When it comes to artisan craftsmanship, there are few things more universally warming than that of fresh baked bread, and at Faubourg Paris, the humble loaf is getting the respect it deserves.
After relocating to Vancouver with his wife in 2006, Lyon-born Franck Point saw an opportunity to open an authentic patisserie and French boulangerie on Canada’s West Coast. Four years later, with its flagship in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood, and additional locations downtown and in West Vancouver, Faubourg Paris is carving out a little piece of France in pockets all over the city. Among its delights of pain au chocolat, canelés bordelaise, chausson aux pommes, and the ever-popular macaron, Point and his passionate team make their selection of bread the patisserie’s star: baguettes, brioche, and fougasse, yes, but loaves of fig and walnut, and garlic and cheese too.
Items are baked throughout the day with the assistance of a five-deck oven imported from France—the only one of its kind in Canada. The three-hour proofing process involves keeping the raw dough cool at four degrees until it is time to introduce moisture (80 percent humidity), and some heat (24 degrees). At two o’clock in the morning and once again in the afternoon (sometimes more often on the weekends), the dough is baked. This system allows each shop the flexibility to react to the day’s unique sales demands, and this attentiveness is key. “Bread is alive, it’s a live product,” says Point. “You have to work with the bread every day depending on the day’s temperature and humidity.”
For Point, this care and consideration comes not only from his desire to deliver a great product, but also from a genuine regard for baking as a craft. “For me, bread is art,” he says. “You talk to the dough, it responds to you.” And even though Point has a baker’s apprenticeship from France under his belt, he doesn’t consider himself one. Instead he hired six expert bakers, including four directly from France. “I don’t call myself a baker because I have such a respect [for them]. A baker is someone with 10, 12, 15 years of experience. Somebody who can, just by looking at the bread, or listening to the bread, tell you if something’s wrong. They know, that’s their life. It’s DNA, it’s their passion.”