Week two was a lot more smooth than week one. I think we’ve gotten into our rhythm as a class and are becoming more efficient. We’re also getting to know each other a bit better and thankfully, we all get along really well. Before I started, I was nervous everyone would dislike how much I talk to myself in the kitchen. It turns out a few of them are similar, and most of us sing in the kitchen too. We’re currently on a musical kick; our first week was The Sound of Music and this past week was The Phantom of the Opera.
Day 1: Fruit Tart
To start off week two, we made a fruit tart using a pâte sucrée (sweet pastry crust) and crème patisserie (custard filling). We also went through the principles of blind baking, which bakes the crust without the filling. We lined the inside of the tart with cling film and dried baking beans. This, along with an egg wash, helps to keep the crust from becoming soggy on the bottom. I almost forgot to add the butter to my crème patisserie and had to remix. Oops!
We continued to talk about the differences in various flours. For the sweet pastry, we used a soft flour with 8.5% gluten content. Bread flour is typically 11-12% gluten (all-purpose flour is typically 10-11%). A fun little tip I learned was that a pinch of salt can be measured using your thumb and forefinger; a good pinch is thumb and first two fingers.
Day 2: Bakery
Today we made a wholemeal dough for sesame plaits, poppy seed stars and soda bread. We also performed a gluten experiment where we made a dough of flour and water and rinsed that dough in a strainer under the water, washing away all of the flour and just leaving the gluten. Then we baked our gluten balls. In theory, it should weight 12g, since we were using 12% flour. Ours didn’t, and it tastes gross!
Day 4: Chocolate Lab
We didn’t have science this week, so we spent the whole six hour day in the chocolate lab. We started by working on our chocolate motifs. As you can see, I was pretty bad at the beginning, but improved slightly by my forth sheet. I need much more practice! I can’t talk while I decorate or my designs become shaky, but I can still sing show tunes and it oddly focuses me.
We also talked about cacao butter and it’s uses in decorating. We kept working on our tempering and the importance. This is a subject we’ll discuss in depth over the coming weeks. One of the reason chocolate can have streaks or not set properly is because it’s off temper.
Day 4: Theory & Bakery
On Friday, we went over bread theory and went more in depth about each ingredient and its importance. In the afternoon, we were in the bakery making raspberry financiers. The bakery is my favorite kitchen to be in. It’s bright with big windows and wooden and light marble countertops. The raspberry financiers were delicious!