Moulin de la Pauze

Saint Méard de Drône
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Moulin de la Pauze

Today I decided on trying something new : the making of bread and brioche in Moulin de la Pauze which is located in Saint-Méard-de-Dronne near Ribérac and my mouth is already watering !

When I enter the mill, I meet Master baker Blaise and his wife as well as all my culinary colleagues. The activity is open to children and adults. It takes place every afternoon and lasts three hours. The workshop is followed by a tour of the mill while our creations are cooking. Do not forget your apron !

So let’s learn how to make bread dough. Master Baker Blaise positions himself close to the kneader and adds the ingredients one by one ; asking us their names : flour, yeast, salt etc… It is the mixing stage. The water is then added progressively, and the kneading begins. The children flock around the kneader, we all look with attention the dough turning and taking shape. Once the dough is ready, Master Baker Blaise puts it on the table which has been previously covered with flour spread with a sieve : it is the blowing. The dough must be crushed with the palm of your hand, folded and shape like a ball. The baker shows us and I do it after weighing my dough on an ancient scale. Once you have a round ball, you must do the key : it is the stage that requires the most finesse, I did not manage, even after two attempts ! I notice that we are all looking after our own dough.

Once the bread dough is made, you now need to prepare the brioche dough. The process is the same : Master Blaise details the ingredients and provides all the technical vocabulary of a professional baker. I weigh my dough to obtain three pieces then I do a braid following the advices of the master baker. I am rather proud of it ! There is a family atmosphere, the children are happy and the parents are smiling. I have flour a bit everywhere, dough between the fingers and I cannot wait to see the results. All the explanations provided by master baker Blaise are very clear, he takes the time to explain and show us, at times I can sense a bit of teasing too !

It is now time for our culinary masterpieces to go to the baking stage. Therefore it is time to visit the mill. I start my tour with a workshop on the fabrication of flour : there is an impressive grindstone collection ; they are all different from each other. I learn the various stages of the transformation of the wheat into flour especially with a sieve : the first coat in the big bran, then the small bran, the cut and finally the flour. I progressively touch different aspects of the wheat. I then arrive in the bakery that exhibits several kneaders from different time and also the bread oven. The same family has been at the head of the mill for eleven generations, several machines have been kept over 300 years of use! Therefore I discover the various grinding wheels, a dedicated archaeological room helps the visitors understand the evolution of the grinding wheels and their use.

I cross many rooms in the mill to understand the progress of the flour through the building. On the wall there are photos showing the evolution of the place since the 18th century. I visit the area which hosts the turbines, the landscape is lovely, the water of the Dronne River is so clear that I can spot few fishes. The environment is very quiet and it is a true delight ! I learn a lot from my guide, and I get familiar with all the relative vocabulary of the milling and the functioning of the mill. It is always very clear and educational. The children have fun while discovering this industrial evolution and the oldest of them understand all the hidden expertise of this industry.

I notice that the mill is really big and has several floors. I follow all the process which allow transforming the wheat into a bag of flour. I go through all the various steps ! A nice odour emits from the rooms, this mill is charming inside and out.

Master baker Blaise has invented a small educational mill that produces flour, which is then sold. The pleasant aroma of our brioches is now coming through the floorboards and is coming slowly up to my nostrils. I can notice that everybody is attracted towards the balcony where our creations are cooling down !

I spent a delightful and friendly moment with Master baker Blaise and his wife. They are generous and welcoming people who like sharing their experience and their passion for their job. It is a fun, educational and gourmet activity aimed at children and adults ; it is an apprenticeship open to all. The children are well supervised ; even the youngest ones (from four years old) can participate. I did not see the time going and I am leaving with my appetizing and tempting creations that did not last very long. I am also leaving with a postcard of the Mill, a souvenir that cannot be eaten but which gives me great pleasure !

Now, I know all the various necessary steps to make bread or a brioche as well as the transformation process from wheat to flour. The price is really reasonable for all the service provisions offered. It is possible to only do a visit (either free or guided) if you wish. The Moulin de la Pauze offers other activities which are possible to do with prior booking : a milling day, a bread day, a pastry day etc… It is a place which mixes knowledge, expertise and traditions !

To all the future bakers : get your aprons !

Le moulin de la Pauze

Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze
Le moulin de la Pauze


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