On April 21, 2016 I was able to attend a bread making class at Le Pain Quotidien at their Rittenhouse location in Philadelphia. Le Pain Quotidien means 'the daily bread' and the company uses this as their philosophy as they strive to provide only the freshest organic ingredients, handmade quality products and an atmosphere as comfortable as your grandmother's kitchen table.
My previous baking experience was limited to things like cupcakes and cakes, and I found bread a bit intimidating (I discovered I wasn't the only one!). Bread making is a science. If you don't prepare it quickly enough, use the proper amount of ingredients or get it out of the oven fast enough it can wind up a totally different result than you'd intended.
Upon entering the facility for the first time, I was welcomed by the staff and the most delicious light bites I've ever encountered : handmade breads featuring fresh spreads such as an avocado, hummus and artichoke and a smoked salmon. Yum!
As my fellow classmates arrived, we donned our caps and aprons and received a brief introduction to the art and science of bread making (it truly is a combination of both). After a demonstration in how to prepare the dough using only FOUR ORGANIC INGREDIENTS (No, seriously. Not a chemical or additive in sight.), we got started on our personal pizzas and as those cooked, our baguettes (a classic!) that we'd take home with us.
Let me tell you, I'll never look at a loaf of artisan bread the some way again. There is so much that goes into each from the way that you pat out the bubbles to the folds and even the way that you put it into the oven. Depending what you'd like to make there are different rules that must be followed and if you don't follow them just right, you might end up with something else. It's so wild!!