A Tour of La Farm’s Downtown Bakery

Story originally appeared on FoodCary.

Cary, NC – Last week, we wrote about La Farm opening its new downtown bakery on Chatham Street and the thought process behind Lionel and Missy Vatinet’s decision to move and expand. Earlier this week, CaryCitizen got to join newspapers and television stations from around the Triangle to tour the bakery and get a closer look at the bread it creates.

Inside La Farm

Touring La Farm, it is quickly apparent what some of the benefits are to the new location, aside from the proximity to a new customer base downtown. The large space allows each step in the bread-making process – mixing, shaping, proofing, baking, refrigeration – its own space. And the whole bakery is designed all the way down to the air ducts and the separate air conditioning for the pastry room. As Lionel Vatinet said, air conditions all the way down to humidity can affect the baking.

“Air flow can damage the skin and affect fermentation,” Vatinet said. “You adapt to the weather. You don’t wait for it to adapt to you.”

A temperature controlled room for making pastries

This extra space also allows Vatinet and his bakers to work with more kinds of grains, making the bakery into a kind of research-and-development lab. Among the breads Vatinet showed were made from buckwheat, barley, 100 percent rye and spelt. Some, such as the spelt bread with pumpkin seeds mixed in, are not released yet and will be sold at La Farm in the coming weeks.

In the bakery section of La Farm, there are large mixers for the quantity of bread the bakery makes and ships out, then a long central table for hand-mixing and shaping, across from the pastry room. Vatinet demonstrated a number of shaping techniques, instructing bakers to use the force of the table to their advantage and to keep their hands always moving. He even styled a special epibaguette, shaped into a stalk of wheat so there are more ends on it.

“Crust is the most important and the best part of a baguette is the hard end,” Vatinet said. “This way, there are multiple ends to get that good, firm crust.”

To read the full story, go to FoodCary.com

Story and photos by Michael Papich. Food coverage on CaryCitizen sponsored in part Maximillians Grill in Cary.