Guess where I am right now? … Well, yes, you’ve read the title of the post so clearly I’m in Paris, but let’s pretend it was a surprise. I’m taking a 4-day short course in Traditional Breadbaking at Le Cordon Bleu Paris!
I just finished Day 1, which included baguettes, kugelhopf, pain de champagne (country style bread with fermented dough), pain complet (whole wheat bread), Pain d’ epices (gingerbread), and chouquettes. The class is being taught by Oliver Boudot entirely in French, but there’s an English translator on hand translating everything, so it was really easy to follow. We were supplied with aprons, tea towels, and everything we needed to follow along and bake from 8:30am to 3:00pm!
First up was baguettes, which we made entirely by hand. Fresh yeast, kneading, smacking it on the counter, kneading some more, and finally shaping and baking. (the baguettes below are unbaked)
Next we did two kinds of country bread, one whole wheat and one fermented dough. They baked until they were much darker than I expected, but they ended up tasting great. We also did kugelhopf, an enriched bread with raisins and orange peel, soaked in sugar syrup and butter and dusted with powdered sugar.
We made gingerbread using rye flour and the most gigantic spatulas I’ve ever seen.
And then we made chouquettes– choux pastry puffs sprinkled with pearl sugar.
The finished haul consisted of two baguettes, four mini baguettes, two country bread loaves, one kugelhopf, and two dozen chouquettes!
I stuffed it all into a huge bag and carried it home, and we had a bunch of it for dinner with meats, cheeses, lots of butter, radishes, cucumbers, and lots of wine.