When and where did La Baguette start?
On Friday the 13 of august 1982, in the heart of Granville Island. It was the first authentic French Bakery in Vancouver.
What is the process of making your bread?
After a first kneading, the dough rests for an hour. It is then weighed, divided, kneaded and rests a second time. The dough is then put on a canvas and rests a third time. The dough rises at room temperature. While resting, the bread develops all its aroma, texture and special taste.
Where does your oven come from and what's special about it?
The oven comes from Italy and is very energy efficient. The different decks are heated by hot water so the oven stays hot all the time and is very quiet. A shot of steam gives the bread a nice shiny look.
What's special about the Peasant Farmer bread?
The art of making this bread dates back to 4000 BC. It is called "Pain au Levain", meaning using a sourdough starter instead of yeast. This bread has no added yeast, sugar or fat.
How much time do the bakers spend baking?
24 hours a day, 7 days a week! The bread bakers work at night, the Pastry Chefs work during the day.
What are the advantages of "part-baked" breads and why do you sell them?
Part-baked breads are perfect for freezing and certainly the way to go if you are buying bread for the next day or some time in the future. Part-baked breads don't dry out in the freezer as full-baked breads do. Our part-baked breads are good in your freezer for 2 months. And most wonderful of all – when you bake them off for about 10 minutes you get the beautiful smell of fresh-baked bread in your house with minimal work!!
Can I eat breads when they're part-baked? They look so soft and beautiful like they would taste great!
No you shouldn't. That's why we are careful to label all our part-bakes plus put them in an air-tight freezer bag. Eaten part-baked the doughtiness would sit very heavily in your stomach and sourdough specifically will give you a sour tummy that does not feel good.
I heard you guys sell full-meals, I don't see them, where are they?
You bet we sell meals. We call them prepared meals and they are at the front of the store to the right as you walk in the door. We have a beautiful tall stand-up freezer loaded with goodies, not only prepared meals but other things like cretons, tourtieres, garlic butter made in-house, rillettes, puff pastry, frozen croissant you can take home and bake yourself, and tons of pates, tapenades, veal stock and homemade pesto. But what makes the prepared meals ace is all you have to do is thaw them out and warm them up. They are fully cooked then vacuum-sealed by our Kryovac machine. They are classic French entrees like beef bourgignion, chicken chasseur, lamb shank, duck confit, goose breast, and Tiger Prawn, Vegetable and Lamb French Curry. They also look beautiful! And they taste divine.
I have a problem with gluten. Do you sell any gluten-free stuff?
Yes. We have Florentine cookies in either almond or hazelnut (dark/milk chocolate) plus we have MULTI-COLORED FRENCH MACARONS! We make these in 6 flavors and yes they are totally gluten-free. We also have one bread which is very, very low in gluten and that is the Organic Spelt. The Organic Spelt is totally yeast-free. We also make a seasonal mini-ganache cookie which is gluten-free.
I need a bread that will go good with salmon or lox. Got anything?
Our Peasant Farmer Dark German Rye is perfect for that. The sour rye and malt combination almost bring the seafood back to life! This bread is delicious with ANY seafood, from mussels and clams to crab and shrimp.
I have fresh corned beef and montreal-style smoked meats. What bread would you suggest for that?
Only one answer: Winnipeg Rye. The strong and pungent taste of the caraway seed inside and poppy seeds on top complement the meats to perfection. You won't be disappointed!
I need garlic bread – do you guys sell it?
Well not the normal stuff. I have two options to offer you the best garlic bread you've ever had. Buy one of our part-baked baguettes (preferably foccacia) go down the side with a knife, put inside some of our homemade garlic and parsley butter then throw the whole thing in the oven or on the bbq for 10 minutes. The garlic butter melts into the bread AS it cooks. Pure heaven! We also have another garlic
bread option: our Garlic and Cheese French Sourdough. Stuffed with WHOLE cloves of fresh garlic – slice this baby thick and coat in butter then into the oven in aluminum foil for 5 minutes at say, 300 degrees. You'll love it.
I'm making French Toast. What bread should I use?
There's 3 possibilities. One is obvious the other two we've learned from customers. French Brioche, a sweet, succulent and eggy bread, sliced thick, makes gorgeous French Toast. If you want to be really original try the Fig and Fennel French Sourdough or the Garlic and Cheese French Sourdough. Like with anything in life it's most important to experiment and never settle for doing the same thing all the time. This is part of what La Baguette is all about.
I'm making strawberry shortcake. Do you guys sell sponge cake?
We have something better for your shortcake: Tiramisu or Lemon Pound Cake. Slice these pound cakes thick and you'll taste a hundredfold improvement over traditional sponge cake. Not only are they richer (not sweeter) they provide a texture absent in habitual vanilla sponge cake or angel food cake. They have a firmness which only adds to the texture of your dessert!
I've been looking all over Vancouver for fresh yeast ... do you know where I can buy some?
We have it here! We sell it by the pound or any portion thereof. It's good in the fridge for about a month and it's way better than artificial yeast. It's a living, breathing entity and like anything alive there's no comparison to its dried substitute. Like real butter (not margarine!) fresh yeast is the only way to go. We also sell frozen puff pastry and croissants/pain au chocolats you can take home and form, fashion and bake yourself.
I want to buy your crème brulee but I'm eating it later. Can you burn it for me now?
No problem, especially if you have no blow torch at home. Just put it in the fridge when you get home and re-heat in oven just before serving. Our black dessert containers are oven-proof.
Do you sell bread for canapés and appetizers?
I think you're referring, probably specifically to the fact you need small rounds of bread. We slice baguettes for that purpose all the time and it's way faster than you doing it at home. We have a thick or regular slice depending on how dainty you want your bread rounds to be. If you want the most elegant baguette for this purpose choose our ficelle and definitely let us slice it to create uniform and symmetrical pieces.
I'm going to freeze my bread. Does it stay fresher if you don't slice it for me now?
No. Why? Because after I slice it I take it out of the perforated bag (used when the bread is still hot to let out the heat) and put it in a special plastic freezer bag. The freezer bag retains moisture. Plus it's easier to take a slice or two out of the freezer at a time and leave the rest to stay fresh in the freezer bag for a later time.
I'm going to freeze my croissants. What's the best way to do that?
We put them in a paper bag first then put the paper bag in a plastic bag. The paper keeps them crisp and the plastic keeps them fresh. Now they're perfect for the freezer – for up to two months or longer. Take them out as you need them.
My favourite bread is always sold out because I have to come late in the day after work. What can I do?
Phone in the morning or even the day before and we'll reserve it for you plus slice it if you so desire. Or better still let us create a "Standing Order" for you for a certain day of the week and your bread will always be there. We understand ... when you love a certain bread and it's not there when you come in you aren't very happy!
I tried making your frozen croissants and they were still uncooked on the inside when I took them out of the oven. What happened?
You likely didn't let them proof or rise enough BEFORE you put them in the oven. They must be 90 percent full-size before you bake them or else the outside will get too dark before the inside is cooked. Try again but let them rise longer and perhaps in a warmer room of your house