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Learning how to make brioche at La Cuisine Paris

Brioche making class at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comSomeone asked me last week “Why do you take cooking and baking classes in Paris anyway – I mean don’t you already know how to do a lot of that stuff?”. Well, that’s very flattering to think that someone believes I know how to cook and bake ALL things French but really, as with anything worth doing, practice makes perfect. And as someone who teaches (mostly pastry) classes in Toronto, I think it’s important that *I* am constantly learning as well. So you know, here I am in Paris. Learning.

When I saw that La Cuisine Paris was offering brioche-making classes, I knew that I wanted to check it out – I have only made brioche once before at home (and I think I must have had beginner’s luck!) but not completely by hand which I was really interested in learning.  With things like doughs and pastry, while there is something to be said for the speed and ease of things like stand mixers (and don’t get me wrong – I LOVE my stand mixer!), it must be said that doing things, where possible, entirely by hand, really gives you an understanding of how all the ingredients work together and what things should feel like at different stages of a recipe. So, so important in baking.

Ah yes, this was definitely a “hands on” class. Hence, the lack of photos (I know, right?!). Making brioche is a messy messy business…

Making brioche at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut as you can see, it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. Just a lot of muscle and the belief that it’s all going to work out in the end!

Mixing brioche dough at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comBrioche dough making class at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comand of course, there’s a little butter :)

Adding butter to brioche dough on eatlivetravelwrite.comAt this point in the class, I set my camera and phone down as we proceeded to start the messy process of incorporating the butter (all tucked inside the brioche like a nice buttery present) into the dough. It’s a weird process once you’ve squished the butter into the dough ball – involving whacking the dough hard on the benchtop, stretching it out then repeating that process a gazillion times until the teacher says you have finished. Dan Lepard says this takes 4-5 minutes but for us, it was much longer than that! It really makes you appreciate the luxury of a stand mixer which completes this step in less than half the time but if you really want to understand how your ingredients work together, this method is the way to go.

Once we had our dough made and looking like dough again (there is a point in the middle of mixing when there will be butter flying all around the place – in your hair! – when you will wonder if the dough will ever come together!), we got creative with filling and topping them – pralines roses (which we learned how to make too!), chocolate and pearl sugar….

Making brioche aux pralines roses at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comBrioches with pralines roses at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comWhile the brioche were rising, we made baba au rhum – it’s a similar dough but so much easier to work with. We made two different syrups to dip them in…

Making baba au rhum at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comand got to decorate them…

Baba Chantilly at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comMeanwhile, our mini-brioches were coming out of the oven…

Brioches made at La Cuisine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comThen we got to err, eat the babas because how can you carry that through the streets of Paris without it collapsing?

Baba Chantilly with currants on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis was a fun class but most definitely “hands on”. I loved that it showed you really don’t need fancy equipment to make fancy French breads – and this has given me the confidence to try this at home sans stand mixer. I love a class where you come out thinking “well that was way easier than I thought it was going to be” and this was, indeed one of those.  If you take this class, make sure you are meeting up with friends right afterwards because these brioches do not keep well. Such a hardship, right, having to eat all the brioches on the day you make them!

Check out all the French brioche making class dates at La Cuisine Paris here.

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Worldwide giveaway: Win a copy of “Olive Odyssey: Searching for the Secrets of the Fruit that Seduced the World – closes Sunday July 27th 2014 6pm EST.

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Disclosure: I was a guest of La Cuisine Paris at this class. I was not asked to write about it, nor am I being compensated for doing so.  All opinions 100% my own.

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Many of you will know I’m in France for most of the summer. While I slowly blogging about things I do here, the best way to keep up with me is by following my photos which you can do on my Summer 2014 set on Flickr or Instagram where I am @eatlivtravwrite (if you don’t have the app on your phone you can still check out the photos online.
Paris in July

 

I’m submitting this post to Paris in July over at Thyme for Tea.

 

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15 Responses to Learning how to make brioche at La Cuisine Paris

  1. Tamara July 22, 2014 at 06:57 #

    is it true (as the yoplait ad says) that the French say ‘miam miam’ for yum yum? That’s whats going on in my head right now. The class would’ve been fun, but the eat wouldve been divine. Even my gluten free diet would be out the window if these were served up to me. Your posts make me salivate!

  2. Catherine July 22, 2014 at 15:22 #

    Looks absolutely wonderful. Blessings, Catherine

  3. Angel Reyes July 22, 2014 at 16:26 #

    I love the last picture. So beautiful!

  4. Lindsey July 22, 2014 at 18:25 #

    If only I were waking up to some of these treats! Yet another class at La Cuisine I need to take :)

  5. Mr. Neil July 22, 2014 at 19:15 #

    Miam, miam!

  6. Adria J. Cimino July 23, 2014 at 03:27 #

    Looks delicious! It is true that many French recipes don’t require fancy equipment: just a lot of time and skill. Glad the class was fun!

  7. Ann Mah July 23, 2014 at 10:50 #

    Wow, I’m impressed! I love that La Cuisine teaches how to do this all by hand — I always find it so helpful to know the basics, before turning to the gadgets. I gave away my stand mixer years ago — and I’ve even started making pâte brisée by hand. Bravo, Mardi!

    • Mardi Michels October 26, 2014 at 09:13 #

      Totally worth learning everything sans gadgets!

  8. Jill@MadAboutMacarons July 24, 2014 at 07:01 #

    I meant what I said ;-)
    Looked a super class, Mardi. I love making brioche but have to admit, I do it in the stand mixer and am so zen about it, I normally forget about it when it’ rising! Looks absolutely delicious.

    • Mardi Michels October 26, 2014 at 09:12 #

      I’ll probably make it in the stand mixer again too but it was great to learn everything by hand…

  9. Genie - Paris and Beyond July 24, 2014 at 09:40 #

    By hand! Indeed, you did learn how to make them by hand. I bought the ‘eclair’ book at l’Éclair de Génie in the Marais (after eating more than a few!), and need to try them. After several years of making Macarons, madeleines, canelés de Bordeaux, and other French pastry recipes I have learned a few things: use only the best ingredients, weight everything precisely, use an oven thermometer, have a glass of wine while the dough “rests,” and take notes as if you were conducting a science experiment.

    Congratulations on your brioche success. I only wish you were close enough that I could take a class from you!

    miam-miam,
    Genie

    • Mardi Michels October 26, 2014 at 09:12 #

      These are great rules of thumb – baking IS a science!

  10. Geoff July 24, 2014 at 18:59 #

    This post should have come with a warning for anybody on a diet.
    Oh boy… wonderful stuff.

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