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From Burgundy To Boise: At The Doorstep of The Palouse Region


Gaston's Bakery

Background 

Burgundy, France, today is known for an influx of the high-tech sector. Still, before it attracted software professionals and entrepreneurs, it was known for its dynamic and robust agricultural industry. It embodies a terroir of wheat and wine, where the bulk of wheat grown is known as soft white.  Analytical methods are an art and deep science not limited to but include protein evaluation, water content, and a hardness index. Chefs, agriculturists, and scientists are evaluating to ensure the integrity of our food sources. When Mathieu Choux arrived in Boise from Burgundy, France, in 2001, he began his journey just at the doorstep of The Palouse Region, where some of the most beautiful heritage grains are grown. 


In 2001, Boise, Idaho, was home to 7011 residents, comprised of hard-working agriculturists, dairy farmers, manufacturers, and builders. Twenty-two years later, Boise is home to almost 250,000 residents. Mathieu bravely opened Le Café de Paris downtown with all his entrepreneurial spirit. As his breads drew interest and intrigue, he grew his business with the support of the local community, adding a full menu.  Bringing fresh baked croissants and French country sourdoughs to locals growing some of the best wheat in the United States. By 2006, Mathieu decided to focus his efforts on bread and flour, building yet another successful bakehouse, Gaston’s Bakery and Mill



Gaston's Dough

High Impact Milling & Extraction 

The bravery it takes to build out a baker’s bench and establish milling and storage operations on-site is the vision of a fully integrated business model. A baker is focused on the terroir, look, and feel of beautiful wheat about to be ground into flour. For some bakers, the idea is to source locally, factoring in flavor, freshness, and nutrition. A “Steward of the Starter,” Mathieu is driven to bring some of the freshest and most delicious grains to his recipes. Bakers seek flour with predictability in mind, and when they find that grind, it empowers them to determine criteria like gluten content and amylase activity. Amylase is an enzyme or special protein that helps us digest carbohydrates.  


Milling is typically divided into a three-stage process, where you begin with cleaning and conditioning, crushing, and finally, reduction.  These steps are repeatable and extensible in nature, and all bakers have their science embossed into their daily process flows and sometimes trademarked and indoctrinated into their baking culture. Gaston’s has invested in the Unifine Mill system with a high-impact extraction of 90% and four silos on site. This system is unique; it pulverizes grains on impact, immediately releasing flavor profiles and nutritional benefits. This exceptional process is known for its higher protein content, and it generates fine flour that can move to the sifting process immediately. When I asked several experts in grain and milling, they pointed me back to the terroir, the flavors from the soil and land around, and what’s in the soil that matters the most.  


Gaston’s Bakehouse 

Today, Mathieu is expanding his footprint back in Burgundy, building a milling operation and honing skills where bread-baking wheat covers over 92% of the sown fields in his home province. Not to worry, he will be back in Boise soon! Gaston’s Bakery and Mill has a global footprint, built on solid relations with local farmers and some of the best bread produced in Idaho.  Fresh wheat isn’t the only thing Mathieu is exploring; Spent Grains are also on the test kitchen menu! Spent grains have been used to brew beer or distill spirits, and instead of composting, some producers offer them to bakers or farmers for secondary use. These, too, are a good source of material for baking sweet breads and artisan-crafted loaves. For production purposes, they use Hard Red and Soft White wheat varieties.  



Mathieu


Gaston’s has a dedicated, talented, and supportive staff who run a well-oiled boots-on-the-ground operation. Their labor pool is full of eager bakers in training and master bakers with a penchant for showcasing their skills.  A quick note for the up-and-coming bakers: drop a resume to Zoe because they are always looking for new talent. It’s because of this company culture and fantastic food products that one can be proud to be at the forefront of providing such tasty bread and pastries to locals, over seven farmer’s markets, and twelve coffee shops & restaurants locally, and more than eight retailers with large footprints, including Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods Markets.  Their best-selling loaf is the all-purpose country sourdough, something we can all embrace! They are at 3651 W Overland Rd, Boise, ID, United States, Idaho. Gaston’s partnership list is impressive, and they continue to prove their model, one delicious bite at a time. 



Gaston's BAkery




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