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melkor

Bouchon Bakery

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Last week Thomas Keller opened his new bakery in Yountville. The bakery is located in the building next door to Bouchon, it has no sign saying what is inside; people are simply drawn in by the smell.

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(sticky bun, croissant, apricot spice scone, pain au chocolat, a double latte - $10.70)

I have been to the Bouchon Bakery three times now in the past three days, twice Friday and once Saturday. Each time I have ordered a double latte and some assortment of pastries and bread. Everything is outstanding, I may even need to reconsider my hatred of pod-based espresso machines as their espresso machine uses illy pods and makes some of the best lattes I've had anywhere and every one is equally incredable.

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(lemon tart - $4.25)

This lemon tart is worth driving several hours for; infact I suspect Yountville will now be on the way to all sorts of places regardless of what a map may say. All the bread at the French Laundry and Bouchon will be baked at the Bouchon Bakery; other local restaurants I suspect will purchase bread from them as well.

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Thanks for doing this legwork so selflessly on our behalf.

Do they make any actual bread there? If so, have you tried it? If so, is it good? If so, why? Also, do you like me?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Do they make any actual bread there? If so, have you tried it? If so, is it good? If so, why? Also, do you like me?

They do make bread there, the bread looks amazing but I have not tried it as I've got half a dozen loaves of bread around the kitchen from my efforts to perfect an open crumb sourdough bread. But I suspect I'll end up back there today anyway, so I'll try their bread. Or I suppose I could just go to lunch at Bouchon as they will be serving the bread there...

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Okay, I'll be heading there before work some day this week! That lemon tart DOES look fabulous but it is going to be hard for me to find a croissant that surpasses those I get at Nugget in Vallejo.

Yep, it shocked me -- I've been eating at hoity-toity bakeries in Paris, London, and Los Angeles (I'm thinking La Brea here), and Nugget's croissants are truly THE most flaky and buttery I've ever experienced.

BTW, Melkor, I can't wait to meet you! Do you do sushi? There is an amazing Temaki place I frequent (two times a week, at least!) in Fairfield. Again, shocking... I've eaten at Matsuhitsa's and still find this small hole-in-the-wall comparable to those I've been to in SF, London, and L.A...

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So I never managed to make it to the bakery when I was running around today. Instead we went to dinner at Bouchon, I'll post about that tomorrow. The bread kicks ass, at Bouchon they serve sections of an ear of wheat baguette when you are seated. The baguette is perfectly crisp on the outside and has a very light and open crumb with a chewy texture. I'll most likely be back at the bakery sometime this week and I'll try some of their other breads.

Where in Vallejo is Nugget? I'm not big on sushi, but Ms Melkor is - so that could work.

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Do you know what kind of oven this place is using (stone/brick, steel; gas, coal, wood, electric)? Are the breads leavened with commercial yeast or with a starter?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Do you know what kind of oven this place is using (stone/brick, steel; gas, coal, wood, electric)? Are the breads leavened with commercial yeast or with a starter?

Guess I've got a reason to go back today. I'll also grab a couple of croissants and try and find Nugget in Vallejo to compare them.

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Interior photos!

French Laundry finally has a good web site.. On the bouchon page they have a link to the designer's site with some pictures. Here.


Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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Those photos are the restaurant Bouchon, they have opened a bakery next door called Bouchon Bakery. I'll see if I can get some interior photos without being arrested, they only have counter service and the room is all of 500 square feet.

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Guess I've got a reason to go back today.  I'll also grab a couple of croissants and try and find Nugget in Vallejo to compare them.

Ooops! It is the Nugget in VACAVILLE! I keep forgetting which "V" city is to the east of me vs. which one is to the west of me...

Mea culpa.

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Interior photos!

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I got there as they were still setting up the counter, the display case is full later in the day.

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The bottom three ovens are electric and they are used for baking bread, the top oven is gas and is where all the pastries made. They are 14' deep, with a slate floor.

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I bought a ciabatta, but since this is a French bakery we’ll call it a rustiq. They use wild yeast for most of their breads.

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This is an especially good ciabatta, a nice thick crust with a perfect balance between crunchy and chewy. The crumb is very soft, with a faint hint of olive oil, this is damn good bread. If the bread from my oven were half as good I’d be excited.

Vacaville is a hike from here, I'll check out their croissants next time I'm out there. I guess my lunch today will have to be a sandwich of some kind of the croissant I got from Bouchon.

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I got an unexpected boon of a day off on Tuesday -- I'm going to make the Great Croissant Excursion... Starting in Vacaville, then through Napa, picking up Croissants from several known bakeries there, and on to Yountville for Bouchon's Croissant.

Should I post my results here or start a separate thread?

And, with the addition of a new digital camera, I'll have photos too!!!!!

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I got an unexpected boon of a day off on Tuesday -- I'm going to make the Great Croissant Excursion... Starting in Vacaville, then through Napa, picking up Croissants from several known bakeries there, and on to Yountville for Bouchon's Croissant.

Should I post my results here or start a separate thread?

Excellent idea! But you should start a new thread as more people are likely to see it that way.

If your going to be running around Napa tomorrow you should come to the farmers market, I usualy go around 7:30 or 8am. PM me if you'll be there.

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the bread consultant is mark furstenburg of washington dc's bread line. they have a separate pastry consultant as well. old thomas doesn't spare the brainpower.

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Thanks for your post, Melkor. You inspired me to trek to Yountville today, and it was well worth the drive. The bakery was fantastic, needless to say. I bought quite a few pastries and a couple of loaves of bread...all wonderful. Anyone who lives within a hundred mile radius should trek, trek, trek.


Kelli

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Thanks for your post, Melkor.  You inspired me to trek to Yountville today, and it was well worth the drive.  The bakery was fantastic, needless to say.  I bought quite a few pastries and a couple of loaves of bread...all wonderful. Anyone who lives within a hundred mile radius should trek, trek, trek.

Glad you enjoyed it, where else did you stop while you were in the area?

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The people who were with me had never been to the Napa area before, so we stopped in Napa, St. Helena, Calistoga, etc. and spent entirely too much money. We didn't really eat anywhere else, as our baked goods were completely filling. Very fun and very warm.


Kelli

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The bottom three ovens are electric and they are used for baking bread, the top oven is gas and is where all the pastries made.  They are 14' deep, with a slate floor.

I recently had the chance to trail a bread baker shift here and would like to clarify a few things and add my 2 cents....

The bottom three ovens shown are actually the gas ones where the bread is baked. The loaves get steamed initially, although the steam is vented out in the final few minutes to further develop the crust.

The top oven is electric but I did not see it used while I was there due to bad calibration.

Pastries are baked inside the production area out of sight in smaller electric ovens.

Overall I was very impressed with the precision and attention to detail of the bakery; doughs mixed at exact temperatures and never overproofed, etc. They recently boosted production for their wholesale operation and in my opinion the QC dropoff was almost negligible. Still some of the best bread I've ever had.

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I only had a croissant..........and dare I say.....shrug. The best part was I asked for butter and they had it and it was good butter. :blink:


Lobster.

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I've been visiting the Bouchon Bakery fairly regularly for the last seven months - a few things have changed. They have started offering sandwiches for lunch. Their croissants have improved - they are even richer now than they were when they first opened. They seem to be producing twice as many different things now, the nutterbutter sandwich being my current favorite :smile:

All in all, if you haven't been there yet, you’re missing out.

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Melkor, are you talking about the already-made sandwiches? Everytime I get my hair done in Yountville (Moonlighting - great place!), I stop in to get a "ham and cheese on a baguette" sandwich with the little pickles and onions on the side. I think they've been offering these since my initial visit there in September. The cheese is so subtle that at first I thought they'd buttered the bread and left the cheese off.

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Yep, the pre-made sandwiches weren't available the first week or two when I posted the photos earlier in this thread - or at least I didn't stop in when they had any.

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melkor: thank you for photos, esp interiors of the bread....i can almost smell them!

but please: a sandwich on a croissant!? promise me you won't do this, at least until we can talk this thing through. there are so many good breads to make sandwiches with......don't do this thing on a buttery, tender croissant.

and carolyn: good girl! i love it: not afraid to mention nugget in vacaville with the finest bakeries in paris, london, nyc, sf, napa etc. I often go to the nugget in davis for their israeli feta cheese. really excellent!


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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