Le Cordon Bleu – Traditional French Bread Baking
- Baguette (Improved Mix)
- Baguette (Pate Fermente)
- Sourdough with Apple Cider & Hazelnuts
Day One started with a quick orientation of the facilities that we’d be spending the weekend in. We were then swiftly moved onto a lecture hall, where the complete and utter basics of bread making was explained. We were taught from ground up, skills like how to read recipes, measuring up ingredients, as well as the role of different ingredients and the effect of fermentation, no question was too silly to ask. Our knowledgeable teacher and head baker Damien opened up a wealth of knowledge into the seemingly simple yet incredibly intricate world of bread-making that were proven to be invaluable throughout our two-day course.
We then moved onto the kitchen, where we were taught the basics of making and mixing a dough, which would eventually be baked into our first ever baguette. Techniques of kneading and folding the dough were explored and attempted, some better than others admittedly. And finally the formed and rested doughs were ready to be placed into the oven.
Meanwhile, we learnt about various additions you can put in a dough, things like preferment and mother that create an amazing fermentation that simply gets better with time. We also started on another dough which proved to be hugely popular, hazelnut and apple cider sourdough. As the day drew to a close, we were able to take home our creations for the day, those tasty baguettes made in a true French fashion.
Day Two proved to be more fruitful and rewarding. The various stages of ferment has completed overnight and our sourdoughs were ready to be shaped, then baked. The slowly fermented sourdough was absolutely phenomenal straight out of the oven. Exhibiting an amazing crusty outer that was creatively scored, and held together a moist, spongy inner that had plenty of open and irregular crumb structure, and of course just the most perfect sourdough flavour as well.
Another notable creation of the day were the brioches, smelling incredible thanks to the liberal application of butter. We were taught how to fold the dough into just the most beautiful 4-strand plait, which was the glazed with egg wash and decorated with pearl sugars. Fresh out of the oven, these brioche looked mighty tempting and smelled sensational, though could be even more buttery according to a French student in our class. We finished off the baking process with the elegantly shaped and beautifully decorated Apple Cider & Hazelnuts Sourdough, which while relatively costly to make thanks to the ingredients, didn’t quite tickle our palate’s fancy at the end of the day.
The day concluded with discussions about the slow and quick processes of modern bread-making techniques from supermarket chains to artisan patissiers around Melbourne. After a quick tasting and presentation of our very proud, and very pretty end products, we were all awarded a certificate of participation for the Traditional French Bread Baking.
Applying traditional, tried and tested authentic French techniques in bread making allows for an experience that can’t be replicated with the modern additives that are applied to most supermarket-baked varieties. The result, of course is enhanced texture, exceptionally flavour experience, and most of all, allows you to absorb all the macronutrients that are present in a time-tested environment.
With such a knowledgeable and experienced teacher leading our class, who isn’t afraid to answer the simplest of questions or correct the silliest of mistakes, this bread breaking workshop is definitely a must for any breadlovers, and proves to be an invaluable resource for anyone who’s even remotely interested in the world of artesian bread-making.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
A thoroughly enjoyable, very well organised and exceptionally rewarding learning experience should be what any education institutions should strive for, and Le Cordon Bleu has hit the nail on its head with this amazing Traditional French Bread Baking Workshop. We seriously can’t wait to attend more of the upcoming weekend courses!
We’d like to express our most sincere thanks to Chef Damian Malone and Chef Simon for all their hard work in facilitating our two day course.
Penguineats was invited to attend the Traditional French Bread Baking Workshop at Le Cordon Bleu.