Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 28

Today we started laminated doughs!!  We're talking croissant dough, danish dough and puff pastry...mmmm!

Since I don't have any results yet (just making the dough takes 2 days), I thought I'd show you some of the process.

We made the actual dough last night and let it chill in the fridge.  When you roll it out, it needs to be between 1/4" and 1/2", in a rectangle (this is harder than it sounds).  Then you take your softened, European-style butter and roll it between plastic to get it about 2/3 the size of the dough and lay it on top like so...

Yep, that's 1/2 a pound for the croissant

and a whole pound for the danish dough...

You fold the unbuttered 1/3rd over

and then the buttered side over top of that.  

Now you have dough, butter, dough, butter, dough.  At this point it gets rolled out...slowly!  It gets rolled back down to 1/4-1/2" thick and then you start your first turn (or put the dough in the fridge if it's too warm).  A turn is when you fold the dough over again on itself and roll it out.

The two edges get folded into the center

and then it gets folded in half.  

This is called a "book fold" and is done twice during the whole process.  From here, the dough gets rolled back out to a flat rectangle and put in the fridge for NO MORE than 30 minutes.  These doughs are tricky because the dough can't be too warm but the butter can't be too cold or else things will go wrong.  When it comes out of the fridge, it's best to let the dough sit for a couple of minutes before trying to work with it.  If the butter is too cold it will break or crack and the dough will lose some of its layeriness.  After it's rested for a few mintues, you repeat the book fold and roll it out again.  At this point it gets put back in the fridge for at least a while (we leave ours overnight).  Tomorrow we'll start making pastries out of them!

I also managed to get my doughnuts done tonight which, assuming they pass, means I'll be all caught up!  YAY!  Things are going a bit better so far than they did in the first half of the term *knock on wood*.  

I decided to go simple and just coated them in finely granulated sugar.  They are wonderful!  Nice and light and moist.  WAY better than last time! :-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 27

Well, I feel a little better.  I got my brioche done and checked off, as well as my panettone that was supposed to get done yesterday (truth be told, it actually did get done, just not by 9:15p).  I was also able to redo my sweet rolls and get my doughs for tomorrow done.  God, no wonder I'm tired!

The brioche is a tricky thing.  As I said, it's one of the doughs that has to stay refrigerated, so you can only work with 1-2 little 2 oz balls at a time. 

 First, it gets shaped.  Cute, huh?

Then it gets pressed into the little molds and proofed until it's nice and puffy.

This is what they look like when they come out.  From here, you can cut them open and fill them with cream or...something.

They don't have a lot of flavor on their own, but they're nice and buttery so I can see where they'd be good if you dressed them up.  I hear that, in loaf form, brioche makes great french toast!

Since my previous sweet rolls melted out from under me, I decided to go with the old stand by and make them cinnamon-raisin with a frangelico glaze and, MAN, did they come out good.

 Here they are as they're headed over for proofing.  They get a bit fatter when they're ready to be baked.

After they're done baking, they get glazed while they're still warm....mmmm.

The Panettone is an Italian sweet bread with lots of internal garnish.  Legend has it that a baker wanted to marry a girl of status but her father would not allow it.  The baker invented this bread and it became so popular that he was able to gain enough money and fame that they could be married.  It's very sweet. :-)

Mine came out a little dark, they go from being not done to DONE very quickly.

It's filled with raisins, golden raisins, pistachios and candied orange peel.

While it was pretty tasty, I am not a big fan of candied fruit peels so it wasn't my favorite.

Across the table from me, Adam and Erica were having fun temping their milk for their doughs...

Aren't they cute?  hehe.

Also, just a little side note...Thanks to Vincent, I now have a webpage name and slogan for my restaurant.  Right now it just redirects to my blog, but here it is:  Cogito Ergo Nom... ;-)

Day 26

Ok, so I actually got some things done today.  Including one of the things I was supposed to do!  Imagine that.  I've been feeling very frustrated at school, my new partner and I don't jive nearly as well as Celeste and I did and I feel like I'm always behind and always the last one done.  Production wise, I'm actually keeping up relatively well.  I've only had to do one thing over and it wasn't too complicated.  I'm also almost on track as far as getting things done day to day.  In any case, I'm not much farther behind than anyone else in class. 

Friday we were assigned (for the day) sticky buns plus glaze, sweet rolls plus glaze, brioche and doughnuts as a team.  This may not sound like much, but when you have 3 hours to do all of that, things get a little rushed.  Now, we'd made our brioche and sweet doughs the night before so they were pretty much ready to assemble, but this is also more complicated than it sounds.  All of the dough has to be kept very cold and so there is a lot of running back and forth to the refrigerator.

The brioche I made did not turn out correctly, so I'll worry about that on tomorrow's post.  My sweet rolls completely failed...I tried to be clever.  I filled them with a brown sugar-butter-frangelico mixture and it just melted out of the buns.  It turns out that baking that mixture makes a lovely chewy candy though...I ended up eating some of it and using some of it as a glaze for the empty rolls. 

 They don't look kind of disgusting, but they tasted good...

So we'll start with the sticky buns.  They're pretty much what most people think of as cinnamon rolls, but with a different glaze.  The glaze is mostly brown sugar and butter and is put on the bottom of the pan....

Like So.  The filling is just cinnamon and sugar.

When they're finished they get flipped onto another pan so that the part with the glaze is now the top and look like this in the end.  They were TASTY!

We also made babas tonight.  These are interesting little buggers.  They're a relatively tasteless dough that you pipe into molds and bake off.  From there, you let them stale, then soak them in a simple syrup/rum mixture a few times and cut them open and fill them with creme chantilly.  As long as there's enough rum, they're great! ;-P

 This is what they look like in the mold when they're proofing.  You wait until the dough has almost reached the top before baking them.

Then they look like this.  Nothing terribly exciting, I know.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a little better.  Supposedly we'll have some time since all we have to do is make dough for the next day.  Here's hoping!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 25, End of Week 5

Sadly, I have nothing for you for today.  It kind of sucked.  We had way too much to do and not enough time to do it and no one got even remotely close to getting everything done.  I got about 3/4 done on 3 of 4 projects and I did take a few pictures but I'm going to save them for Monday's post when I can put it all together.

It was a very frustrating day....I need a hug.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 24

We finished up artisan breads today with our autolyse experiments.  We made 2 batches of bread, one using the autolyse method and one the regular way.

So what the heck is autolyse?  When using this method, you mix your flour and your liquid (water, milk, etc.) until it's all moistened, cover it and set it aside for 30 minutes before mixing in the rest of your ingredients.  It's supposed to make mixing faster and make the bread more hydrated, etc.  We weren't able to finish our bread in time to compare it to the regular method, but so far, it's just a pain in the ass.  The mixing of the rest of the ingredients took FOREVER and I kept finding little balls of yeast that weren't getting incorporated.  We'll see what happens tomorrow, but thus far, I am not a fan.  Of course, it might have helped also if I weren't completely stupid tonight.  We got everything mixed in and set our dough over to ferment...15 minutes later I realized that I had forgotten to put in the starter!  Ugh.

So what I DID get done tonight was my Pain au Levain and I got my pugliese and como checked off too.

This is the Pane di Como.  It's the Italian version of country white bread.  Tasty though!

It's pretty basic and great for sandwiches

Here is the Pain au Levain.  It's kind of like sourdough...without the sour.

Got some nice holes going on, some too big for this type of bread.  Again, not enough pressure when rounding it.

This one was my favorite, the Pane Pugliese.  It's a very nice, light Italian bread.  

Lots of lovely holes in this one!!  It came out really well.  <3

Tomorrow I will have the results of the autolyse vs. regular method for the ciabatta and we'll be starting on rich doughs.  Hopefully I will have lots of tastiness to bring home for the weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 23

Today was another bread-filled extravaganza of baking!  I finished my rye and my sourdough, which both came out excellent and got my burli checked off.

Nothing I made today got checked off but that's ok!  We made Pane Pugliese, Pane di Como and Pain au Levain (that's French for "Pain in my ass"... ;-)).

Here is my Burli from yesterday.  See all the nice holes??  It's like ciabatta but softer and (I think) tastier!

My Rye, topped with caraway seeds.  

Lots of lovely air pockets with just a few spots Chef said could have used some more time.  

And my sourdough.  It got a bit over-proofed, unfortunately.  That's why the color is very light.  

Now, unfortunately, those really giant holes aren't supposed to be in this one but part of it is over-proofing and part of it is from not getting all the air pressed out when I was rounding it.  

The sourdough tasted quite yummy and I can't wait to make a sandwich out of it tomorrow!  

Tomorrow will be a day of experimentation.  We're making the same bread (our choice) twice but with different methods and, if I have time, I'm going to make an olive bread...mmmm. <3!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 22

I don't have a lot of pictures for you today since again, half the bread has to sit overnight and I decided to leave my sourdough in the fridge for one more day.  I did get to finish my Burli (there are supposed to be oomlauts over that u) but not in time for check off, so we'll get to see the inside tomorrow.

The other bread we made tonight (that's still in the fridge and will be baked tomorrow), was rye.

Every night we make the pre-ferments (similar to a sour-starter but it uses commercial yeast instead of wild yeast) for the next day.  They sit overnight and the yeast does its thing so that the bread has more flavor and rises better when it's made.

This is the beginning of rye bread, the pre-ferment...yummy, huh?  It was a solid, grainy mass that was really kind of disgustingly grayish. Bleh!

Here is my "oval" Burli. HA!

The Burli is very similar to the ciabatta.  It's a very soft dough that gets turned every 30 minutes during fermentation and you have to be very gentle with it.  If you handle it too much, it will deflate and then it's sad.  You pretty much just have to portion the dough into loaves on the table (or bench, as it's called), pick them up and carefully place them onto the sheet pan, stretching and forming as you do.  However it gets set down is how it should stay.  Crazy.  This is why it's called "rustic"

Day 21

We started Artisan Breads today.  The term "artisan" is a little loose when it comes to breads since so many bigger stores are now selling products with that name on it.  What it comes down to for the most part is, the breads are more hand-made, for the most part, using as little machinery as possible.  They are less uniform in the loaf size, shape and color and most of the time you're looking for those larger air pockets that you try and squash out of other breads.  I think one of the most important things regarding artisan breads is the lack of chemicals.  There should be no preservatives or additives in the bread (other than internal garnish).  An artisan bread is usually made with flour, water, yeast and salt.  Sometimes milk, eggs or butter will be in there as well, but that's basically it.

Results this week will be slightly delayed as it's hard to get more than one bread DONE per day.  We're using a mixture of pre-ferments, starters and instant yeast and so it takes a long time to ferment and proof the bread before baking.  But, ON WITH THE BREAD ALREADY!

Ciabatta (and bread's like it) (I just noticed I spelled it wrong on the bowl...way to go!) have to be turned halfway through fermentation so that all the CO2 that builds up and rises to the top gets put back down on the bottom to come up.  The dough is very soft and unlike most bread dough.  

Mine came out looking like a potato...I told Chef it was Irish Ciabatta.  :-)  

The crumb came out nicely with nice holes in it and it tasted quite yummy.  I may have to pick up some sandwich stuff on the way home in the morning....

We also made Focaccia, which starts out looking like white blobyness in a pan.  Again, the dough is very soft and sticky.  Lots of olive oil is used to keep it from sticking to both the pan and my hands.

Halfway through baking I sprinkled garlic and parmesan on it...mmmm!

Again, the crumb came out nice and airy.  It was really light and fluffy with just a slightly "fried" taste on the edges...delicious!

This is the bottom of it.  You poke holes in it with your finger tips from the top just before baking and this is what happens.  It's totally SUPPOSED to look like this!

We also made sourdough with our 15-year-old starter but I decided to leave that proofing in the fridge for a couple of days.  It will increase the acetic acid (what makes it sour) and the crust will change and become chewier.  :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 20, The End of Week 4!

Today is also the end of our first 4-week class.  Monday, we start Baking 112 (our classes go 111, 112, 211, 212, don't ask me why)!

Well, I finished this half of the term with everything done and all but one thing checked off.  That's not too shabby!  I got a B+ on our written test yesterday, which is actually a 91 (the grading scale is pretty tough).

Here are the doughnuts before frying.  

And after frying...

And after glazing.  

I don't think I like this particular doughnut recipe.  They were not as light as I feel non-cake doughnuts should be, but maybe that's just me.  I like a doughnut that is mostly air.  :-)

I got my pitas checked off!

Look, they poofed!  They have pockets!

And finally, my apple pie.  It got done but not checked off.  It didn't get done early enough, sadly.

Pitas are very interesting to bake. You put them in a 500 degree oven (or hotter) for like 3 minutes, flip them over, let them cook another minute and pull them out.  

Next week we start on Aritisan breads. much goodness to come!

Day 19

This week has been really nice in that, because we are doing breads, and mostly with a teammate, we have had quite a bit of time to catch up on other things while we wait for it to rise.

For instance, I was finally able to get my oatmeal raisin cookies done and checked off.

Today was actually pretzel and bagel day.  We also made doughnut dough but we'll finish those tomorrow.

My pretzels were HUGE!  Chef called them Ginormous ( :-)

Here they are after baking.  They're brushed with a solution of water and baking soda, salted and baked.  They came out pretty tasty, but a bit chewier than I usually like.  

Here are my bagels.  Again, I like very soft bagels and so these aren't my favorite.

The bagels were made the traditional way, by boiling them before they're baked.  Nowadays they steam-inject them to make them softer and larger and speed up the process. 

Tomorrow is our make-up day.  I have to redo my pitas and my apple pie and finish my doughnuts!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 18

Today was Pita and Pizza day!!

We made pita bread (which does not turn out like the kind you're used to) but I wasn't able to get a picture of mine after baking.  It's ok, though, I have to redo them Friday. :-/

This is the pita before baking.  They look so innocent on that tray like that, but they're finicky little buggers. 

I am pretty sure mine didn't turn out because they proofed too long (sat there after I rolled them out).  Only a few can be done in the oven at a time and people kept grabbing it before me.  I will post more pictures when I redo them.

I decided to go with a small but thick pizza.  It has spinach, mushrooms, garlic and provolone (we didn't have any mozzerella).


Tomorrow there are some special things in store...I won't ruin the surprise! :-)