If you pop by The Wee Boulangerie, you are likely to meet Nolwenn, Rianna, Dove, Helena or Tanguy. At the back you might glimpse at Jamie, Helena, Katia.
Who we are…
We’ve gathered here answers to some questions frequently asked by our customers. Along the answers you will get a glimpse at how the Wee Boulangerie operates, what our bread is made of, and why if you pop in at 10am asking for a baguette you will very likely be disapointed….
Nope. Quite the opposite. We are a wee artisan bakery, born out of our love of real, good bread, and aiming to share just this with people of the Southside of Edinburgh (and from further afield should they be willing to travel).
All the breads, buns, croissants, macarons, tartlettes, cakes, biscuits, nougat, croutons are made from scratch, daily, in the bakery at the back of The Wee Boulangerie.
We use quality flours,without additives, from FWP Matthews, Les Grands Moulins de Paris and Shipton Mills. We use local free range eggs, milk and quality butter from Graham’s dairy.
We make bread slowly, using long fermentations and traditional techniques, to develop naturally the taste and qualities of our breads. We use bakers yeast (very little) as well as two different sourdough ferments, nicknamed Otis (a “San Fransisco” type sourdough) and Heather (a rye sourdough started with a pinch of Scottish heather honey) to create different tastes and flavours.
It is only the soup that we don’t make, rather, we get it from the lovely soupmongers of Union of Genius.
For good reasons. There is no additives or preservatives in our breads. This, and the patient fermentation techniques we use are why our breads age gracefully and keep delicious and moist for a few days.
Usually, the country bread is out at 9am, the baguettes and the white bread at 11h30, the sourdough around midday. This might vary, as we don’t use (or have) a prover, so the outside temperature (if catching the baker unaware) can slow down or speed up the whole bread-making process.
Many reasons for this. The main one is because the bakery is in a dwelling area, it is not allowed to operate between 11pm and 6am. Possibly the only bakery in Edinburgh subjected to this constraint by the Council, but hey. So no baking before that. And then, we use slow fermentations (mostly overnight) with very little yeast to make better bread, so, it all takes time…And it is only around 11h30 that the baguettes are ready.
Nothing is wasted.
We give the bread away to charities. We have used various outlets over the years, from gettting it picked up by the Cyrenians or brought to charities such as the Salvation Army or Jericho house. Currently, during the week, we are giving the day-before bread to Scoosh after school club where it is used for healthy kids snacks there, and on week ends, bread is kindly collected by Liz for The Braidwood Centre.
However we are always looking for charities interested to pick up (often small amounts of) bread and products…please get in touch if you’d be interested.
Some of the production goes to an office in Stockbridge and is sold the next day through an honesty box.
Some of the bread becomes delicious breadcrumbs, some become irresistible croutons.
Up to recently, what got through the net of these various options and became stale is kept and brought by the Katia and her kids to Gorgie Farm or other places with pigs and nearby kids attractions. However, this is no longer possible because of new regulations so we are actively looking for farms/people able to use this for their pigs/chicken etc.
Please do get in touch if you know people who can be interested.
Jamie is a well travelled patisserie chef from Glasgow, who discovered after a few years that his heart was in bread making. He has then worked in various artisan bakeries in Britain and New Zealand before joining The Wee Boulangerie in April 2014. He is now our main baker. He created Heather, our rye sourdough culture, and consistently produces stunning breads and pastries. That, in my experience, can only happen when the baker truly loves their craft.
In July 2014, Sophie has started as a young apprentice, with the help of the Edinburgh Job fund and YES fund. You can see her talking about it on http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20220/economic_development/385/a_strategy_for_jobs (starting at 3.53 minutes)
Katia, who set up The Wee Boulangerie in 2012 (from scratch, just as our breads), has formally trained as a baker in France, first in the INBP in Rouen with Thomas Marie, now a “Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF)”, and the EFBA in Aurillac, ran by Christian Vabret, also a MOF.
She’s also worked and trained in “Le Pain D’Eric”, an organic bakery in Camelas (Pyrenees Orientales) with a wood-fired oven (actually, almond-shells-fired oven) wholesaling to the local markets, “Le Quartier Du Pain” in Paris (where she learnt the recipe for the almond croissants), over three years in Peter’s Yard in Edinburgh.
Before that, she got her hands floury at James Morrison’s Bakery in the Little France of Edinburgh -where she’s learnt a good few tricks of the trade, as well as some proper baker patter, such as “shift yer arse into gear” (please proceed with the task at hand as diligently as possible), “denny fart aboot”, (do not stand idle or beat around the bush).
And before that still, she was a lecturer and researcher in signal processing in the school of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh…