When I first started planning my 40th birthday trip, I was only planning on going to Greece. When I decided to add Paris to my trip, my very first thought was the prospect of taking a class at the famed Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. I was thrilled when I found a class in bread baking since I had just started working with yeast. I was grateful for my friend, Christy, who said that she also wanted to take the class! Before we had confirmed that they had a translator, we were signed up and ready to meet bread lovers from around the world, consume as much bread as possible, and absorb as much bready knowledge as possible.
We left our hotel in the St Germain area an hour before we had to check into the school, to account for any wrong turns, missed exits, strikes or anything else that could possibly go wrong…which of course guaranteed that we’d arrive 45 minutes early. After we arrived at the school [yes, 45 minutes early], we picked up our packet that contained a recipe book, apron, and towel – my favorite item being the apron! We were directed upstairs to enjoy a cup of coffee and freshly baked croissants. I have to admit that I had more than my fair share. Lucky for everyone else, the basket was huge. A girl’s gotta eat, yo.
Our Chef was Jean-Jacques Tranchant, a brilliant bread baker. He hid his command of the English language behind his interpreter. I caught on when he chuckled in response to some of my more sarcastic comments. I accused him of understanding English perfectly and he blithely smiled at me and continued to work his dough. Don’t let this guy fool you.
Chef went through a step by step explanation of the how’s and why’s of what he was doing – from mixing the flour proportion to kneading the dough. I loved the level of care that he put into each facet of the bread baking. I envied his ease of making the dough bend to his will.
We made enough baguettes to take into lunch with us. I loved the crunchy crust protecting the soft piping hot bread! I have to admit that I almost ate an entire baguette all by myself…slathered in rich [european style] butter. I could’ve eaten the whole thing and made it my lunch but then I would’ve missed out on terrines, caprese, avocado stuffed with crab, and melon with prosciutto.
There seems to be a common theme with the cooking classes I take: Wine. I almost didn’t want to go back to class. Almost. The temptation of bready goodness waiting for me in class was too much to resist. After I had another crab stuffed avocado, of course. And a glass [or three] of wine.
The best part of the class was being able to sniff, taste, and devour all this bread. We brought some back with us for our friends to enjoy on a picnic! I loved the experience and knowledge I gained from learning a new skill and technique. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks, after all!Le Cordon Bleu Paris 8, rue Léon Delhomme
75015, Paris, FRANCE Tel: +33 1 53 68 22 50