Adding Art to Artisanal Bread
Nearly two years ago, the Nang Linchi neighbourhood began to notice the soothing scent of freshly baked bread wafting in the air around Chan Kao Road. It was coming from Amantee, an organic bakery opened by entrepreneur Gilles Sandre in 2014 in partnership with Benoit Fradette, a master bread craftsman—one of the best in Aix-en-Provence—and Jonathan Valdman, Fradette’s protégé. Having moved from suburban Chaengwattana, the arrival of Amantee meant high-quality bread and pastries were finally available in one of the city’s lesser-heralded expat communities.
The bakers make fresh bread and pastries the old-fashioned way: by hand, with scrupulous attention to detail, and using high-quality, nutritious ingredients. These include stone ground, cold milled, unbleached, and unbromated flours, all organic, with no added chemicals. Disciples of Hippocrates’ motto, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” the trio don’t just pay lip service to the importance of eating well.
“We prefer a long and natural fermentation of the dough,” says Sandre, who believes that poor eating habits can lead to chronic ailments like allergies. To that end, loaves of bread often incorporate unmodified ancient cereals, including einkorn, one of the oldest kinds of domesticated wheat that’s better tolerated by the human digestive system. And, speaking to their relationship with the products they use, neither Fradette nor Valdman nor Sandre relies on recipes, scales, or timers. When the dough is ready, they simply know. “We just observe and listen to what the dough needs [on a given day],” explains Sandre. “We mix depending on the weather. The humidity is never the same from one day to the next.”
Amantee’s creations range from beautiful baguettes made with organic wheat to butter croissants and brioches. Rarer finds include Kamut flour bread with goat milk, made with an ancient flour native to Iran (Kamut is also called Khorasan) that has a nutty flavour and butter-smooth texture, and an Incan bread with quinoa and amaranth. The most popular item, says Sandre, is “La Bure du Prêcheur,” a round loaf made with whole einkorn flour as well as golden and brown flax seeds.
Recently, Amantee launched a second branch at EMQuartier, offering their artisanal breads, as well as butters and cheeses from Jean Yves Bordier, wine from Wine Garage, and pastries from Issaya La Patisserie—although it lacks the same homey feel as the flagship, which also deals in antiques and artwork. And in March, Sandre plans to open another branch opposite Ruam Rudee Village. Amantee’s products are also available at Bangkok’s weekend farmers markets.
2240/12 Chan Kao Rd | 08 1814 0920 | facebook.com/amanteebkk | Tues-Sun 7am-7pm