There are few things in life more loveable than bread. It is an age-old luxury that most, if not every culture, likes to indulge in. A vessel to many dishes, whether they be appetizers, main courses, or desserts, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, bread is the food staple that makes every true foodie’s heart skip a beat – which is why bread made right, no matter the type, is an important part of the indulging process.
Le Pain Quotidien, affectionately known as “PQ”, implements the worldwide love of bread in its menu, and with its 100 percent organic process of baking, redefines the ideology of bread being made right. You can count the ingredients in PQ’s bread on one hand: flour, starter, water, salt and time. Using only organic stone-ground flour milled to their exacting specifications is the secret behind their bread’s earthy, deep richness and hearty crust. While commercial bakeries might use yeast to get their bread to rise, PQ nurtures a natural sourdough starter to give their breads lift. It’s the secret to their bread’s rich aroma and craggy interior. Le Pain Quotidien takes bread making nice and slow, letting the levain starter do its job. With their bakers guiding the way, time is always on their side.
Levain: the baking process
A levain is a natural yeast culture that slowly matures to bring a wonderfully tangy flavor, complex aroma and texture as well as nutrients to PQ’s hearth-style loaves. Maintaining these natural yeast starters requires patience and skill; it must be cared for every day to retain and develop its unique flavor. It’s an involved process but a worthy one, for it brings the nuanced taste from the past to their time-honored loaves.
PQ lets their levain do the heavy lifting. Natural yeast starters benefit from long fermentation, during which time the muscles of their bread, called gluten, soften into amino acids, which are more easily digested by the body. Besides allowing for the uniquely developed taste of the bread, the fermentation process also assists to break down sugars and starches, resulting in rustic loaves with higher mineral and vitamin content and lower carbohydrate content.
PQ’s breads are not only easier to digest, but they’re also a better nutritional alternative to conventional breads. This is the PQ difference.
Meet the stars of the PQ family
Le Pain Quotidien’s hearth-baked rustic breads all begin with organic, stone-ground wheat, water and salt. They are, at their core, the same – however, once the expert bakers of PQ use whole-wheat, add grains and seeds, or supplement with other carefully milled flours, they are able to offer a selection of breads that can satisfy your whim.
This is the bread they are known for, made with organic whole-wheat flour, sea salt, water and levain, their all-natural fermented starter. Whether it’s served alongside soup, salad, a hearty farm-egg breakfast or used as the base for their signature tartines, this bread will always feel like home.
Long, slender and classic, the PQ baguette features a shatteringly crisp crust and a tender, supple crumb. It’s made from organic wheat flour, sea salt, water and yeast and is ideal paired with their farm-style fresh fruit jams or chocolate spreads.
Dense, rich and hearty, their deeply dark rye is made with organic dark rye flour, whole-wheat flour, sea salt, water and levain. Just add some quality butter and fleur de sel, and life is good.
This bread is ideal for breakfast, with a hearty highlight of flax seeds, rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Raisins add sweetness and whole organic wheat flour, yeast, sea salt and water comprise the bones of the loaf.
It takes about eight hours and ten careful, elaborate steps for the PQ bakers to bake a typical loaf of bread. The baking process requires patience and skills, so slow down, savor and share it.
Le Pain Quotidien prides itself in its bread, and finds a way to implement freshly baked goodness in all of its dishes. “Le Pain Quotidien” literally translating to “the daily bread”, and with the taste of freshness in each bite, you’ll find that PQ lives up to its name. Go on and indulge in a PQ plate at one of their rustic locations—you won’t regret your choice.