Traditional Breadbaking at Le Cordon Bleu Paris: Day 4

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So this is it. The last day of class. Chef Boudot said we’d be doing less fabrication than on other days, but it sure didn’t seem like it! We had a ton of work to do, probably because this day’s recipes involved a lot more fussing and construction.

Case in point: croissants. I’d been waiting for these all week, and I was not disappointed. Since we’d mixed up the initial croissant dough the day before and let it rise overnight, today’s job was to laminate it– basically, to make all of the fancy layers with butter between each one. FIrst, we enveloped a flat piece of butter in dough.

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Then we rolled out the envelope of dough into a long rectangle.

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Traditionally you’d letter-fold the rectangle into thirds, then turn it 90 degrees and roll it out and fold it into thirds again, and then repeat. Each of these is called a “simple turn.” However, Chef had us do only two turns– a double-turn and a simple turn. First was the double-turn, which involves folding both ends towards the center (slightly offset to make it easier to fold up) and then folding both sides together.

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Then we rolled out flat again and did a simple turn.

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To form traditional croissants, we rolled out the finished dough yet again and made triangles. We slit the long ends to allow for some stretching, then rolled them up like so:

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We also made pain au chocolat, where we just cut out rectangles and put two chocolate sticks in the center.

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After rolling them up and doing a light egg wash, we let them rise for 2 hours before doing another coating of egg wash and baking.

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Just look at those layers!

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So, after the laminated doughs we worked on adding to some of the brioche we’d made the day before. The dough had been baked in cylindrical pans, and we sliced the resulting loaves into 1cm slices, then soaked them in orange syrup.

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We topped them with almond cream and sliced almonds, then popped them into the oven for about 20 minutes.

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Finally, we did a Harlequin sandwich bread, which involved three different doughs, made with squid ink, turmeric, and tomato paste, respectively.

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We rolled them out flat and then stacked them, adhering with water, before rolling them into a spiral.

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Then we sliced the spiral in half and twisted it to make the loaf.

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The finished sandwich loaf was gorgeous, but I have to admit that none of the flavors came through– it just tastes like sandwich bread.

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The top photo is the majority of my haul for the day (the sandwich loaf was still in the oven, as was a natural leavened loaf we watched Chef make).

And here’s me getting my Certificate of Completion for the course!

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After we all got our certificates Chef broke out the charcuterie, cheese, and wine, and we had a little celebration in the kitchen before heading our separate ways. I’ll do a more thorough recap of my thoughts on the course in my next post, but for now, suffice it to say that I’m glad I came and I’d definitely recommend it to other would-be bakers!

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One thought on “Traditional Breadbaking at Le Cordon Bleu Paris: Day 4

  1. Pingback: Gateau St. Honoré | It's All Frosting...

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