You may have noticed a rather large amount of baking going on on my Instagram feed last Tuesday. Well, the lovely people at Brioche Pasquier invited me to come up and bake with them at the kitchens of Fair Cake based in Greenwich in London.
On arrival I was greeted with some rather lovely looking croissants and pastries and was given a cup of coffee – well-needed after a very long and rather chilly journey.
It was lovely to meet the team behind what I have always considered to be the makers of the best pastries and croissants I have sampled. My opinion hasn’t changed.
We started by getting the opportunity to each make our very own briochette and were given a recipe card – wipe clean of course and welcomed knowing the amount of mess I generally make! One of the best things about today though was knowing you didn’t have to clear up ;). I’ll save the recipe to share with you in another post .
We each took a place at our own work station – there were around 10 bloggers in total – and started to bake. It sort of felt like I was on Bake Off – but better because I wasn’t being scrutinised AND I was going to be able to take it all home to my family at the end!
Here is the baking in pictures! One of the lessons I did learn was how to roll the brioche properly – using the side of the palm of your hand.
Whilst our brioche were proving, we had the chance to learn more about the Pasquier company, a fascinating insight. Gabriel Pasquier first opened his small village bakery in 1936 and he used Levain in his dough which is a type of yeast. The same technique was passed onto his sons who decided to continue to use the Levain to bake Brioche Pasquier products. Raising the dough in this way is more time consuming in comparison to using modern yeast but it provides the unique sourdough flavour, the one that is unique to the Pasquier production line.
Despite the years, Brioche Pasquier continue to use this tradition and as Levain is the most natural way to raise the dough, it does not need any extra sugar. It also brings acidity to the dough that enables the extended shelf life without the need for preservatives. They told me that on average the products last 29 days and they have 5 different sites where they keep the Levain and continue to culture it. I was also impressed to learn that a member of the Pasquier team was the grandson of Gabriel Pasquier.
Brioche Pasquier make 1 and a half million units a day! They have 40% of the whole market share in France and 80% share of the croissant market. No surprise to me given how good they taste.
After a spot of lunch and a good chat, our brioches had the time they needed to prove – around an hour and a half – and were ready to go in the oven. For just 10 minutes. I was VERY pleased with mine and here are the finished results:
The smell even attracted a few members of the public off of the street who came in to find out what we were making!
- Pains au lait
- Pain au chocolat
- Pitch in two different flavours – Lemon Curd and Chocolate
Plus of course the briochettes made by my own fair hands. The other thing I was rather chuffed to take home was my apron!
Disclaimer: I was invited to the Baking with Brioche Pasquier event where my travel expenses were part-covered. I was also given a hamper of goodies and apron to take away. Please note that all words and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way. Thank you to both Brioche Pasquier and the team behind them for a fabulous day.