-filions, where the chef swears he can teach anyone how to bake their own artisan bread.
Of course, I wasn’t going to leave you without a recipe. It’s mine this time. Here’s a quick’n easy spread I once concocted for Gadoua’s website – how’s that for holistic! — which they were nice enough to let me share with you.
With a few ingredients that are probably in your fridge right now, whatever your choice of bread, you can put together a sandwich with more pizzazz than the ubiquitous butter and mustard versions. This sesame mayonnaise pairs well with chicken, tomatoes, canned tuna or salmon, avocado, spinach, etc. So play it up using your favourite garnish.
Now, toasting the sesame seeds is not a must but a plus. Roasting nuts à l’unilatérale, i.e. without fat, brings out their aroma. And the crunch of sesame adds great texture anytime. Your lunchbox or weekend snacks will never be the same.
As I try to introduce more vegetarian fare into the everyday family diet, I’ll be tinkering with a tofu sandwich using this spread. Should be good? If ever you try it before me, do give me a shout.
• 10 ml (2 tsp) white sesame seeds
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) regular or light mayonnaise
• 1 small green onion finely chopped
• 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) lemon juice
• 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) sesame oil
• pinch of salt and pepper
1. In a skillet over medium-high, toast sesame seeds only (no fat) for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly golden.
2. Combine with remaining ingredients, mixing well. Season to taste. Spread over bread, add sandwich garnishes and dig in!
Note: This mayonnaise will keep in the refrigerator for, I dunno, 2 to 3 days? We never actually have leftovers to test…