Bringing artisan bread out of the niche market and into the mainstream remains a key goal for acclaimed bread baker Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.
Speaking May 23 at the International Bread Symposium at Johnson & Wales University’s campus in Charlotte, North Carolina, Robertson shared details of plans to open a second Tartine Manufactory in Los Angeles.
“For me, Los Angeles is an opportunity to collaborate with other bakers and chefs to really do something special,” Robertson said. “The Manufactory is a forum to present bread in every possible way to the public.”
The key discussion point, here, is “scaling craft, without compromise,” he added, meaning they will never sacrifice quality of ingredients.
“This is the future of bread,” said Peter Reinhart, an award-winning author, baker and member of the Johnson & Wales faculty, who moderated the event and invited an impressive list of speakers with vast knowledge on bread.
Also speaking at the event was Tom Gumpel, director of bread innovation for Panera Bread, a chain of 2,100 bakery cafes.
“Craft at scale. That’s what we talk about at Panera,” Gumpel said. “You really have to own it. The competition is whoever has lunch options within 2 miles of your location, and often they are craft players. We make incredible bread in the lab, and we’re trying to give it the light of day in our cafes. The first step is deciding what the goal is and going through a path of innovation.”
The first-ever Tartine Manufactory opened last year in San Francisco, offering breads, pastries, breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Open to the public, the 5,000-square-foot location serves everything from savory breakfast pastries to flatbread sandwiches and gourmet dinners. There are cakes, cookies and puddings, as well as ice cream.
In Los Angeles, Robertson is working with celebrated pizza master and restaurateur Chris Bianco. The new Tartine Manufactory will feature artisan bread baking, on-site grain milling, on-site coffee roastery, freshly made pastas, unique restaurants including pizza, and a marketplace.
“If you have a bread-eating culture like in Germany, you have bread with every meal,” Robertson said. “They’ve figured it out.”
“We’re trying to push everything forward,” he added. “I’m super excited to be working with Chris Bianco and other chefs in Los Angeles. We make an egg sandwich. So we ask, how do we make a better bun? At lunch, we serve focaccia, and we are adding diverse grains — some without gluten. We are milling grains fresh for our pasta, and fermenting our own pasta. The biggest idea from this is to build an environment, invite chefs and bring in the best foods possible to people all day long.”
The International Bread Symposium program, titled On The Rise: The Future of Bread, featured two days of discussion, touching on current industry and consumer trends, advances in technology and technique, and the socioeconomic and cultural factors that are shaping the business of bread.
The International Bread Symposium was sponsored by Puratos, an international group that offers a full range of innovative products and application expertise in the bakery, patisserie, and chocolate sectors.