Tasting the magic of French bread with Eric Kayser

The Jakarta Post Travel – Wed, Jul 23, 2014

Establishing his first bakery store in 1996, Kayser, who was born and raised in a baker family in Alsace, Eastern France, has had a passion for baking since he was a little boy. Being the fourth generation of bakers in his family, he inherited the French baking philosophy and has continued to apply it after starting his career at 19-years-old. Today, Eric Kayser already has 100 stores in more than 20 countries across the globe.

In an interview with The Jakarta Post Travel, Kayser explained that being a baker was more than just a career for him. “Through baking, I’ve learned about the good values of French traditional bread, which is made with modesty and authenticity,” he said.

He prides his bread on using original family recipes with fresh natural ingredients without any preservatives. In his presentation, he showed the guests how his bread had a crunchy golden crust, honeycombed and soft inside, subtle yet still oozing a distinct sour aroma.

“Just like wine or cheese, you can always smell the very good ones,” Kayser said while sniffing his riven fresh baguette.

Although Kayser still preserves traditional French values in producing his breads, he embraces technology too by creating Fermentolevain together with his colleague Patrick Castagna. The machine keeps the liquid leaven at a constant temperature before it is mixed with dough later on. The seemingly simple procedure is evidence that all of Kayser's breads are produced to high quality.

Having opened stores in Singapore and Indonesia, Kayser aims to spread his bakery business in Southeast Asia. After Indonesia, stores will be opened in Thailand and Cambodia as well. Kayser is optimistic that his bakery will be well accepted in this rice-eating region and sees it as a perfect chance to introduce authentic French bakery here.

“As I have seen in Japan, Asians are now more and more trying to consume bread as their daily food as an alternative to rice,” Kayser said. He also sees that pastry can be a big selling point in Jakarta, considering local residents’ love of sugary food.

“But here, step by step, we want to educate people to consume less sugar, because it isn't very healthy.”

In the Eric Kayser Restaurant and Bakery Jakarta, the store uses local ingredients in 90 percent of its components to keep all the products fresh.

"Through baking, I’ve learned about the good values of French traditional bread, which is made with modesty and authenticity."

The coffee served at the store also uses Indonesian beans comprising fresh Sumatra Arabica and Flores Robusta. Sipping local coffee there will still have its French touch with a colorful financier (a small French sponge cake) served as a sweet accompaniment to a bitter cup of coffee.

An abundant variety of French bread starting from the more familiar baguette, croissant to batard, boule and brioche, are available to take home at the store's grab-to-go corner.

“Our bestselling bread here so far is the almond croissant,” said the friendly baker chef, Jose Martin.

Colorful sweet pastries such as éclair, madeleine, and tarte au pommes are beautifully displayed in the glass refrigerator waiting for customers to pick them up. Amid a busy life managing his bakery stores, Kayser still makes time to write and publish six books on bakery and pastry, some of which have been translated into English, German and Japanese.

Persistent in educating and sharing his knowledge, Kayser is often dubbed “the ambassador of French bread”.

“A true baker is a magician who can turn simple ingredients into varied complex flavors,” Kayser remarked.

Read also:

3 must-try dessert eateries in Jakarta

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