bake - June 2018 - 36


Fête du Pain
For the first time ever, the United States sent a team of 24
bakers to participate in the Fête du Pain, an annual twelveday bread festival in France that celebrates bread. In Paris,
the Fête occurred in front of the Notre-Dame Cathedral and
concluded on May 16.
During the Fête du Pain, Messe des Boulangers, (Bakers'
Mass) took place inside Notre-Dame Cathedral on Sunday,
May 6. The mass is a veneration of bread, and bakers are
honored as they are brought to the front seats, led by priests.
Later in the mass, the American bakers held baskets of bread
at the altar as the bread was blessed by the Archbishop, and
then carried the baskets to the entrance of the cathedral as
the mass concluded.
"Each person takes a piece of the blessed bread as they
leave the cathedral. That's pretty moving," explains Jeffrey
Hamelman, who organized the American presence at the Fête,
including participating in the Bakers' Mass, and is the former
bakery director at King Arthur Flour. "I've been baking for 41
years, and that's the most significant highlight of my baking
life," he says.
Hamelman continued to say that it is incredibly rare that any
bakers other than the French are part of this celebration, and
"it's pretty extraordinary" that the United States was invited
to send a team of bakers.
At the Fête du Pain, the US participants organized a fully
equipped working bakery in full view of the 10,000 people
who visited the hall each day.

12-day event. There were three teams of eight bakers. The
second team overlapped for one day with the first team, and
the third team overlapped one day with the second team.
Each baker committed to five full days of baking.
"Several cities have their own Fête, but the one in Paris, not
surprisingly, is the foremost," Hamelman says. "There are
a number of active working bakeries making products in a
temporary building that is erected just in front of Notre-Dame

36 < JUN 2018 |


Eight bakers were required each day for the duration of the

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