2021: a year in review and what's up ahead
The beginning of the year is typically the time to reflect and celebrate on the past year accomplishments and plan for the road ahead.
For ParisLevain, 2021 was a year of product design, launch, digital marketing and new service introduction, plus a lot of kitchen experimentation. With social gathering and travel started slowly resuming in the later part of the year, we hosted our first in-person bread tasting event in the bay area last summer!
While you might not think initially of a sourdough bread making class as a "product", an online class is in fact a collection of digital media files (videos, images and documents) organized in a curriculum format. Putting together all the content that will eventually make up the "Dough It Yourself" class took me a few months and many hours of recording and editing. Once the core class development was complete, covering the full spectrum from baking basic sourdough to advanced whole wheat bread, I added several bonus presentations about the health benefits of sourdough, the science of fermentation and the history of bread. I also listed, just in time for the holiday season, a Walnut Cranberry Sourdough workshop.
Finally, I broke down the core class into smaller mini-classes covering specific aspects of the sourdough process available at a lower price point: DIY for beginners and Your First Sourdough Starter.
The DIY course was launched in August. In order to provide a preview of the course, I created a free on-demand webinar "10 secrets you must know when baking sourdough". This 30 min presentation is packed with tons of information for both newbies and seasoned sourdough bakers, so feel free to take a peak. You also get a sweet discount on the DIY class if you watch until the very end.
New Team Building service
Another avenue I explored in the second half of 2021 was a team building service to companies, based on (you might have guessed) sourdough bread making! I shaped up an offering called "Let's Dough This Together", added a LinkedIn business page where I announce and share content on a regular cadence to followers from my network. I also published my first LinkedIn article on this topic (admittedly, it did take longer than expected :) ! At the time of this writing, I am interested to on-board beta customers that would be interested to get this unique experience. Let me know if you are interested to participate.
This year I had a chance to experiment with quite a few variations of sourdough and further explore new techniques and flavors. Among others: brioche, oat porridge, spelt, pumpkin diner rolls, focaccia, pizza. A few tricks I learned along the way:
Right sizing: for brioche and focaccia, the size and shape of the baking container (loaf pan) will influence the final shape and success to a greater extent. I learned it the hard way: I baked my focaccia in a deep pie dish. It was delicious but was way too much bread relative to the toppings.
Creativity: once you understand the basics steps and influence of temperature on fermentation, you can start going down the adventurous path and explore different blends of flour mixes and addition. Most of the time, all it takes is a few adjustments and, as always, a strong starter.
Iterate until satisfied: don't believe in magic. Unless you are very lucky and talented, the first time you experiment with a new recipe might not be the outcome you had expected. It took me 4 times to get the spelt bread I could really be proud off. I have yet to make a successful sourdough pizza after 2 attempts. Same goes for baguettes. In this case, persistence (almost) always pays off.
All the details and formulas are available in our FB group. Feel free to join!
So what's coming up for 2022?
New YouTube channel.
New offering that dives deep into the impact of fermented food on athletic performance
New recipes, tips and tricks available to our subscribers and blog readers.
Team building webinar and promotional events.
Bread tasting events for ParisLevain students!