bread & butter

If there’s one thing we couldn’t leave Paris without learning how to make, it’d be the famed French baguette.  And boulangeries here aren’t the only ones baking them… actually, even common grocery stores, like Monoprix and Shopi carry their own housemade baguettes =P  Baguettes are so common in Paris that you won’t be able to walk down the street for two minutes before seeing somebody carrying their daily baguette… and it’s usually not just one… I’m talking like two, three, sometimes more =P  In fact, if you want to disguise yourself as a Parisian, just walk around carrying a baguette or two and you’ll fit right in =)  (Beware though cause people will surely start asking you for directions and locations of the closest metro stop, and that’s when you’ll blow your cover =P)

Of course, everybody has their own preferences when it comes to a baguette.  I prefer mine with a crisp, crunchy crust and a soft, airy, slightly salty inside.  To give it some flair, I like my baguettes topped with either sesame or poppy seeds.  My favorite baguette comes from the boulangerie of Stephane Secco, which luckily for me, is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from my place.  Their traditional baguette is good enough on its own, but whenever I go, I can’t help but go for their baguette pavot y sesame, topped with both sesame and poppy seeds!  (They also make a refreshingly irresistible lemon tart … ranked #4 in all of Paris!)  YUM-O =P

So, after five months here in Paris, I’ve finally learned how to make a baguette! (and a pretty decent one, at that =D)  Pretty gosh darn exciting, right?  Back at home in LA, I thought I had found a decent place to get a baguette, but now I think I can do better ;)  I can’t wait to go back home and get baking!

Not only did we learn how to make baguettes, but also rye bread and pain de mie, the traditional white sandwich bread, which turned out to be surprisingly light and buttery…. mm mm good =D

Now, if there’s one thing my special someone wouldn’t want me to leave Paris without learning how make, it’d be the millefeuille, or Napoleon… layers of sweet, buttery, crisp puff pastry stacked on top of one another with a light mousseline cream filling.  Besides Pierre Herme macarons, it’s his dessert of choice in Paris =P  And lucky for him, I now know how to make two varieties of millefeuille… one a la praliné (chocolate & hazelnuts) and the other à la vanille (vanilla bean)!

What a wonderful way to end our lessons in Intermediate Pastry, right!?  The two recipes I couldn’t leave Paris without learning, both taught in the same week… save the best for last, I suppose ;)

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