At La Farm Bakery, Master Baker, Lionel Vatinet’s Passion for Bread needs little proofing.
It does not take long to understand that as a baker, Lionel Vatinet has risen. Watching him work the ovens on the morning batch one begins to understand ‘the dance’. Flowing yet calculated moves, shifting racks, opening doors to peer into hot ovens, pulling out loaves, touching, tapping, to either return to heat for a few more minutes or to pull unto a filled rack and allowed to breathe cool. Long Baguettes are placed individually by hand, scored or cut for final shaping and handled with intent, all the while discussing a desired length from a wholesale client with another baker. It’s 5:00am, I’ve just arrived…They have been dancing for hours.
It’s not news that Lionel Vatinet and La Farm Bakery are well known in the area. Since opening in the late 1990′s, La Farm has been considered one of the go-to spots for spot-on breads and that recognition has carried him beyond our little corner of the world. At 16 Lionel began apprenticing at the French artisans’ guild Les Compagnons du Devoir and after 7 years training, began his life as a ‘Master Baker’, traveling and consulting as one of America’s most sought after experts in artisanal bread making. He not only carries on the tradition of ‘teaching’ to the apprentices in his own bakery but is soon to release his own cookbook ‘A Passion for Bread: Lessons From A Master Baker’ due out this November from Little, Brown and Company.
Aside from the bakery in Cary, La Farm is often set up at local farmer’s markets or can be found at local Whole Food’s stores and has recently added the La Farm Bread Truck to help mobilize and deliver their artisanal breads to a wider audience.
Lionel Vatinet, Owner and Master Baker at La Farm Bakery, stresses the importance of using your hands as a baker, professional or at home.
“Your hand is your memory.” Without the tactile reference and a connection of the ‘feeling’ in how the dough reacts to touch, it would be difficult to explain the nuances of how a dough may be lacking or what changes are needed to bake that perfect loaf. Building experience and memory with your hands and using them whenever you can is an important act to becoming a better baker.
Excellent artisanal bread begins with proper fermentation or ‘Spirit of The House’, where quality and flavors develop patiently.
Irish Soda Bread from La Farm Bakery is one of their seasonal options of bread. It is currently being offered now until St. Patricks Day and will also be featured on La Farm’s bread truck to appear at the end of Raleigh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Festival on March 16, 2013.
La Farm Bakery makes a 100% Whole Wheat Loaf (above left) that features local and organic 100% Carolina Ground flour.
In addition to the La Farm Bakery, they also have a La Farm Cafe where all can enjoy a selection of coffee drinks, pastries, breakfast, lunch and dinner options some of which feature La Farm Breads.
Taking great pride in their coffee program, Lionel and wife/business partner Missy thoughtfully selected Counter Culture coffee as the anchor for their coffee program at La Farm Cafe.