Provence Guru catches up with the architect who became a baker
Pascal Coutaz gave up his career as an architect to bake bread. He will sell in Lourmarin market and from his shop in the old Lauris station on the D973.
- Why did you change your job?
I have always been committed to living my life in an ecological way. Increasingly I found it harder to reconcile my principles with my job as an architect. There are many exciting ecologically friendly roles for architects but these tend to be in the city. The projects on which I worked in the Luberon were great fun, but not always the most sound ecologically.
I decided I needed to change. My family and I wanted to stay in the Luberon, and so I needed to find another way of working.
- Why baking bread?
Architecture and bread making are not that dissimilar. There is magic in a house being raised up from the ground, and magic in a loaf of bread growing from a ball of dough. The key difference being it takes 2 years for a house to grow and 2 hours for a loaf of bread.
As an architect I sheltered people, and as a baker I will nourish people.
- Tell us about the ecological side of your business.
The bread I bake is pain au levain. It is made with a natural yeast. A commercial yeast will contain thousands of the same single type of organism, whereas the yeast used in pain au levain, contains thousands of different organisms. This makes it easier to digest, gives it more taste, and it means the sugars in the bread release their energy more slowly, over 3 hours as opposed to 30 minutes.
A pain au levain is a bread you can keep for 5 days, a normal baguette is redundant after one.
All the ingredients for my breads are not just organic but also ecologically sourced. For example the almonds and apricots for one variety of my pan aux cereals are all harvested in the Luberon region.
I will also be delivering bread once a week to the local schools.
- Why have you chosen to work in the market?
Last year, during my training as a baker, I sold bread in the market to help raise money for Lourmarin school. I loved the experience. Selling bread in the markets is the perfect way to meet people and bring them pleasure through my breads. As well as the market stall I will open a shop, just outside Lauris, in the old station. From June we will be open Monday to Saturday 3 till 7.
- What breads do you offer?
I have a range of ten different breads as standard, including campagne, cereal, epautre, brioche. I will also occasionally offer specials like fig and almond.