Granddaughter Nourishes Family Bread-Baking Legacy
Baking bread is in Apollonia Poilâne’s blood.
Her grandfather, Pierre Poilâne, opened Poilâne Bakery in 1932 in Paris, France. He created the miche Poilâne®, a large round loaf that soon became Poilâne’s signature bread.
Apollonia’s father, Lionel Poilâne, began baking with his father at age 14 and as an adult traveled to the U.S. to introduce miche Poilâne® to a new American audience.
In the mid-1990s he started poilane.com, long before websites or e-commerce were popular, especially for bakeries.
When Apollonia was growing up, the bakery was her playground but at the young age of 18, she took over the family business.
Apollonia remembers, “I took charge of the company from my parents in 2002. I always knew that I would take over Poilâne from my parents and I studied baking, but because my parents had an accident, I was brought in to take over the company earlier than expected.”
Apollonia continues the family’s entrepreneurial spirit. Since she took over, Poilâne Bakery has added other breads and opened other shops, as well as a café – named Comptoir Poilâne – that offers day-to-day foods, grains, breads and other healthy foods.
But one thing hasn’t changed since 1932, her grandfather’s miche Poilâne®.
Geneviève Brière, in charge of Poilâne’s External Relations, explains how the 1932 philosophy and recipe are still relevant today. “In 1932, Poilâne’s philosophy already was to make bread that is both tasty and healthy and that keeps well. A large round sourdough loaf baked in a wood-fired oven. It’s this same quality, a big sourdough bread that keeps fresh up to a week, that allows us today, in the 21st century, to ship our freshly baked loaves directly from Paris to cities all over the world.”
Apollonia is modest about Poilâne’s success and credits her parents for her confidence. “I love my profession and I am very proud that the third generation baker at the helm of Poilâne is a woman. I’m very grateful to my parents for the present they gave me to believe in myself and to fully accomplish my dreams. They nurtured my curiosity and appetite to discover the world and the things in it.”
Watch the video above to take a trip inside the famous Poilâne Bakery, located at 8 rue du Cherche Midi in Paris, since 1932.
Check out the video below and see how each loaf of miche Poilâne® has a direct link to the previous loaf, a tradition dating back to 1932.
Apollonia’s story is part of our series on women entrepreneurs.