Initiation à la boulangerie.

In the kitchen today when we were pulling bread out from the oven,
I looked around and couldn't help but have a little giggle..
I couldn't believe I am at a cooking school in Paris learning to make baguettes.

But there we were, and here I am..
Very happy with where my life is at the moment.

Today was all about baguettes and sandwich breads.
It was our last intermediate pastry practical,
and I thought it was great to wrap up a chapter by being reminded
that there are still a whole vast world out there we haven't yet touched on..
The world of bread-baking.

And from the introduction that I had today,
I have a feeling that a new passion is about to sprout!

Chef Daniel Walter and I

As the aromas of the yeast and butter started to exit the oven constraints and into 
our fervent noses, I had a bit of a "deja-scent" moment..
a sudden flash-back to my childhood when I used to run about at my
grandmother's bakery in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.
She had mixers the size of spa-pools, and ovens that looked like giant furnaces.
I was in awe at the perfectly formed golden-brown-crusted
creations that used to be expelled from them.

Une Marguerite de Pain de Mie

There's something really pleasing about holding and forming a ball of dough 
in your palm.. and watching it crust and rise. 
You're going to think I've gone silly.. but when I am working with bread,
I feel like I am working with a breathing, ever-changing, ever-developing, living thing.
There is true satisfaction in presenting something that used to be just a pile
of flour, yeast, salt and water before you started messing with it.

Pain de Mie

In the demonstration, Chef Cotte explained that
bread-baking is a major "métier" (craft) of its own.
It is not something you do once and you understand and be able to be done with.
Boulangers always look for ways to improve the look, taste and technique
of their products, and one should never be satisfied.

With such simple ingredients, there are many factors in which you need to 
take into account to produce the best possible bread for your clients.
Even using the same oven and recipe, you'd be surprised at how varied and 
different the baguettes and pain de mie were in our class of 13 today.

My baguettes!

But I was happy with my results from the class, 
Not too bad for the first go, huh! 

Check out the big yeast bubbles and the off white colour!

OK. Enough talk.. 
Now I gotta figure out what to do with all this bread..
Looks like it's going to be french toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the 
next couple of days.... ;)

x Tal


  1. I don't think you're silly! You get it!! Oh man your breads look incredible. I need that recipe (and a real oven to cook in, sigh)

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