Thursday, September 17, 2009

The fun of it all

Who knew that sweating your butt off, standing on your feet for 4.5 hours (a lot of it in front of an oven) and pushing around behind people at a fast pace would be so much fun? I really enjoyed last night’s class. And only 20% of that is because my partner and I stood near “The Cute Guy” as I have now dubbed him. :-)

As the weather gods love to do, the temperature of So Cal increased again just in time for my baking lab this week. Never fails! But honestly, it wasn’t that bad. I think I am getting used to it. Maybe not so much when we get our chef jackets. Haha So, it was quite warm in the bakery which, as you bakers out there know, is not good when you are working with shortening to make things such as biscuits and pie crusts. The temperature of the shortening increases in your hand as you break it up with the flour which can cause problems when you want your pie crust to turn out flaky.

We started class with Chef doing two demos. The first: popovers. To be honest, I didn’t really know what they were! I mean, I have heard of them, but I have never seen them or eaten them. The batter seems pretty easy and quick to make but baking them seems to be somewhat of an art form. The second demo was for our blind bake pie crust. She did everything step by step so we would know exactly what to do. Because our theme for last night was “biscuits,” she wanted to get in as much as possible. Biscuits can mean a lot of different items, including popovers AND scones which are both in the biscuit family. (Pie crust dough is also made in a similar fashion with similar ingredients). My partner this week was a nice enough guy but very quiet. And me being the talkative one, I had a bit of a problem with that! But after some coaxing, we decided to make chocolate chip scones from our list of choices. (Luckily Cute Guy is a bit goofy like me so I actually interacted with him more than my own partner even though I tried to joke with my partner a bit).

Scones and biscuits are best made by hand. So, we had to get down and dirty. And my partner was all the happier to let me be the one to stick my hands in that gooey mess. To me it was fun so I didn’t mind at all. After a heavy cream wash and a sprinkle of sugar, those scones baked up wonderfully and tasted so yummy! I even got to taste Cute Guy’s scones (cranberry…YUM!). (Oh, and after "testing" so many items from last week and being sick the whole next dayb (wheat allergy), I decided to be more selective with what I taste). Next was on to the pie crust.

I have never once made homemade pie crust. I know some of my family are bakers (Aunt Genene??) so they might know exactly how difficult it is to get a perfect pie crust when hand mixing it from scratch. You have to break up the shortening just right and mix it just enough so there aren’t any pieces of shortening that will melt and leave holes in the crust but not mix it too much so the flakiness of the crust disappears. Believe it or not I was pretty impressed with my crust. It was a little under-baked but the look was great and no holes! I brought it home with hopes of making it into an actual pie. Haha Now to figure out what to do with it.

Once we divvied out the biscuits and scones (this time I remembered my container so no one would mistake their bag for mine) it was cleaning time. As I was waiting for others to finish gathering their baked goods, I kind of zoned out standing right under the fan. I suddenly heard not only the Cute Guy kind of giggling but my friend “Miss Y” was cracking up at me. I looked at her like I was all confused and she said, “So, are you guarding those with your life this time?” I looked down to see I was holding my container of goodies against my chest like I was clutching on for dear life. HAHA! I started laughing. Even the Chef noticed and made a funny comment. It was so subconscious! I kind of just laughed and said I wasn’t even thinking about that (which just made the whole thing even funnier). No one was going to steal my stuff this week!

Next week we make a pie AND a tart!! Oh my family will love me.

OH! I almost forgot…in the midst of all the craziness, we also took a hands-on measurement quiz. It was quite chaotic but yes friends…I got 100%. I still have my A.

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