Organic baker and pioneer of good bread in Marseille, Pierre Ragot set up his own mill to work flour to the best of its nutritional and aromatic qualities.
The mill, with granite millstones, is visible from the street, next to the Maison Saint-Honoré d'Endoume shop.
The wheat comes from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, from plots cultivated by a farmer who is a militant of old varieties.
The short nights do not seem to affect the beautiful energy of Pierre Ragot. The man to whom we owe Marseille the taste of good bread, before the vogue for neo-bakers, continues the adventure with his own mill. Since this summer, he has been next to the Maison Saint-Honoré d'Endoume store, one of his three addresses in Marseille, which opened in 2014. And supplies him with organic and local flour every day, just a few steps from the bakery. "This allows us to work with fresh grinds," smiles Pierre Ragot. We work all the quintessence of flour. »
No more transport time, the flour retains all its nutritional and aromatic qualities.
"We respect the raw material because we don't heat it", also specifies the baker.
He opted for a mill with granite millstones, which does not crush the grain of wheat but “unrolls” it.
"I receive 900 kg of grain every week, which will become 700 kg of flour, with which we make all our special breads", adds Pierre Ragot, who does not hide the fact that we had to learn to master this oh so living material: " To the eye, we will not see the difference, but your body will.
Wheat grown near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
The wheat comes from plots cultivated without any inputs (not even water) in Maillane, near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. These lands are those of Henri de Pazzis, "an extraordinary character, a peasant, a philosopher" according to Pierre Ragot, who is full of praise for him. Together, they are passionate about old varieties, whether monovarietal or so-called population. “These are not catalog wheats, subject to the seed industry, explains the Marseille baker. These are varieties that were abandoned in the mid-1950s due to their low yield, due to their high straws. »
From their meeting was born the idea of the mill, and also a new bakery in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, called “Terre et Blé”.
"We work directly with the farmer, without going through a cooperative and on land that is an hour away by car," continues Pierre Ragot.
I can go there whenever I want, for the harvest, the seeds.
By understanding the earth better, we better understand our bread.
The fact that the peasant can work from hand to hand with the baker will change the bread.
In search of the ideal sourdough bread
Visible from the street, the mill is also an opportunity to educate customers. It is open to visitors several Sunday mornings in the month. Some may notice the discreet “Panadero Clandestino” plaque affixed to the mill. A tribute in the name of the bakery-workshop of Thierry Delabre, star of networks and living bread who died last year, whom the Marseille baker considers his mentor.
Because if he fell into the bakery at the age of 15, discovering a bakery in the early morning of a return from a party, Pierre Ragot defines himself as "a self-taught fermentation". In other words, he set out on his own in search of good bread, from the Auffes bakery, his first shop in Marseille before Maison Saint-Honoré (named after the patron saint of bakers). And the meeting with Thierry Delabre was decisive.
“It was a crazy adventure, for two years, he in Paris, me in Marseille, we worked on the ideal sourdough, we sent strains by post, rewinds Pierre Ragot.
We threw away whole batches!
Before finding the "bread of his dreams": a well-dimpled bread, with a nice fermentation inside, a melting touch on the crumb, a taste of leaven but which is not acidic... Now, the baker dream of a wheat seed conservatory, "to exchange with farmers around the world and work on varieties.
In short, he has not finished with the bread.
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