Photo Essay: The San Francisco Cooking School’s Laminated Dough Intensive Workshop

by Irvin on March 10, 2014 · 9 comments

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

Laminated dough, the basic building block for croissants and puff pastry, has been on my baking bucket lists forever. Though I know the basic technique of rolling out the dough and forming a butter block, having read about them in various cookbooks and seen the numerous youtube videos, I’ve never really gotten around to do it at home. So when my friend Laiko offered a spot in the Laminated Dough intensive workshop class at the sparkling new San Francisco Cooking School, I jumped at the chance.

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

Taught by James Beard award winning Pastry Chef Nicole Plue, who happens to be the new Director of the Pastry Arts program at SF Cooking School, the Laminated Dough class covered all the basics, from croissant dough which we used to make classic croissants, chocolate croissants and savory braided croissants, classic puff pastry which ended up in our apple tarts and palmiers/elephant ears and kouign amann dough (which is so awesome – more on that tomorrow). Chef Plue even demoed how to make blitz (rough) puff pastry, which was dead easy to make at home. In fact, it’s the puff pastry dough that she makes most of the time, skipping the more labor-intensive traditional puff pastry.

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

The class itself was insanely fun, but also a workout. The San Francisco Cooking School has only been around for a few years and the pastry arts program is even more new. In fact, their second pastry arts class just graduated! The facilities were brand new and beautiful to work in. Obviously Chef Plue was incredibly knowledgeable and answered pretty much any and every question we had on making laminated dough (and baking in general).

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

Of course watching someone demo how to make the dough is way different than tackling the croissants yourself. Rolling out cold butter and cold dough is serious work, and everyone’s arms were sore after a day of pounding butter and folding and turning the dough. Some people jumped on the professional equipment, as there was a laminated dough sheeter  available for us, but I was determined to do it by hand so I could get a sense of how the silky smooth dough should feel. Still, the reward of biting into a flaky shatteringly crisp croissant made it all worthwhile. We went home with boxes of baked goods to eat and giveaway to our friends and the satisfaction of accomplishing something that scares even the most seasoned home baker. Best of all, we left with the skill set and the knowledge base to tackle the dough at home. Chef Nicole Plue completely demystifying laminated dough for me, and I found myself, the very next day, developing a quick and easy version of the Kouign Amann for the novice home baker. You’ll have to stop by tomorrow for that recipe! Thanks Chef Plue and San Francisco Cooking School for breaking down laminated dough and giving me the tools to tackle what seemed so intimidating, and showing me how easy it really is.

San Francisco Cooking School - Laminated Dough Class. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

Special thanks to Laiko Bahrs and the San Francisco Cooking School for letting me attend the Laminated Dough Intensive Three-Day Workshop. Even though the class was provided complimentary to me, I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina @ The Hungry Australian March 10, 2014 at 5:45 am

What an amazing experience, Irvin! I’d love to do something like this. I did a pastry class once and I was amazed at how much of a workout it was – you need serious muscles to be a baker! ;)

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The Suzzzz March 10, 2014 at 9:42 am

I’m jealous! Laminated pastry has always been difficult for me. Mine always come out heavy, not light and flakey…but then again my kitchen is an enemy of anything that needs to raise so I’ve just given up on most baking. Can’t wait to see your kouign amann recipe.

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Arthur in the Garden! March 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Yummy!

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mary fran | frannycakes March 12, 2014 at 6:20 am

Looks like fun! I didn’t start getting pastry obsessed until I went gluten-free, so I have never tried a laminated dough, but it looks like it is pretty amazing (despite all the hard work)!

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jane maynard March 12, 2014 at 9:01 am

so fun that you got to do this and love the photo essay!

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Kathy - Panini Happy March 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

Wow, I would love to try a class like that sometime! It seems like a really great way to learn too — hands on, from a talented pro. Tasty homework!

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Miss Kim @ behgopa March 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Wow look at that spacious kitchen! When I was learning to make laminated dough in my tiny little kitchen class at culinary school, we were constantly butt bumping and squeezing through each other to pass by (realistic of many real world kitchens). So (both then and now) it is so not fun when working with a really huge person at your station. Well, production kitchens are a little better, but not too much when there’s too many people.

How long was the class? I am guessing that this class is for the hobbyist (seeing that people are in regular clothes)? Or do they conduct it like a real kitchen, yelling/cursing at you, rushing you, telling you to hurry the eff up? I wanted to find cooking classes (at a hobbyist level) but ended up enrolling in culinary school because they offered an ongoing program for both baking and savory..and I just wanted to go all the way. But hey I was there as a hobbyist (at the time anyway), so I did not really like all the rushing, yelling, and cursing that aspiring chef students might have needed. I was dreaming of a more serene (and spacious) setting since I was there for fun.

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Melissa Zeidan March 16, 2014 at 11:26 pm

So fun seeing this post! I just started the part time culinary course at SF Cooking School in January, and had the chance to take an elective candy making class from Chef Plue. She is such a rockstar…and what an honor to be taught by a James Beard Award winner, right? (And such a humble one at that).
PS…I’ll take ten of those kouign amann, please!

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Toni | Boulder Locavore March 18, 2014 at 4:49 am

Feel like I was there! And learned something new; thank you!

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