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Bread Baking 101

My assistant Gilberto wanted to learn how to bake bread.  We all know I have zero patience so I wouldn’t be his best teacher.  We needed to find someplace and someone who would be nice to him.  Luckily we found Le Pain Quotidien.

Fun Fact:  If you’re visiting New York City.  Ask five different people on the street how to find a Le Pain Quotidien.  All five people will correct the way you say it and all five will say it a different way.

I signed my assistant and I up for Baking 101 at Le Pain Quotidien down on Bleeker Street.

I’ve always been familiar with Le Pain Quotidien as a great place to grab a coffee and light lunch.  Their pastries are fantastic and their lunch and brunch options are always fresh and not over seasoned and heavy.  I had no idea they offered baking classes.  I’m certainly glad they do.

First off, the class is in an open kitchen which always makes for some characters who stand and stare with curious and sometimes frightening faces.  It is New York after all.

The class was small, which is always a good thing.  The open kitchen was gorgeous. The facilities were exceptionally clean and well organized.  The class started right on time and we were well on our way to getting our hands dirty.

The instructors name is Dawn, who is the most amazing woman I have met and she did an exceptional job.  She is well spoken, super informative, knowledgeable about the whole baking process and active in the community helping children.  This doesn’t really pertain to the class but will give you an idea as to what a great heart and what kind of person she is.  You are definitely in good hands.  She even gives you her email in case you have questions or need troubleshooting with your bread disasters.

More importantly she is patient and overly kind.  Which I am not or so I’ve been told.  Especially when it comes to dealing with people.  God bless her!

During the three hour course there was never a dull moment.

Dawn was on point every step of the way.  Letting us know exactly what was going on, what was happening with our bread in every step and why certain steps had to be made.

After all the bread comes out of the oven you break bread with your fellow classmates and taste your finished product.  Dawn asks what you taste and what you notice about the fresh bread.  It’s interesting to hear what others taste and notice in bread.

It was interesting to see all the different things we made with just the basic bread dough recipe.  From baguettes, to whole wheat, to raisin and walnuts and even chocolate and cheese rolls.  This is just scratching the surface.  I’m sure the ideas are limitless or finding out would be a great adventure. Screwing up is sometimes a leap to a new idea.

At the end of the class you get to take home all the bread from the course.  This is where you need to really pay attention.  I quickly scanned the class and did what my friend Chris calls “Pizza Math”.  This is where you know exactly who ate how much, who took more than they should have, how much is left and how it should be divided up accordingly so it’s fair.  After I did my Pizza Calculations, I saw who was shoveling bread into their faces and who was taking more than their share.  I saw trouble on the horizon.  I grabbed my assistant and said “Get your ass a bag and get our baguettes.  I’m too full to fight”.

If you’re visiting New York City and have the time I highly recommend the Baking 101 class at Le Pain Quotidien.  It’s something different and more involved with the people of New York.  If you live in New York City the bread class is about what you’d pay, perhaps even less, than what you’d pay for dinner and drinks for a night out.  You’ll learn something new and possibly meet new people.  At least you’d meet Dawn if no one else.

Find the schedule for bread baking classes here: Le Pain Quotidien Bakery Class Calendar

If you’re not already on my mailing list please do sign up.  Every month there are giveaways!  Who doesn’t love free stuff??  

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Ever notice that ricotta cheese isn’t really anything special until something has ricotta in it, then you go, “Oooh”.  Ask someone if they want a slice of cheesecake. When they say “No”, tell them it’s ricotta cheesecake.  “Oooh”. Read More

The Abnormal Beauty Company – This months giveaway.

I was debating what to give away this month to my readers.   When I got to thinking.  Since I’m just like Oprah.  Why don’t I giveaway one of my favorite things?

We really do have a lot in common, her and I, that I had never really realized until I sat down and thought about it.  We both love dogs.  We both think we’re God.  We both love to eat.  She has her friend Gayle.  I have my Assistant Gilberto.  She interviews people.  I sit on my couch and pretend to interview people.  She has a ton of money.  I expect people to treat me like I have a ton of money.

We both have a-ha moments.  I’m sure they are way different.  Mine are more like, “Man, I hate my job. A-ha, there’s booze in my locker!”
Oprah’s are more like, “M’am, you can’t treat the staff like shit.”   “A-ha!  But I’m Oprah!”

We had so much in common that it only made sense that this month I decided to give away one of my favorite things.

ONE of my favorite things!  Don’t act a fool like the people do in her audience.  I don’t have her money and companies aren’t lining up at my door to sponsor me and give stuff away for free in my name either.

God I hated that show.

The thing I’m giving away this month that is my favorite thing??  Skincare products. Yeah, products are my thing.  Ain’t gonna lie.  For years I had just been rubbing my tears into my face as a moisturizer.  Now that I’m getting up there in years.  Need something with a little more science.

I’ll tell you a quick story to give you an idea of my skincare overload.  My best friend Brandi and I were at Sephora.  When she looked at me and said, “So uh… how much shit do you put on your face before it becomes pointless.”  Isn’t she hilarious?  That’s why she’s my best friend.  Oh, and the answer by the way is 6.

There is a new skincare company out there called Deciem.  They are an amazing company out of Canada that has killer products that do wonders and get this.  They are affordable.  You don’t have to ask the angry girl at the counter, “Excuse me.  I could buy all the ingredients in this jar at the drugstore for $20.  Why is this one ounce jar $85?”

Deciem is my new favorite thing.  I highly suggest you keep an eye on them.  They are doing wonderful things for skincare, humanity and continue to grow and push out great products.  They even took the initiative to lower the cost of one of their products as they were able to save money.  How cool is that?  In a time of corruption and greed.  A company like this is a rarity.

It is my favorite thing and since they are so reasonably priced I am able to actually give you three of my favorites.  

All you have to do is sign up your email here at Gus Baldwin and you’re in the running.  Good luck!

Past Giveaways 

Win a Bed Beth & Beyond Gift Card

Win a care package from Astoria, New York

Win a Copper Frying Pan

**These will not be the products you will win. Well, maybe one.