On December 27th and 28th the Four Banal, the community oven in Nax was heated up with wood fire to bake the traditional rye bread. The Four Banal is a historical oven from the days of banal rights. The association of the Four Banal puts the oven in use at least five times a year to keep this tradition of bread baking alive.
The Four Banal of Nax was built in 1912 and belongs today to the local bourgeoisie. It is a historical witness and the Naxards (residents of Nax) are proud to have preserved to him.
Thanks to the commitment and passion of a few, the “Société de Développement” and especially the bourgeoisie renovated this oven 1992. The “Confrérie du four banal de Nax” was founded and a new attraction was born in Nax.
What were banal rights?
Banalités or banal rights were essentially the dues that peasants owed their lords in Europe until the 18th century. These included the required use-for-payment of the lord’s, or Seigneur’s, mill to grind grain and his oven to bake bread. The rights of the Seigneur for such dues were called banal rights.
The peasants may also be subjected to the banalité de tor et ver, meaning that the lord only had the right to own a bull or a boar. The reproduction of the cattle was then subjected to royalties.
The object of this right was called banal, for example the four banal, taureau banal.
The Seigneur could also require a certain number of days each year of the peasant’s forced labor. This practice of forced labor was called the corvée.
In New France the only banal right which was the obligatory use of the seigniorial mill.
Recipe for the original AOC Valais rye bread
1 liter of water
40 gr salt
420 gr fine rye flour
900 gr medium rye flour
200 grams rye or wheat flour coarse
20 gr yeast
35 minutes kneading
60 minutes to rest
form a dough forms and let it rest for 10 – 15 minutes
bake for an hour and a half
(Source: Confrérie du four banal de Nax)