Laminated Dough Baking Retreat

San Francisco, California
August 23–25, 2020


In this three-day, hands-on Laminated Dough Baking Retreat at San Francisco Cooking School, you’ll bake alongside our editor-in-chief, Brian Hart Hoffman, and learn expert techniques from James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Nicole Plue. 

Whether it’s kouign amann or puff pastry, laminated dough is one of the most versatile doughs to have in your pastry repertoire. This intensive workshop will drill deep into the technique for perfecting these doughs in a variety of applications. This retreat is great for accomplished home bakers looking to take their skills to the next level or professionals aiming to broaden their foundation. 

The flaky, yeasted dough we all know so well from croissants and puff pastry has many unique characteristics, and under the tutelage of pastry chef Nicole Plue, you will learn professional techniques for transforming the dough into exquisite baked goods and how to translate these skills into your home kitchen. Through her lectures, demonstrations, and plenty of hands-on work with each student, you will learn about key ingredients, equipment needs, techniques and skills, and how to troubleshoot your own batches of dough. Once you learn the foundational doughs, you will prepare many variations, including fillings and glazes, to make your pastries look and taste incredible. 

During this retreat, each student will make blitz puff pastry, croissants, and kouign amann. You’ll  divide into small teams and each using a different type of butter to help better understand how different butters will impact your doughs. Chef Nicole will guide you through her laminated baguette recipe and help you with sheeting and fillings to give you the opportunity to do lots of mixing and shaping. By the end of the week, you will leave armed and ready to mix, laminate, and shape a wide variety of pastries. 

Each day at San Francisco Cooking School includes morning coffee, lunch (with wine to celebrate your baking accomplishments!), and plenty of time to taste and talk about all things pastry. So, roll up your sleeves, tie on your apron, and let’s bake. 

Don’t wait! Register today.


Testimonials from Previous Retreat Guests

“The weekend [at San Francisco Cooking School] was priceless . . . full of joy and laughter centered around baking in an incredible environment. An amazing opportunity to immerse myself in baking, with new knowledge and friendships gained. I came home inspired and confident to replicate techniques at home.” 
“Everything I’ve come to love about Bake from Scratch magazine I experienced tenfold in the baking retreat! Along with the fabulous food and spot-on instruction, the conversation and laughter shared over rising dough or wine glasses with fellow bakers was an absolute highlight!” 
“The first-ever baking retreat with Bake from Scratch was an incredible experience! There’s nothing better than baking alongside other passionate bakers and having plenty of fun and delicious food along the way. This is one baking experience I will always remember!” 

What’s Included
  • All hands-on classes at San Francisco Cooking School, including coffee, lunch, and wine each day
  • A special group dinner on Tuesday, August 25 (pending)
  • A gift bag from Bake from Scratch
What’s Not Included
  • Travel to/from San Francisco
  • Hotel accommodations.

Have a question about this baking retreat? Contact us.

About Chef Nicole Plue, Director of Pastry Arts at San Francisco Cooking School

After Nicole won the 2010 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef, Michael Bauer, former food critic of the San Francisco Chronicle, praised Nicole as “one of the best pastry chefs in the country.” Now, she is on her way to becoming one of the best pastry instructors in the country.

A Los Angeles native, Nicole began her restaurant career in San Francisco, where she led the celebrated bread program at the former Hawthorne Lane before jumping coasts to New York City when Danny Meyer recruited her to be the pastry chef on the opening team at Eleven Madison Park. While on the East Coast, Nicole also opened Terence Conran’s Guastavino’s and went on to manage the pastry programs at the three-starred AZ restaurant and its sister restaurant Pazo.

In 2004, Nicole returned to California to serve as executive pastry chef at Julia’s Kitchen at COPIA in Napa. She then held the same position at Richard Reddington’s Redd, and during this tenure, in 2010, she received the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Nicole’s last post was as executive pastry chef at the celebrated Michelin-starred Cyrus restaurant in Healdsburg, California, which closed in October 2012. Nicole then joined San Francisco Cooking School as Director of Pastry Arts. Her role includes creating the curriculum for the program, teaching, and mentoring students to develop their skills and careers in pastry and baking.

Sunday, August 23–Tuesday, August 25 

San Francisco Cooking School Laminated Dough Baking Retreat
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Half of the retreat cost (50%) is due at booking. The second half of retreat cost (50%) is due July 20, 2020. Your reservation will be confirmed upon receipt of payment. We accept payment by American Express, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Amazon Pay. Trip prices are in US dollars.

The price of the trip includes all classes at San Francisco Cooking School and a group dinner on Tuesday, August 25 (pending).

Since the trip is nonrefundable, we suggest buying trip insurance through a company like Travelex. You can also check with your credit card company to see if they provide travel insurance.

If you don’t purchase travel insurance, you agree to indemnify us against any charges that might otherwise be covered by your insurance. You further agree that we are not responsible for any costs of cancellation by you.

Your credit card will be charged by Hoffman Media, the parent company of  Bake from Scratch.

If  Bake from Scratch initiates the cancellation, we will refund all payments. We will send an email confirmation to all participants when this number has been met.

Have a question about this baking retreat? Contact us.

Photo by Stephen Devries

Are children able to attend this retreat?
All participants must be 18 years old or older to attend this baking retreat.

Is this baking class hands-on?
This class is hands-on. Over the three days, you will prepare your own blitz puff pastry, croissants, and kouign amann. You’ll also be divided into small teams and each using a different type of butter to help better understand how fat content impacts your doughs. Chef Nicole will guide you through her laminated baguette recipe and help you with sheeting and fillings to give you the opportunity to do lots of mixing and shaping.

How many people will be in class?
This retreat is limited to 12 people, so the class size will be intimate.

Is this retreat better suited for professionals or home bakers?
Our retreats are geared for passionate home bakers, but professionals are always welcome.

Where should I book a hotel room in San Francisco?
There are a lot of hotel options in the Union Square area of town, which is nearby.

If I am visiting and don’t have a car, what’s the best way to get to San Francisco Cooking School?
Several ride-sharing services, such as Lyft and Uber, are available in San Francisco. You can also ask your hotel to arrange transportation for you.

Is there parking available at San Francisco Cooking School?
There is one parking lot nearby: Opera Plaza Garage. Street parking is available, but please do not leave anything (even empty bags) visible in your car.

What should I plan to wear?
Comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes. Long hair should be pulled back. Aprons will be provided.