Food, Home & Lifestyle

Baking à la Poilâne

Apollonia Poilâne

Lesson time 10:10 min

Learn some of Apollonia’s core baking philosophies—including using all of one’s senses—as well as practical guidelines for ingredients and equipment.

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Topics include: The Four Stages of Freshness · Ingredients · Equipment · Beyond the Recipe: Environmental Factors


[MUSIC PLAYING] - There is science and there's also arts about baking. When apprentice comes to Poilane, we train them for nine months. And at the heart of hearts, what we teach them is how to attune their five senses to their environment, to the ingredients, to the dough they're baking that day. We have very little measures in the bakery. We use our hands, which are some of the most sophisticated tools. Using your five senses is something that's absolutely key at Poilane to bake a consistent, perfect loaf. At home, it's your gateway, the way you're going to start baking without feeling daunted by the scientific numbers, without being daunted by the artful talk. The five senses approach is a way of opening your senses to what is the right sound, what is the right sight for a well baked loaf, what is the right smell for a starter or when that starter has gone off. What is the feel of a loaf? Does it crackle in the right way? And of course, taste. Baking for me is a sensory experience. And I will be walking you through how each sense is engaged in different stages of baking. Once your loaf is baked, I like to think that there's four stages of freshness. The first is the ultra fresh loaf. It's the loaf you cut through that's cooled down, but it's still moist. It's still full of life. And it's the one you want to bite into right away, maybe not even putting butter on it. After 24, 48 hours, it's fresh. It's not at its freshest, but it's fresh. And you want to put a little butter on it, a topping. It makes for the perfect sandwich. A third stage is when the bread starts becoming dry. At that point, you start wanting to eat it by toasting it or transforming it. Because on its own, it's a little too dry to bite into. And then, the fourth stage is when the bread is stale. When your bread is stale, when it's so hard that you are having a hard time cutting through it, you definitely don't want to bite into it. A lot of people tend to discard the bread, but if it gets to that stage of dryness, then you can use it to transform it into bread cooking material. And I'll show you some of the ways you can cook with bread in the second half of the class. [MUSIC PLAYING] Bread has very little ingredients-- water, flour, salt, and a rising agent. Most people use the word "flour" quite generically. I like to describe the grain of the flour because flour is just a word to describe a grain that's been ground so finely that it becomes that texture we associate with the word flour. I love to use stone ground flour because it keeps its natural oils. Whether it's a flour of wheat, rye, corn, or whatever grain you're using that day, you must buy quality flour without any additives, without any whitening-- pure grain flour. If you're in the US and you don't have a small mill or a bakery that has some freshly ground flour that you can store at home, then I like to go for King Arthur's flour or Bob's Red Mill. Butter-- I am very lucky to live in France a...

About the Instructor

As a third-generation baker and CEO of the renowned Parisian bakery Poilâne, Apollonia Poilâne keeps time-honored traditions alive with every loaf. Now she’s sharing the joy of making bread from scratch with her recipes and hands-on demonstrations. Learn how to make your own starter and a variety of French breads, including rustic wheat, rye, and brioche. Taste, smell, and feel your way to fresh, warm bread at home.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Apollonia Poilâne

Poilâne CEO Apollonia Poilâne teaches the renowned Parisian bakery’s philosophy and time-tested techniques for baking rustic French breads.

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