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La Boulangerie Marguerite seeks to spread love and levain throughout St. Paul
In 2017, Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde and Francois Kiemde bought PJ Murphy’s, the now nearly 100-year-old bakery on the corner of Randolph and Syndicate in St. Paul. On the business’s purchase agreement, Francois and Melissa were asked to sign their names and titles. Francois signed as “the baker”; Melissa signed as “the lover.”
As the business approaches its century mark, the Kiemdes decided a renovation and rebranding was overdue. With the renovation - which includes a new oven and a patio right in time for summer - comes a new name inspired by their daughter (La Boulangerie Marguerite) and pastries that emphasize the rich baking traditions of France.
Since the beginning of their ownership, Francois, who studied at the former French Culinary Institute in New York and has been in the industry for 26 years, introduced macarons and his beloved croissants to the bakery. More pastry debuts will come later this year, like their caramelized onion tart or the mille-feuille, delicate layers of pastry atop careful dollops of custard.
La Boulangerie Marguerite, which is open Monday through Saturday, offers croissants, artisan loaves, and PJ Murphy’s traditional donuts and decorated cakes and cookies daily. While you wait to get your hands on next month’s special of Irish soda bread, why not try their famous apple fritters or their spinach feta walnut croissant (pictured below)?
The renovation brought a new installation of the bakery’s Stonehearth steam injection oven, any artisan bread baker’s –– or artisan bread consumer’s –– dream. Out of all the items he makes, Francois finds the most artistry and joy in making artisan loaves of bread, like his walnut raisin sourdough or sourdough boule. “It’s the beauty of looking at a final product. After it's all done, it comes out of the oven and it just fills me with all this joy,” Francois said.
And what’s the secret to the bakery’s flaky and delicious croissants? Patience and time, Francois said. Before the croissant dough even touches the butter for the ensuing lamination process, it proofs overnight, adding flavor into the dough through time.
Melissa stressed that the renaming and renovation was a “brand evolution” and not a re-brand. Since reopening for takeout, the bakery has seen more traffic to the website in two days than it did for months on its previous website, Melissa said.
“We virtually have had no negative feedback, it's just been love, love, love and support,” Melissa said.
Article by Nina Raemont
Images by Victoria Campbell