Sunday, December 11, 2022

A history of interest in medieval food

Medieval food has long been an object of interest in the Western world. Groups exist to recreate it. Academic disciplines address it as a subject. Even those with no particular interest in medieval food know of it (however caricaturally). What is more, arguably, the subject is at a turning point. For a long time, many recreationists and even some academics have treated it casually. A prime example is in making medieval bread. Do a search on “making medieval bread” and you will find numerous sites supposedly describing how to do so. But such sites never offer documentation for just what makes the bread “medieval” and in fact often describe methods which will yield something very unlike medieval bread. Even accredited academics can still be found claiming that spices did not come to Europe until after the Crusades (they are well-documented before that) or that medieval drinkers drank beer or wine because the water was bad (a “fact” unsupported, and in fact contradicted, by evidence from the period). Not everyone making “medieval” food claims to be rigorous; some are frankly recreational, indulging in what is essentially a form of entertainment. Fair enough, when that is made plain; but others offer their recipes or instructions with an air of authority that belies the lack of foundation underlying them. 

Arguably, this has been less true in recent years as a growing number of scholars and recreationists have insisted on documentation both of their own claims and those they accept from others. Where a lack of data requires a recreationist to speculate, they flag such speculations, rather than simply presenting them as authentic artifacts of earlier eras. 

Another way of viewing this is that the long-established field of medieval food studies – be it academic or recreational – is edging into a new era with new values and priorities. This being the case, it may be useful to review the historiography of this subject; that is, when did those who followed long after the medieval era begin to take an interest in its food and how has that interest developed over time? This is an attempt to review that history. 

UPDATE 10/23/2023
In 1751, the Abbé Lebeuf published not only the first work on medieval food but very likely the first full work on food history since the Romans: Mémoire sur les usages observés par les François dans leurs repas, sous la première race de nos rois ("Memoir on the customs followed by the French in their meals, under the first race of our kings" [that is, the Merovingians]). Relative to later works on medieval food, this is unique not only in ignoring cookbooks (none are known for that early period), but in studying early medieval food, when almost all work going forward would concern late medieval food (roughly, after the Crusades). The work is necessarily limited in scope, but rigorous as far as it goes, scrupulously citing the sources for each item.

Soon after this, eighteenth century writers began for the first time to revisit medieval cookbooks.

In 1780, Samuel Pegge published an edition of the Forme of Cury, a fourteenth century cookbook which is often regarded as the English equivalent of the Viandier. This was probably the first medieval cookbook to be reissued in modern times and remains a standard prime source. 

In 1782, Pierre Legrand d’Aussy, a former Jesuit, began what was intended to be a full history of French private life. As it worked out, he was only to finish the three volumes on food. But these were sufficiently comprehensive to be mined by numerous subsequent writers (usually without attribution) for facts (and too often myths) about food history. 

Legrand appears to have been the first to have drawn renewed attention to Taillevent’s Viandier, although he not only misspelled Taillevent’s name (which literally means “slice wind”) as “Taillevant”, but treated the work as a fifteenth century text – as most would for almost a century, since this fourteenth century work was long known only through its very corrupt printed version. Ironically, Legrand cites a reference to the author in his actual period – but presents the reference as being to an ancestor of “Taillevant”. (He probably knew the work from a fifteenth century copy; no new printed edition had appeared at that point.) Unlike many future writers on the subject, he points out that the food described in such cookbooks was the food of an elite, not typical food for all medieval eaters. He draws on this work and the French version (itself much distorted) of Platina to describe, probably for the first time since the original era, a number of medieval dishes such as mustard and saffron soup. 

If Legrand was the first to draw on medieval cookbooks to describe the food of the era, he would differ from most subsequent writers on the subject in not limiting himself to such sources. To the contrary, he more often drew on a wide variety of texts, such as laws, hagiographies, memoirs, etc., to explore the food of the entire medieval period in France. As time went on, more and more students of medieval food were to confine themselves to cookbooks, which so far have been unknown before the thirteenth century. The result, and within fairly short order, was to reduce the study of medieval food to that of the last few centuries of the Middle Ages, a period which began in the fifth century and lasted for a millennium. Even as fitful efforts have been made to widen that scope, it remains true that the term “medieval food” today refers by default to late medieval food, omitting centuries of food before that.

In 1831, a writer in the Gastronome argued that medieval food had been richer and more interesting than some claimed, but regretted that we had no details on the dishes whose suggestive names had survived. “Oh, who will be the Chompollion [who discovered the Rosetta Stone] who will reveal to us the mysteries of medieval cuisine?” Not that no information was available at this time. But for decades going into the nineteenth century medieval food was only referenced in survey works and then with dubious accuracy. The Dictionnaire général de la cuisine française ancienne et moderne (1839) includes two items cited in the next century by Toussaint-Samat. One concerns Dagobert II, a king who reigned so briefly virtually nothing is known about him and cites an otherwise unknown monk named Esthuin as showing him rejecting a dish made by roasting an ass stuffed with other animals. This appears to be an erudite, if unlikely, play on the Roman idea of a Trojan pig, a pig similarly roasted with other animals stuffed in it. The other claims that a king was served fourteen different soups: two of wine, one with cabbage and eggs, one with onions and beer, one with pumpkin with milk, one with fine oil and fish and seven others with boiled meat. Creative as this inventory is, it is not only the only suggestion that anyone served soups in multiple courses, but mentions soups otherwise completely unknown. 

Emile Gigault de La Bedollierre wrote a collection whose title suggests that of Le Grand’s work on private life: Histoire des moeurs et de la vie privée des Français depuis l’origine jusqu’à nos jours (1847). This includes some useful information, but also mentions a drink – brumalis canna - supposedly made of fruit, barley and ginger cited to a useless footnote. Others have since cited this, apparently based on this author’s (very dubious) claim. P. L Jacob’s Costumes historiques de la France (1852) mentions the same drink, probably based on the earlier work. 

Meanwhile in 1846 a key source document appeared in print: Le ménagier de Paris. This fourteenth century household manual, which includes both recipes and menus from the period, joined the Viandier as a rare source of medieval recipes and has remained central to medieval food studies ever since. In 1860, Louis Douet d’Arcq published the fourteenth century Enseignements qui enseignent à apareilier toutes manières de viandes, which includes recipes later found in the Viandier, showing that the later work was likely a compilation of pre-existing recipes rather than an original creation (and the same may well be true of the Enseignements). 

In 1868, Louis Nicolardot provided an overview of medieval food in Histoire de la table : curiosités gastronomiques de tous les temps et de tous les pays

In 1870, Valentine Rose first published a collated transcription of Anthimus’ sixth century dietetic. For a long time, this was studied for its linguistic value, with little interest in the important (and early) culinary data it recorded. 

Other overviews of medieval food appeared. In 1876, the Journal officiel de la République française told its readers that Bruyerin Champier’s De Re Cibaria included “a host of curious information on medieval food”. In 1875, John Cordy Jeaffreson included an overview of old English cookery in his A Book about the Table. In 1882, the periodical The Living Age presented an article on “Historical Cookery”. 

Note that none of these appeared to have had any wider effect; they were passing glimpses of an otherwise ignored subject. In 1884, Le Matin described a fair in Torino which (perhaps for the first time) offered recreations of medieval food, based on recipes from the Viandier. Said the journalist, “I have tasted this cuisine. The roasts and the sauces are highly peppered and seasoned with many spices.” 

In 1888, a book appeared presenting two English cookbooks: Two Fifteenth-century Cookery-books: Harleian Ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. Ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with Extracts from Ashmole Ms. 1429, Laud Ms. 553, & Douce Ms. 55. In the same year, Alfred Franklin – a French writer on private life who frankly plagiarized much of his work – may have become the first known individual recreationist when he tried making a medieval recipe for a “Red Dodine of Duck” (which he hated). (La vie privée d'autrefois: arts et métiers, modes, moeurs, Volume 3 : La Cuisine.

In 1889, two works emphasized how highly spiced medieval cuisine was: Etudes religieuses, historiques et littéraires (from the Jesuits) and Lecoy de La Marche’s Le treizième siècle artistique. De la Marche spoke of the “abuse” of spices and linked what he saw as the violent character of medieval men with their love of hot spices. 

A major milestone in French medieval food history came in 1892 when Jérôme Pichon and Georges Vicaire finally published fourteenth century manuscripts of the Viandier, along with the corrupt fifteenth century version which had until then been the only one generally known. 

In 1895, the Dictionnaire des dictionnaires. Lettres, sciences, arts, encyclopédie universelle again highlighted the “abuse of spices” in medieval cuisine, adding that this began to change under Louis XIII. 

Note that none of these works added the wise caveat of Le Grand d’Aussy, that all this concerned aristocratic food, not the food of everyday people. At this point too, it was understood implicitly that “medieval food” meant food from the post-Crusades era of cookbooks. Le Grand’s attempt to explore earlier French food had long been abandoned. The general reader then began to understand that all medieval food – from all classes, from all eras – was highly spiced, when the documents used in fact regarded upper class diners in later medieval centuries. Any subtle distinctions were long lost and would remain so until recent times. 

By the end of the nineteenth century then several major sources had already been republished, scattered articles had appeared on the subject and at least two attempts had been made to actually recreate the older recipes. But nothing like a sustained interest in the subject had developed. 

This fitful interest in medieval food continued into the twentieth century. In 1913, Annie Abram’s English Life and Manners in the Later Middle Ages included a long chapter on medieval food. An article on “Medieval Cookery” appeared in the periodical Blackwood’s in 1914. The first potentially popular collection of medieval recipes appeared when Bertrand Guégan published a two-volume cookbook (La fleur de la cuisine française) in 1920. The first volume of this collection began with medieval texts and recipes from just after. This certainly made medieval recipes more generally available to non-specialists, but there is no evidence that any popular interest grew out of this work. 

In 1924, Eileen Power included a long article on the Ménagier in her book Medieval People. In the same year, Shirley Howard Weber published the first translation of Anthimus’ De Observatio[ne] Ciborum as a dissertation for Princeton. This rare glimpse at early medieval cuisine would still for some time mainly interest scholars for the archaic Latin it recorded. 

In 1931, William Edward Mead published The English Medieval Feast

For decades, interest in medieval food did not move beyond such scattered efforts. In the Sixties, two innovations would change that. The Society for Creative Anachronism came into being. This is not a scholarly group and it is generous in its chronological boundaries for the Middle Ages, which are “pre-17th century”. Nor are all its members equally concerned with precise historical accuracy. But inevitably it sparked serious study of period food among at least some members and no doubt had a significant influence on expanding interest in actually making medieval food. The first Renaissance Faires also appeared in this decade and no doubt also inspired further interest in some attendees. 

Whatever the exact impetus, by the Seventies more general works on medieval (and Renaissance) food became noticeably more common, including Berengario delle Cinqueterre’s The Renaissance Cookbook (1975), Lorna J. Sass’ To the King's Taste: Richard II's Book of Feasts and Recipes (1975), Bridget Ann Henisch’s Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society (1976), Madeleine Pelner Cosman’s Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony (1976) and Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler’s Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks (1979). 

In 1985, Hieatt and Butler published Curye on Inglysch: English culinary manuscripts of the fourteenth century (including the Forme of cury). The following year, Terence Scully published an edition of Chiquart's On Cookery. In 1989, James Prescott published an English translation of the Vatican Library copy of Le Viandier

By the Nineties, books on medieval food virtually constituted a separate genre. In 1992, Ann Hagen published her ground-breaking A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food: Processing and Consumption, the first sustained detailed look at medieval food before the Crusades, followed by A Second Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food & Drink: Production & Distribution. In 1993, P. W. Hammond published Food and Feast in Medieval England. Eleanor and Terence Scully published Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations in 1995; Terence Scully published The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages that same year, when Melitta Weiss Adamson also published Food in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays. Nicole Crossley-Holland published a new look at the Ménagier, Living and Dining in Medieval Paris: The Household of a Fourteenth Century Knight, in 1996, when Mark Grant also published the first edition of his translation of Anthimus (On the Observance of Foods) and not only acknowledged the book’s culinary importance but was prompted by the food scholar Alan Davidson to publish his translation. This publication might have prompted further interest in medieval food before the Crusades, but seems to have had little impact.

The following year, Terence Scully published a critical edition and translation of The Vivendier. In 1998, Mary Ella Milham published an edition of Platina, on Right Pleasure and Good Health and Martha Carlin and Joel T. Rosenthal published Food and Eating in Medieval Europe. Phyllis Pray Bober published Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy in 1999. 

By the end of the twentieth century, then, medieval food history was solidly established as a subject of some popular, if not universal, interest. 

Meanwhile, a separate history developed with the Internet. Where previously people with relatively arcane interests had had to meet physically, now they could create communities from all over the world. Where most information had been transmitted by published, organized books, typically subject to scholarly and/or editorial review, now anyone could post information and piecemeal if desired, not necessarily in a coherent work. This certainly had advantages for medieval food research; numerous communities now exist for sharing information on various aspects of medieval food and a wealth of information has been made available by posters who might never have navigated the gauntlet required for publication. At the same time, unverified and even invented information can freely be posted and if the poster is sufficiently self-assured or convincing, such information will be passed on. This is not to say that physical publication avoided myths and errors; many of the most egregious food myths date to pre-Internet works. Still, it is not unusual to see someone post with great assurance on some aspect of medieval food without offering any documentation and often enough without having any and, if they have a sufficiently devoted following, such information can rapidly gain currency. 

Short of a dauntingly meticulous study, judging exactly how true this is and how long it has been is an uncertain enterprise. What has been striking in recent years is how many researchers, even if they represent a small percentage of the relevant audience, now insist on documentation for recipes and other medieval food data, or at the least a clear acknowledgment that a recipe or other item is a speculative “best guess”. Their number may not be numerically important so much as clearly defined in certain communities where this approach holds sway. To the degree that this is a reality, it represents a significant shift in the study of medieval food, one in specific corners of the Internet and even, sometimes, within university courses, which in this area have not always been free of myths or received ideas. 

With this, another shift is perceptible if not yet plainly apparent. That is towards redefining the general idea of “medieval food” so that it does not implicitly refer to the aristocratic food of Europe in the last centuries of the Middle Ages, but expands to include a wider interest both in the food of the less privileged and in the food of the many earlier centuries which so far have been neglected in medieval food studies. If such changes move to the forefront, along with a greater demand for rigor and documentation in the data, medieval food studies will change as substantially as they arguably did in the Sixties and Seventies. 



The “How to Cook a Peacock” Series 

How to Cook an Early French Peacock: De Observatione Ciborum - Roman Food for a Frankish King (Bilingual Third Edition) 

How to Cook a Golden Peacock: A Translation of the Medieval Cookbook Enseingnemenz Qui Enseingnent à Apareillier Toutes Manières de Viandes

How To Cook A Peacock: Le Viandier: Medieval Recipes From The French Court 


Feasting with the Franks: The First French Medieval Food


Monday, December 13, 2021

Feasting with the Franks - a new book on early medieval French food

The earliest posts on this blog largely explored an obscure subject: the food of the early Middle Ages in France. Even those who follow medieval food typically write off the food of the centuries before the thirteenth century - and with them most, not just some, medieval food. But a review of those early posts will already show there is a great deal to learn about the food of the first medieval centuries in France: the centuries ruled by the Merovingians and then the Carolingians.

Now, at least, you can read in depth about that period in medieval food, in the new book:

Feasting with the Franks

The First French Medieval Food

In this book, you will find a methodical review of the foods and drinks known for this period, followed by a look at which of these were selected for different groups, how they were prepared and served, the dishware and furniture used, and, widening the view, the sites and structures and infrastructure around food production and trade. The last chapters look at food and religion and food and health, before ending with a comparison of this early medieval food with the more familiar late medieval food. Those who would like to actually try making some of this food will find guidelines and actual recipes in an Appendix.

For a look at the Table of Contents, see: Click on the Kindle link to see an extensive preview Inside the Book.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

New blog: What I Found In Paris

This new blog will explore my personal memories of Paris, from one student year and seven years working there; for those who enjoy such musings:

Sunday, April 4, 2021

April 17 - A talk on early medieval French food: Feasting With the Franks

Many of the posts here offer insights into the "other" medieval food - the food of the early Middle Ages. On April 17 (2021), you can hear/watch a talk on Zoom on that very subject, courtesy of the Culinary Historians of San Diego:
Feasting With the Franks

==UPDATE 2021-8-2==
Now available on Youtube: Feasting With the Franks - the video

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The hard lives of the porteuses de pain


From the late eighteenth century through World War II, women delivered bread in Paris and elsewhere. While men are exceptionally shown doing this, the great majority of bread porters were female: porteuses de pain. Their role in French life was paradoxical: they were frequently shown in ads and images and referenced as one of the familiar sights of the morning, so that one could readily get an idealized view of them, something like the chimney sweeps in “Mary Poppins”; yet like the chimney sweeps they more often than not had hard lives and many recognized this at the time.

Their work alone was demanding. They had to get up early, load themselves up with bread at the bakers and not only take it around to customers, but most often to climb innumerable stairs. One writer claims that they had to be young and did not last long in the profession, but in fact some were past seventy; the youngest were under fourteen. They were generally said to be poorly paid, though at least one source suggests women in baking in general were paid better than many other low-wage workers.

Often they worked more than one job and were married to men who were themselves low earners. Some supported alcoholic husbands, though it is not clear if this was any more true of them than of many other poorer women. Many had problems looking after their children, as low-paid workers still do today; in at least one case, one had to completely surrender her daughter. Those who stayed with their mothers sometimes had tragic fates.

They often appear in medical cases, frequently with gynecological problems which were probably excruciating and often accompanied by a constellation of other symptoms which sometimes resulted in death for what in themselves would have been minor causes. But the only malady anyone specifically cites as typical of their work is varicose veins.

Their activities took them all about their neighborhoods and so they were known for hearing and spreading gossip. Often too they were the first to discover something such as a crime or a death.

Since they collected money for their employers, when they were robbed one might expect it to have been for money. But in fact it was their bread people stole, often predictably desperate people. It is surprising this did not happen more often, given that they were required to leave their wagons downstairs in many cases while they climbed stairs to deliver bread, It appears that people in the neighborhood were happy to help watch their goods.

When they committed crime themselves, it was most often in yielding to the temptation to divert the funds they collected. One young woman did this a second time even after her boss had forgiven her the first, and yet was acquitted – because, it turned out, she had found a wallet and sought out its owner. It was rare for them to be violent, but one not only shot at a police secretary, but did it in the police station.

Artists and writers frequently took them as a subject, sometimes in paintings, at least twice in sculptures (one of which stood in the Square St. Jacques until it was melted down during World War II), in a number of (mainly bad) poems, a few plays, but most memorably in a novel called La Porteuse de Pain, by Xavier de Montépin, a writer similar to, if less enduring than, Dumas.

Not only was the novel immensely successful, but the play he and a partner drew from it would be widely performed for years and turned into several movies, as well as a TV miniseries in the Seventies. Several other novels and plays would at least mention them as well.

The porteuses, then, were an integral and intimate part of French, especially Parisian, life. If they have been almost completely forgotten today, they deserve renewed attention, be it for their role in French baking, their influence on French art or what they tell us about working class life in the nineteenth and neighboring centuries.


They Came Bearing Bread: The Hard Lives of the Porteuses de Pain

Sunday, December 1, 2019

FRENCH BREAD HISTORY: And now, the BOOK! "Before the Baguette" is out

If you've been enjoying the series here on French bread history, you may be delighted to know there is now a whole BOOK out on the subject:

Before the Baguette: The History of French Bread

Also available as an epub : Smashwords ebpub version

You can preview the book on Amazon's "Look Inside" or take a peek at the Table of Contents here:

Sunday, September 8, 2019

FRENCH BREAD HISTORY: Glossary of French breads

This is an attempt to define every French bread with any sustained history, omitting only certain one-off loaves and purely commercial, branded loaves.

Regions or other places are only indicated for loaves exclusively or primarily produced there; some however are known in several different regions, not all of which are enumerated. 

Dates for the appearance and/or disappearance of a specific loaf are rarely well-documented. Where a start date is shown, it typically indicates the first recorded mention of the loaf, not necessarily the start of its production. Similarly, an end date indicates the last date or period when a loaf has been mentioned. 

And now, the BOOK:

Before the Baguette: The History of French Bread

Also available as an epub : Smashwords ebpub version

Preview on Amazon's "Look Inside" 
or take a peek at the Table of Contents here:

“Stick; wand; baton”. In its most common meaning, this refers to the long narrow loaf which remains the most well-known French loaf. It is first mentioned at the start of the twentieth century but only appeared in official records in 1920. Initially, it was a long narrow loaf literally like a stick; by 1922, it resembled the modern loaf, typically weighing 250-300 grams, about 80 cm long and with three to five slashes across the front. However, there is no official definition of the baguette.
The original very thin shape became the ficelle, which later took a shorter form.
The same term was previously used for the Italian grissini and for a wooden stick used to track a customer’s purchases.
baguette de tradition
late 20th-present
A baguette made in accordance with precise rules for traditional French bread defined in 1993. Despite the name, it is not based on any early model of the baguette. Notably, it is typically made with sourdough, when the first baguettes were pains de fantaisie and so probably made with yeast.
Shaped like a hammock. A banneton is the shaped basket French bakers use for letting loaves rise.
“Bastard". So-called because it was longer than short loaves, but shorter than the baguette. It can be described as a short, squat version of the baguette, weighing the same as the longer bread. (The name has no relation to "bastard dough", the dough that is neither hard nor soft.)
late 19th - present
The general term is most associated with a caricatural aristocrat family. Small round rye or more recently stick-shaped roll with raisins.
bille à soupe
late 19th-20th
"Marble/ball for soup". A nut-sized round bread used to put in soup.
Late 18th-present
Unlike the original meaning of biscuit, this word does not apply to twice-cooked bread, but to a kind of prepared toast, often gilded as well. It has often been used for health purposes.
late Middle Ages-present
"Twice baked". Originally this word (bis-cocto in Latin) applied to bread which was baked twice to harden it for travel or storage. While the French version has sometimes become more refined, it has never been made as the soft variety known in the States.
In Arras, this was the term for the mid-quality (dark-light) bread in statutes. In Normandy, it is defined only as a dark bread.
White bread.
Short rolls made from hard dough, thick in the middle and pointed at the ends.
Loire-Atlantique 21st
A loaf invented by local bakers, high in fiber, and other nutrients; sometimes made with dried fruit.
"Ball". In general, this refers to many spherical loaves, but for a long time it implied the smaller medieval version found in innumerable images. The shape itself is found in both Egyptian and Roman images. For centuries, it was the standard form of French loaf and the one most often shown on coats of arms for bakers' trades groups.
boule à fromage
"Ball with cheese." These 30 gr balls were made to eat with cheese.
This term can imply something rounded, but is also the slang term for "work". It has typically been a long but thick loaf, considered a working class staple until recent decades.
Like a thick crepe, made mainly with buckwheat.
A ring of pastry flavored with orange water. Sometimes leavened with yeast.
"Pretzel". The familiar Germanic twist, its origins lost in myth.
15th - present
At the start of the seventeenth century Cotgrave defined this as a roll of spiced bread. But early on it became known as a richer bread made with eggs and yeast, sometimes with cheese, already gilded.
A light bread in a "flute" shape, given only to the sick.
Aude, Herault
A long white loaf split lengthwise and twice across the front.
chausson aux pommes
"Slipper with apples", very literally; in American terms, a French apple turnover, though roughly like a rounded square, not triangular. A roll of pastry filled with apples or, more recently, apple sauce. The modern version, made with croissant dough, is a form of viennoiserie.
?-early 19th
'Choine" is a corruption of "chanoine" (canon) and, like pain de chapitre, may have suggested the bread given to canons. In Bordeaux, it was long the finest form of white bread. In Coutances it was only given to the sick. In the Manches region, it was very loosely used to mean many better quality baked goods.
"Coiffed". A round loaf of white bread, folded inward four times.
Made in two detachable parts, with a thick crust.
Coutances ? - 19th
A bread shaped like a head of cabbage, eaten on feast days. One variety is four-pronged and considered a variant of échaudé.
cordon de Bourgogne
Burgundy ?-present
“Burgundy cord”. See “pain cordon”.
Made like a croissant but of extra-rich dough.
"Crown". A circular bread, sometimes divided into segments, which tended to be thicker after the eighteenth century.
couronne bordelaise
"Bordeaux crown". A ring made up of several balls of bread, made to separate easily. Variants are the "couronne Gasconne" (the Gascon crown), the "couronne Marguerite" ("Marguerite or daisy crown"), and the "pain marguerite".
"Cracknel." The word implies something that crunches or crackles under the tooth. A very general term for a variety of round, light, biscuit-like breads.
"Crescent". French bakers created this roll as an imitation of the Austrian kipfel introduced by August Zang's Viennese Bakery. Until almost the twentieth century, it was made from a rich dough using yeast and some milk (the original Austrian method). Then recipes began to appear for a version made with laminated dough (a French method) and today the resulting flaky effect virtually defines the croissant (which no longer always has a crescent shape).

The basic recipe remains subject to numerous variations - Urbain-Dubois provides 34 different recipes for croissants.
croissant (regional)
Coutances ? - 19th
A horseshoe shaped bread eaten on feast days. Probably unrelated to the standard croissant.
A double-lobed bread with a thick crust.
croute à soupe
"Soup crust". A hardened crust used for soups.
A one obole loaf in Paris, as defined by statute.
A one denier loaf in Paris, as defined by statute. Over time, the plural of this word took on a general sense in French of "goods".
A two denier loaf in Paris, as defined by statute.
13th - present
This term ("scalded") originally referred to a bread that was dipped in boiling water. Over time this became a pastry which largely fell out of use in the twentieth century, but still persists in some places.
Most images show this as a three-pronged bread, but in Le Mans in the eighteenth century it was made in a crescent shape.
See also panis melior.
A very white, slightly flattened bun, sometimes with sesame seeds on it. (The word also refers to a type of beret.)
A crude buckwheat loaf used during famines.
Old word suggesting "stomach". Originally, a flat bread cooked quickly at the mouth of the oven; also described as a very rich, brioche-like bread, almost a cake, used for the Feast of the Kings before the common galette.
"Split". Typically, this is a moderately long loaf, a few inches wide, with a split down the center. This became a very common type in the mid-nineteenth century, remaining important until the start of the twentieth century. Other, narrower and sometimes longer, loaves are also known by this name, having a split down the middle.
fer à cheval
"Horseshoe". A wheat bread in a horseshoe shape.
"Twine". Originally "baguette ficelle", this is a very thin version of the baguette, typically shorter today. The original baguette was essentially a ficelle.
6th c. - 10th c.?
This word, cognate with "flat", originally referred to a Germanic flat cake, possibly sweetened with honey. It is found in latter monastic records, but over time (as fladone or flaon) came to mean a cream or cheese-filled pastry, known in France as "flan".
"A flaming." A round flat loaf baked close to the flame; once given to make up a batch with gros pain. Sometimes treated as synonymous with fougasse.
Though Parmentier already compared long narrow breads to flutes in the eighteenth century, the term was first applied to loaves at the start of the nineteenth. For most of that century, when used alone, it appears to have referred generically to any long narrow bread. It was less used at the start of the twentieth, but in later decades referred to a specific loaf almost identical to the baguette, but sometimes slightly lighter, sometimes heavier.
flute à potage

“Pottage flute”. A thin hard-crusted long roll used for soup.
flûte à la provençale
"Provence style flute". A two-layered roll, scored on top. It is not certain that it originated in Provence.
flûte crevée
"Burst flute". Despite its name, this roll only vaguely resembled the long narrow breads known as flutes, being long, but wider.
Middle Ages
The Latin term for bread cooked under the fire on the hearth (focus). A number of other words have developed from this.
15th - present
One of several words derived from focacius. The French term may have been adapted in Latin and re-adapted back into French. Though the original bread would have been a hearth bread, the term later referred to breads which could be among the best. Regional variants still exist today.
Related linguistically to "fouace", but a different bread, a round, flattened bread made hollow like a pita.
This word appears to have evolved from focacius or a similar word. It originally referred to a bread cooked on the hearth but came to mean a far fancier, almost pastry like loaf, most associated with Provence, a soft, flat loaf roughly in the shape of a large leaf and sometimes flavored with onions or sugar. The similar word fougassa appears in records for Bordeaux for a finer bread.
fougassette de grotillons [gratins/fritons] de cochon

“fougassette with grilled lard/pork cracklings”. A special fougasse made after the slaughter of pigs.
fougassette de Pâques
“Easter fougassette”. In Antibes, this was triangular with a red egg at each corner, fastened with dough in a cross. In Nice it was round with a hard-boiled egg on it.
fougasse de Noël  

“Christmas fougasse”. Similar to the fougassette, but with more butter.
fougassette de Provence
Diminutive (or synonym?) of fougasse. A slightly oval flat loaf with decorative holes cut in it, almost like a leaf. Sometimes flavored with orange blossom water.
A nineteenth century version was triangular or in an intertwined S. In Nice it was round.
French stick
early 20th
A phrase used in America which very likely referred to the early baguette, but may conceivably have referred to earlier long narrow breads.
Normandy 16th-present
A flat galette made over time with a variety of grains, including buckwheat, rye, barley and wheat. Pricked to prevent it from swelling.
? - 19th
A salted and peppered bread eaten on feast days.
Specific breads in France have been known as galettes, but in general it refers to flat, rather hard breads including, in archaeological usage, many found from earlier eras.
? - 19th
A very white loaf, shaped in an oblong curve, flattened on one side, eaten on feast days.
A regional variant of échaudé, cooked in hot water before being baked from a rich dough including eggs. made for feast days.
The French word which came to mean "cake" originally referred to a more luxurious form of bread, possibly made with eggs, butter or cheese. Wastel is substantially the same word.
gateaux feuillés
Literally, "leafed cakes". This is generally thought to refer to a laminated baked product; variants are found later. Despite the name, early versions of this were probably not sweet.
"Ammunition pouch". A bread made in approximately that shape; only mentioned by Vaury.
grigne des Landes
Lot-et-Garonne ?-present
"Landes split". So-called because it has a split on each side. Also known as a "gascon", or, in one variant, an "agenais". Also, a "deux-noeuds" (two knots).
A long narrow bread with a split along one side.
The Italian breadstick, first popular in Paris in the nineteenth century. The word "baguette" was sometimes applied to this bread before the modern usage.
gros pain
Literally, "large bread" but in practice it more specifically referred to darker, coarser bread (which was also typically sold in bigger loaves).
House bread; a mid-quality bread. Pain de menage.
Originally a long narrow bread that looked, in one size, exactly like a baguette, for a long time this became the most representative French bread to foreigners. It was also made in very long lengths. It survived into the twentieth century, but began to be made in a very short version (perhaps because the baguette so closely resembled its older long form).
kaiser semmel
"Kaiser roll". With the kipfel (often made with the same dough), this was one of the best Austria rolls. Though its dough was adopted in different shapes in France as the pain viennois, the familiar round form, scored on the top, survived in France as the pain empereur.
The Austrian roll which became the French croissant. Though it is documented for centuries, it is not clear what shape it originally had, only that one was in the crescent shape before the siege of Vienna in 1683 which is mythically credited for the roll's invention. The Austrian kipfel could be made in many ways, some sweet, beyond the simple rich roll imitated by the French.
Though very like a cake, in fact a brioche style bread with a distinctive swollen form made in a special form. One of several baked goods mythically credited to the 1683 siege of Vienna.
"Longish". A small, hard, elongated, yeast-leavened, slightly sweetened bread. Rare today and at least one version is a modern baker's, with no relation to this type.
"Little men". Shaped like little men, with raisins for features. Mainly for Christmas.
"Skinny". Long narrow very crusty bread.
main de Nice
"Hand of Nice". A roll with four "fingers" emerging from a curved half; best known through a photo of Picasso.
A luxurious form of wafer, either a larger wafer (sometimes made with white wine) or a collection of wafers.
"Cuff". But the crusty loaf is shaped like a crown (and looks like the standard couronne).
A long split bread of wheat and rye.
Maslin bread for canons.
méteil (Latin Mixtura)
In English, maslin. Strictly speaking this refers to the grain, a mixture of wheat with either rye or barley. Bread of this sort was typically given to servants in the country.
méture du Béarn
Béarn 19th-present
"Maslin". In Béarn, the maslin is of wheat mixed with corn. Variants of this bread are leavened or not.
This word is probably derived from the Latin mica ("crumb"). Its meaning has varied widely by time and region. At times, it means no more than a hunk of bread; often it has implied a better sort of bread. In recent centuries, it has typically applied to the most common large wheaten loaf in a particular city or region, whatever its shape. Since the end of the twentieth century, in Paris it has referred to a large round hemispherical loaf typified by Poilâne's standard, somewhat rustic, loaf.
An elongated roll with a split down the middle.
A word from Biarne, in the Jura, used for breads made from millet. It is probably a variant of miche.
A wide oval pretzel-based loaf, used for sandwiches, invented by Paul Poulaillon.
Nantes region
A sourdough leavened bread set to rise in a basket and gilded with water.
c. 1870 - present
The French adopted the English version of the muffin - a low simple disk - in the late nineteenth century. The American version, far more like a cake, seems to have been adopted in the Nineties.
late 19th - 20th
"Braid". A roll made in a braided shape.
The word means a small boat (as in a shuttle). This was a small split roll.
A lighter form of wafer (known in Latin as a "cloud").
A long roll. It does not seem to have any clear relation to Christmas, despite the name.

?- present
A flat cracker-like beignet, served with sugar.
pain azyme
Middle Ages-present
“Unleavened bread”. In its simplest form, this is simply any unleavened bread. In context, it sometimes refers to Jewish matzoh.
pain à café
"Coffee bread". A finer form of bread meant to be eaten with coffee.
pain a chanter
"Bread for singing"; in fact, for chanting hymns. Another word for the Communion wafer. In the eighteenth century, it was not made by bakers but by pastrycooks/waferers.
pain à grigne
"Grigne" refers to an intentionally produced split, including that seen on a fendu. This term sometimes appears to be a synonym for a fendu, but in the nineteenth century was more likely to refer to a very long bread with a split on the side.
pain à gruau
Made with the superior gruau flour. Presumably this was an especially fine version, since the flour was used for other luxury breads as well.
pain échaudé à la duchesse
"Dutchess style bread". A type of luxury roll in the eighteenth century. By the nineteenth this referred to a type of pastry. Pain à la duchesse came to mean an early form of the éclair.
pain à la montauron
Named for Montauron, a prominent financier. One of the first yeast-based pains mollets.
pain à la Reine
"Bread in the Queen's style". The queen in question was probably Marie de Médici, who some believe introduced the style of yeast-leavened bread with milk which became known as pain mollet.
pain a la Ségovie
"Segovia-style bread". A fine sort of loaf made with a "head" (a small sphere) in the middle.
pain à [la] tête/Auvergnat
"Bread with a head". A broad loaf with a small sphere of dough stuck on one end; essentially, the old pain de Segovie. A bread of this name was also mentioned in Marseilles in the nineteenth century.
pain à tête, d’Avignon
"Bread with a head, of Avignon". Different from the more common bread with a head, this is a ball-shaped loaf divided into four upper parts.
pain à potage
"Pottage bread", though a modern translation would be "soup bread". But this round, soft bread was distinct from the "soup bread" (pain à soupe) of the time.
pain à soupe
"Soup bread". A bread made mainly of crust to be eaten with soup. Probably very like the later flute à soupe.
pain anglais
early nineteenth
"English bread". The early French version of this was a small oval roll, nothing like the standard pan-shaped loaf (known in France as pain de mie).
pain artichaut
18th-early 19th
"Artichoke bread". A quirky but enduring roll made to approximate the look of an artichoke.
pain au chocolat
20th - present
"Bread with chocolate/chocolate roll"; in American English, "chocolate croissant". In its simplest form, baker's chocolate baked inside dough to form a small roll. In recent decades, it has always been made with croissant dough and considered a form of viennoiserie. Note that several other items were referred to under this name in earlier times, including a loaf (pain) of chocolate, etc.
pain au lait
"Milk roll". A small roll, usually elongated, made with milk and sugar.
pain auvergnat
Auvergne ?-present
"Bread from Auvergne". Made with a ball of dough with a disk of dough set on it like a cap or lid.
pain bateau
Brittany ?-present
"Boat bread". Twice-cooked bread (essentially biscuit) used for boats. Sometimes called "pain marin" (sailor bread).
pain bénit
7th c.? - mid 20th
This term, meaning "blessed bread", has long referred to a loaf provided by a parishioner for a service which would then be blessed by the priest and distributed in pieces (chanteaux) among the congregation. Early references to eulogies may have been to such a bread.
pain bigarré
"Pied bread", made with alternate layers of wheat and rye.
pain bis
Dark bread. Sometimes officially listed in statutes. The most bran-heavy of the official wheat breads.
pain bis-blanc
"Dark-light" bread; that is a mid-quality bread with a significant portion of bran.
pain blanc
? - present
"White bread". Aside from its common usage, this has sometimes been an official category in statutes for the best public bread (private bread could be much whiter).
pain blême
"Pale bread". No doubt a yeast-based pain mollet; only named in a seventeenth century statute.
pain bonimate
A spherical maslin loaf.
pain bouli/boulli
"Boiled bread". Boiled water is mixed with the flour; in some versions, the bread is kneaded for seven hours, rests for seven hours and is baked for seven hours.
pain bourgeois
"Townsfolk's bread", generally a mid-quality bread, sometimes listed in Paris statutes. Sometimes said to be equivalent to pain de ménage.
pain brié
? - 19th
A "brie" was an iron bar used to knead especially hard bread. Bread made this way (or sometimes using the feet to knead it) was especially popular and considered better quality when hard dough was favored. In the eighteenth century, Malouin said it was falling out of fashion. In Coutances, a large one was eaten on feast days with butter or cider. Today a distinctly shaped version, with two white ridges across a long loaf, is considered a specialty of Normandy (and mechanically kneaded).
Pain cartelé
“Quartered bread”.  Considered an elite bread, divided in four to make it crustier (like the Norman version of the pain cornu).
pain chapeau du Finistère
"hat bread of Finistère". A white bread with a ball of dough set on a slightly larger one. Sometimes called a chapeau breton (Breton hat) or pain coiffé (coiffed loaf - see that entry.)
pain chapelé
"Chipped bread". A general term for grated bread, but in the eighteenth century this was a very light roll, flavored with milk or butter.
pain coquillé
The first term used in Paris for mid-quality (white-dark) bread. Coquille means "shell" and this was, says Cotgrave, a "hard-crusted" bread.
pain cordé
"Corded (twisted) loaf". A short roll with an elongated shape with slashes suggesting twisting. Similar to the tordu du Gers.
pain cordon
Côte d'Or
"Bread with twisted rope". Dark loaf with a split top, a braid of bread across it.
pain cornu
"Horned bread", though "cornered bread" would be a more accurate description in English, since this pain mollet had four sharp corners.
The Norman version was said to be divided into four horns to create more crust.
pain crestou
A round roll, half-split in the middle and rising from the split, made with both flour and whole grains.
pain de Beaucaire
"Bread of Beaucaire". A short split roll, with a large crumb and fine crust. Sometimes called “the good bread of Beaucaire”.
pain de bois
"Bread of the woods/of wood". Chestnut bread (though the term is sometimes used for the chestnut itself).
pain de bouche
"Mouth bread", possibly in contrast to trenchers, bread not meant to be eaten. In practice, this was typically the very best bread made (chiefly) for private use. sometimes later said to be synonymous with pain mollet.
pain de brane
A baker's term for a 12 lb bread.
pain de brasse
A very large, coarse household bread. Cotgrave compares it to the English "chesloafe", probably meaning cheat loaf, a low quality English loaf.
pain de brode
An early official term for the darkest bread.
pain de campagne
late Seventies-present
"Country bread". A misleading term, since this is a Parisian loaf, a round hemispheric, thick-crusted loaf about a foot across, very like the classic Parisian miche.
pain de Chailly
Chailly was a town outside Paris now known as Chilly-Mazarin. It was known for its bread, but in early statutes this appears to have referenced the best white bread made by Parisian bakers, not necessarily bread from that town.
pain de chaland
"Chaland" here may refer either to the barges which brought some bread from outside Paris or a baker's clientele. In general, the term referred to breads from outside Paris that were not known by their town's name.
pain de chapitre
"Chapter bread", referencing a monk or canon's chapter. Some claim the bread was developed by the baker of the religious chapter of Notre Dame, though it is more likely it simply refers to the better quality of bread given to monks. It was said to be very white and very hard. Cotgrave says it was flat and weighed 16 ounces.
pain de Corbeil
This appears to have been a dark bread, sometimes used for trenchers in the fourteenth century. Corbeil is a town outside Paris.
pain de dextrine
Dextrine is a sugar naturally produced in baking, but added here, making the bread sweeter.
pain de fenêtre
"Window bread", meaning it was put in the window (then just an opening) for display. Cotgrave says it was brown bread, but other sources reference it as a superior form of bread.
pain de festin
"Party" or "feast" bread. Probably very like pain à la reine; a yeast-based pain mollet.
pain de Gentilly
"Bread of Gentilly". One of the standard yeast-based pains mollets.
pain de gluten
"Gluten bread". This was made with extra gluten and considered particularly healthy.
pain de Gonesse
Bread from the town of Gonesse, just outside Paris, was particularly prized in the seventeenth century, though it may already have been made in Paris itself by then. Supposedly the bread's quality came from the local water. It was said not to last very long, which suggests it might have been made with yeast, and Bonnefons includes that in his own recipe for the bread.
pain de la Sainte-Agathe
? -present
"Saint Agatha's bread". This small roll, a hemisphere with a bump on top, looks very like a breast and was baked before the feast of St. Agatha, whose martyrdom included tearing away of her breasts.
pain de maçon
"Mason's bread". A thick two-pound loaf eaten by laborers.
pain de ménage
"Household bread", though the term was applied to some mid-quality bread sold in commerce as well.
pain de mie
"Crumb bread". Originally, literally a loaf made to provide crumbs for cooking. This loaf took the shape of the standard American or English loaf, uncut, and refers to that general bread today.
pain de mouton
"Sheep bread", a very small white loaf, glazed and sprinkled with white grains, given by servants to their masters' children on New Year's Day.
pain de munition
"Munition bread"; basically, soldiers' bread. It was defined in various ways by official texts, but always was considered a proverbially bad bread.
pain de pannière
Only Cotgrave cites this: “a great white loaf yielded by the Tenants of St. Gondon sur Loire unto their Lord, yearly, and besides their Cens."
pain de Potensac
Only Cotgrave cites this: “a delicate bread made in a Village called Potensac, near unto Bordeaux".
pain de rive
"Bank bread". Cooked on the edge (the "bank") of the oven. Mainly know from Moliere's Bourgeois Gentihomme (Act IV, scene 1): "a pain de rive, with a gilded tear on the side, crust rising on every side and tenderly crunching under the tooth".
pain de Sant Jordi
"Saint George's bread". A recent bread invented by a baker of Rousillon (Northern Catalonia) to mimic the colors of Catalonia, using flour, walnuts, sobrassada and gruyère. Made for the saint's feast day.
pain de Segovie
"Segovia bread". One of the standard yeast-based pains mollets.
pain de tradition française
"Bread of French tradition". A term specifically defined by the 1993 law as being made only with flour, leavening, water and salt. (Note that not all breads from earlier centuries would fit these parameters.)
pain d'égalité
"Equality bread". This term was used for various breads defined both locally and nationally by Revolutionary authorities which were typically of poor quality and meant to be the only bread eaten by all classes.
pain d'esprit
"Bread of spirit". A fine rye bread.
pain doux Bigouden/des Gras; Kouign Ened/des Gras
"Sweet bread of Bigouden (or the Gras)". A brioche with some qualities of a standard bread, slightly sweet. A small spherical roll with a rough split down the middle.
pain du roi
"The King's bread". Bread given to prisoners; no doubt of very bad quality.
pain empereur
"Emperor [kaiser] roll". This is the French version of the Austrian kaiser semmel; however, it was never as popular as the pain viennois, which has its origins in the same loaf.
pain en bourrelet
"Bread in wreath shape".
pain faitis
An early official term for the darkest bread. Faitis became "factice", that is "fake", but here simply suggests something made (fait) or shaped.
Pain farain
16th - ?
One Lyons statute says it was the same as pain bourgeois. In the seventeenth century Cotgrave defined it as “a very yellow household bread, of the better sort, and made in great loaves,” but without citing a region.
pain ferré
"Ironed bread". In a medieval record, this was believed to refer to wafers made between two hot irons. But in the eighteenth century, it referred to bread burned on the bottom.
pain fraisé
Fraiser (fraser) means to pack something together. Cotgrave defines this "compacted bread" as “a Panado of the crumbs of stale bread soaked a while in 2 or 3 changes of water, then boiled in a pipkin with butter, or any other sweet and fat moisture; or in a Capons broth; and often stirred."
pain gallois
Originally invented by a M. Gallois, using two parts flour to one of potato. Intended for use during shortages. To complicate matters, gallois means Welsh and one common modern version is essentially a fruit cake.
pain gallu
Made for end of the year celebrations from rye, with honey and larded with raisins and pieces of pear and apple. Known as Raima in the Val d'Ajol.
pain Impératrice
19th-early 20th
"Empress". A crustier version of the kaiser semmel with sides flattened around a main ball, then folded together over it. Very rare.
pain maison
"House bread". Long an informal term, since 1993, this bread has been strictly defined as bread kneaded, shaped and baked at the bakery selling it.
pain marchand de vin
"Wine shop loaf". In the nineteenth century, wine shops sold meals and this loaf was made for their use. It was typically a very long loaf (sometimes almost two meters) with a flattened profile; but it endured into the twentieth century when it sometimes had multiple slashes, somewhat like a very long baguette.
pain marseillais
"Marseilles bread." A particular kind of bread known by this name is a stick about a foot long with a split down the middle, very similar to a navette.
pain mèjan
13th - ?
A Provençal term for mid-quality bread.
pain mêlé
A dark loaf (of rye and wheat) which cost slightly more than the regulated dark loaf, and supposedly was created as a way around the pricing for the latter, which was made in an inferior version.
pain michard
A white bread similar to the Parisian pain bourgeois, slightly lesser in quality than a pain mollet.
pain mirau(d)
Possibly derived from "mi-rôti" (half-grilled). A dense ball, sometimes sold in strips which can be split. Supposedly 18th century, but using a private secret recipe today.
pain mollet
13th; 16th-19th
"Softish bread". This certainly existed by the thirteenth century, since it appears in a man's name, but otherwise is not mentioned until the sixteenth century, and then sometimes as an alternate term for pain de bouche. The name suggests a softer and so finer bread. But the term took on a special meaning in the seventeenth century, when bakers began to make it with milk and (instead of the classic sourdough leaven) brewer's yeast. Going forward, it referred to a whole class of finer breads which had a variety of names. Surviving into the nineteenth century, it again became a single more specific type of bread.
pain mollot
? - 19th?
The most common bread in Troyes for centuries. Probably a good white bread, since the term is very close to "pain mollot".
pain Molzer
A broad triple maslin (wheat, barley, rye) loaf, made in a large circle, with a square of slashes on the surface.
pain paillasse de Lodève
"Straw basket bread of Lodève". The paillasse was a straw bread basket, made with rye straw. The long rather crusty bread supposedly was first made in this basket. Some stories trace this back centuries, but it is only mentioned in recent texts.
pain parisien
"Parisian loaf". A long thick loaf, 400-500 grams, 70 cm. long; this appears to be a later synonym for the boulot. Despite its name, it is not found only in Paris.
pain perdu
17th; 18th-present
"Lost bread". Since the eighteenth century, this has referred to variations on what Americans call "bread pudding". But Cotgrave defines it as "broth made of wine, rose-water, and sugar, eggs and bread."
pain piqué
“Pricked bread”.  A long wide loaf pricked across the surface.
pain plié de Morlaix
Léon region
"Folded bread of Morlaix". A long dense loaf folded over on itself.
pain rennais
"Bread from Rennes". A round rather flat bread with a thick crust.
pain riche
Bread made with milk and yeast.
pain rondin
"Log bread". A short, narrow bread.
pain rousset
"Reddish bread", made with wheat and rye. De Serres says it was given to the gentry for health reasons.
pain saucisson
“Sausage bread”. Presumably referring to the form, which was long but wide (and not really like a sausage). It weighed 2 kg.
pain saucisson (2)
“Sausage bread”. A sausage cooked inside a long loaf.

pain saumon (pain boite)
"Salmon bread (box bread)". Made in a box-like mold.
pain tourné
"Turned bread". An elongated, crusty roll with a twisted shape.
pain viennois
"Viennese loaf". This began as the bread sold by August Zang, who used the standard rich Viennese dough used for the kaiser semmel but made his bread mechanically (and so in rectangular form). French imitations took various forms, often small elongated rolls. Today the pain viennois resembles a baguette, but has a more varnished surface and multiple slashes. This may have led to the myth that Zang introduced the baguette.
panis benedictus (see pain bénit)

panis cum toto
13th - ?
"Bread with everything" (whole wheat bread)
panis melior
A term ("better bread") used at the monastery of Cluny for what was probably an echaudé.
panis quadratus
Roman Empire 1st century - ?
Best known as the segmented bread found at Pompeii, this loaf existed elsewhere in the Empire, including, per a nineteenth century drawing of a Gallo-Roman bas-relief, in Gaul.
petit pain
"Small loaf". In the most general usage, this has come to mean a roll. But from the seventeenth century through the eighteenth it referred to the variety of luxury rolls known as "pain mollet". For almost two centuries, it also applied to a class of bakers who made the more luxurious bread
? - 19th
A feast day bread made in the shape of a resting dove from the same dough, with eggs and milk, used for the local pain bénit.
"Pistol". A small spherical roll with a split down the middle.
plié de Cherbourg
"Folded of Cherbourg". Like the folded bread of Morlaix, but made, by special privilege, with sea water, thus escaping the tax on salt. Because of its resemblance to a bicorner hat, it is sometimes called a "pain Napoléon ".
This name is applied to any bread of any form which is cross-hatched across the surface in a distinctive pattern. A variety with a somewhat coarser hatching is typical of Val du Loire.
pompe à huile
“Oill pump”. A round scored somewhat flat bread, sweet and flavored with orange blossom water. Made for the holidays.
"Coat rack". Long white or dark bread flattened at the ends, rolled onto itself.
Porte-manteau de Toulouse
Long bread rolled up at both ends, sometimes called a "telephone".
Regional word for the bourriol.
Slightly leavened loaf, long and hash-marked, flavored with garlic and butter.
17th-early 20th
Today this refers to a cream filled pâte à choux, but it originally referred to a bread meant to be put in soups. This was hollowed out and filled with various stuffings. By the mid-nineteenth century, it was already sometimes filled with chocolate and becoming a dessert. Very exceptionally, it could also refer to a bread baked under the coals.
pumpernickel; pain bon-pour-nicol
One variant of pumpernickel, back to the eighteenth century, was "bread good-for-Nicole". Originally known in France as a bread of Westphalia, made with barley, rye and buckwheat.
Made with two pieces of dough crossed and marked with a cross before being flattened.
A white roll with cheese.
"Regency". A spherical roll made in attached rows.
late 19th-early 20th
A long roll created by a later owner of Zang's bakery on the rue de Richelieu.
14th - ?
Maslin bread (wheat and rye).
A brioche-like sweetened bread, made in a ring.
"Sausage-sandwich". A bread 15 by 6 cm baked around a fat sausage, once sold in bars and at charcutiers.
late 18th - ?
Black bread.
Bread made with a great deal of bran, leavened in rye straw baskets, with a cross drawn in the flour covering it.
sigilus albus
Middle Ages
White bread for canons.
In Latin, simila denoted the whitest flour. Several words derive from this, including the French word simenel (simeneaulx is one plural), which appears early on in municipal records as one of the whitest breads beyond the standard white bread.
Norman variants are chemineau and queminel.
One of two types of rye bread for canons.

"Under flame". A bread made at the mouth of the oven or on hot coals.
Middle Ages
One of two types of rye bread for canons.
sübrot/sürbrot/ süweck
“Sü” is the French sou; “brot”, bread. The name suggests a one-sou bread. It is made by superimposing two layers then cutting them out in lozenges before baking them. Mainly used for breakfast.
14th - ?
White bread
"Tobacco pouch". A roll with lid of bread folded over from one side.
A long-lasting, full-formed crusty loaf, used by mountaineers and shepherds.
"Corkscrew". Not as one might expect a corkscrew shaped bread, but a short narrow roll, scored lengthwise.
tordu de la lozère
"Twisted bread of Lozère ". Twisted twice.
tordu du Gers
"Twisted of Gers". A short roll with an elongated twisted shape, very crusty and with a wide crumb.
? - 19th
Shaped like a torque or necklace, eaten on feast days.
late Middle Ages?
Breads for Pentecost, Purification, Epiphany and Saint Stephen. Congregants gave these to churches, which often distributed them to the poor.
A word used for a bread at the monastery of Cluny, possibly a hearth bread.
10th c.-present
This word has a long history in French baking and typically refers to a coarse, low hemispherical loaf. It was often very large.
Some coats of arms for bakers' trades groups show tourtes instead of the more common boule.
late Middle Ages? - The Revolution
Given as to the local lord at Christmas (as panis natalitius), though money sometimes was given instead.
14th c - ?
Very likely a low hemispherical loaf like the standard tourteau, given by the bakers of Falaise to the leprosarium on Saturdays.
Large slightly sweet loaf with dark reddish crust.
? - 19th
A shape approximately like a yard winder, eaten on feast days.
trencher (tranchoir)
13th - 15th
Trancher means to slice and this term generally refers to supports (of metal and wood as well as bread) used (in theory) for slicing meat. Despite its close association with the Middle Ages, the bread trencher only appeared towards the end of the period and was only used for a limited period of time.
"Braid". A braided bread made with anise.
A variant of the word "torte" used at the monastery of Cluny, probably for a rye bread divided into four parts.
mid-20th- present
"Viennese stuff". Originally this term referred to light entertainments from Vienna; it was not applied to pastries until well after the croissant (its most prominent component) was made with laminated dough. Many mistakenly translate the term as meaning Vienna-style baked goods, but in fact it is typified by the use of laminated dough, a French method. It should not be confused with the nineteenth century category of pain viennois.
The first known wafer (dough cooked between hot irons) was the unleavened communion wafer which had come into use by the ninth century, but probably before. This soon took on a secular form which evolved into a treat closer to a pastry which remained a popular street food into the nineteenth century.
Douai 15th - ?
A variant of gastel (cake) found in some northern cities; a very fine white bread.
A Germanic bread very much like a hard toast, similar to the biscotte. Used at one point in Paris tea salons.