05. Communal oven
In the Vallée des Belleville, each village had their own bread oven, or "communal oven". All the village families could use this communal oven to cook their bread, but under strict rules.
The oven was managed by the villagers and their legal representative, here called the Procurer. He was in charge of the maintenance of the oven, but also for providing the wood with which to light it.
The families got together at the "confrairie", a building situated nearby, to knead the dough, finishing the process, as was the tradition, with their feet ! The dough, made up of rye, water, salt and yeast was shaped into balls or crowns. Each family could put their mark on the bread before it was put into the oven. Huge quantities of bread were cooked, roughly every three weeks in the winter, and more often in the summer. The oven could stay alight for three days in order to meet the needs of the village.
Even if the Saint Martin oven no longer works today, certain ovens in the surrounding villages are sometimes lit for special occasions. You can enjoy traditional bread in the village of Praranger in July and on 15th August.