Last week, I pulled the trigger and signed up for a cooking class, crossing another thing off of my “27 Things While I’m 27” list. I love being in the kitchen and find it quite therapeutic. In fact, my favorite time of the day is around 4:30pm when I finish writing, wrap up my homework, shutdown my computer, and head into the kitchen to begin prepping for dinner. I’ve been wanting to take a cooking class for a long time, but struggled with the pricing of some of the more popular classes – I just couldn’t shell out $90 for a two hour cooking class!
Because of this, I was so excited to move to Colorado Springs and find Blandine from The French Kitchen. She is a precious, kind, and funny French woman who moved to America 8 years ago with her family and has been teaching a myriad of cooking classes out of her gorgeous home kitchen. They actually just bought their first storefront and will be moving The French Kitchen just down the road from us in December and will have a full, industrial kitchen, a gift shop, and a little cafe to enjoy snacks and coffee – I cannot wait to visit it!
I signed up for Blandine’s introduction to French baking class. It was only one hour and we learned how to make amazing baguettes and dinner rolls. I’m so glad I took the class and left feeling like I can definitely duplicate the recipe at home on my own, especially because Blandine has adapted the recipe for the higher elevation (Colorado Springs is about 6,000 feet above sea level), especially when keeping these three tidbits in mind.
1. French baguettes are actually really easy to make
This was quite surprising! I’ve heard such horror stories of making homemade bread and, other than a quick stint in trying to make homemade sourdough bread after watching Cooked, have mostly stuck to storebought or bread machine bread. Baguettes are made up of only bread flour, yeast, salt, water and milk, all ingredients that you mostly have on stock in your kitchen. It only takes a couple minutes to mix up the dough, ninety minutes for the dough to rise, and then 20 minutes to bake. Quick and straightforward. And SO delicious, much better than anything I’ve ever bought at the grocery store.
2. They are freezer friendly
The recipe we were given makes about 4 medium-sized baguettes, which is a lot of bread. I was so thankful when Blandine shared that this bread freezes really nicely (side note: I love making lots of food and freezing it – just wait until we have a house with space for a deep freeze!). You can just slice it up like you want, place it back to back in a ziploc bag, and freeze it for a couple months. Yesterday I pulled out four slices of the bread, popped it in our toaster oven for four minutes, and Andrew and I had delicious toast for breakfast!
3. Water is your friend
Our final step before popping the baguette dough into the oven was to spritz it lightly with water which helps give it that beautiful golden brown look. Also, and my biggest takeaway/suggestion from the class, you want a loaf pan of water in your oven as you bake the bread. Blandine suggested placing the pan of water in the oven as it is preheating, so that by the time you place your dough in there is already plenty of steam circulating around. She would place her loaf pan of water on the bottom rack, off the right side of the oven, and then put the pan with the dough on the top rack, off to the left side, creating more space for evaporated water to move around.
// I can’t wait to make some more dinner and LOVE that we can have them in the freezer to pull out on a busy weeknight or weekend brunch. Do you have any favorite homemade bread recipes?