I’ve always been under the impression that all bakers start their baking day in the early hours of the morning.
Perhaps some do and I’m sure they do, who am I to say. However, Renee’s day starts – ends, honestly I don’t know how to figure that in context, but nevertheless, he starts his sourdough prep 11pm in the evening. Meaning, he is up before the crack of dawn from the night before! By the time I joined him the following morning at 6am (my assigned time by him) the bakery was in full swing with an array of sourdough breads stacked on the shelf. In time to witness the second batch of mixing & baking of his artisan craft. Originally from Ille-sur-de-Tet, Renee has been baking for the past 15 years and is endearingly passionate about his ingredients being only biodynamic products and that only natural levains are used in his baking process.
It was wonderful to discover that such principles abide in the depths of French Catalunya and that there is demand for such bread.
He sells primarily at the local market in Prades every Tuesday & Saturday morning. Le Pain de Molitg is open 3 times a week: Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 4pm to 5.30pm. After his morning bakes he tries to catch up with some well deserved shut eye before he opens his bakery for sales to the public!
What is not sold at the local market goes to the local Eco-cooperative shop in Prades. I asked whether any bread is sold to restaurants and was surprised to discover only one currently. Largest trading is during the summer season, thanks to the tourist trade. Renee’s assistant, Simon (a Welsh chappy who has lived there since a kid but still speaks English, yey, and your point of sale at the market) proudly informed me that they are pretty much sold out of bread before the market finishes during the tourist season. During the winter they roughly bake a variety of 150 loaves, whereas in the summer it can be anything up to 350-400 on their baking days.
A small scale operation compared to commercial stuff, but it is proof that this is true artisan baking that prides itself on “quality” rather than “quantity”
Next time, more breadcrumbs on the actual baking!