This week’s post focuses on a visit Purdue University students made to the local independent bakery Boulangerie Basso. There, they learned how to make delicious baguettes, buttery croissants, and other traditional French treats. Programs Coordinator Charlotte Munn describes the visit.
This week, students from Purdue University got the opportunity to visit the wonderful Boulangerie Basso in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. Boulangerie Basso was founded 6 years ago by two women named Florentine and Camille, both mothers, boulangères, and managers of the business. Another particularity is that, unlike many other boulangeries, they make their own sourdough. These factors are what makes the Boulangerie Basso so special, as well as the many workshops they offer for students and children.
Camille and Florentine welcomed us with open arms into their boulangerie. The group was split in two, with half making croissants while the others toured the boulangerie. Each group then swapped activities.
The first group went down the narrow steps into the kitchen to watch the boulanger work in a relatively small, hot space. They observed the different culinary steps to make a baguette; they contemplated the texture of the dough, admired the secret sourdough recipe, viewed the machine used to divide and roll out the baguette, and made a baguette themselves by hand. They had their very own boulanger experience when they made the slashes on the top of their baguettes.At the workshop, the workshop leader explained the recipe of the croissant. Did you know that 30% of a croissant is butter? That there are 16 separate layers of butter and dough? And that each croissant is placed into a fermentation machine at 25°C for 2 hours until it “grows” to its normal size? The students were amazed by this!
As the process of making a croissant takes so long, the workshop leader took out some pre-made dough from the refrigerator and pronounced the famous sentence we often hear on TV: “Here’s one I made earlier!” That made everybody laugh!
All in all, this was an incredibly immersive French experience. The students, who are studying management, asked many questions about the different recipes, supply and demand, and were fascinated to see how an independent boulangerie functions.
Merci à la Boulangerie Basso!
~Charlotte Munn, ACCENT Paris
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