Gird your loins for fresh bread, Rosemont: award-winning baker Julien Roy (2013 winner of the apprentice baker category in France’s prestigious Mondial du pain) is teaming up with chef Seth Gabrielse of Foodlab prominence to open a bakery in the heart of the neighbourhood.
Automne Boulangerie will be on the corner of Beaubien and Christophe-Colomb, and it comes with an unambiguous philosophy: “the minimum amount of ingredients possible,” with plenty of whole grains and long fermentations Gabrielse tells Eater. “We want to do what we call ‘real bread’ where we taste the flour, not all the ingredients added to it.”
Simplicity is the key to good bread, adds Roy. “The other ingredients that go into a commercial bread, like 37 ingredients? We want to cut that down to just three ingredients.”
With the bakery set to open at a later date in October, some details are still falling into place, but the duo are adamant about keeping things simple and not concocting all-singing, all-dancing bread products: on offer will be classics such as rye, levain, pumpernickel and baguettes, as well as viennoiseries, coffee and sandwiches.
Although Roy is well-versed in French baking techniques, it’s not going to be yet another classic French boulangerie for Montreal: the pair say they’ll keep some French elements but have their eyes strongly fixed on both the west coast (including San Francisco’s history with levain), northern Europe and Scandinavia. That will play into the types of viennoiseries on offer, which will include danishes and sausage rolls, explains Gabrielse.
“When you look at the Scandinavian and northern European countries, a lot of those viennoiseries aren’t necessarily sweet, there’s a lot of fresh cheese, vegetables, that can be incorporated as opposed to traditional pear and apple. We’ll have just as much savoury viennoiserie as sweet.”
With an aim to keep their ingredients as local as possible (including flour coming from barely off-island) those flavours will be adjusted to bring in produce from Quebec. “No peaches in February,” Roy notes.
Roy is hoping that the mix of approaches will add up to a well-defined identity, making the bakery a fixture in Rosemont.
“Without demeaning other bakeries, we want to tread our own path, make our own identity. We really want to do personalized service for people in the neighbourhood.”
That service would include doing afternoon bakes, so that customers coming home from work can pick up fresh baguettes.
While the two are serious about bread, they’re careful not to cross over into bread fanatic territory, Gabrielse points out.
“The idea is to do events, and have a sense of humour about it. Julien would like to sell Christmas trees out front, or even to have my kids’ classes come here and make cookies one day. It’s really just an outlet for us to get closer to the community.”
But, non-Rosemonters are welcome too, Gabrielse jokes.
“We’ll happily welcome people from the West Island and South Shore.”