“There wasn’t a place to get good bread, and good bread is something we’ve appreciated in our travels,” explained Amy Tyson, of her and husband Zachary’s decision to open an artisanal bakery/cafe in . The couple’s reasoning came from coming to – and falling in love with — this southern Maine town on vacation in 2007.
Of course, the Tysons recognized there were bagel shops and other places for getting crusty delights and baked goods, but they felt their new home could use something a little more traditional, directly from breadmaker’s early morning work schedule.
An early-20th century barn in Maine is now home to Boulangerie, a modern-day artisan bakery.
Their addition to Kennebunk is Boulangerie, A Proper Bakery, which opened in May 2015 in the downtown area. The name, inspired by the couple’s travels to Europe, is used as the term for a French-style bakery. Plus Amy and Zachary visited their share of boulangeries while traveling through the Mediterranean. The couple had met on another adventure – specifically while working on a private yacht – and have gone sailing as far as the Caribbean and down the Panama Canal.
Dark Chocolate Brioche at Boulangerie, A Proper Bakery
About The Bakers
Aside from travel, food has always been a fascination for Amy and Zachary. Amy grew up watching cooking schools on PBS and baking breads as a child. Later on, she attended the Le Cordon Bleu in London and later worked as a private chef on yachts. As for Zachary, who also has his sea working legs, this marine engineer honed his bread skills at the International Culinary Center in New York City.
Interestingly, their baking styles differ: she’s a purist and he likes to experiment with recipes.
Diners will savor this wonderfully tender chicken meat pie at Boulangerie.
Yet the Tysons seem to agree on one thing: producing simple but good handmade bread. “We care for it,” says Amy about bread. “It’s the basis of life and it’s been around so long.” To create this simple but good bread, the couple has developed their own starters – a stable culture of yeast developed to act as a leaven in bread dough – to formulate everything from sourdough to levain.
A delicious glimpse at some of Boulangerie’s baked goods
Boulangerie’s menu is primarily based “on things we like to eat,” explains Amy. Breakfast options consist of traditional pastries like specialty scones, croissants, muffins and meat pies. With the latter, Amy says it’s influenced by their time in Gibraltar and seeing meat pies as part of the British cuisine there. Lunch extends soups, sandwiches, focaccia and a charcuterie plate. With breads, the day’s selection can range from the simple baguette and croissant to flavorful takes such as a pecan cranberry levain and potato rosemary boule.
And there’s always room for more traditional breads. The Tysons’ latest baking project involves Vollkornbrot, a crusty German rye, and plan to install an espresso machine.
Boulangerie’s interior gives off a simple yet homey feel.
The location for Boulangerie’s artisan focus is also fitting. Housed inside a post-and-beam red barn dating back to the early 1900s, Amy and Zachary did much DIY to prepare their rustic location for handling traditional bread-making in a 21st-century setting. Plus the interior gives a homey feel with a community table, a couch seating area and wooden counter spaces.
In embracing their new surroundings, the couple practices their own “crust to crumb” concept in sourcing native Maine ingredients from local producers, farmers, and distributors like Scarborough’s Casco Bay Butter. The Tysons also donate what they make to food banks and community organizations like a local teen center. In all, the Tysons feel right at home in Kennebunk. “Maine is more our speed,” says Amy.
Have you visited Boulangerie bakery? What’s your favorite baked good experience in Maine? Please share in the comments below.