That Time I Made French Baguettes at PAUL Bakery

french baguettes

Not sure if you guys ever noticed, but I’ve never made bread here.

Sure, I’ve made quick breads (aka breakfast cake) but I’ve never made real bread, the kind that needs yeast…

You are right in guessing that I am scared to use yeast. You are also right in guessing that I’ve just been making excuses, saying I don’t have time and I’m too lazy to make my own bread from scratch. All the kneading, and feeding, and proofing – it all just sounds really intimidating.

But now I know! It’s not that hard, in fact it’s actually pretty simple. And not only did I find time to bake my own baguettes, but I learned it first hand at a fancy French bakery.

freshly baked bread

Oui, I had a one-on-one bread making session at the newly opened PAUL in Assembly Row, Somerville.

Side note: fellow Bostonians, have you been to Assembly Row?? I’m a big fan. Great outlet shopping (think Saks Off 5th, JCrew Factory, Le Creusset!), nice restaurants, and an awesome movie theatre with reclining LEATHER seats. And now PAUL is open there!

I love French food, especially French pastries (flashback to when I was in Paris for a day and I stuffed myself with macarons, chocolates, and bread). My friends rave about PAUL bakery, and in fact when I went home t0 Manila, Philippines last year, I went to PAUL a few times because it also just opened there. I remember when my friend Fe and I passed by the bakery to bring home some late night snacks for later that evening. We got a mini eclair and millefeuille, but we barely even left the mall parking lot before we broke into our take out bags and started eating the desserts in the car. They were delicious. Also proof why Fe and I are such good friends.

But back to the bread making class. Baker/chef Nicolas patiently walked me through the step by step process in making baguettes. He said that you only need 6 ingredients to make bread: flour, yeast, salt, water, patience, and passion.

bread making session bread dough

paul ruler

baguette dough nick scoring bread

He first demonstrated how to make the dough, and then guided me as I did it myself, starting from making a well in the middle of the flour pile for water, mixing it in batches, adding yeast, salt, and kneading and kneading and kneading. All that kneading was actually pretty relaxing. Then we shaped the dough into baguettes, and PAUL even has a special ruler to measure bread.

We used a dough that has already rested and proofed (it needs at least 4 hours). See those air bubbles in that dough? That’s a result of all the air mixed into the dough and the yeast working together. Air bubbles result in soft, pillowy bread. Mmm bread. Nicolas  also taught me how to score the bread, which are the patterned cuts made on top of the loaves before baking, and it’s almost like the baker’s individual signature on each piece of bread.

french baguette before bakingfrench bread cut

I also tried my hand at cutting the dough with scissors into these criss-cross pattern, which makes the finished loaf easier to break off into pieces.

paul bakery fresh baguettespaul bakery fresh breadpaul bakery bread making class

Ta-da! Check out those two loaves on top from the criss-cross cutting. You can imagine that I was pretty intoxicated with the smell of fresh bread at this point (and just so excited to spend a couple of hours inside the kitchen of a bakery), but we waited a few minutes to let the bread rest a little bit more before we ate them. I also went home with several loaves, which I shared with my co-workers the next morning. We ate it with apricot preserves and felt very French.

Here are a few more pictures of the actual bakery in Assembly Row (provided by PAUL, photo credit to Lisa Richov for PAUL USA):

paul assembly rowpaul bakery somervillebread counter paul assembly rowpaul bakery latte

And one last photo of the bread we made that night:

PAUL freshly baked bread

Thank you so much to the team at PAUL Assembly Row  for the complimentary bread-making session, and for the treats I was sent home with! I had a really great time at the bread-making class and I can’t wait to go back to PAUL again.

Have you ever made your own baguettes before?


24 Responses to “That Time I Made French Baguettes at PAUL Bakery”

  1. #
    Sues posted November 24, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Awesome experience! And your bread looks so perfect!!

  2. #
    Erica @ InandAroundTown posted November 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

    What a fun experience! I think you need to start whipping of some yeast breads at home now…I read that Paul just opened! Living in Charlestown, the movie theatre there is my go-to.

  3. #
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) posted November 24, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I looove homemade bread and this experience looks AMAZING!

  4. #
    Megan posted November 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Those look awesome! I’ve tried making baguettes a couple of times but they’ve never come out THAT good! Being the baker and baked goods lover I am, I seriously need to get over there to check out PAUL!

  5. #
    Lindsey @ Simply Lindsey posted November 24, 2014 at 11:28 am

    That looks like so much fun!! I’ve made homemade bread a couple times and it’s really fun! I haven’t tried to make a baguette though, but would like to!

  6. #
    Mike @TheIronYou posted November 24, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Bianca you did an amazing job, you’re a true French master baker. I’m impressed!

  7. #
    grace posted November 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    that is AWESOME! i’m so jealous! i’m totally using that 6-ingredient line too. :)

  8. #
    Jenny @ BAKE posted November 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I am so jealous! what an amazing experience! I love that criss-cross bread pattern, such an easy way to make something look so professional!

  9. #
    Sacha posted November 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    There’s nothing like fresh, homemade bread. The baguettes look delicious!

  10. #
    Joanne posted November 25, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Yay for losing your yeast virginity! Homemade bread is really not that hard…and even if it doesn’t turn out as pretty as you’d like, it’s still bread so….

  11. #
    Daisy posted November 25, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    How fun Bianca! Your baguettes are beautiful!

  12. #
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert posted November 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    You go girl! Wonderful experience – such fun to bake with a professional :) I totally failed at cutting the loaves into that design – haha but it still tasted great! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  13. #
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella posted November 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I used to be intimidated by yeast. I think I never quite kneaded the dough enough as I was doing it by hand but once I got a mixer that did all the work it was great! :D Your class looks fantastic! :D

  14. #
    Kelly - Life Made Sweeter posted November 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Yay for conquering your fear of yeast :) That looks like such a fun experience and an awesome way to learn how to make your first batch! Love homemade bread but I haven’t tried making baguettes before. Those ones look incredible!:)

  15. #
    Jess @ Sweet Menu posted November 26, 2014 at 4:26 am

    Wow! That must have been such an amazing experience. And to learn how to make bread that looks like that? Priceless!

  16. #
    Liz posted November 26, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Well, you sure look like a pro! What a terrific opportunity! And your photos have helped me figuring out how to resolve the cutting woes I had when trying to make a bread wreath last week! Brava!

  17. #
    Choc Chip Uru posted November 26, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    What a fabulous experience, it would have been a lot of fun :D
    These french baguettes look so enticing!

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. #
    Honey, What's Cooking posted November 27, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Wow.. you got to make bread at PAUL? Seriously? You know they have the BEST hot chocolate, I’ve tried the ones in Europe – London/Paris, and it’s the best I’ve had. This is so cool

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. #
    Rachel @ Bakerita posted November 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    How fun! I’m so jealous of you, haha! And what a gorgeous load of bread. I would devour that entire thing.

  20. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes posted November 30, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    I’m getting less scared of baking yeast breads – slowly overcoming my fear :) This looks awesome!

  21. #
    Peter posted December 2, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Terrific post! Awesome pictures as well! Would you mind sharing the recipe? Always wanted to make a real baguette !

  22. #
    Molly Galler posted December 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    What a cool, fun opportunity! I first went to PAUL in Miami with my family. So delish! And I agree, Assembly Row is Somerville paradise.

  23. #
    Samantha Angela posted December 12, 2014 at 11:34 am

    You’re living my dream!!!
    I am so jealous.

    I make baguettes a lot but I’m still perfecting them. I have trouble getting the right shape, but I’ve got the taste and texture of crust and crumb down.

  24. #
    Suzie Z posted October 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    OMG I love Paul baguette, I ate them everyday when I was in Paris….the best!!

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