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Help please - flour and cream!


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Moving to Burgundy in February, Ive already done an extensive trawl of our local E Leclerc to see what they have but Im totally flummoxed by flour and cream and I bake A LOT!! Can anyone please help with the french words for plain, self raising, granary and wholemeal flour -

and if theres no self raising, what raising agent is? And for single and double cream please? And greek style natural yoghurt? Suspect I might become a bit of a pest asking questions over the next few months!! Many thanks
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Welcome Jill

You may well get some contradictory views because different areas seem to stock or not stock various items. So from a view a little south from where you will be:


Farine - usually plain flour, though you may find farine pour gateaux which has a raising agent. If not then you need to add your own - levure chemique (not to be confused with levure boulangerie which is dried yeast.

Granary and wholemeal - not found it here, but some bio stores are reported to stock flours that may approximate.

You can get Farine multi-cereal which has some whole grains in it. I find bread made with it rather heavy and mix it 50:50 with white bread flour - but it is all down to taste.


Thick double style cream can be found in a few areas but in the main these seem to be in the Normandy region. I have had no luck whatsoever in sourcing anything like proper double cream.

Crème entiere is available in cartons and pots and is a slightly thick single cream. The best substitute for double cream that we have found is a crème and mascarpone mix from Elle et Vire. This is only available at one hypermarket some distance away from here. I have no idea how it would work in cooking but it does at least whip. Failing that you can get sachets of Chantilly fix - a powder that allows singe cream to be whipped. To my taste the result is a bit sweet.

I think you will be in for a bit of experimentation once you get here, but experimentation can be fun - provided you are prepared for an occasional failure.

Greek yoghurt is available - if E Lecerc does not have it try Lidl.
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And a couple more thoughts on products you might try.

Crème Fraiche - a set cream but with a slightly acidic taste so not suitable for every occasion. Probably much more available in the UK than when we left.

Fromage Blanc - like a set yoghurt but again usually a little more acidic, but I would guess that some might be difficult to distinguish from yoghurt in a blind tasting. Nice on its own, with sugar or honey, or jam

Faiselle - posh fromage blanc sold with the fromage in a little milk whey which is drained off before use.
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I am going to disagree here.

We buy excellent flour for bread from our organic supermarket; there are some very good ones around.

You have to understand how flour is categorised and you won't find all of it in the average supermarket, the bio shop is what you need.

Type 150 is wholemeal, Type 110 (85% of grain) similar to wheatmeal. Type 80 is high gluten flour and Type 55 all purpose flour. Type 45 is patisserie flour. I have seen self-raising in supermarkets and you will also find various raising agents (levure chimique, levure boulangère) in their baking section.

You can also buy spelt flour, chickpea flour, rice flour etc. We now make our bread with spelt flour (épeautre).

We get lovely crème crue in Normandy, I find the best for whipping is the stuff in the cartons with checked packaging, but I do think it has a back-taste.

Hope this helps.
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The Elle et Vire creme de Marscapone (mentioned above) is very good indeed used in quiches instead of single cream.  It does indeed whip beautifully and we use it for pavlova etc -  we do not think it tastes at all cheesy.  We can buy it in the big Carrefour supermarket but not Carrefour market.  Not sure about in Leclerc.

We do use creme crue as well (but we are in Normandie) but only to eat as it is not cook.

We have had no trouble with flour. We use "gateaux" as self-raising and it is fine.  We buy Francine white or multi-grain bread flour and find the loaves are very good. But: we are using a bread machine.

Mrs H

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The fat content of French creams are nowhere near as high as double cream so there is no substitute with the right taste, fixe chantilly is rubbish IMHO, you are already lacking the base cream flavour of double cream, the fixe either adds a strong cardboard taste or very sweet cardboard.


Crème fraiche, acidic but i love the tasts and use it for all sauces, I never use flour now.


Fromage blanc, to me less acidic taste than yoghurt, more bland, low fat but great as a cream substitute, I get through a couple of kg per week and make my own from UHT whole milk.


Where a double cream is needed for whipping then use Lidl crème mascarapone, the cheapest, I like the taste and its even hgher fat content you may want to dose it with single cream.


Flour I never use, I still have the same bag and also the bag of sugar that came with me in 2004!


Maizena I use in place of cornflour for thickening, its the same but different somehow, I prefer it, its also great as a laundry starch.


Editted, faiselle is a step closer to cottage cheese from fromage blanc and comes with the whey protein that would be drained from cottage cheese and sold as protein powder to body builders, dont throw it away, drink it!!!

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Is this really a problem, ask a little but just get stuck in and use trial and error as I found much is not quite the same and I needed to adapt.

And isn't this a good way to chat to french people, talk to them and ask about these things. They may tell you a load of tosh, it happens, but at least it is communicating and you may get good advice too and where to get local good produce.

Incidentally, I bake A LOT!! too! Always have.

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Chancer, surprised,  fromage blanc, a la faiselle is not like cottage cheese, either in texture or taste, well at least as far as I am concerned.

Cottage cheese is more like curds somehow. Not that I am against proper curds as I love a yorkshire curd tart and used to make curds when I lived in France, just for that tart.

When I used to buy a decent fromage blanc a la faiselle in France I used to seive it for a day or so, before using it, delicious with cream and sugar and coulis........ miam miam[:D]

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Wow! Thank you all for the brilliant advice, now hoping to write it all down/print it out so I can shop prepared. We have a reasonable sized Carrefour and a Lidl close by but not sure about a bio shop. We are moving to just south of Beaune so I'm sure I will find something similar in the vicinity. Stand by for more questions in due course ...
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