Here we are for our first MasterClass review of 2021! After a long wait, we finally had the opportunity to review Apollonia Poilâne MasterClass.
As a third-generation baker and CEO of the renowned Parisian bakery Poilâne, Apollonia Poilâne keeps time-honored traditions alive with every loaf. Now she’s sharing the joy of making bread from scratch with her recipes and hands-on demonstrations. Learn how to make your own starter and a variety of French breads, including rustic wheat, rye, and brioche. Taste, smell and feel your way to fresh, warm bread at home.
Apollonia begins her MasterClass by telling us about her bread baking journey, and how growing up in a bake house shaped her destiny. She also shares a little of the history of Boulangerie Poilâne and its long tradition of baking artisanal sourdough loaves.
Similar to what happened in her book, Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery, in her Masterclass Apollonia provides detailed instructions so home bakers can reproduce her unique sourdough loaves at home, as well as the bakery’s other much-loved bread and pastries. Apollonia Poilâne’s MasterClass comes in at just over three and half hours of viewing time. And It contains 17 lessons covering topics such as Sourdough and Yeast breads, Bread cooking, Bread as art, and Rye Sablés.
Just before entering in the recipes, Apollonia explains the importance of following the exact measurements in the recipes, and the importance of using your five senses. These tips and tricks that Apollonia shares, either at the beginning or during the course of her class, will be very important for those who want to get the most out of this MasterClass and thus take the first steps in bread baking.
01 - Meet Your Instructor
Recounting the story of the bakery started by her grandfather in 1932 and expanded by her father before taking the reins, Apollonia introduces herself and her revered Parisian bakery and explains what you’ll learn in the class.
02 - Baking à la Poilâne
Learn some of Apollonia’s core baking philosophies—including using all of one’s senses—as well as practical guidelines for ingredients and equipment.
03 - Sourdough Starter
Apollonia demonstrates her French at-home starter, demystifying how to build and maintain a leaven and explaining the richness it lends to loaves.
04 - Poilâne-Style Wheat Loaf: Mixing & Shaping
Using the sourdough starter made in the previous lesson, Apollonia shares the secrets to mastering Poilâne’s crown jewel—its world-famous country-style wheat loaf—from mixing to proofing and shaping.
05 - Poilâne-Style Wheat Loaf: Scoring & Baking
Apollonia puts the finishing touches on her wheat loaf—including baking and a scoring tutorial—and walks you through a side-by-side loaf analysis of common baking issues.
06 - Rye
Apollonia introduces you to the Poilâne approach to rye: a rich, floral loaf leavened by the same starter used for the wheat loaf.
07 - Pain de Mie
Pain de mie literally translates to “bread of crumb.” With this first yeast-based recipe, Apollonia demonstrates how using a delicate hand results in a loaf with an irresistible, cloud-like texture.
08 - Brioche
Apollonia demonstrates the way to achieve the quintessential airy texture and perfectly domed tops of this French favorite while reflecting on time spent honing her brioche technique as a young apprentice in the bakehouse at Poilâne.
09 - Savory Corn Flour Bread
An Apollonia original, this corn flour bread is a recipe she spent a decade refining. She shares her process for making the gluten-free and vegan loaf, originally inspired by college dinners at Harvard.
10 - Fresh Bread: Sourdough Wheat Tartines
Demonstrating an all-time favorite from Poilâne’s sister café, Apollonia shares the recipe for her open-faced ham-and-cheese sandwich and her hack for perfectly toasted slices of bread.
11 - Dry Bread: Savory Pain de Mie Pain Perdu
Apollonia shares her savory approach to using dry bread in this tomato-and-curry-studded French toast, a departure from the typically sweet version.
12 - Dry Bread: Sourdough Wheat & Rye Granola
Swapping oats for dried bread, Apollonia introduces an innovative riff on granola, a great use for loaves that are no longer fresh.
13 - Stale Bread: Crouton Variations
Apollonia demonstrates two techniques for turning stale bread into delicious croutons: one oven-baked, the other pan-fried.
14 - Stale Bread: Caesar Salad With Flavored Brioche Croutons
Apollonia shares her reimagined version of a Caesar salad featuring richly marinated brioche croutons that become the star of the show.
15 - Stale Bread: Breadcrumbs & Sourdough Wheat Pesto
Apollonia replaces cheese and pine nuts with breadcrumbs and walnuts in this at once creative and surprisingly true-to-form take on pesto.
16 - Bread as Art: Decorating Your Loaves
Poilâne has a rich history of collaboration with artists, including Apollonia’s father’s friendship with Dalí. Apollonia reflects on the relationship between bread and art, and shows you how to embellish loaves with leaves, roses, and letters.
17 - Rye Sablés
In this concluding lesson, Apollonia shows you how to make Poilâne’s popular grain-based cookies, affectionately named punitions, or punishments, because you can’t eat just one.
As we already said this MasterClass is a good starting point for anyone who wants to begin baking bread at home. In this class, you'll learn about the vital role of the senses in baking, what equipment you need, and the importance of adapting your techniques to your environment.
The first section of the recipes is focused on sourdough breads and all its richness and heritage that a sourdough starter lends to breads. Here you'll learn how to make your first sourdough starter and practical tips for using your senses to successfully build and maintain your starter for future use. After learning how to make your first sourdough starter, you'll dive into the actual recipes. Poilâne-Style Wheat Loaf, Brioche, Savory Corn Flour Bread, and Rye Sablés are just some examples of recipes that you'll learn how to do.
All the recipes come with clear and concise interactions and making them are relatively easy to do even for home bakers without any experience. For those who have Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery you will recognize most of the recipes in this MasterClass. So if you own the book, and are looking for something new, this MasterClass may not be what you are looking for.
Especially design for beginners or intermediate bakers, this MasterClass will teach you the intuitive approach to bread baking that has set Poilâne apart from other bakeries since 1932. With recipes ranging from sourdough and yeast-based breads, as well as recipes where bread is used as an ingredient, this class will be a good starting point for anyone who wants to learn the science and art of bread baking from one of the best bakers in the world.
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In Apollonia Poilâne MasterClass you'll bake in the Poilâne style and spirit, learning the techniques needed for creating consistently wonderful loaves.