Previous Post | Home | Next Post
March 29, 2010
Please, please, please, pick a quiet time, take your computer to a comfortable spot and watch this wonderful video. Called "The Art of Baking Bread," it was produced by my Paris neighbor David Turecamo for CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood and it's a charmer.
The footage of the late Lionel Poilane showing me how to make his famous Punitions, or Punishment Cookies, is mesmerizing. David shot it in the summer of 2002, right before my book, Paris Sweets, was published with a story about Lionel and the bakery on page 1. That October, Lionel and his wife were killed in a helicopter crash and this clip, always beautiful, became precious.
Since then, David collected the material to make a longer story for CBS Sunday Morning, where his Postcards from Paris appear not often enough. In this clip, you'll see Lionel Poilane at work making the Punishments and you'll meet his extraordinary daughter, Apollonia, who runs Poilane today.
After you watch the video, chances are you'll want the cookies -- it's impossible not to. If you're down the street from Poilane, stop in -- there's always a basket on the counter. If not, you can make them yourself: the recipe's in Paris Sweets or you can find the recipe here.
Tags: Apollonia Poilane
, CBS News Sunday Morning
, Charles Osgood
, David Turecamo
, Lionel Poilane
, Paris Sweets
, Punishment Cookies
, The Art of Baking Bread
Chefs, Restaurants and Shops
Patisseries, Boulangeries & Chocolate Shops
Restaurants, Chefs, & Artisans
| March 29, 2010 9:28 AM
Thank you for sharing this. What a joy; what a lesson; makes me hopeful.
| March 29, 2010 9:43 AM
Thoroughly enjoyed the Poilane video. As a pastry chef, my dream is to one day go to Paris and visit the patisseries and boulangeries of Paris. I'm going to keep dreaming and who knows, maybe one day it will come true.
| March 29, 2010 10:08 AM
Thanks for posting this - I loved watching it. Poignant to see a true master at work.
| March 29, 2010 10:19 AM
Wonderful video -- thank you so much for sharing it here! His technique is so unlike anything I've seen here in the US. It makes me want to get my hands into my food!
| March 29, 2010 10:38 AM
This video made my day! Thanks for posting. I love the reason behind the name "Punitions."
| March 29, 2010 11:21 AM
That was fascinating! Watching M. Poilane create those cookies was mesmerizing. Too bad so much machinery is now used to create baked goods.
| March 29, 2010 11:30 AM
Just watched the video---how inspiring to see professionals making bread the old way! It makes me feel more hopeful about the world.
I've always wanted a wood-burning stove (we used them all the time in Nicaragua), but I'm having to bake my sourdough bread (started from our very own grapes!) in an electric oven for now. Can't have everything (nor do I really want to, when I take the time to actually think about it).
| March 29, 2010 11:37 AM
i love it when bakeries give the public a glimpse into what drives them make such wonderful tasting things. i didn't know anything about poilane (except that they make bread) but this definitely makes me understand the company a lot better!
| March 29, 2010 12:38 PM
Wonderful video clip, thanks for the recipe link!
| March 29, 2010 1:03 PM
I loved seeing this video and to have a beautiful French bakery profiled so beautifully. I immediately went to Paris Sweets and dug out the recipe...and today, after watching the clip a few times, I'm ready to put away the food processor and get my hands dirty. Sadly, I'm fairly certain that while he makes it look EASY...it won't be but it certainly is an inspiration to try to replicate his delicate touch! THANK YOU!
| March 29, 2010 1:05 PM
And...as someone who just found out that she "qualifies" for bifocals...I wondered where you get your wonderful glasses? Brand? They are beautiful - calligraphic, almost - and I'd love to find a pair...
| March 29, 2010 3:19 PM
I remember the shock of finding out Lionel Poilane had died, but I prefer to remember the shock of first tasting his bread (and those cookies) in his bakery in rue Cherche-Midi, without anyone having recommended it, but simply because I was staying at a friend's apartment just up the street.
I remember being startled to read the news about his (clearly gifted) daughter, and this unusual merging of the old and the new. It remains good bread (don't get me started on the cute feves in their galettes des rois). Thank you for sharing, for the pleasure of watching this man who made very many people happy, in the simplest of ways: flour, yeast, salt.
| March 29, 2010 5:00 PM
I saw the segment on CBS. It was lovely.
| March 29, 2010 8:43 PM
I loved watching you and Lionel yesterday. My Mother who was from a small town in Northwestern Arkansas used a similar technique to make biscuits.
She started with her flour bowl, made a well in the center added salt, baking soda and baking powder mixed them with a little flour, added then some butter milk. Using her fingers, she stirred the mixture and slowly incorporated flour until it was the right consistency.
while doing this, she heated some Crisco at 450 degrees in the oven.
Then she formed the biscuits by squeezing off a golf ball sized pieced, patting it into disk, folding most of it over. She dipped each side in the hot oil and put them into bake for about twelve minutes.
I don't make biscuits often, but they are never very good.
Do you know anything about the history of this process?
Thank you - Jude
| March 29, 2010 8:59 PM
Thanks for posting the video - I watched it earlier today from a twitter post and enjoyed it very much. One disappointment is that you give the recipe for Punitions with a KitchenAid Mixer while M. Poilane is using his hand. I am glad I saw the hand process because I can understand what he is doing. I don't have a kitchenaid, just a small hand mixer - I think doing this by hand will be much more fun.
| March 29, 2010 10:24 PM
What a wonderful--but bittersweet--segment! I have it saved on my TiVo. I vividly remember seeing this video when you gave your talk about Paris Sweets in Chicago. How fortunate we are that you captured Lionel working his magic.
Thanks for sharing again,
| March 29, 2010 11:50 PM
Thanks for sharing the recipe Dorie- Getting the recipe on the first night of Passover makes them indeed Punishment Cookies-they will be first on my to bake list-post Pesach!
| March 30, 2010 5:33 AM
This video and Poilane embodies all that is special about France...talented artisans who refuse to modernize their processes and therefore sacrifice the quality.
I eat Punnitions every now and then, but never imagined the hand work behind them. I will now appreciate them even more!!
Thanks for this Dorie!
| March 30, 2010 8:17 AM
The first time I visited the Poilane bakery, I fely guilty for having a punition. After all, I was only buying a chausson au pommes; it almost felt like a "buy one get one free" deal! The cookie was great. The chausson was out of this world! Don't miss them next you find yourself on rue Cherche Midi. Thanks for sharing Dorie.
| March 30, 2010 8:40 AM
I saw the video, I read the recipe (I'll soon buy the book, I swear! Your blog was a recent but stunning discovery). Of course, I have to make those cookies NOW. Can someone confirm that the fact that the recipe contains no salt is correct? I tend to like my cookies with a bit of salt in them, but if Poilane makes them without salt, who am I to differ?
| March 30, 2010 8:56 AM
Your comments are so warm and generous and enthusiastic and I appreciate them so much. Merci! Merci!
I would love to hear from anyone who makes the cookies using the 'well' method that Lionel Poilane demonstrates. Nigel questioned making the dough in a food processor, and I wanted to say that while it's not as sensual a process, it does make a good cookie and I had M. Poilane's blessing to suggest making the dough that way.
As for salt in the recipe, as Caffetriera queried -- there was none in the recipe M. Poilane gave me, but please, add salt if you'd like.
Finally, about my glasses, since some have asked and many have written to me about them. They are from an Antwerp-based designer named Theo. I buy my glasses from Herve Domar on the rue Dauphine in Paris's 6th arrondissement and have for many, many years. If you're in the neighborhood, go see Herve (www.hervedomar.com). He is a rare talent -- he can look at you and know immediately what would be right for you.
| March 30, 2010 10:07 AM
This was so beautiful it made me cry.
| March 30, 2010 3:04 PM
Hello Dorie, I saw this on Sunday morning...what a wonderful piece! The man and his bread will never be forgotten
| March 30, 2010 6:35 PM
Had an unexpected day off today so I made these cookies this afternoon using the hand method of Poilane. It was a gentle contemplative action but the end result was no different than my favorite recipe for shortbread-type coookies that I usually make, except I add vanilla. Normally I mix in a 37-year old KitchenAid K45 mixer; haven't had desirable results using my Cuisinart. These Punitions are plain as stated but traditionally shortbread was dunked in coffee and tea and eaten with other sweets and jam. I make a Christmas cut-out cookie in shortbread and decorate with royal icings. The well-method is taught by bakeries and culinary schools and is worth knowing, that you can produce a wonderful thing with no tools except the oven. Some of us had relatives who made their pie crusts and noodles in this way, because they didn't have fancy mixing appliances. I had not heard of Poilane before seeing this CBS show and hope to visit the bakery someday. I kept saying to myself, he says this takes 3 minutes; mine took 8. How many cooks must they employ to produce enough hand-made product? I wanted to know what surface he mixed on. I used a Boos end-grain butcher block surface. I considered using a marble board but felt that was going to keep the butter too hard.
Eileen @ Passions to Pastry
| March 30, 2010 6:55 PM
What a lovely video and what a loss. Very sad. And truly, a beautiful approach to making the dough. His love of baking was very evident. I have made his recipe for Punitions many times, but after seeing this video, the way in which I make them will probably change.
| March 31, 2010 4:30 PM
This was quite amazing. Thank you for this.
I've seen pictures as well as one interview of Monsieur Poilane, but I'd never seen the man in action. It's quite exhilarating to watch. When we were in Paris, we were handed one when we walked in, after saying "Bonjour", of course. This was possibly because they could see how huge our eyes were from all the bread.
Thankfully German Butter also has 82% fat, and I don't have a food processor, so I'll be able to make them by hand just like he did.
| April 1, 2010 1:33 AM
beautiful, thank you for sharing this.
| April 4, 2010 7:05 PM
Thanks so very much for sharing this. I made the recipe this Easter morning, forming the ring of flour and the ring of sugar, the egg in the middle, mixing with one hand. I don't have the experience to caress butter like that, but the dough came out very well. Being Easter I cut them in the shape of bunnies. The butter here in Brazil did the job, and yes the dough is much easier to handle when chilled, especially in the high humidity. Thanks again for spreading the inspiration.
| April 5, 2010 1:53 PM
As a regular watcher of CBS Sunday Morning, I was excited when I saw this come on. While I have read about Poilane and his remarkable bread, I didn't know much about his work and how he came to be what he was. I was saddened to hear he had past untimely, but glad to know his daughter has taken over.
When I saw your image appear on screen, I exclaimed to my girlfriend who you were before they announced you, and in this case, had to be recipe (the chocolate chunker cookies) to the name for her to go 'a ha!'. This was a delightful piece.
| April 8, 2010 1:46 PM
Every since I saw this piece I've been wanting to make punishment cookies. Thank for the link to the recipe. Punishment shall be mine!
| April 9, 2010 3:29 PM
Enjoyed the video, thanks. I went to the Poilane website and had my sox charmed off by its design.
BTW, in the video I was thrown by the comment that you were the author of 10 books! I couldn't account for that many in my head -- had to go on the prowl. I had forgotten the Pancakes and the Waffles books (rarely have either in our house). I have all your books except Waffles and the two with Pierre Herme. And the as yet unpublished book, which I counted as the tenth as I couldn't find any more titles.
I don't understand why your "Sweet Times" book doesn't get mentioned often (out of print?) as it is rather a favorite with me -- chock full of goodies. I'm betting most Dorie fans aren't aware of it. I gleefully snapped it up a couple of years ago after stumbling across it. lol. Any plans to reprint that one? (if not, Dorie fans, please note: new and used copies can still be found on internet .. at least for now.) Looking forward to your new cookbook.
| April 10, 2010 4:05 PM
Wonderful, wonderful video!
Thanks so much Dorie!!
Julia @ Melanger
| April 12, 2010 11:18 PM
Oh just wonderful. I remember those cookies from my last trip to Paris in 2008. A delightful video.
| April 21, 2010 3:55 PM
What do you think about making one's own cultured butter?
Amanda replied to comment from Neva
| April 23, 2010 9:30 PM
I just made these by hand as Poilane shows in the video. I have been baking for years but have never really made anything by hand like this. Its such a simple recipe but what a sensual experience to work the ingredients together and watch them transform into dough. We take this art for granted when throwing ingredients into our kitchenaids. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us
| April 26, 2010 11:47 AM
This is great. Wonderful learning, ideas and tasty food.
Check out my blog!
| May 2, 2010 9:19 PM
I loved this piece- It was so inspiring . I saw on CBS and then found on your site. P.S> I love your Baking book- my new favorite in the carrot cake- but so many good baking recipes. Thank you
| May 17, 2010 10:20 PM
I mixed the dough for these little biscuits last night... by hand. It IS a sensuous experience. The only thing I would like to add for those in hot, humid countries, is that you MUST chill the dough at least 4 hours if not overnight if you want to roll and cut the dough so the biscuits keep their shape. Otherwise, the dough will be too soft to cut out unless you want to roll the biscuits into balls instead of cutting them with a cookie cutter. I personally think they will lose some of their charm if rolled into balls. :-)
I ate some plain and sandwiched some with Le Roux caramel which I brought back from Paris recently. It was lovely.
I would like to make them a little less sweet next time though. How much sugar would you say can be cut from the recipe?
tom | tall clover farm
| May 24, 2010 10:22 AM
Thank you for this lovely clip. It took a gray Monday morning at the kitchen table and provided me a quick escape and peek into a fascinating life. And of course, now I want sugar cookies for breakfast (lunch and dinner).
| June 2, 2010 7:06 PM
Awe-inspiring....This is indeed going to make a difference in my life. THANK YOU!
| July 18, 2010 10:21 PM
I am so glad I came across this! Thank you so much for sharing! I am doing a report in Lionel Poilane for pastry school. Not only did I get some great information, but I also became a permanent fan of this webpage. There are so many awesome things for me to learn from on this site.
| July 29, 2010 8:10 AM
Thank you for sharing this wonderful video.
| September 22, 2010 5:36 PM
What an amazing interview, and thank you for sharing. I have been reading all your sites about Paris, and NYC, jotting down restaurants, patisseries and boulangeries to try. I am taking a 5 day course in artisanal baking with Carl Shavitz in WA, and the following week, heading out to Paris with hubby to find all the amazing places you mentioned in your website.
Seeing this video was exciting and bittersweet. And I am so looking forward to my bread course even more.
I find myself spending more time reading about you and food than actually baking in the kitchen! Though I would love to try to make the butter cookies. Do you have a favorite butter to use in this recipe.
Thanks for making my trip to NYC and Paris even more exciting!!!
| January 31, 2011 3:13 PM
Thank you so much for this wonderful video and a chance to see what very few people ever get to experience...that beloved basement of Poilane! When my sister and I went to Paris we had to go to Poilane because we saw Ina Garten feature it on her Paris episode. We hauled one of the huge loaves of bread back for our mom in my sisters back pack along with these wonderful cookies. I have made them a few times but now because of your video I feel confident in trying to do it by hand like Mr. Poilane did!
| June 28, 2011 8:02 AM
Great Video.........maybe the next time my husband asks "why bread making" I can just pull up this video and sit him down.
Mary Beth Abarbanel
| January 29, 2012 11:34 PM
I'd love to see this video, but it is black after the very beginning, any chance you can re-upload it?