15 July 2011


THE LAZY SUMMER mornings that the kids have been enjoying since school finished was interrupted this morning by a 6:30am wake-up call. After a quick piece of toast each that Kerri prepared, we hoped in the car for the 10 minute drive down to La Ferme de Chassagne in the nearby village. Our mission: to help bakers at the farm prepare the daily bread.

Last week we went to a evening market in the incredibly cute village of Verteuil-sur-Charente. While we were there we bought some bread and cheese from one of the local producers and got to talking a bit about where they were located, how they made their bread, etc. It turns out that they are only 5 km from our house and every Tuesday and Friday morning they welcome visitors to and 'help' them bake bread. As long as you are there by 7:00am you can see the whole process, including how they heat up the wood-burning oven.

The baker and her 'volunteer' -- a very nice young kid from Germany, treated us very well and not only showed us how they do their work, but let the kids have a go with their own dough.

Just a little house in the middle of the farm with a little sign in the window.

Henry has a lesson in how to knead and shape the dough.
Another family came to help and watch as well.
That's 25 kilograms of pain de campagne.

Julia's turn.

La Ferme de Chassagne bakes about 350 kilos of bread dough (and about 10 varieties) two days per week. It is not a large scale bakery so they don't bake every day. In fact, the main goods they produce and sell locally are legumes and sunflower oil. But today was bread day and it was worth getting up early on a beautiful, delightfully crisp summer morning.

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