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Choosing the best epi bread means choosing the best French bread or artisan bread from a bakery you like who can also make epi bread. The primary characteristic of epi breads is their unique shape, which cooks to create a crusty chain of baguette-like sections that can be easily broken off into small rolls. You'll want to choose a bakery that knows how to get the ingredients right and can cook pain d'epi properly. Any good bakery that has mastered the baguette will be able to create epi breads, so the big challenge might be finding such a bakery in your area.
Not every town has a bakery that makes good French-style breads, but lots do, and frequently supermarkets make various unique French loaves. In many cases, particularly outside of big cities, epi bread might be harder to find; however, if you can't find it, you might be able to convince your local baker to try making it. First, make sure you like the other types of bread he or she makes. Finding a baker that has perfected the unique properties of the baguette, which is made from very few ingredients, is a good first step to take when seeking out the best epi bread.
Like a baguette, epi bread should consist of only simple ingredients. To achieve the ideal taste, texture, and balance between a soft fluffy interior and a crusty exterior, it should only contain flour, salt, yeast, and water. Many recipes can be found online if you wish to do it yourself, and in some places, this might be the only way to get any kind of artisan bread. Finding the best flour and yeast is relatively simple: just make sure it's pure and wholesome. The Internet is a great resource for finding out how to make many types of French breads, including pain d'epi.
The shape of pain d'epi, like the wheat stalk after which it's named, consists of wide and narrows sections of bread that make for a unique and stylish-looking loaf. Sometimes during holidays, bakers will create wreathes with the bread. It's a great shape to impress your friends at a dinner party; but aside from the fact that the shape is visually appealing, the many cuts and angles allow for more surface area on the bread, which crisps in the oven while baking. It's very easy to break off hunks for serving.
Making the best epi bread may be far more simple than the potential challenge of finding it, but it should be widely available in most big cities. If you're making it yourself, consult the Internet and expect to experiment a little. Baguettes and epi breads are best while they're still fresh, and this usually means the very same day. Make sure they've been baked that morning, or they'll be less than ideal.
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