The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flathead High School French Club

mcs's picture

Flathead High School French Club

Greetings everybody!
Today was 'Fundraiser Day' at the Back Home Bakery in Kalispell, MT with all of the profits from the sale benefiting  the Flathead High School French Club.   A small crew of high school students worked the final shift baking, packaging, and delivering croissants, palmiers, and pains au chocolat for their happy customers.

It started a few weeks ago as the students took orders for different combinations of pastry boxes so we could get our work order.  Next two shifts of teacher, student, and parent volunteers came up to the bakery to shape everything (a new experience for all).  Lastly, this morning we baked and packaged everything and even had a little left over to feed the worker bees. 

Ready for the grand totals?
Croissants: 198
Palmiers: 264
Pains au Chocolat: 319

Not too shabby, huh?  Check out the pictures below to see how well everything came out. 

Good job everyone and I hope you enjoyed your time in the bakery!



cutting and shaping Croissants



Pains au Chocolat and Palmier shaping



more shaping of Palmiers and Croissants



finishing the croissant shaping and then begins the baking and packaging



lots of eggwashing and 'bien cuit' Palmiers



Pains au Chocolat and Croissants fresh from the oven



a beautiful box of pastries


LindyD's picture

Excellent, Mark!

You trained your students well. The pastries are beautiful.

mcs's picture

Everyone was impressed with the final products, including me.


PastryPaul's picture

I think that is a phenomenal example of community involvement. If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to replicate it here (Montreal area). Could you PM me with details of how the program worked etc.?


mcs's picture

Paul - I'll get those details to you this weekend, alright?


CJtheDeuce's picture

I see day light out that window, no fair I think they should have to start at 3AM too.

I took a day off yesterday & made some croissants & pain au chocolat. Thanks again Mark you are a great teacher.


mcs's picture

I was waiting for the first intern to comment about the daylight.  If it makes you feel any better, I started early to get it all prepped and proofing.
Wow, making croissants and pain au chocolat without a sheeter.  That's an accomplishment and a great way to work on your forearm development.

Thanks for the compliment Charlie, and happy baking.


sweetbird's picture

This is fantastic. I wouldn't be surprised if you inspired some of them to be professional bakers!

All the best,


mcs's picture

...but I do know that they all enjoyed the fresh-from-the-oven pastries.


pmccool's picture

Those must have been some fast learners; their product looks very professional.


mcs's picture

...'You can't teach an old dog new tricks'?   Well, they're young pups so when you teach them they learn quickly.  Even the 'older pups' learned quickly.


Janetcook's picture


You have given these kids something REAL to remember.  

I am a big fan of hands-on learning and what delicious things to get one's hands on to and then the reward of being able to eat the end result fresh out of the oven.  

Learning at it's best if you ask me BUT you took on the tough part of the lesson - wee morning hours of prep work...and they got the reward part - 'playing' shaping the dough and sampling the end results .   A lot more appealing than the oatmeal and English muffin pizzas we made in junior high school!

I am impressed as always at how much you open your bakery doors to help others.  I imagine you do get the rewards of that.  Not many that will do that with their businesses - at least not in my neighborhood.

Thanks for the post, inspiration and photos.

Take Care,

mcs's picture

What better way to appreciate another culture, but through making and eating the best of their foods? 
It's funny when I told my mom about this fundraiser I was doing her response was, "I NEVER got to shape croissants!!!"  I think the first time my wife shaped them was about 3 weeks ago when we were making some for her colleagues at work.  After seeing the $, time, detail, and skill put into laminating 75 pounds of croissant dough (and my low tolerance for failure, mind you) most people who work in this bakery are quite nervous about working with the dough.  I normally demonstrate shaping a few croissants then watch and critique their technique.  Over and over until it's right.  With this fundraiser I changed the shaping standard a bit knowing what would still be acceptable as 'the best around' and things went well.
One of the funniest (although not meant to be funny) comments was from one of the guests who while shaping said, "This is sooo stess-relieving!"  I thought to myself, "I HAVE to share that one with Sharon (my wife)."  She thought that was a good one as I'm sure any of the interns will also. 
Yes, lots of prep and they get the fun stuff.  But hey the two folks in the photo egg washing did that for 3.5 hours straight, while the guys at the table folded boxes and packaged for the same amount of time as I washed pans.  They got a glimpse of the bakery lifestyle and still had fun.
Yes, better than English muffin pizzas in Jr. High, or the muffins I baked (and had critiqued) in Food Basics in college.


breadsong's picture

Hello Mark,
The French Club students, parents and teachers must have appreciated your support so much.
Les pâtisseries sont absolument parfaites!
The fundraiser sounds like it was a complete success.
:^) breadsong

mcs's picture

When you have croissants, palmiers, and pains au chocolat it's win-win(win) for all involved. 

proth5's picture

Hope your trip went well.  I'm still bumming about Paris - doing nothing significant.  Really, in 4 more years you must come to the Coupe.  Mucho inspiration.  The connection with bakers from all over the US through BBGA is phenomenal...

Anyway, looks like great fun and the pastries look delicious!

(Raggedy Baker) Pat


mcs's picture

til liftoff.  In a couple weeks we'll be on our self guided prep monkey walking tour (have to think of a better name than that).  Yeah, yeah I know Coupe this, BBGA that.  You're right, I'll have to do that some time.  But for now I've got the pinchos of Basque country, the Palais Garnier of Paris, and the tulips of Holland on my mind...


varda's picture

the old folks, Mythbusters totally debunked all that "can't teach old dogs new tricks" stuff.   But wow, what those kids were able to do.  Really inspiring.  -Varda

carblicious's picture

Thanks for sharing, Mark.  It's great to see the group effort.  What did the students think?

mcs's picture

You know, we didn't have too much conversation between us, but I think everyone had a good time.  I tried to make sure everyone always had something to do and they had some choice in the job they were doing.   Other than the croissants taking longer to proof than I had planned, everything flowed well and they were working with their buddies so I believe it would be considered quality time.