22 May 2020

Levure boulangère > pizza !

Levure is a confusing term in French for us anglophones. In English "yeast" is what you you use to make leavened bread. In French, you have to specify that it's bread-making yeast by saying levure boulangère or levure de boulangerie— bread-baking or baker's yeast. That's because the other kind of levure — what we call "baking powder" — is called levure chimique in French. It's "chemical yeast" as opposed to natural yeast. Natural yeast is a living organism that in French is called un champignon.

"Chemical yeast" (baking powder) is what we use to make cakes and what we call "quick breads" like zucchini bread or banana bread. Those kinds of breads are not called "bread" in French but cakes. Yes, that's a French word, and it's pro-nounced [keck]. Un cake is baked in a loaf pan rather than in a "cake pan."

Be all that as it may, we finally got yeast. The yeast we got is called spéciale pains. It's marketed as bread yeast and as idéal for use in a bread machine (une machine à pain or MAP). The total amount of yeast in the box is 30 grams — one ounce — divided into 6 little 5-gram envelopes.

So Walt made pizza for lunch yesterday. He uses a no-knead recipe that involves making the dough — flour, water, yeast, and salt — 18 hours before you plan to cook the pizza. He makes the dough at about six p.m. the day before for lunch at noon the next day. It makes a good crust — crispy but not too crispy, bready inside. Chewy. (Can you tell I love bread?)

We topped the pizza with tomato sauce, ham, grated Comté cheese, and mushrooms. We're out of our own tomato sauce from last year's vegetable garden, so we had to use commercial sauce. We put thinly sliced raw mushrooms on top of the grated cheese, with the sauce and ham underneath. We make two individual-size pizzas and eat the first one cut in half before putting the second one in the oven, on a pizza stone, to cook. Then we eat that one while it's hot.

17 comments:

  1. These distinctions are so interesting...Do they talk about Brewer's yeast as a yeast? That pizza looks really delicious! Wonderful toppings! And the description of the crispy yet chewy crust is making me too hungry.

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    1. Yes, there's levure de bière and also levure de vin. BTW, I posted the wrong photo of the pizza earlier this morning. A better one is up there now.

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  2. When I started reading this post, I thought "levure," hard to connect with anything, how will I remember that? Until you brought up "leavened." I'll never forget it now, so thanks. That pizza looks great. All you are missing is anchois. ;-)

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  3. Your levure boulangère sounds like the instant dry yeast I use in my bread machine. It is manufactured by Lesaffre. Did you try to contact them?

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    1. No. Does Lesaffre sell retail?

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    2. I have no idea. I buy their instant yeast through King Arthur Flour.

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    3. Amazon.fr sells Lesaffre (SAF) yeast, but it's very expensive. €25 for 500 grams. Another brand is just €10 for 500 grams and gets very good customer reviews on Amazon.fr.

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  4. It seems that levure alsacienne is the French equivalent of baking powder.

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    1. Levure chimique and levure alsacienne are the same thing.

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  5. Here is an interesting article in French about all kinds of levures : https://chefsimon.com/articles/produits-les-levures.

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  6. So glad you are able to enjoy pizza again! Do you just use plain tomato sauce as the base?

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    1. Yes, this time at least, because it's all we had. Delicious.

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  7. Now I’m definitely craving pizza! I know you, or probably Walt, have posted the pizza dough recipe before but could you post it again, pretty please? :). Thanks!

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