Cheater’s Poppyseed Roll

Petit Pain au Pavot pour Tricheuse

[Cheater's Poppyseed Roll]

In September of last year, when Maxence and I were spending some time in Alsace, we went shopping once in a supermarket in Munster. Yes, we did, can you imagine that? I mean — what fun! Actually, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that on vacation, I’m always happy to browse the aisles of local grocery stores, studying the selection of regional products or just stuff that my neighborhood stores don’t carry.

On that particular day in that particular grocery store — I believe it was a Super U — our mission was to get all the fixings for a raclette, a typical mountain festive meal in which you melt raclette cheese in a special appliance and eat it with potatoes and charcuterie. Yum. But of course I couldn’t help looking at everything else — the yogurts and the cookies and the cereals and the chocolate — and one thing I threw into the cart when Maxence wasn’t looking was a baking-mix by Maïzena, the leading brand of corn starch. A baking-mix that whispered the sweet promise that it would help me make a half-dozen of cute and charming petits pains au pavot.

At the register, Maxence picked up the box and looked at me quizzically — his left eyebrow clearly asking, “Did another patron accidently put this in our cart?”. I looked away, whistling innocently. And the little box made its way with us to the house, then to the South-West where we drove next, and then back to Paris, where it crawled to the back of a kitchen cabinet to hide.

I forgot all about it until recently, as I was rummaging around for something else entirely (the remaining half of my package of gomasio spirulin — anyone seen it?) and my flailing hand landed on it. The expiration date was getting dangerously close so I decided to finally use it, to excellent results. You just pour the mix in a bowl (I checked the ingredients, nothing too scary in there), add water, knead the dough a little, divide it into six balls, let ‘em rise, let ‘em bake, and eat ‘em up! Oh, I know the very point of baking-mixes is to make your life easy-peasy, but still, they never fail to fill me with wonder and awe, as if I was witnessing some form of magic.

And those poppyseed rolls were pretty decent — crusty with a moist, almost scone-y inside, and excellent the next day for breakfast, too. Of course, in Paris we’re a little spoiled with our bread and I’ve had better petits pains au pavot, but never coming out of my oven, kneaded with love and my own two hands!

  • gg

    i’m fairly new to c&z, and i’m delighted at what i find here! (and am now a little hungry!)

  • AmyBee

    A true “Clothilde” piece of writing. Thanks for a fun read. “Easy-peasey”? How DO you do it? :-)

  • Anyesha

    I absolutely love baking mixes…my favourite at present is Bob’s Red Mills Spice Apple Bran Mix. Two cups of it mixed up with 1.5 cups of applesauce, one over ripe banana, some lemon zest, nuts, one egg and 0.5 cup of water yields amazingly moist and flavourful muffins.
    Have been coming to your page quite often and look forward quite eagerly to my daily update of C and Z

  • Patsy

    Clotilde — I am delighting in your development as a food writer, one who pays attention to the subject so passionately. Today’s little diversion, a side trip to the less exalted, is an indication of your commitment to exploring all things with equal enthusiasm. It’s true that we can find gems in unexpected places (think of truffles!). I am looking forward to your writing about New York. Thanks for providing a daily — well, almost — pleasure in C&Z.

  • Rainey

    Nicely done! I would NEVER have guessed that was an item from a mix. I would have guessed that it came from a stone-lined oven for sure! I looks like an excellent crust.

  • Carl

    I almost fell off of my chair laughing when Maxence questioned if someone accidentally put the bread mix in the cart, and Clotilde looked away…whistling innocently. Just one of those Kodak moments I guess. Honestly…as a bread baker…the bread looks good…looked like it was baked in a hearth oven. Looks yummy.

  • Mira

    The rolls look fabulous! Too bad they are from a mix because as soon as I saw the picture I was hoping for a recipe.

    I love baking bread and can appreciate your enthusiasm for hand made rolls.

    I did find a recipe online but my French isn’t that good, I live in the US, and they didn’t look as nice as yours.

  • KK

    Your petit pains au pavot turned out beautifully. How exciting to have something so easy turn out so well and as always hopefully delicious.
    I was unable to find that Danish brand of bread mix at any of the markets here in Dallas Texas.
    I did, however, run across a great selection of King Arthur Flour bread mixes and picked up a cranberry orange babka and a Vermont cheese biscuit mix. If you’ve never heard of KA, they have a great reputation and are relatively inexpensive.
    The babka was served this morning and oh, so delicious!

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