Bloom Bakery: Social Enterprise meets urban bakery

Rise and thrive.  One year in to their existence, Bloom Bakery, with locations in Campus Distsrict and Publich Square, is ready to take on more.

The artisan bakery helps those with barriers to employment, through their connection with Towards Employment.  Since opening they’ve been making beautiful pastries and breads for the breakfast and lunch crowd near CSU and Public Square.  To celebrate their anniversary and grow the establishment, the world renown artisan baker who helped get them off the ground, returned to develop new products.

Maurice Chaplais came initially to teach Bloom’s 15 employees European artisan bakery techniques.  Now they can make top-of-the-line products, and a living.  I had the privilege to spend the morning with Chaplais, watching in awe, and participating when I felt like I wouldn’t get in the way. It was like watching a maestro!  His croissants take 2 days to make! (And about two minutes to devour). 

The melt-in-your-mouth difference maker, he says, is the wild yeast he uses instead of factory yeast.  He’s been developing this culture, that actually comes from Indian mangos, for more than 10 years! He totes it around the world and shares it with other bakeries where he trains staff and jump starts their techniques.  Like a pet, he has to feed it every day!  Wild, huh?  This product, however, has a longer turnaround time.  It’s slow and retro, Chaplias says, dating back to Roman times.  Now THAT’S retro.   To learn more about Maurice’s methods, and his fascinating life, check out his website:

One quarter of croissants are butter.  No wonder they taste so good.  And Chaplais favors European style butter because it has less water.  After the dough sits for 12 hours, it’s run through a mechanical rolling pin until it’s less than 1/4 inch thick. Then Chaplain hand rolls it the rest of the way, cuts them into triangles, and masterfully rolls them into the iconic shape. Once they proof for an hour, they’re brushed with egg wash and baked for 15 minutes.  The water in the butter provides the steam to make them rise and the butter itself provides those beautiful crispy layers.

We cut into the perfectly crafted croissants stuffed with frangipane or bake-stable Belgian chocolate, to reveal the honeycomb pattern all bakers are after.  

He also showed me his techniques for preparing baguettes, wrapping them in a couche to rest, and the bannetons (made of cane and lined with rice flour) used to shape sour dough loaves. 

This visit, Chaplais worked with the bakery staff on several new menu items, including scones, a Tuscan baguette, crepes, semolina bread, thin crust pizza dough made with sourdough, and English sausage rolls. Yum!

Recidivism exists, but at Bloom none of its employees have returned to incarceration since inception. Instead of repeat offenders, they’re focused on repeat customers. 

Bloom Bakery is planning its one-year anniversary with a big party and making plans to expand its menu with help from Maurice Chaplais, an internationally known European baker. The celebration is March 30 from 6 to 9pm at 200 Public Square. Go to Eventbrite to register. Cost per ticket is $35.

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