The Authentique Bakery
Where Fresh Bread Brings Happiness
The importance of bread in the French culinary tradition is shown by the existence of bakeries located in just about every corner of the country’s cities and towns. It is almost impossible for a French person to imagine a meal that does not include bread, and not just any bread – but the fresh and crusty kind. So when Sophie relocated to Jakarta sixteen years ago, she was disappointed to find the absence of independent bakeries that would offer the type of bread she likes.
Despite her constant cravings for a taste of home, it was not until sometime in November 2012 that Sophie decided to run her own bakery, Authentique, in a lush Kemang neighborhood. Bakeries are not a novelty in Jakarta – in fact, the city is quite packed with them – but most are chain stores located in large shopping malls. Such bakeries are accessible and the variety of breads available is also satisfactory. In many cases, however, variety alone is not enough. Freshness and the authentic touch of the baker as an artisan are equally important.
“We say bread and it means according to which nation,” goes a line in Jack Gilbert’s poem, The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart. Each nation is indeed entitled to its own interpretation of bread, but when one comes from a place where bread is considered to be an essential part of the food culture, it is difficult not to be particular about one’s preferences.
Sophie’s endeavor to recreate the French flavor in has not been met without its own set of challenges. Some of the ingredients that are common in France are not easy to come across here – forcing Sophie to make several adjustments to her original recipes. The striking differences in temperature and humidity have also tested her ability to maintain the ideal texture of her breads and pastries. Fortunately, Sophie’s efforts have yielded wonderful results.
Being a baker requires serious dedication. Sophie and her husband, Edy, along with her son and nephew, Alexis and Maxime, spend ten to twelve hours a day in Authentique. Their direct involvement with the day-to-day operations at the bakery gives them the advantage of truly understanding the business, and of course, of being close to their customers. The combination of their warmth and the quality of their products has earned them a loyal clientele. While most of the bakery’s visitors are from the surrounding areas, many of them have come all the way from Tangerang, Bogor and Bandung.
The freshness of Sophie’s breads is one of the reasons behind the success of her bakery. The baguette, the French traditional favorite, is among the popular choices at Authentique and are baked in small quantities seven to eight times a day. This laborious procedure is done to guarantee the signature crisp of the bread. But delicious breads and pastries are not the only things that draw a steady stream of visitors to this small bakery – the place itself is attractive and comfortable.
Upon entering the cozy, high-ceilinged shop, one is instantly transported to a faraway city in another continent. The place is adorned with handpicked ornaments that are typically associated with the French aesthetic. Sophie has a good eye for interior design, and therefore chose to decorate the place by herself – giving a personal uniqueness to the bakery’s ambience. The new shop, which was opened in August 2013, is only a few minutes’ walk from the original store that is now reserved for baking. Bigger in size and illuminated by plenty of natural light, the current center of business serves as the perfect place to spend an hour or two before carrying on with one’s hectic urban routines.
Being committed to – and more importantly, enjoying – one’s job is a valuable asset to have in this competitive city. With all the hard work put into keeping a homey bakery that provides an excellent selection of breads, it is no surprise that Sophie’s family and team have customers who keep coming back for more.
Jl. Kemang Selatan 1 No. 20
(021) 718 0011