Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Le Petit Déjeuner.

You may not be fortunate enough to live in a place that has a good French bakery. (Believe it or not, I have two, and a couple of independent bakers who make delicious breads… you all have to move to Richmond.) But that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on decent baguettes and coffee for breakfast.

Here’s the secret to making grocery store-bought bread taste a little better: water. You have to, as a very good Basque friend of mine says, “give him a little bath.” Part of the process to making the classic baguette crusty is to mist the oven with water whilst they are baking. I wet my hands and rub the outside of the baguette, then bake it at 350°F for about 5 minutes. Voilà!

Next, coffee. I’ve written before about my quest for the perfect cup of coffee made at home, and I’m still looking. But, using a Bialetti Moka stove top espresso maker and Illy coffee comes very close. Just make sure that if you use milk, it is whole milk.



6 thoughts on “Le Petit Déjeuner.

  1. I use a moka pot as well with wonderful results.

    Are you using the “Moka” grind that is specifically made for the Bialetti or the regular espresso grind??

  2. Hello EBE, and thanks for reading. Yes, I’ve been using the Moka grind, but will use the espresso too, especially if I’m going to make a “pot” in the little “espresso maker” on my coffee machine.

  3. After years of searching, I’ve settled on the chem ex for coffee at home. It’s more sustainable, easy to clean and excellent coffee. I’d love the new nupresso mini coffee maker but it’s so darn unsustainable.

  4. CL, stovetop — one that my parents bought in Europe about 35 years ago. I’ve just replaced the rubber gasket. That’s pretty good design and sustainable to boot. Clean up is knocking out the grounds and sponging the top. Easy….

    Ms. Moore, I don’t know chem ex. I’ll look into it.

  5. We have wonderful coffee by bringing our water to a boil in a copper tea kettle and using a glass Melitta coffee pot with a plastic funnel which sits atop. We use unbleached filters, beans freshly ground at Whole Foods (Espresso Bel Canto, WF blend, French or Italian Roast are all favorites). We recently added a Nespresso dairy frother/warmer. We use organic half-and-half–no skim milk allowed in coffee. Coffee cups are French porcelain mugs or Wedgewood china. Use nice things and buy good groceries, enjoy a cup of coffee without guilt, and quit stressing over ‘sustainability.’ Life is short, we will all be dead soon enough. The planet will live on, with or without us, regardless of any lifestyle choices.

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