LAB - Fundamentals of French Breads

Course Description:

In this course module, students learn all the basics of bread making, the foundational knowledge for this program and future professional success. Baker’s math, base temperatures, mixing types, shaping, fermentation and baking are the keys to understanding the art of baking and successful bakery production. Students put this set-up into practice through hands-on learning that applies basic skills in bread and breakfast pastry production, knife skills, and equipment use. They create basic recipes to practice these skills and gain confidence for advancing in the program. The major four bread-making ingredients are explored in detail: flour, water, yeast, and salt. Through intensive hands-on practice, students develop procedural and muscle memory for distinguishing among the varying types of doughs and the processes used to produce them. Understanding the chemical interactions and intricacies of the fermentation processes is emphasized. Students work with prefermented doughs to create a variety of basic shapes such as batard, baguette, boule, épis, and couronne. Shaping techniques are demonstrated, analyzed, and practiced, along with core organizational skills needed for actual daily production. Each day’s practice products are critiqued under the instructor’s guidance, and comparisons made among them through focus on taste, texture, and appearance.


Students the Course is Expected to Serve:

This course is a necessary component to completing the 10-week L’Art de la Boulangerie – The Artisanal Bread Baking Program.


Pre-requisites and Co-requisites:

Pre-requisites for this course include Food Service Safety & Sanitation and Food Service Theory & Basic Skills, or consent of the Dean for Student Affairs. Co-requisites include Pre-ferments: Poolish & Sponges; Levains & Starters: Techniques & Applications; Specialty Whole Grains & Organic Breads; Breakfast Pastries & Viennoiseries; Advanced Breakfast Pastries & Viennoiseries; Specialty Breads from France & Around the World.


Training Objectives:

  • The student will learn the foundations of bread making including baker’s math, base temperatures of ingredients, methods of mixing, shaping, fermentation and baking.
  • The student will learn different dough consistencies and how to achieve them using various methods.
  • The student will learn the essential chemistry of and interactions among the major four ingredients used in baking: flour, water, yeast, and salt.
  • The student will learn the varying types of dough and the processes used to produce them, focusing primarily on pre-fermented doughs.
  • The student will learn how to create and bake a variety of basic shapes such as batard, baguette, boule, épis, and couronne to meet saleable production standards.
  • The student will learn critical organizational skills needed to run a successful bakery kitchen, and how to integrate them in daily practice.


Student Learning Outcomes:

  • The student will be able to adequately explain the chemical interactions among the four key ingredients used in bread making: flour, water, yeast, and salt.
  • The student will be able to accurately describe the theory behind baker’s math,the role of measuring ingredients’ base temperatures in preparing bread doughs, as well as shaping, fermentation and baking.
  • The student will appropriately mix and develop doughs of various consistencies to create and bake signature French breads such as batard, baguette, boule, épis, and couronne.
  • The student will be able to explain the variations in dough types and the processes used to produce them, focusing primarily on pre-fermented dough.
  • The student will be able to explain the core organizational skills needed to run a successful bakery kitchen, and demonstrate their application in daily practice.


Course Outline:

  • The foundation of bread making including baker’s math, base temperatures of ingredients, and methods of mixing. Organizational skills needed to run a successful bakery kitchen and how to integrate them into daily practice.(3 hours lecture; 5 hours lab)
  • Different dough consistencies and how to achieve them using various methods. (3 hours lecture; 5 hours lab)
  • Theory behind the chemical interactions among the four major ingredients used in baking: flour, water, yeast, and salt. (3 hours lecture; 5 hours lab)
  • Types of dough and the processes used to produce them, focusing primarily on pre-fermented doughs. (3 hours lecture; 5 hours lab)
  • Creating basic French bread shapes such as batard, baguette, boule, épis, and couronne. (4 hours lab)


Methods of Instruction*:

  • Lectures
  • Whole-group discussions facilitated by the chef instructor
  • Technique and recipe demonstrations by the chef instructor
  • Chef instructor-supervised production of recipes by students


Methods of Evaluation*:

  • Appropriate and accurate responses to instructor’s questions during demonstrations and class discussions
  • Chef instructor observations during recipe production