french bread

A Tradition in Swiss Bread: Day 89 and 90

Eat bread from Switzerland? I don’t know if I’ve ever tasted bread from there before! I am really amazed that the news of me eating bread has spread all the way to that part of the world. Least to say, I was very honored when bread from Pain Paillasse® came to me overnight. All I had to do was refresh it in the toaster oven for 10 minutes. Just like that and it was crispy on the outside, but moist and chewy on the inside.

Pain Paillasse bread

A delicious sesame loaf and a chunky olive loaf. Each of them had a great chew with a very crispy crust. A light sour lingers on the taste buds after eating the bread.

Pain Paillase is a unqiue hand-shaped bread made with a natural leaven and long fermentation time. It’s comes from the largest traditional bakery in Switzerland, with all bread cooked by wood fire. The bakery and bread owes it start to life-time baker Aimé Pouly. He opened his first bakery when he was just  24 years-old. By the 1990s, there were 11 bakeries and pain Paillasse bread—Pouly’s patented bread recipe—made its appearance.

“…we called this bread “pain Paillasse” in memory of the simple straw mattress on which bakers used to sleep while their dough rose.” – Aimé Pouly

The bakery and bread continued to gain popularity and awards. Pouly’s daughter, Sindy, now carries on the tradition paved by her late father, still using the original recipe.

What makes Pain Paillasse so special?

The key characteristics of the loaf is intensive dough hydration, extended fermentation time (24 hours), the use of a stone or wood oven and 100% all-natural ingredients.

The result is a beautiful crunchy crust, open crumb and rustic loaf with an authentic taste.

It’s a labor-intensive bread that needs highly-skilled bakers. Yet the bakery has created an industrial process. Anyone who produces Paillasse bread is carefully selected, trained and followed by the Pain Paillasse team. And you sure can taste the care and effort that goes into their bread!

Here’s what I ate on Days 89 and 90 of EB90:

Food Portion   Calories 
Day 89
Bagels 200g 520
Panne Paillaise Sesame 5 slices (30g) 450
Panne Paillaise Olive 5 slices (30g) 450
Berry Cream Cheese 2 Tbsp 50
Butter 2 Tbsp 200
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Apricot Sugar-Free Jam 2 Tbsp 40
Brats 66g 196
Cauliflower 1 C 60
Banana 1 pc 110
Cycle/swim -400
 Total 1876
Day 90
Bagels 200g 520
Panne Paillaise Sesame 5 slices (30g) 450
Panne Paillaise Olive 5 slices (30g) 450
Hot Dog and Bun 270
Greek Cheese Spread 1 Tbsp 22.5
Butter 2 Tbsp 200
Croissant 240
Asparagus 1 C 27
Steak and Onions 200
Egg 1 78
Zucchini 1 C 68
Peanut Butter 1 Tbsp 95
Apricot Sugar-Free Jam 2 Tbsp 40
Cycle/Swim/Run -800
 Total 1860.5


steamed buns

Not All Breads are Baked: Day 87 and 88

Steamed buns just might be the world’s most perfect food! Also known as Mantou, the history of steamed buns dates back over 2,000 years ago. The origin varies depending on who is telling the story. I discovered that Zhuge Liang (181-234), is credited with inventing the stuffed meat version of steamed buns.

Zhuge Liang was a military strategist on an expedition in southern China. Difficulties during the expedition called for the sacrifice of a human head to appease the gods. Rather than kill an innocent human, Liang ordered his solders to kill some of their animals. The meat was then placed in a flour dough and shaped like a head before being steamed. These fake heads tricked the gods and good fortune followed. It is our good fortune that Zhuge Liang created the first meat filled steam buns!

Today you can find steamed buns in many varieties. They can be plain or stuffed with meats, vegetables, or sweet fillings.

The simple combination of flour, salt, yeast and sugar is mixed together and allowed to rise. The dough is then cut into equal portions, filled, shaped, and placed in a steamer to cook. The result?  Bread so light it melts in your mouth.

pork steamed bun

A handmade steam bun stuffed with pork from a food truck in Portland, OR.

Steamed buns are portable, delicious, and worthy of serving to the gods. For all the bread fans who want to try this form of bread, they are readily accessible at any Asian food supermarket in the frozen section.

Mantou steamed buns

Whole wheat steamed buns (Mantou) are delicious and nutritious. They are usually eaten with stews, or eaten instead of rice or noodles.

For a look at how pork buns are made see this video. The technique the baker uses to shape the buns prior to steaming is a true art form!

Sweet Azuki steamed buns

Sweet Azuki (Red) Bean filled steam buns are usually consumed as a snack or for breakfast.

Here’s what I ate on Days 87 and 88 of EB90:

Food Portion  Calories 
Day 87
Whole wheat toast 5 slices (40g) 500
Focaccia Bread 2 slices (60g) 280
Sourdough Bread 2 slices (38g) 200
Steamed Pork Bun 60g 150
Steamed Azuki Bun 60g 160
Whole Wheat Mantou 40g 100
Butter 2 Tbsp 200
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Apricot Sugar-Free Jam 2 Tbsp 40
Cherries 1C 74
Tomato Soup 1C 75
Stir Fried Vegetables 125g 36
 Total 2015
Day 88
Multigrain toast 3 slices 330
Panne Paillaise Sesame 5 slices (30g) 450
Panne Paillaise Olive 5 slices (30g) 450
Hard boiled egg 1 78
Steamed Brocolli 1C 30
Sausage Pesto Raviolli 1C 200
Butter 2 Tbsp 200
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Sugar Free Strawberry Jam 2 Tbsp 40
Strawberry Cake 350
Run -300
 Total 2028


Africa Moroccan Pita Bread.

Around the World: Breads of Africa

Grains and starches make up a large portion of the foods eaten in Africa. These foods include rice, yams, corn meal, mashed beans, cassava, sorghum and millet. Africans also have unique types of breads which are different from the ones eaten in Europe and the US. African breads are baked, steamed, cooked on a griddle or deep fried. African breads were influenced by neighbors from India and southern Europe. The colonization of Africa  also played huge difference on the types of bread. Below are five of the most common types of breads consumed in Africa.

The Nigerian Puff Puff Bread

Puff Puff  is a wheat bread that is common in Nigeria.  Unlike loaf bread that is baked, the yeasted batter resembles a donut or fry bread. Flour, water, yeast and sugar are combined to make a dough which is then fried to produce Puff Puff bread. This bread is very popular in Nigeria and the neighboring west African countries.


The Nigerian Puff Puff Bread

The Nigerian Puff Puff Bread.

South African Green Mealie Bread

Corn or maize is commonly known as mealies in South Africa and Mozambique. Maize is part of the daily diet of the people in the mentioned countries. There are various recipes of making bread from ground maize. The breads are easy to make and they are very delicious. One of the breads is the traditional steamed green mealie bread which is made using a slightly green mealie. Others includes easy mealie bread and cheesy mealie bread.


South African Green Mealie Bread

South African Green Mealie Bread.


Moroccan Pita Bread

Morocco is a  North African country that is close to the European countries. Moroccan meals are a blend of Italian, French, Turkish and Spanish ingredients. Wheat breads are more common in North Africa. Wheat is more commonly grown in North Africa  than in the rest of Africa. Instead of baking, Pita bread is cooked on a griddle. It is eaten warm with honey and butter. The bread has a chewy texture which is brought about by semolina flour which has a high gluten content.


Africa Moroccan Pita Bread.

Moroccan Pita Bread.


Chapatti from Coconut Oil

Chapatis  are a common bread in east Africa which originated from India. In the African preparation of chapatis, coconut milk is used in place of water. Coconut  milk adds a rich creamy taste and softer texture to the chapatis. Flour and salt are combined and added into the coconut milk. It is kneaded into a dough which is allowed to rest for at least an hour. The dough should be soft and smooth, but not sticky. Allow the chapatti dough to rest for at least 20 minutes. This resting stage ensures your chapatti will be soft! The dough is then rolled using a rolling pin and a brushed with coconut oil. It is then placed in a heated oiled pan where it is cooked until all sides are brown.


Chapatti from Coconut Oil

Chapatti from Coconut Oil.

Ethiopian Injera Bread

Ethiopia and Liberia are the only African countries that were not colonized by European powers. Ethiopia thus retained its cultural identity which includes their unique cuisine. Ethiopia grows wheat and various other grains. Injera bread is made from a grain called Teff which is Ethiopia’s indigenous grain. Its preparation starts with putting the Teff in a mixing bowl and adding water slowly while stirring. After stirring, the batter is placed aside for a day to allow fermentation to take place. This allows flavor development as the batter acquires a slight tanginess. Yeast is sometimes added to accelerate the fermentation. Salt is then stirred in.

A nonstick pan is heated until a water drop can dance on its surface. The pan is coated with a thin layer of batter. It is then cooked until holes starts appearing on the bread surface. The bread is removed when the surface is dry. Injera is a spongy, sour flatbread that is  used to scoop up stews, meats and side dishes traditionally served as part of the meal.


Ethiopian Injera Bread

Ethiopian Injera Bread.