A natural rise at Boulangerie Nantaise

Mille-feuille (a.k.a. Napoleon)I needed bread for a soup party, and wanted to go to a bakery instead of a grocery store. At the top of Queen Anne, that means Macrina to most. Macrina’s fine, but in the mood for something different, I decided to spin down to Boulangerie Nantaise—the organic French bakery in Belltown.

Boulangerie Nantaise (BN, not to be confused with Bakery Nouveau) is the first U.S. branch of Biofournil—based in Nantes—and popular for using a traditional leavening process that doesn’t use industrialized yeast. This yields a denser crumb and increases the shelf-life of the breads. (I noticed the latter to be true; the former, I’m not sure, though I liked it.) Lucky for Seattle (Nantes’ sister city), Biofournil sent some starter, staff and ovens here, and we’ve got a great place for bread and other bakery delights in Belltown.

I enjoyed BN’s fragrant rosemary bread ($3.50) and the traditional baguette ($2.60), which is just slightly sour. You can also sit (free wi-fi available) and enjoy sweets and savories. My almond croissant was good (though it made me miss the fabulous ones at Mrs. London’s in Saratoga Springs—a top 100 food according to Saveur magazine), but even better was the mille-feuille, often called a Napoleon here in the States. Alternating layers of puff pastry are filled with sweet filling, in this case pastry cream, with a tell-tale combed icing atop. A sweet treat with coffee as an afternoon pick-me-up!

If you can’t make it to BN for breakfast, lunch, or a snack, you can find their breads at Madison Market, Kress IGA supermarket, or in a variety of eateries, including Skillet, Salumi, and Tilth—where you’ll also find James Beard award-winner Chef Maria Hines.

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