Jean Philippe Arnaud Landry studied under a fifth generation of Maitre Artisan Boulanger (Au Baiser Du Mitron in Menton, Nice). As a young man he wasn’t comfortable with 4 a.m. starts so he changed from being a baker to a chef. Fate took him to a resort in Koh Chang. Out of a sense of personal frustration he decided to make the bread he wanted, artisanal with an elastic creamy texture; the result of prolonged fermentation. The General Manager of the resort was Tom Kirk. The chef and hobby baker heard of the Farmer’s Market that was being held on the terrace of Bo.lan and he thought he would like to see if there was a demand for bread. 

The challenge was how to get the fresh bread to the market in time when the first ferry left the island at 6 a.m. The solution was to smuggle it off the island by speed boat at 2 a.m. and load it into Tom’s Ford Fiesta. Much to their surprise they sold the 100 kilograms of bread in just four hours. The demand was there, they had found a gap in the market. Jean Philippe and Tom Kirk took the leap of faith, gave up their jobs to move to Bangkok and form Maison Jean Philippe.

They are currently based in a bakery facility which they built in Bearing Sukhumvit 107 and soon will move as they will go for a full HACCP certification for food quality. A modern professional Bakers Oven from Germany that’s designed especially to seal the heat and steam inside the chambers is used thus giving the bread that magic look; this oven was built onsite by a German engineer.

“We tried working with French flour but supply was the issue,” says Jean Philippe ,”we now use Australian pure wheat milled in Thailand to my specifications. In an 80kg batch of flour I just add pinch of yeast and 75% water, hand mixing is the key to making good bread. Machines introduce oxygen into the dough, which doesn’t happen if mixed slowly and gently by hand. 

“I use a sour dough starter which is equal quantities of rye flour and water, the smell is somewhere between yoghurt and vinegar. It contains a Lactobacillus culture which starts the biological leavening. Compared to breads made with baker’s yeast, it produces a mildly sour taste because of the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.”

Linen couche, a heavy-duty, high quality woven 100% linen (100cm x 60cm) are used to support proving dough, especially baguettes. Linen is the best cloth fabric to use for proving dough as it has a lower tendency to stick to the dough. It’s dusted with rye flour to ensure the dough does not stick.

Scoring the dough creates weak spots on the surface to prevent bursting while baking. The type of scoring performed controls the direction in which the bread will expand during “oven spring”. The pattern of cuts made and the depth of the cuts influences the rate of expansion and the formation of an ‘ear’ a raised flap of crust at the edge of a cut.

Once the bread comes out of the oven it needs time to cool for an hour and a half for the flavor to come out. This type of baking is technically complicated and it took three weeks to learn how to work with the flour.

The result is the best artisanal bread with a hard crust holey dough, acid sweet flavor and an elastic creamy texture. This bread can be frozen and kept for up to three months. They have a little kiosk at The Commons in Thonglor 17 but mainly supply their breads to hotels and restaurants.

Contact: 02 393 3158