Trent Cooper gives new life to Gérard ‘s former bread bakery | Features food + drinks | Seven days

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Trent Cooper puts a freshly baked leavened bâtard on a cooling rack in Westford - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Trent Cooper puts a freshly baked sourdough bâtard on a cooling rack in Westford

In the fall of 2012, a pizza chef in Jacksonville, Florida wrote a letter to the Vermont bread baker Gérard Rubaud asking Rubaud to consider him for an apprenticeship in his Westford bakery. Acclaimed baker, raised in France, Rubaud has sometimes taught aspiring bakers in his hilltop bakery in the years preceding his death on October 7, 2018, at the age of 77.

“For many years I have been looking for a purpose in my life. I have found out that I want to be a baker,” wrote Trent Cooper. “I agree more with your philosophy on bread than any other baker I have spoken of or read in the books. Your admiration, persistence and severe beliefs about bread are what I admire most about you.” He had read about Rubaud on the Farine bread blog.

Cooper, then 27, continued to write some of his life, concluding with a description of his work in the pizzeria, where he had given the bakery a name (Neesheta) and “began to treat the pasta balls as if they were the my daughters.”

Two weeks went by without an answer. Intent on apprenticeship, Cooper resents his letter. Before the second missive arrived in Vermont, Rubaud called to offer Cooper a trial run to see if an entire apprenticeship could work.

“I remember how I felt when he called me: Is this really happening?“Cooper said.

The call would lead to a four-month apprenticeship, from autumn 2012 to winter 2013. Now, about seven years later, Cooper is renting Rubaud’s old patisserie and filling it with the life and warmth of sourdough bread which he cooks as a soloist in a wood oven.

Rubaud’s daughter Julie Rubaud, owner of Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg, helped Cooper get in touch with the owners of the property about his interest in pastry. She and Cooper had met during her apprenticeship.

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Trent Cooper by portioning and shaping naturally leavened bread - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Trent Cooper by portioning and modeling the naturally leavened bread

“When Trent was my father’s apprentice, one day I had the vision that he took control of the pastry shop,” said Julie. “It’s a good choice. It reminds me a little of my father: he looks like the kind of person who can spend time alone up there.”

Like Gérard Rubaud, Cooper is driven by the pursuit of excellence. Both were top level athletes: Rubaud was a climber and an alpine skier; Cooper, born in Bremerton, Washington, and raised there and in Tampa, Florida, played forward on a Major League Soccer team.

In Westford, Cooper focuses on the production of pain de campagne, his favorite name for French sourdough, in oblong loaves called bâtards.

“I make a type of bread,” he said. “If I do two or three or four, I am dividing my attention. If I divide my attention, I will never know how much I can do it.”

Cooper, now 35, moved to the apartment above the bakery in December and got to work to get in shape, order supplies and connect with the stores. He started selling his bread – prepared with hard red winter flour, freshly ground spelled berries, sea salt, water and levain (appetizer) – in January. Loaves of Trent’s Bread is now available in about half a dozen stores, including Jericho Market, Sweet Clover Market in Essex and, recently, both locations in Burlington City Market, Onion River Co-op.

Cooper bakes about 250 loaves a week and often delivers them hot from the oven. If the market supports it, it would like to increase that number to 150 or 200 loaves per day.

“I feel that Gérard’s bread was unique to him and that it should be with him,” Cooper said one recent morning, shaping loaves of dough that he had started mixing at midnight. “This is very similar, but it is my way of doing it. Gérard and I are different people.”

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Mark a bâtard of sourdough before putting it in the oven - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Mark a mother yeast bâtard before putting it in the oven

He looked up from the bread bench and said the name of his teacher, “Gérard Rubaud”, rolling his R in homage to the Frenchman. “People will stop and talk about him, Gérard’s old friends from the neighborhood,” he added.

Cooper met his teacher when he flew to Burlington for the trial phase, a few days after Rubaud had called him. He arrived at the bakery around noon while Rubaud was loading loaves of bread into the oven.

“The first thing he did when I got here was to look at my hands,” said Cooper. “He looks at my palms and said: ‘You will be a good baker. Good bakers have short and wide hands.'”

The stage ended three days later when Rubaud said to Cooper: “You’re okay” and accepted it for an apprenticeship, said Cooper.

Cooper returned to Jacksonville to sort things out before returning to Vermont for his bread studio. During his flight home, he carried two loaves of Rubaud’s bread. The flight attendant told him to put them on the floor.

“‘I can’t do it'”, he recalled saying. “‘This is Gérard’s bread.'”

Cooper found homes for his dogs, Benny and June, and drove north to Westford in his 1998 Buick. During his apprenticeship, he did not mix pasta or bake loaves – those practices belonged to Rubaud, Cooper said. He helped shape the dough and received the peel from Rubaud after the latter used the tool to place the loaves in the oven. He baked apprentice loaves.

The apprenticeship was centered on levain, a portion of the dough that is fed with flour, water and a little spelled and sea salt every four or five hours during the day. The dough ferments the dough making it rise and giving flavor to the bread.

“The advantage was crucial,” said Cooper. “You can’t pretend. You have to learn it.”

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Freshly baked natural yeast bâtards - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Freshly baked mother dough bâtard

A major difference between Cooper’s and Rubaud’s bread is the percentage of the flour withdrawn, Cooper said. Use a slightly higher ratio, about 24 percent of the weight of the flour. This method tends to keep the holes in the bread on the smaller side. He doesn’t want his jelly to drop.

“Making bread at Gérard’s level requires extraordinary dedication,” said Cooper. “Not many people I’ve ever met had that level of dedication in everything they do.”

The unpaid apprenticeship ended after four months, when Rubaud decided that Cooper had mastered, his student recalled. The baker made this decision the day Cooper’s gain peaked faster than Rubaud’s in a dough fight, according to Cooper.

“When the apprentice has nothing else to learn from the teacher, this is the end,” said Cooper. “I didn’t come here to pass the time. I didn’t come here to have fun.”

Cooper, who had stayed in the bakery, didn’t have a place to stay and didn’t have enough money to go back to Florida. So he crashed into a delivery driver’s house in Burlington for about a week, and then got a sugary job on a farm in Pennsylvania.

When he had earned enough money, he returned to Florida, this time settling in the Tampa / St. Petersburg area.

“I went on a mission to open a bakery, but it didn’t happen,” said Cooper. “I had no money and I couldn’t get funding … I was so poor. I’m still poor, but at least now I have a bakery.”

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Trent Cooper is preparing to divide and shape naturally leavened bread into bâtards - GLENN RUSSELL

  • Glenn Russell

  • Trent Cooper is preparing to divide and shape the naturally leavened bread into bardelle

Cooper has worked in restaurants and bakeries for several years. Last fall, after learning that Rubaud was dead, he sent his condolences to Julie and inquired about the pastry shop. He put him in touch with Michael and Agnes Hibbs, who had purchased the property in October 2017.

Michael Hibbs, a retired engineer, said they were looking for a baker who would be a suitable companion.

“We wanted to see the place go on and not just fall apart,” said Hibbs. “That’s why we were happy when Trent showed up. He seemed to be the right person to take control of him.”

The other day, while Cooper’s loaves rested before baking, he ate bread, cheese and pickles, delighting in every bite. “This is fantastic,” he said. “This is the best part of my life.”

During the morning snack, he described his role as a baker as “just the catalyst among the ingredients”.

“I am a levain administrator,” he said. “She is what makes bread.”

Cooper thinks his bread is the best on Thursday, when he makes an afternoon delivery to Burlington’s Intervale Community Farm. Levain seems to know that it will be his destination, he said.

Standing on the farm last week, Cooper chewed a piece and pronounced his verdict: “I wish I could make such a good dough every day. My energy and the energy of the bread, we were aligned.”


Ode to bread: the dietary guidelines allow you to eat up to one ‘baguette’ a day | Good Life

Flour, yeast, water and little else

Toasted and aromatic crust and moist and fluffy crumb, but resistant. This is how bread is defined by lovers of this basic food and which almost nobody disgusts. The current legislation sees it as the “The product resulting from the cooking of a dough obtained by the mixture of flour and water, with or without the addition of salt, fermented with the help of baking yeast or sourdough” Likewise, three types of bread: bregado, hard crumb, Spanish or candeal; of flame or soft crumb; that of whole wheat and that made with flours from other cereals.

Soft crumb bread is increasingly common in cities and large stores. It is obtained with a higher proportion of water than brega bread and the alveoli of its crumb are irregular. This type includes baguette, ciabatta and peasant bread, among others.

For a bread, whatever it is, to be called ‘whole’ or ‘100% whole’ it must have been made with exclusively whole flour. The denomination will be completed with the name of the cereal or cereals from which the flour or flours used come. If there is a mixture, the percentage of wholemeal flour that the production has must be included in the denomination, which will be calculated on the total flour used. Whole wheat bread should not be confused with those made with only a portion of whole wheat flour or bran additives. The latter are artificially added bran fragments to white flour and do not contain the germ of the grain, the richest part in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Therefore, its quality, without being negative for health, is lower than that of bread made from 100% wholemeal flour.

As the cereal is an easily storable food, the bread is without problems all year round.

You should never defrost it in the microwave

Although when the loaf of bread is fresh out of the oven it is difficult to resist the temptation to eat it almost whole, on many occasions it is bought to last at least until breakfast the next day. To preserve it, once it has cooled, the best option is to put it in a cloth bag or bread basket. No plastic: it stays rubbery.

If there is leftover, no fridge. It is cut into slices and to the freezer in hermetic containers so that they do not lose humidity or absorb other odors. To re-consume it, you have to microwave it, it leaves it like a stone. Ideally, take it out about three hours before consuming it and let it thaw in the fridge or put it directly in the toaster.

Does not get fat on its own

In western society, bread carries the little sambenito that makes it fat. Nutritionists insist: neither bread nor any other food will make us gain or lose weight on its own. Everything will go according to the total diet. Whole wheat bread is rich in complex carbohydrates (starch; 45 grams), with a low fat content (3 grams per 100 g) and a moderate energy supply (251 kilocalories). It is a key food in the Mediterranean diet and the main accompaniment to all meals of the day. Eliminating it can contribute to a significant imbalance in the caloric profile of the diet and opens the door to increasing the percentage of total calories from foods rich in fats or from other less healthy carbohydrates.

Although it is not usually considered as a protein food, the truth is that 11 out of every 100 grams of whole wheat bread are protein. In wheat, the most representative protein is gluten, which gives flour the characteristic of being able to be baked. In recent years, the industry has turned towards increasingly bread-making flours, selecting those with a higher gluten index that facilitate the production of bread.

Would you rather it be white bread? This simple choice involves giving up many nutrients. Starting with the fiber. While the integral provides six grams of fiber per 100, the loaf of white bread only offers half of this essential micronutrient for intestinal transit. Minerals and vitamins will also be depleted. Every 100 grams of whole wheat bread provides 32 micrograms of selenium (28 mg in white). This mineral has antioxidant properties and protects cells from oxidative damage. It also highlights magnesium (58mg) and phosphorus (191mg), which drop by half in white bread. The same occurs with iron, almost insignificant in the latter, but which reaches almost four grams in the integral, or with folates and thiamine, where they double with respect to white.

Quantity and quality under examination

How much bread should we eat a day? The recommendations of the various nutritional authorities usually coincide in about 200 grams (the equivalent of something less than one baguette, which usually weighs around 220-250 grams) preferably, made with whole grains. “Dietary guidelines based on food from neighboring countries as well as FAO itself, include bread, especially wholemeal bread, among foods for daily consumption. An amount of around 200-250g / day is suggested, always together with other foods rich in carbohydrates, and whose total daily consumption will depend on the level of physical activity of the people. For example, in Germany the recommendation is 200-300g / day; in Italy they suggest 3-5 servings / day of bread (50 grams per serving); in the Netherlands, 6-8 servings (35 grams) and in Portugal, 4-11 servings of food from the group of cereals and derivatives (with the bread serving taken as a reference of 50 grams). In the Mediterranean diet pyramid, 1-2 servings of the group are suggested at each meal. Taking into account that the normal ration of bread is 45-60 grams, if we consider the 3 main meals, and another 20-30 g in a snack, it easily reaches 200-250 grams. “

And do we eat all that bread? Now here near. In the 1960s, every Spaniard stuck his teeth to 368 grams of bread a day. In the 90s, consumption rose to 132 grams. In this millennium, Spaniards continue banning bread: between 70g / person / day and 86 grams / person / day (31.87 kg / year). “However, promoting the consumption of bread, especially that of whole grain, is aligned with the recommendations of a plant-based diet of the Mediterranean diet type.”

Of course, not everything goes. The bakery tradition still persists in the villages. In big cities it is increasingly difficult to locate a bakery with kneaded bread that same night. Second loaves of bread and baguettes (frozen ones) proliferate. This fact should not impair its quality. It is a 70% precooked bread, which is deep-frozen and thus distributed to the customer, who defrosts it when it is most convenient for them. If it was made with high-quality ingredients and with a recipe to match, it will be a premium bread, although its characteristics, as well as its durability, will be different from those of the artisan with slow fermentation.

The myth of the crumb

One of the great urban legends was that the crumb fattened infinitely more than the bark. The truth is that it happens just the other way around: the crust and the crumb come from the same piece of dough, but the crust, being more dehydrated, provides some more calories than the crumb. But you do not have to go crazy: what could unbalance the energy is the quantity and, especially, with what it is accompanied. There is no use sneaking up a few crumbs if you then rush down to the last drop of the sauce or assemble a double-decker sandwich the size of the entire baguette. We should not blame the bread.

Ideal for snacks

The neutral flavor of the baguette makes it especially receptive to aromatically intense foods, such as pork belly.. But do not stay alone with this proposal and turn to fish, roasted vegetables, vegetable patés, or the humble and nutritious bread with olive oil. Due to its elongated shape and its lighter crumb it is perfect for sandwiches. Here the limit is set by the imagination.

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Monday poetry: today “dawn is often centuries behind”

Born in 1992, Victor Blanc publishes his third collection of poetry, his second to Montreal editions Le Temps des cerises. The collection “Les Lettres française” thus welcomes him, once again, alongside poets he worships, such as Mayakovsky and Aragon. Two quotes from the latter open Watermark. With this “Chronicle of the life of a young man in the XXIe century”, Victor Blanc hears “Find the underground wires that connect us to the world”.

His book is sometimes crossed by echoes of old verses, we hear Rutebeuf (when he writes “Come my friends to the dismal beauty / I am both laughter and tears / Come”), Villon. Sometimes we think of the Montmartre poet-songwriter Jehan-Rictus. The young poet also talks about Pigalle, from Place de Clichy, where he seems as comfortable as a black cat in nightlife. Calligrammes (Revolution), roundels, free verses, rhymed, or deliberately limping … he tries his hand at many poetic forms. The contemporary universe is engulfed in the pages: November 13, 2015, Internet, role-playing games, Night standing … Poetry remains rebellious, pin “The flicaille”, uses a Macron mask to scare children. But it also serves, as always, to express feelings (“I will never apologize for talking too much about love / Neither you nor anyone”).

What do you live for what you play
Everyone has their bread, everyone has their place

Bulk I’m going on the street
Globally unknown
Me and my cash
From Pataugas!

I have no more brave nor coward
Place Clichy a passerby sleeps standing
It’s his bed
Automat acting to the sound of dreams
We jostle and we strive
To tinker with a word of apology

Our eyes breathe smoke
The cars are farting
And we carry our thoughts everywhere
Boulevard de Clichy

Tonight I have heart in contempt
I find it hard to emerge
Amidst traffic jams
Where galley slaves flow
Back from work

With these words that the wind traces in sympathetic ink
I insult the poor and the simplet
The guy and his tie
The rich man and his dog
The world and its filthy procession
Unbearable days!

Dawn is often centuries behind

You have to scream
To defeat wolves

But here I am, man
Heavily under the Pigalle sky
Where the stars feel
I come free and happy
In this bar where the walls have red skin
The Rock’n’roll Circus

Musicians music
Friends kissing
The waitress rings her metallic tip
On the lampshade
And me in a big dark gesture
I speak with my heart
For hours
To everyone

I was chatting with an old rum with an amber voice
Who slowly tasted my friend Anna
When he introduced me
His cousin Cachaça

Victor Blanc, Watermark, ed. Le Temps des cerises, “French Letters”, 150 pages, € 13.

Frédérique Fanchette


Fernando Palma, former PAN deputy murdered – Televisa News

Fernando Palma Gomez, local deputy of the BREAD in Chihuahua, he was killed this Saturday in the Ajusco area, in Tlalpan, Mexico City.

We recommend you: Commando kills former mayor of San Miguel Soyaltepec, Oaxaca

Claudia Sheinbaum, head of Government of the Mexico City, confirmed and regretted the murder through his Twitter account.

“I deeply regret the murder of Fernando Palma. We are in contact with your family. The @SSP_CDMX, @FiscaliaCDMX and @ C5_CDMX are coordinated in the investigation until the culprits are arrested. We continue in our fight against impunity. ”

Palma was also national president of the Mexican Confederation of Sales and Marketing Executives, national secretary of elections and national coordinator of local deputies.

The national president of the PAN, Marko Cortes, condemned the murder of the PAN militant and called on the authorities to stop “the wave of violence that the country is experiencing”.

With information from the CDMX Government


A judge denies bail to Genaro García Luna


Prosecutors in the case of former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico Genaro García Luna decided today that he must return to jail, since the defendant’s bond lacks the necessary signatures to be considered valid.
This after yesterday García Luna’s defense offered a bail for a million dollars so he could get out of pretrial detention and continue the process in freedom.

His lawyer said that the former Public Security official would have no reason to escape, since his family is in the United States and his accounts are frozen, which makes him lack financial solvency to support himself outside the country.

The one million dollar bond should be signed by three other people. However, two of those people no longer want to sign the bond and the third, the prosecutors argued, is a former employee of García Luna who does not have enough income to cover the bond.

This was explained from his Twitter account Alan Feuer, a journalist for the American newspaper The New York Times that is covering the case. The prosecutors argued that there are “corrupt Mexican politicians” who have an incentive to help Garcia Luna flee the United States.

In this sense, the Mexican defense, headed by César Castro, said he wanted to know who they are referring to, since, he said, most politicians have moved away from García Luna.

From the decision of this Thursday the defense will seek to present new signatures of the bond or guarantee the previous ones. The United States justice may question the signatories to ensure they are good candidates.

García Luna is tried for conspiracy charges for cocaine trafficking and for lying to the US authorities about his past to obtain citizenship.

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