Andre Tsalpatouros acquired a renowned artisan bakery when he took over Pierre Country Bakery three years ago. The Salt Lake City, Utah-based bakery has won accolades for years for its European-style beads, pastries and desserts, and was even recognized by Time Magazine in the early ’90s as one of the best bakeries in the United States.
“We’re just old school good baking,” Tsalpatouros said. Born and raised in France, Tsalpatouros (his father was Greek) comes from a long tradition of artisan baking and wanted to continue that tradition at Pierre Bakery. The bakery’s croissants, with layers upon layers of real butter and laminated dough, are among Pierre’s signature products. “We even import chocolate from France for the chocolate croissants,” he said.
But with the tough economy and other factors, Pierre Bakery’s star had faded a bit. The stellar products were in tact, but Tsalpatouros knew he needed to make the business more efficient when he took over.
“We’ve changed processes, worked hard to achieve better consistency and quality all together,” he said. One piece of equipment that has contributed greatly to Pierre’s improved efficiency has been the Bloemhof 860L Moulder. Hand production is integral to Pierre’s process, so Tsalpatouros looked to invest in equipment that maintains the integrity of the craft process while increasing production capacity. The Bloemhof moulder, which he uses primarily for pan breads, did the trick.
“Since we acquired our Bloemhof, our staff was reduced by 20% and our production increased 65%,” he said. By eliminating hand moulding for the pan breads, consistency of the product has improved as well. “Everybody rounds differently at the bench with more or less tightness causing more or less bloom in the oven,” Tsalpatouros said. “The Bloemhof completely solved that. It’s really the best investment I’ve made since I took over the bakery,” he added.
He said bread production has gone from 700 loaves a night to about 1,200 with the Bloemhof moulder. Business is booming, and the product mix has moved to about 88 percent wholesale and 12 percent retail. “Because we improved efficiency so much, we ended up being competitive with fully mechanized operations,” Tsalpatouros said. Pierre Bakery now delivers artisan bakery products to customers as far as 60 miles away, including many of Park City’s five-star resorts and fine dining restaurants.
Being a wholesale bakery that is also artisan continues to be a challenge, Tsalpatouros admits. By allowing Pierre’s bakers to focus less on rounding pan loaves and more on skilled artisan processes, the Bloemhof 860L Moulder has made that challenge less daunting and more profitable.
To learn more about Bloemhof’s full line of moulders and other bakery equipment, visit Bloemhof USA.