Londoners can now have the finest French bread, at last! – World Meanderings (n°39)
By Annick Dournes & Frédéric de Poligny
After opening bread and cake shops in 23 different countries over the world, Eric Kayser, one of the very best French bakers, has recently opened his first shop in the UK. This new shop & restaurant is located in… Baker Street and will soon be as famous as its famous neighbour. Kayser’s unique breads, pastries, brioches, cakes and savoury snacks can now be all yours and, as Eric Kayser says, you will first come in out of curiosity, but you will come back for sheer pleasure. And it surely was no accident that he was awarded “Best Baguette in New York City” in 2016.
Like his great-grandfather, his grandfather and his father before him, Eric Kayser is a baker fascinated by bread in all its forms. Ever since he was a kid he knew he would make bread, fascinated by this daily miracle: make a delicious produce just using flour, salt, water and leaven. After his apprenticeship Kayser travelled through France for five years to complete his training with talented bakers. He not only learned their know-how, he also improved it and created an intelligent machine (the Fermentolevain) that makes and keeps alive a liquid leaven that gives his bread their great gustative virtues.
Each of his bakeries has one of these machines allowing the bakers working there to make daily fresh breads on the spot. Unlike so many food chain stores where everything is standardized, each Kayser shop is unique, with its own master bakers who underwent a one-year training with Eric Kayser, its own decoration and atmosphere. The Kayser’s bakeries built in France, Japan, Chile, US, Hong Kong or now UK are all different from one another and reflect the culture and spirit of their country.
Of course the quality of the ingredients is a main concern for Kayser who is always looking for the more natural ones. To create his superior-quality breads he only uses certified sustainable agriculture flours. Whether durum, wheat, rye, spelt, buckwheat… each flour, like grapes used to make wines, reflects its origins and gives bread a special taste and aroma. Baking powder and yeast are banned from the workshops where only natural homemade leaven is used to rise all the breads, cakes or brioches while giving them an inimitable taste.
The analogy between breads and wines goes even further. We are all used to wine pairings, but did you ever choose bread according to the food you are going to eat? But thinking about it, it’s not such a lunatic thing to do! Shopping at Kayser’s you will soon become an expert in bread pairing, matching smoked salmon with turmeric bread, dried fruits bread with cured ham, or walnut bread with blue cheese… The shop attendants will give you good advice and help you make your choice.
The Baker Street shop & restaurant is a big place with a shop, a café, a take-away corner and a restaurant where 60 customers can have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Taste his iconic baguette to start with, then, treat yourself to one of the 20 different breads including 4 gluten-free ones. Have a croissant, a white chocolate brioche, a kougloff, a plain, chocolate, pistachio or raspberry French Cake, a Basque Cake, a large macaroon, a chocolate and caramel tart, a lemon meringue éclair, one of the 15 different sandwiches, a sweet potato & ham quiche, a red rice sweet-sour salad, a quinoa paella…. For breakfast try eggs Florentine cooked in a small casserole or have spelt bread slices with a tasty avocado spread. For lunch or dinner you can also have traditional French cuisine such as the famous Boeuf Bourguignon (a Burgundy beef stew) and do like French people do: finish up the sauce with a piece of delicious bread! All these made with Eric Kayser’s skill and with an unmistakable French Touch.
The “Boulangerie Eric Kayser Baker Street” is open 7/7, from 7am till 8pm
Address: 8, Baker Street, Marylebone
Phone: + 44 20 3897 2900
More about Eric Kayser company: http://www.maison-kayser.com/en/
Text © Annick Dournes