Bread Baking Class @ Le Pain Quotidien

I’m back from another food-filled trip in the Big Apple. In the midst of so much fine food and magnificent shopping, we’ve managed to find time in our jam-packed schedule and squeezed in a baking class at Le Pain Quotidien. They offer several different classes but we started out with the Basics of Bread Baking. The class costs $75/person and is 3 hours long, and we left the class with approximately one month supply of bread!

The classes takes place at their bakery location on Bleecker Street. They also offer classes in their Orange County location in California.

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Pretty small space for baking so much bread to supply all the stores! If you are interested in the class, sign up early as the class size is very small, 8 to a class in our case.

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We learned one basic dough recipe and made several different types of bread – French baguette, Epi bread, whole wheat batards with dried fruits and walnut, dinner rolls, and pizza dough. Above right, we cut and measured out the dough piece by piece to make baguettes. Below, our teacher Daichi used an awesome dough divider by the name of “the Dutchess”, which divides dough into 16 even pieces.

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Below, making the whole wheat batards. We added dried apples, raisins, and walnuts to the dough.

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Fruits and nuts all incorporated, letting the balls of dough rest before shaping them into the batard shape which looks like a football.

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Using the Dutchess machine and formed little balls of doughs for dinner roll. We then stuffed the rolls with chocolate and buter. Bottom right – LPQ’s amazing oven!

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Rolling and shaping the baguettes, allowing them to rest on a couche cloth. On the bottom right, the batards resting.

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Making the incisions on the baguettes. Just one straight line down the center. On the bottom right – making epi bread with the baguette dough was surprisingly simple! A pair of scissor was all we needed.

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Epi and baguettes rising in the oven!

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We had to work backwards in order to learn so much in 3 hours. We started out with the shaping of the bread as the dough was already made for us. We finished the class with making and kneading the dough and took the dough home with us.

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We used the same dough to make pizza, topped them with tomato sauce, artichoke, roasted peppers, bacon bits, parm and mozzarella cheese. These were done in a flash and we all sat down and enjoyed our hard work together at LPQ’s communal table.

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Just like the baguettes, one straight line down the center for the batards. The dinner rolls get an X on top (by using scissors) so the chocolate would ooze out slightly during baking.

While we were enjoying the pizzas, these babies were baking in the oven.

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THESE SMELLED INCREDIBLE!! And possibly the best baguettes I’ve ever tasted. Crunchy on the outside and so soft on the inside.

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At the end of the class, we packed up all the bread we made and were on our merry way to shop in the Soho area. I took home 2 baguettes, 2 epis, 3 batards, 4 dinner rolls, and a ball of dough which we turned into focaccia the very next evening. Can you say carb overload?

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I stored all the bread in the freezer (in individual ziploc freezer bags) in preparation for their journey back to California. They traveled well and once I got back home, I continued to store the bread in the freezer. A quick reheat in the toaster oven and I’m right back in carb overload mode. So far I’ve made ham & cheese, grilled salmon and avocado sandwiches, bruschetta and crostinis. I haven’t tried the batards yet, but I imagine a simple schmear of butter will be just perfect.

Looking forward to part 2 of the baking class the next time I visit NYC!

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