Sunday, October 25, 2009

Annoying guy needs to get a clue

More rolls? Yup! More rolls! Well, the midterm proved to be a bit tough but fun at the same time. I got to class early so I could grab the equipment that I am always the last to get, and what do you know…I was the 7th person there. Yes, I was 25 minutes early to the bakery and I was still the 7th person there! I guess everyone else had the same idea as me. Luckily I was still able to get my large bowls, etc, to be ready. I felt calm and confident, so I was ready to get started.

I measured, mixed and kneaded away. I felt like I was keeping up a bit more with everyone than I was the first go-around a few weeks ago. Unfortunately my rounded, benched dough didn’t rise quite as quickly as some so I still had to wait to put it into the divider to cut it into even pieces ready for me to form. Once I got to that point I started to rock it! My makeup and panning step was going awesome! My rolls were looking awesome and I didn’t screw up the figure 8’s and crosses this time. AND my French forms looked awesome. People were telling me they were jealous! (Thank you play dough for helping me out!) So, I got the first pan in the proofer and started on the second and last pan. Well, when my second pan went into the proofer, my first one wasn’t even CLOSE to being done proofing. What the??? Yeah, leave it to the lame ones in class to basically stand there with the proofer door open for long periods of time so those of us with pans still in there get screwed! If it wasn’t for that I might have been done about 20 minutes before I was.

Well, my first pan was finally ready and the rotating oven was full. So, fortunately I got to use the convection oven for the first time! I love that oven now! No one uses it and it bakes a lot faster. K…a bit of a reminder here…remember at the beginning of the semester I mentioned a guy that was going to test the Chef’s patience? Well, I have dubbed him “the annoying one.” Seriously, during the lecture class you can tell the students from the other labs are really happy he isn’t in their lab! Anyway, when I put my pan in the oven, he had put his in there as well. I went back to my station to clean up a bit and a friend of mine…we will call him “nice guy”…told me that annoying guy had just got him in trouble and he was really mad about it. He told me the story and seriously, annoying guy is not nice. Annoying guy asked nice guy a question. Well, it is midterm and we weren’t supposed to be helping each other at all. Well, totally not realizing he was doing it, nice guy started to answer annoying guy’s question (hence him being dubbed nice guy). Well, Chef overheard and got mad. When nice guy said he was sorry, he wasn’t thinking when annoying guy asked him the question…get this!!!!…annoying guy LIED and said that he hadn’t even ASKED nice guy for help!!!! WHAT? Poor nice guy. I was mad for him too when he was telling me the story.

So, this leads me to the fact that now my first pan is done in the oven and I went out to get my pan out of the oven. Well, “surfer guy” and “quiet guy” were out there waiting for surfer guy’s pans to be ready. I went into the oven, got my pan out and put it on the cooling rack. Surfer guy said, “What about the other pan?” I told him it wasn’t mine. He asked whose it was. When I told him it was annoying guy’s he said, “You aren’t going to take it out?” I said, “Of course not. It is midterm and [annoying guy] needs to learn to do his own work for a change.” Surfer guy and quiet guy said that was messed up but they hadn’t heard about the story from nice guy. Plus it was midterm. I wasn’t about to get in trouble like nice guy just had.

So, I laughed it off and went about my business. I got my other pan out of the proofer and put it in the oven. I weighed a roll from my first batch to make sure it was correct and kept on going. When my last pan was done and started to cool, I took it to the other kitchen to be graded. I was so happy! Chef had a lot of nice things to say about my rolls which was definitely a relief after my first go around in lab a few weeks ago. She said the forms were nice, the crust was smooth….the only bad thing she really said was about the egg wash. When you put egg wash on bread, it creates a shiny brown crust. Although my crusts were a beautiful color, she noticed that there were spots that were shinier than others which just meant that my wash wasn’t sprayed on evenly. She cut a roll open and complimented the texture inside and tasted it and liked it! I got a 96!!! And luckily I wasn’t last to be done this time. Haha The first 8-10 people done got extra credit so there were a lot of people that got over 100 points but I was so happy that I wasn’t last and I still got a 96!

I gathered my stuff and put my rolls in a bag to bring home. Annoying guy was just taking his second pan out of the proofer…..

Written test:

Holy cow that written test was HARD!! Brutal even. I felt pretty confident most of the way through it but when I got to the end….fill in short answer! YIKES! Well, I only need to get an 83 out of 100 on the written to keep an A on my whole midterm. Keep your fingers crossed! I get my results next Friday!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Foccacia pizza!

Well, this week was happily an easier week. I think Chef planned it that way since last week was crazy and next week is midterm. So, we did everything as a class. She gave everyone specific jobs and we stuck to that. Pre-fermented dough made into dough for foccacia, fougasse, ciabatta, and baguettes. All of these are made from the same dough so it was very easy. I got to round the dough for proofing. Basically that means you shape it into a round ball with the skin of the dough on top smooth. It is actually a bit harder than it sounds but I was happy to get the practice for next week’s midterm. The best part of the lab was getting to take the foccacia and each make our own individual pizzas! Yum! After that all craziness broke loose as everyone was concentrated on eating their pizza instead of listening to Chef. Haha

So, our lab next week is our “practical” midterm. We will be again making rolls. I feel a bit more confident in making them now as I practiced the shapes with the play dough (which I am still trying to find the recipe for as I lost it). So, today and the rest of this week I will be concentrating on studying for the written midterm on Friday. Good thing is, I got an A on my last test! YAY! I am going to use the same technique I did for studying for that test for the midterm. Let’s hope that works!

Oh, and someone in our baking class has swine flu. Fantastic. Luckily not someone in my specific lab we don’t think. So, I have been disinfecting myself after every class. Haha Let’s hope that keeps it away!

I also made some pumpkin pie bites for a pre-Halloween Thanksgiving party last night. They seemed to be a hit! Tried to upload a picture but it won't work. Oh well. They were cute!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A caboose full of dinner rolls

Well, after a week off for being sick, class sure returned with a bang. Let’s just put it this way….anyone that makes their own dinner rolls from scratch at home on a regular basis should be put in the looney bin. And I thought making a pie from scratch was hard. This won’t be a funny post, nor a lengthy post as I am still tired from Wednesday nights class!

Not only did we learn the 12 steps of baking bread this week (and were tested on it on Friday) but we put it into action. The mixing part was pretty easy. The kneading until you think you are going to die or pass out? Not so much. I don’t want to knead bread again any time soon and unfortunately in 2 weeks will be repeating this last week’s process for the practical midterm. I already had rolls coming out my caboose and now I will have more! I kneaded bread dough for 35 minutes. And this is not something that is done slowly. This is quick and gives you a workout. I was sweating more kneading dough than I did the first week of school when it was almost 100 degrees out and hotter in the bakery! Kneading bread isn’t a difficult technique to master, but your muscles need to be built up, that is for sure. The good thing was that when the bread was benched so it could rise, we got a bit of a break. However, this was just followed by another 45 minutes of working as fast as you can. Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough per the Chef. We had to divide our dough and then shape them into dinner roll shapes. 7 round, 7 French, 7 single knot, 7 figure 8’s, and 8 crosses. Well, this being only the second time even trying these shapes (and not all of them were done the first time) I struggled. But I wasn’t the only one. And of course I managed to screw something up on the figure 8’s. Well, at least they tasted good according to friends and family.

I am off to pull out my play dough that was made a few weeks ago so I can practice my techniques for shaping. The fact I will be graded on it in 2 weeks does get me a bit motivated. I need to keep that A!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Missed the Challah

So, last week I was down with a cold and since I still had a cough on Wednesday, I couldn't attend lab. I missed making Challah. I have heard it is yummy. Oh well, I guess I will practice my bread braiding with the play dough we made. Dinner rolls this week! I will update this weekend. Normally I update on Thursdays but I will be attending a taping of The Bonnie Hunt show on Thursday! Hey, set your DVR on Friday...I might be on tv!