Gontran Cherrier’s Rye and Red Miso Bread

My biggest heartache as a temporarily nomadic cook, traveling from kitchen to kitchen while my own is being renovated, is that I’ve had to put my bread baking aspirations on hiatus.

I’d been baking a weekly loaf of pain au levain since I first got my sourdough starter two years ago, so not being able to do so leaves a gaping hole in my routine.

And while my starter Philémon marks the days on the wall inside the fridge (poor thing), I’ve had to go back to bakery-bought bread.

The flavor of this bread is unlike any rye bread I’ve ever had, thanks to the genius pairing of the malty aromas of rye with the umami sweetness of red miso.

You might think that would be bliss, living in Paris and in an arrondissement where bakers win more awards than in any other. But the truth is I’m quite particular about my bread, and we’ve suffered through a few disappointing loaves, including a rapidly staling Paume that had evidently not been baked on the day I bought it.

Fortunately, our friend Gontran Cherrier, whom we’ve known for a few years, had the brilliant idea of opening his bakery right in our neighborhood last December, and his breads have shed a much happier light on our breakfast tartines.

Gontran is a classically trained boulanger who has spent the first part of his career teaching other bakers in France and abroad, doing consulting work, baking in restaurants, writing books, and hosting television shows. This is his first time running a bakery of his own, and I love the way he’s doing it.

The shop itself is bright and elegant, with a high ceiling and cheerful details, and we’ve been sincerely impressed by the items we’ve tasted from his range of artisan breads and viennoiseries.

He makes a mean croissant (using the feuilletage inversé technique that’s normally used for napoleons, so it’s extra flaky), excellent little sandwiches on homemade buns in assorted colors, and a fine pain au levain with organic flour, but I have a special weakness for his rye and red miso bread, pictured above.

It is an imposing loaf, weighing in at two kilos (4.4 pounds), so I’ve been buying one half at a time (7.20€/kg). It keeps exceptionally well, and lasts us well over a week. The crumb is tight and almost cake-like in its tenderness; the crust is robust and toasts to a satisfying crisp. And the flavor — it is unlike any rye bread I’ve ever had, with the genius pairing of the malty aromas of rye with the umami sweetness of red miso.

I find it is particularly good spread with nut butters — almond or cashew or peanut, which we always have on hand — but it does very well with cheese, too, such as the comté Maxence brought back from a recent weekend in the Doubs.

I doubt I would ever have thought of adding miso to my own breads, but I look forward to experimenting with that idea when I get back to my regular bread baking activities — pretty soon, if all goes well.

Gontran Cherrier
22 rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris / map it!
+33 (0)1 46 06 82 66
Closed on Wednesdays

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  • Two kilos is more like 4.4 pounds, right? That is one enormous loaf of bread! The miso and rye combo sounds amazing.

    • You’re absolutely right, thanks for catching that! And I wish you could taste a slice, it’s really out of the ordinary.

  • I would really like to try out a recipe for this – any chance of one?? Such an unusual combination.

    • I’m going to try and come up with a version of my own as soon as I get my kitchen back. If I’m successful, you can be sure you’ll hear all about it!

  • This sounds intriging. A recipe would be wonderful.

  • Wynne

    I would love to try this recipe, too, if it’s ever posted. I’m glad you can enjoy it, though!

  • I just spent hours perusing your link to prize winning bread makers. Is it time to foresake pastry and focus on bread? Bread isn’t so easy to paint but so easy to eat. Less guilt-inducing too. New York bread with Miso? Not a chance. Must try this out next visit.
    merci carolg

  • Wow! My mom also bakes bread with miso sometimes, but I would love to try this one! Any chance of a recipe? even without the “secret ingredient”?;) Pretty please?;)

  • Sigrid

    Re-ci-pe! Re-ci-pe!

  • Tina

    Joy! Bliss! Thank you for letting me know this exists… and reminding me that rye bread is one of my favorite foods, and that dense, grainy goodness is my delight. I will re-read your glorious description of this bread with pleasure. My six year old son and I are happily anticipating beginning our first starter when we return from vacation in July, and I am grateful to have your writing to turn to for inspiration and comfort. Merci!

  • Using miso in bread has never crossed my mind..but it seems like a delicious and inspiring thing to do! And that loaf is HUGE!

  • For the rest of us average folks, bakery-bought bread is right up there with artisan treats, but after drooling over your delicious creations, I am starting to empathize with your baking needs. Hope you get your oven back soon!

    Actually, this reminds me of a baking recipe I found awhile back that does not require an oven. In fact, all you need is a rice cooker (now that’s creative!). I have not actually tried this recipe but the concept is pretty original.

    Happy baking!

  • Wowzers, that’s one huge loaf of bread!! Looks yums though!

  • I love that you’re particular about your bread, and certainly can’t blame you — especially when what you’re baking looks (and probably smells!) absolutely heavenly.

  • We did very little bread baking at culinary school (“Culinary School: 101 Things Every Culinary Student Should Know Before They Go” – http://t.co/fN8l5lk – on Kindle) but I love doing it – kneading is so soothing.

  • I am quite particular about my bread as well. When I visited Paris a while ago I found (gasp!) that the bread I find in Germany is even better (re-gasp!), so I don’t feel the need to make my own here. I’m sure you’d love the crusty, sourdough breads I find here, made with a wide variety of flours in different proportions. However I’ve never seen bread baked with miso (German bakers are quite traditional), and I can’t imagine it working, since miso does not like being cooked… I would really love a recipe here, or maybe another trip to Paris :)

  • Just walking into Gontran’s shop must be a feast for the senses !

  • Stephen

    The miso addition sounds fascinating and kind of earthy which would go well with rye. I’ve added miso to stocks and have even been known to spread it on bread; now you’ve made me want to experiment further (since I’m not in Paris nor just down the road from such a great bakery).

  • That is a seriously large loaf…I have recently discovered miso and would love to try using it to make a loaf of bread…

    BTW, I have made your yoghurt cake at least a dozen times for friends and family and is such a super hit…thanks for that brilliant recipe…


    • Thank you Shilpa, I am pleased to hear it!

  • Being a passionate baker myself I love the idea of this bread! And I found this recipe, I have not tried myself but might be worth a try.

  • Rachel

    I’m trying (and failing) not to be envious of the fact that you’re friends with the Romain Duris of bread! ;) That said, I’m not at all envious of your nomadic cooking – you have my sympathy and my wishes that this state of affairs is over soon.

    • I just unpacked my kitchen yesterday, so it looks like my nomadic days are over. So happy! ^_^

  • Yummy, yummy, yummy. Those photos are so good and I could eat your share anytime. It’s winter down under and this would be perfect for this weekend.There is something about a recipe that doesn’t ask for much. A recipe without pretense.

  • Yay! Glad that your awesome neighbor now would let you bake more often ;) Goodbye to nomadic days, hello to more delicious and freshly baked cookies and breads! :D

  • I heard about this bread from David Lebovitz. I have been a little obsessive about the flavor pairing of Miso & Rye. I have two recipes on my blog using them if anyone is interested. I can’t wait to go to Paris and try Gontran’s.

  • Paul Eggermann

    I saw this reference to Rye/Red_Miso bread and gave it a try. I used the basic recipe found here http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=0 . This is Jim Lahey’s no knead bread that I have been using for a few years with great success. This time I doubled the recipe and replaced 25% of the water with an equal weight of red miso paste. I mixed the paste with the water before I added it to the dry ingredients. This made a 5 pound loaf that looked and taste fantastic. Try it!

    • Thanks so much Paul, so interesting to hear back on your experiment!

      • Paul Eggermann

        I forgot that the basic recipe was for a white bread. Here are the the proportions I have been using:

        For straight rye bread use 600 gm Bread flour, 200 grams rye flour, 4 gm yeast, 16 gm salt, Mix all dry ingredients then add 500 to 600 gm cool water and mix well to get a firm but sticky mass. Follow the rising and baking procedure in the link.

        For Rye-Red Miso Bread add 150 gm of red miso to 450 gm water and mix into the dry ingredients as above, adding more water if the mix is too dry. This will make a stickier mass and you should definitely allow it to rise overnight or longer. Bake to an internal temperature of 205F (96C). The bread will be quite damp and need at least one full day to dry out. The taste continues to develop for two or three days.

        Here are a few shots.

        • Gorgeous-looking loaf, Paul, thanks for sharing the shots and the details! I will definitely report back on my own attempt.

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