E-Student Logo

Apollonia Poilâne’s MasterClass Review: The Secrets of Bread Baking

Dive into the world of artisanal bread baking with Apollonia Poilâne, CEO of Poilâne, arguably the most famous bakery in France. In this MasterClass, she shares the secrets behind making the perfect sourdough, wheat, and brioche bread. But can mastering the art of bread baking truly be achieved online? Let’s find out!

E-student.org is supported by our community of learners. When you visit links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Bread Baking MasterClass Review: Our Verdict (2024)


4.6 / 5

Discover the artistry of bread baking with Apollonia Poilâne in her "Bread Baking" MasterClass. In this comprehensive course on MasterClass, Apollonia, CEO of the famous Poilâne bakery, shares the art and science of bread making in 17 captivating lessons. Under her expert guidance, you will learn how to master traditional bread-baking recipes like sourdough, wheat, and brioche bread. Perfect for baking enthusiasts and passionate home bakers looking to improve and master their baking techniques, Apollonia's expertise honors her family traditions and brings them alive, sharing a close look into Poilâne’s famous recipes and techniques.


  • Expert guidance
  • Variety of bread recipes
  • Comprehensive class guide
  • Relaxed and comfortable learning environment
  • Professional visuals and camera work


  • Online learning challenges
  • Non-traditional sourdough starter process

Money-Back Guarantee
Try out MasterClass with no risk
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Applicable for all MasterClass annual subscriptions
No, Thanks

Bread is the staple of many cultures. It embodies tradition, artistry, and the joy of creating a nourishing food from simple ingredients. As an avid home baker, I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and try out new recipes, which is why the prospect of delving into Apollonia Poilâne’s “Bread Baking” MasterClass immediately caught my eye. It was very exciting to have the opportunity to learn from a third-generation baker, especially the CEO of the Poilâne bakery, one of the most famous bakeries in the world. And I was curious, too, would this MasterClass truly be the key to elevating my bread-baking skills?

In this review, we’ll explore the course and examine its contents, evaluating its pros and cons to assess whether or not it is a worthwhile investment, especially for those passionate about the art of baking. Let’s take a look at what Apollonia Poilâne’s Bread Baking Masterclass has to offer and discover if this MasterClass is your recipe to improve your baking techniques.

Table of Contents

What is the "Bread Baking" MasterClass?

Bread Baking” is a MasterClass led by Apollonia Poilâne, where you will embark on a 17-lesson journey into the world of artisanal bread. The course primarily consists of video lessons, offering detailed step-by-step visual recipes and techniques for baking various bread types. Apollonia Poilâne shares her expertise, guiding you in creating starters, mastering different bread styles, and even turning stale loaves into delicious dishes. For beginners and baking enthusiasts alike, this course aims to equip you with the skills to produce fresh, high-quality bread at home.

Who is Apollonia Poilâne?

Image 1: Meet Apollonia Poilâne, your instructor
Meet your instructor, Apollonia Poilâne

Apollonia Poilâne, the instructor of “Bread Baking,” is the CEO of Poilâne, a renowned Parisian bakery with a long history spanning three generations. As the heir to a family legacy deeply rooted in traditional baking, Apollonia shares her knowledge and passion for baking in every lesson. Her commitment to preserving the art of bread makes her an inspiring example for aspiring bakers.

Who is the target audience for "Bread Baking"?

This Masterclass is designed for passionate home bakers and those seeking to learn the art of bread making, no matter their expertise level. Whether you’re a novice with a passion for learning or an experienced baker looking to refine your skills, you can learn many valuable lessons under Appolonia’s guidance. The only requisite is a love for baking and a desire to learn!

What topics does "Bread Baking" cover?

Here’s a breakdown of the main topics covered in the course:

  1. Meet Your Instructor: Apollonia introduces the rich history of the Poilâne bakery, setting the stage for the course’s exploration of traditional bread baking.
  2. Baking à la Poilâne: Apollonia shares core baking philosophies and provides practical guidelines for ingredients and equipment.
  3. Sourdough Starter: Learn the process of building and maintaining a French at-home starter, a fundamental skill for artisanal bread making.
  4. Poilâne-Style Wheat Loaf – Mixing & Shaping: Master the secrets behind Poilâne’s crown jewel, the country-style wheat loaf.
  5. Poilâne-Style Wheat Loaf – Scoring & Baking: Apollonia guides you through the finishing touches, including scoring and baking.
  6. Rye: Explore the Poilâne approach to rye bread, a loaf leavened with the same starter used for the wheat loaf.
  7. Pain de Mie: Learn the yeast-based recipe for Pain de Mie, a delicate bread with a cloud-like texture.
  8. Brioche: Apollonia shares the techniques for achieving the airy texture and perfect tops of this French favorite.
  9. Savory Corn Flour Bread: Explore an original recipe, a gluten-free and vegan corn flour bread.
  10. Fresh Bread – Sourdough Wheat Tartines: Apollonia shares the recipe for an open-faced ham-and-cheese sandwich.
  11. Dry Bread – Savory Pain de Mie Pain Perdu: Apollonia teaches you to use dry bread in this tomato-and-curry-studded French toast.
  12. Dry Bread – Sourdough Wheat & Rye Granola: Swap oats for dried bread with Apollonia’s innovative take on granola.
  13. Stale Bread – Crouton Variations: Learn two techniques for turning stale bread into delicious croutons, oven-baked and pan-fried.
  14. Stale Bread – Caesar Salad With Flavored Brioche Croutons: Apollonia shares her version of a Caesar salad with marinated brioche croutons.
  15. Stale Bread – Breadcrumbs & Sourdough Wheat Pesto: Replace cheese and pine nuts with breadcrumbs and walnuts in a creative take on pesto.
  16. Bread as Art – Decorating Your Loaves: Explore the relationship between bread and art as Apollonia demonstrates how to embellish loaves with leaves, roses, and letters.
  17. Rye Sablés: In the concluding lesson, Apollonia shows you how to make Poilâne’s popular grain-based cookies, known as punitions.

My Favorite Parts of "Bread Baking"

Enjoy the Process

You have to enjoy the process. It may sound obvious, but you’ll be surprised by how often this advice is overlooked, especially when you’re just starting out. As simple as it is, it is such crucial advice because while high-quality ingredients matter, the love and passion you put into your loaves will really make a difference in your baking. Appolonia believes that caring for your ingredients and for the process helps you infuse energy into your loaves, and she goes as far as advising against baking on an angry day, as you will not have the same results! And this goes for anything else, not just baking. Enjoy the process, be passionate about it, and the results will speak for themselves.

Image 2: Put your energy into your baking
Put your energy into your baking
Image 3: Let your senses guide you
Let your senses guide you

Attune to Your Five Senses

Apollonia’s emphasis on engaging all five senses in the baking process transformed my approach. Rather than following a recipe mechanically, the simple act of feeling, smelling, and even listening to the dough can make a big difference in your baking process. According to Apollonia, by learning and experiencing different bakes, seasons, and environments, you build a mental library of how the dough reacts, how your ingredients react, and even how you react to a certain environment. As you practice and progress, you will learn how to adjust any recipe in order to achieve the best results.

Image 4: Start logging your process
Start logging your process

Keep Baking Notes

This is one of the most practical advice I’ve ever had on baking. It’s so simple yet so powerful. It makes me wonder how I could have been living and baking without this amazing approach, it is that useful. Keep baking notes! This will allow you to accumulate your knowledge, not waste a crumb, and help you build a mental library. Just take a notebook and write into it. Start logging everything about your recipes, your ingredients, and your process. The goal is to realize the different effects and things that are specific to your kitchen and environment. Keeping notes is a good way to remember those environmental factors. In time you will develop a mental library of how to react to these factors, but you already have the basics there.

Don’t strive for perfection

Transform Your Baking into Art

Apollonia shows you how to make beautiful flowers and flour decorations to make art out of bread! I immensely loved and enjoyed this lesson because I don’t think I ever even thought about using bread to make art before, and it is such a fun process with beautiful and mesmerizing results. You can let your creativity run wild with your decorations. There is no perfect order, and Apollonia encourages you to experiment with different techniques and turn your loaf of bread into a beautiful work of art.

Don’t be Discouraged

When you start baking, it is hard to remain motivated when you are not getting the results you’re striving for, and that’s why I really liked Appolonia’s bit of advice on the subject. She urges you not to be discouraged by failed attempts because we’ve all made mistakes. “That’s what your apprenticeship is all about. And that’s what your journey is about.” Maybe you won’t get there on your first, second, or even third time, but learning is an ongoing process, and you will only get there by practicing. Continue baking and practice the class recipes. Learn from them, share them, and, most importantly, enjoy the process.

Image 6: Keep learning and practicing!
Keep learning and practicing!

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

What I Liked about "Bread Baking"

  1. Expert Guidance: Apollonia’s expertise as a third-generation baker shines through, and she shares invaluable tips to help you bake perfect loaves.
  2. Variety of Bread Recipes: From wheat to brioche bread, the course covers a diverse range of bread types, ensuring a well-rounded learning experience.
  3. Comprehensive Class Guide: The course provides a comprehensive guide filled with many valuable resources, including the recipes learned in the class and numerous practical tips.
  4. Learning from a Passionate Baker: Apollonia Poilâne’s passion for baking is palpable and inspiring, and her years of experience in the field shine through the valuable tips she has to offer throughout the lessons. The joy she finds in the baking process is contagious and makes for a very fun and interesting learning experience.
  5. Relaxed and Comfortable Environment: The class environment is relaxed and calm, fostering a comfortable space for learning. This setting allows you to learn the complex details of bread making without feeling overwhelmed, creating an ideal atmosphere for both beginners and experienced bakers.
  6. Dry and Stale Bread Recipes: The course includes practical recipes for using dry and stale bread. Apollonia’s recipes for tartines, croutons, and more, depending on the freshness of the bread, can help you to use every crumb of the bread you make and reduce waste!
  7. Professional Visuals and Camera Work: The use of detailed and professional camera work offers a close-up view of the baking process. This visual clarity improves the learning experience, allowing you to follow Apollonia’s techniques with precision.

Drawbacks of "Bread Baking"

  1. Challenges of Online Learning: While the course is very detailed and comprehensive, and though I very much admire the dedication the whole Masterclass team pulls up, I believe that the realm of cooking and baking faces certain challenges in being taught online. The many techniques and tips are conveyed amazingly well, but the tactile and sensory aspects of baking might be better experienced in live-person classes or workshops.
  2. Non- traditional Sourdough Starter Process: The course lacks a demonstration of making sourdough starter from scratch without yogurt. This omission is particularly notable, as it leaves you without any tips on altering the recipe if you want to make this recipe the traditional way. Clear guidance on adjusting ratios and measurements would certainly improve this aspect of the course.

Conclusion – Is "Bread Baking" Worth It?

The detailed lessons of “Bread Baking” with Apollonia Poilâne taught me the art of baking delicious Poilâne style bread, all while gaining confidence in my baking abilities. I especially loved Apollonia’s emphasis on enjoying the process and infusing passion into each recipe, as it is something so important that is often overlooked by many. Keeping meticulous baking notes, as Apollonia suggested, turned into a personal routine, and I have found that it has helped me to learn more and understand the different baking processes better.

Apollonia’s words of encouragement to continue practicing and learning taught me that baking is more than just a skill— it is a lifelong adventure.

In conclusion, “Bread Baking” on MasterClass is an excellent investment for anyone passionate about the art of baking. The course is filled with expert knowledge on baking and delivers it with the charm and expertise of Apollonia Poilâne. Despite the challenges online learning faces in the culinary realm, the relaxed learning environment, professional visuals, and practical recipes far outweigh the drawbacks.

If you are eager to discover the secrets of baking artisanal bread, learn more about the rich history of Poilâne’s bakery, and transform your baking into art, this course is definitely what you’re looking for. So, is “Bread Baking” worth it? Absolutely! It does more than equip you with the skills to make delicious recipes come to life—it ignites you with a lifelong love for baking.

Ready to turn your creations into mesmerizing works of art? Enroll in Apollonia Poilâne Masterclass and learn how to master the art of bread baking a la Poilâne!