December 18, 2009


Time is a funny thing. When you are bored with something, it seems to go on forever. When you are in a groove and are liking the situation, there is suddenly no time at all.

I went to school early again. My new bud Amanda joined me so it was nice. We had the entire back kitchen to ourselves. It was so cool! 12 burner gas stove, the 4 deck oven, industrial mixers, bowls, ingredients, everything and we didn't have to wait on other students for the salt. No one kept opening the oven and screwing up the temperature. I was able to really concentrate. We talked about our homework too. One question was about what needed a higher temperature of oil to fry correctly. You have two batters of yeast-donuts of equal fat but one with higher sugar content. It was cool to hear her reasoning and then explain mine and then between the two of us we figured it out.

It was nice to catch up. I made my coconut macaroons and by golly, they checked out perfect. It is so satisfying to understand the process and just do it. I pulled them out of the oven and when I cracked the crust, just knew that it was right.

I also measured out my ingredients for scones and lemon pound cake. For the scones internal garnish, I decided to use chunks of candied ginger, a little bit of sliced, roasted almonds, and top it with a cream wash and turbinado sugar. Mmmm. We cleaned up our kitchen and went to class happy as peaches...

Well, funny how life works out. Chef also wanted us to do a few other things too. Today was crepe, beignet, and corn muffin day. Yes folks, 5 recipes scaled, mixed, and baked off. I had 2 ready to mix but the crepe and beignets were more important today because the crepe batter was mixed up and had sat the right amount of time and the oil was set up and at the right temperature to fry the eclair paste/pate a choux for the beignets.

I decided to compromise because I realize that I am still not fast enough to do it all (no one in the class is). I decided to bake off one of my pre-scaled formulas (lemon pound cake) and then work on the pate a choux for the beignets, and then, if time permitted, I would practice my crepes. I will bake off my scones and measure out and bake my corn muffins after break.

Meanwhile, I managed to fold my coronets, all 12 from one sheet of parchment perfectly, check. Coconut macaroons, perfect, check. Oatmeal raisin baked last night, bad. Grr. Overdone again. This time Chef let me use the pre-scooped, community dough to try again. My advice, take them out when the don't look done. Seriously, it works out in the end because they still cook on the pan. I finally took them out when I didn't think they were done and they turned out. Check!!! Third time is a charm.

I have made pate a choux/cream puffs before but as I have found with most of my classmates, that means nothing here. You could have made a hundred biscuits a day for 2 years straight and you still don't have it right. I was nervous. I didn't want to be the person who boasted and then bombed. I read the formula, measured everything twice, and checked my temperature often. My dough turned out the right texture and color but the true test is in the frying. Does it puff and do you get nice holy, fried nuggets of goodness? You bag your dough with a #826 star tip, stand over the hot oil (360 degrees), press out a consistent 2 1/2" piece of dough, snip it with your scissors, and repeat until you have a few in the oil. Then you watch them fry. It goes pretty fast and you know right away if your dough is a success or not. Mine puffed up and browned, I couldn't believe it. I made about 10 pieces and was able to get 3 of them checked off as a successful skill. I watched people tonight stand at that fryer with their entire bag of dough and still not have a single piece that was correct. It is crushing.

My lemon pound cake looked done so I pulled it out to let it cool. It was too close to the end of the skill check time though so I knew I had missed the window for it to be tested. I was pretty bummed but Chef just told me to freeze one loaf of it and she would test it after break. So it wasn't a total waste.

I didn't have much time left so I didn't practice the crepes. I did get to bring some batter home so I can practice. It is pretty tough to get it evenly thick, very blonde in color, no crispy edges, and circular. Some of my class mates got pretty good at it by the end of the night though.

Any who... The time is flying by and my brain is overwhelmed with info and my shoes are covered in flour. I am used to taking things out to the oven with my short towels. I was so afraid of using them instead of oven mitts. Now I don't even notice. Alan and I are definitely not craving any sweets. I have so much left over. I am oozing sweets here. Won't anyone visit? ;)

1 comment:

  1. You have made an amazing amount of pastries in such a short time! I wish I could just watch over your shoulder and learn how to make some of them. They all sound delicious!