Chocolate Baking Class at Le Pain Quotidien (NYC)

Chocolate breads class The large commercial oven
Mis en place

This weekend, I attended a three-hour Le Pain Quotidien Baking Class, Bleeker Street, New York City by registering via CourseHorse.

CourseHorse is a website that connect people to discover, compare and enroll in high quality local learning programs, ranging from casual programs, like cooking, art, and fitness to professional skill building courses like finance, writing or HTML. Since I’m slowly delving into bread baking, I thought Le Pain Quotidien could inform and enlighten me with a few things about bread baking, and heck, I love chocolate.

Making the chocolate shortbread cookies Rolling the chocolate shortbread dough in hazelnuts
Chocolate hazelnut cookies, sliced Our chocolate shortbread cookies, baked and cooling
Chocolate shortbread cookies

We started the course with a simple and easy chocolate shortbread cookie recipe that involved with creaming butter with a rubber spatula and the recipe’s dry ingredients. It takes some hand and wrist muscles to get the cookie dough where it should be. Our instructor, Dave have said we can use a mixer at home. It’s just the fact we’re making a small batch that it doesn’t make sense to use it.

After some refrigerating time and slicing, these cookies were delicious. Slightly moist and sandy in texture with a touch of crispness. I liked the fact it had enough bitterness from the cocoa that prevented the cookie from being too sweet.

Forming the chocolate baguettes Rested/risen chocolate baguettes
Pushing the rack of baguettes into the ovenChocolate baguettes, cooling
Chocolate baguettes

When we started working on breads, this is when my ears piqued, especially for the chocolate baguettes. Admittedly, the bakery tried to save time by making the baguette dough in advance. At least, I know how baguette dough should feel and react when stretching and forming its batard shape and why they prefer one long slash than multiple diagonal lines to slash their loaves.

Forming/rolling the chocolate brioche rolls Forming/rolling the chocolate brioche rolls
My chocolate "fleur" brioche bread loaf My chocolate "fleur" brioche bread loaf

The chocolate brioche dough was used two ways – one was formed into fleur (flower) shape by weighing, stretching and rolling, seven rolls, placing them like a flower shape, use a egg wash and sprinkle a mixture of gray sea salt and sanding sugar.

Shaping chocolate brioche into a pretzel Chocolate brioche pretzels, egg washed and sugared
Chocolate brioche pretzels

The other way was to cut out much smaller pieces of the brioche dough and roll it out into a thin, long strand of dough and twist it like a pretzel. We treated the dough the same way like the “fleur” loaf, egg wash it and sprinkle either grey sea salt or sugar and bake it in the oven. Of the two treatments, I prefer the “fleur” loaf since it retained a lot more of its moisture.

This class was fun and it didn’t feel like three hours has passed. Even for a semi-experienced baker, this class still improved my baking skills.

To view more photos of this class, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set:

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Le Pain Quotidien

Website; class registered via CourseHorse


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.