As my first bread baking endeavor ever, I was a little worried about how it would turn out. I had all the ingredients I needed on hand except for baking soda. I knew from an earlier baking experience that I'd need to look for tiny pink packets when I went to the grocery store, but I somehow forget exactly how to say baking soda in French. I knew it was something, something chimique. So, when after searching high and low at least three or four times around every single aisle in the store, I still couldn't find what I needed, I asked someone. French folk don't really seem to be approachable, but I've figured out that all it takes is being really nice and smiling to get a positive and friendly reaction out of them. (I know I'm generalizing, but I've yet to find an exception to that generalization, so when I do, I'll be sure to let everyone know. It's pretty much the same idea with everyone, everywhere, except that in places like the US and Italy, people in general seem more approachable.)
So, I asked in my best French where I could find the soudre? chimique...je ne sais pas...le poudre pour faire le pain, mais pas le farine [in english: soudre (non-existent French word) chemical...I don't know...the powder to make bread, but not flour].
He responds, farine de mais? (Me, not really understanding) oh oui, oui, je pense oui. [Yes, yes, I think yes.]
(He motions toward the corn meal.) OH, desolé, pas ça. Il est un poudre chimique. [OH, sorry, not that. It's a chemical powder.]
(He's looking more and more confused.) Pas le farine? [Not flour?]
(Me, giving up.) Non, mais c'est pas grave. Merci beaucoup. [No, but it's OK. Thanks a lot.]
(Him, relieved that I'm going to leave him alone so he can get back to work) De rien. [You're welcome.]
I decide to take one last look at the disproportionately small section where the flour is to make sure I didn't miss anything. Sure enough, tucked waaaay back behind an empty box was an entire tray of levure chimique Alsacienne. I gave a little chuckle and snapped a photo so I could prove that the little pink packets were hiding in the back of the shelf for no one to find (except my memory card wasn't in my camera and I don't know where my cable is to connect my camera to the computer, so sorry, can't post the pic).
When it was finally time to make the bread, I realized I didn't have a loaf pan to bake it in, so I improvised and used the smallest ceramic baking dish I have. It was interesting to convert everything into grams. I used a hybrid of two recipes, and I know you're not supposed to in baking, but I tweaked the recipes a bit and even added a spoonful of Nutella just because. The end result was decent - Gui loved it , but next time I'm going to chop the walnuts up a bit more and definitely use a loaf pan - it makes a difference. And I might use a bit less sugar next time since the Nutella is so sweet. Overall, it was a success and the perfect breakfast this morning with a cup of pressed coffee.