The Cookbook ‘French Boulangerie’ Embraces Fermentation and Goes Beyond France

The subtitle of the stunning new cookbook “French Boulangerie,” from Ferrandi Paris, the French equivalent of the Culinary Institute of America, should be “Fermentation.” All but a couple of the recipes in the book involve the process. At the outset, after covering ingredients and explaining gluten, there are lengthy how-to’s describing several fermentation techniques: levain, commercial yeast and poolish. Step-by-step photos spill over into the recipes for assorted breads, viennoiserie, types of puff pastry, brioches, creams and fillings. But the scope is not limited to France: There are recipes for injera, bao buns, babka, pastrami sandwiches, flatbreads like pizza and even hot dogs. For each, the book provides a precise indication of how much time is needed to complete the recipe.

“French Boulangerie: Recipes and Techniques From the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts,” photography by Rina Nurra, Flammarion, $40.

Pacific sablefish, also called black cod, is all pleasure with very little risk. The flesh is so richly endowed with fat that it will remain moist and succulent even if you have to take an urgent call while it’s cooking. This winter, E-Fish, a platform for seafood shipped directly from the harvesters, has a good supply from California, sold in two-pound lots, of crosscut fillets with skin. It’s the fish of choice for the Nobu treatment, with a miso glaze, and takes well to a high-heat sear. It comes from Water2Table, a San Francisco seafood company that works with hook-and-line fishermen.

Sablefish, $79.99 for two pounds, e-fish.com.

There’s a new, almost colorless plant-based oil to use when olive oil has too much personality. Algae Cooking Club’s oil is made from algae and is lighter and more neutral than virtually all the seed and other vegetable oils. The algae is grown indoors, from an original base material found in nature, in stainless steel tanks in Brazil; it is then fermented with sugar and pressed for the oil that develops during the process. Its environmental impact is very minimal, according to Algae Cooking Club. Familiar seaweed like kelp is called macro algae. This oil, which has received the chef Daniel Humm’s blessing, is made from microalgae, tiny invisible single-cell organisms. The oil that results has a high smoke point, making it great for frying, and the company claims that it has healthy Omega-9 fatty acids. But it’s a great deal more expensive than supermarket canola.

Algae Cooking Club Algae Cooking Oil, $25 for 16 ounces, algaecookingclub.com.

Just as citrus of all sorts brightens the winter menu, so would the table benefit from this lemon serving patter: a generous pale yellow slice, delicately rippled at the edges and made from soda lime glass. At nearly 11 inches in diameter and quite flat, it’s the perfect serving dish for a lemon curd tart or a pile of lemon-ricotta pancakes. Come summer it would make a fine showpiece for a seafood salad.

Lemon Serving Platter, $19.95, surlatable.com.

The aroma of this new apple brandy, or eau de vie as they would have it, suggests a pile of freshly peeled apple skins. Apple fragrances are not uncommon in alcoholic beverages, most notably in some chardonnays that suggest green apple, but not the riper nose of Tamworth Distilling’s latest; it’s named after Lilith, who in Jewish folklore (possibly derived from Mesopotamian legend) is said to have been the first of the biblical Adam’s wives. She supposedly turned herself into the seductive serpent of Eden who tempted Eve with the apple. This brandy is made from heirloom Cortland apples from New Hampshire, the home of Tamworth, fermented and double-distilled in alembic and aged more than four years in whiskey barrels. The aging, which brings its color to pale amber, makes it more brandy, of which there is a strong tradition in New England since colonial times, than eau de vie, which is usually unaged and clear. It’s in the Calvados style, smooth on the palate with deep flavors of cloves, honey and black pepper. At 100 proof it follows the rules for a bottled-in-bond designation.

Tamworth Garden Lilith Apple Brandy, $95 for 750 milliliters, Tamworth Distilling, tamworthdistilling.com.

Gianduja, the chocolate-hazelnut spread that is the peanut butter of Italy, has many commercial labels, most notably Nutella which popularized it some 60 years ago. Ghia, a company that makes nonalcoholic aperitifs, introduced a version in 2021 replacing the palm oil found in Nutella with extra-virgin olive oil and reducing the sugar to 11 grams in two tablespoons (compared with 21 grams for Nutella). Now they have added a particularly inviting crunchy style made with crushed almonds and puffed quinoa, and with nine grams of sugar in two tablespoons. It’s spreadable, not quite pourable, excellent over ice cream or as a pastry filling and could be ready for your stealthy spoon after midnight

Ghia Ghianduja Crunch, $32 for two 8-ounce jars, drinkghia.com.

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