April 3, 2013

In Conversation with Pastry Chef Janine Weissman

This post is the second in a three-part series documenting the Bouchon Bakery Book Project team’s visit to Bouchon Bakery in Yountville.

During our visit at Bouchon Bakery we sat down with Head Pastry Chef Janine Weissman. She started out at The French Laundry before moving over to the bakery where she has been developing and perfecting pastries for the past four years. Chef Janine was very much involved with the making of the bakery’s book so we were eager to techniques and favorite recipes.

Pistachio green macaron shells are examined and paired so every sandwich fits together perfectly. The bakery makes 17,000 macarons per month.

What to do about the stiff consistency of the macaron batter:
It has a stiffer consistency because the sugar is cooked, making for a drier batter. To loosen it, just fold longer till it reaches the right consistency.

Coloring macarons:
To get the vibrant colors of Bouchon macarons, they add the food dye to the almond flour/sugar/egg white mixture. They add enough coloring so that the mixture becomes really bright because once the meringue is added, the color softens. 

A new kind of macaron:
You can substitute almost anything for the almond flour. Chef Janine suggests pretzels, graham crumbs or even cake crumbs that are currently being used for the newest item on the bakery menu, a birthday cake macaron. The bakery officially unveiled it in March.

TKO filling troubleshoot:
Several of us had trouble with the consistency of the filling. 1) It was too loose after chilling to pipe 2) After chilling and re-whipping in the mixer it broke (fat started separating). We talked it through, step by step with Chef Janine and discovered in the book it says to whip from cold state whereas in the bakery they whip when the filling is warm.

Bakery method: After chilling the ganache, it should be a pudding-like consistency. Then re-warm it over the stove so it is not cold when you place it in the mixer to whip. After whipping, place the ganache back in the refrigerator until ready to pipe onto the cookies.

What is your favorite Bouchon Bakery treat to make?
Any of the chocolate items

What is your favorite Bouchon Bakery treat to eat?
Better Nutter that has been frozen for 20 minutes

What has been the best moment at Bouchon Bakery so far?
Re-opening after the fire. “It was very humbling.” No one left. Everyone cares and is dedicated about their job.

As heard from Chef Matthew and now Chef Janine, the Bouchon Bakery creations we enjoy come from a passionate team of bakers.


  1. The best team a company can have...those passionate of their work...

    I've been to Bouchon Bakery in NYC's Columbus Circle area. Dessert are Delish!!

    Baking is my Zen

  2. nice post...... pastry looking so yummy and delicious. pastry cook books