Why Bread?

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Hello and bonjour!

Welcome to Rise and Bake! Thanks for taking a moment out of your day to check out my blog.

First off, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Paige and I’m a high school senior from Los Angeles. About two years ago, I moved with my family to a small town in the south of France. I attended Waldorf schools in both California and Europe, but have been studying for the last two years through a distance-learning school called Oak Meadow.

I’m starting this blog to document a school project I’m doing known as the “Advanced Study Project.” The purpose of the project is for students to immerse themselves in an academic or professional study of their choice while earning school credit and valuable life skills. For my own Advanced Study, I am studying bread, its origins, cultural significance, chemistry, and evolution. I’ll be doing a couple of internships at local bakeries, reading classics such as Joe Ortiz’s The Village Baker and Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb, and experimenting with making my own bread at home.

So why bread? Well, for starters, I love bread. Eating and baking are some of my many passions. I usually don’t go a day without a slice or two of bread, and on the days I do, I feel like something’s missing! In other words, bread is an important part of my diet, not to mention an integral part of French life and culture.

Which leads me to another point: I live in the land of bread! What better place to study bread than in France? Boulangeries can be found anywhere and everywhere here, from the bustling cities of Paris and Marseille to tiny villages in the Provençal countryside. My own town has three bakeries for its 3,000 residents and the thousands of tourists who come during the summer. There’s certainly no lack of resources to make decent bread, and many of the world’s greatest bakers have come to France to learn their craft.

Lastly, I’m doing this project in hopes of gaining some enlightenment. On bread, on France, and on society in general. Bread is one of the oldest staples in the world. Not only is it significant in our diet, but in culture, politics, and religion as well. How is it that bread has survived for thousands of years on multiple continents? Or, that a combination as simple as yeast and grains can produce such a delicious and ubiquitous food? How has bread evolved in the last century, and what’s with the gluten-free movement? Is bread even healthy? These are only a handful of the questions I hope to answer in my study of bread.

So join me! I’m not sure where this project will go, but I can’t wait to see what arises (pun intended). At the very least, it should be yummy.

Cheers,

Paige

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