Monday, November 30, 2009

11/28/09 - At Home - Bread

I haven't posted lately cuz not much as been up. No class this week cuz of the holiday. I finally did a bit of baking at home, some more bread. Just making bread every week or 2 doesn't seem too interesting but I learn more with every go, so it is beneficial. I am continuing to make my sourdough recipe. I like using the starter since yeast can get costly. It is a lot of work however, but split into a few sessions it isn't that bad. I made a larger batch today, making two large loaves. No wash of any kind this time, the milk didn't seem to help and the only other kind of wash that can soften a crust is milk/egg yolk, and I don't wanna waste eggs on that. The result's kinda pale but I'm just eating it myself so I don't particularly care about it's aesthetics.

Today I did try something slightly different in baking, however. A couple months ago when I was buying supplies for my baking class, I for some reason decided to buy a silicone bread pan. I had never used it, resigning it to the back of one of my cabinets. Not really sure why I never thought of using it before, but I decided to give it a go today. One of my issues with my bread has come from the fact that I'm making it using half whole-wheat flour. With that, it does not attain the rise or structure that comes from using bread flour so I generally end up with flatter loaves. Using a form, I can obviously control the shape better. It worked out pretty well. As you can see it did bulge, seeing as the silicone is very malleable. I think I just put too much dough in. The results of the bread was a step up today, and I'm not 100% why. I did achieve a somewhat softer bread than previous. I think perhaps it was the baking time, I baked it slightly shorter than I had previously, but I'm not sure if 5 minutes would make that big a difference in the crust. Another change was how I applied moisture. During my proofing, in addition to my mock-up proof box with steaming water, I sprayed the loaves a few times with water from a spray bottle, and I also did so prior to baking. Normally, moistening the dough would create a crisper dough, but perhaps since it was moister going into baking, it did not crisp up as much. I'm not sure, I guess I'll see in future attempts.

I also used my Kitchenaid for the first non-bread application, making cornbread. It's much easier than a hand mixer, that's all I really gotta say.

Also I know I haven't posted anything about my job, that's just cuz I'm lazy. I'll get to it eventually.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

11/21/09 - Class - Cakes

Well today went a bit better then yesterday, though it wasn't perfect. We had one failure, and I burned myself a few times. You'd think after all the burns I get and exposure to high heat, my hands would get a little more resistant.

Our first order of business was to get the carrot cake done right. This time we used three shorter rounds as opposed to two tall,and baked them in the conventional oven. They came out perfectly this time. Since we got them done early they were cool enough to slap some cream cheese icing on. Time was running short so we weren't able to do the whole icing shebang-layers and whatnot, but it's all good.

Next we went on to a cheesecake. Technically it's a custard, but whatever. The book recipe had us bake it like a custard as well-in a water bath. The chef said it's fine however doing it as is, and he was right. It came out very nice.

Third was an orange chiffon bundt cake. It was a nice egg foam and the chef said that it is a really great recipe. It baked off very well and it came out really nice and airy. I wanted to give it a try but didn't want to mess with it. We topped it with a simple orange glaze to further enhance it while still keeping it light (the recipe called for buttercream which doesn't make much sense-very heavy topping for a very light cake).

After the chiffon we made chocolate genoise. They were very similar to the spongecake of yesterday. The only real difference is the addition of some butter and fewer eggs (and yolks and whites aren't separated). They came out nicely but I didn't take a picture of them. We froze them for a future recipe.

Our last baked items were ladyfingers. I'll keep it simple and say that's our failure. They didn't rise, were brown, and seemed pocked with air holes. I'm not sure the exact cause of the problem. I think that the sugar measurement was wrong, which may account for the collapse and probably accounts for the browning. It's also possible that it overwhipped and the volume was lost there. I guess it's not a total loss-we didn't throw them out but instead broke them up for cake crumbs. We will have to make them sometime in the future however because we were supposed to save them for a future recipe.

The final item of the night was Italian buttercream. It's really just Italian meringue that we add butter to-lots of butter. Seeing as Italian meringue is a bit of a pain to make this was the same. I am just very apprehensive about sugarwork, the exacting temperatures and ease of ruining the batch with minor mistakes make it tough. It came out fine however and we used it to ice yesterday's spongecakes. We had a lot of buttercream so I went through the effort of layering the spongecakes and making a big thing. With all that buttercream it's gonna be rich as hell but that's what you get when you eat cake.

Friday, November 20, 2009

11/20/09 - Class - Cakes

The Chef was ill on Thursday so class had to be canceled. So today is the first day of the week for class and so we're a bit behind. This week we began cakes, and unfortunately I got off to a pretty bad start. At least for one plus we got new groups and I like mine.

The first recipe we made was a carrot cake which was simply failure. What's worse is it was my fault. We prepped it all nice and then panned it. I put it in the deck ovens to bake. We were using tall pans so I was fearful that putting them right on the stone would burn the bottoms before the center cooked-the deck ovens heat from the top left, top right, and bottom. So I put our pan on another sheet pan, which is there so that bottoms won't overcook. Unfortunately, that was my error. Without enough heat from the bottom, the center never set even though the outside cooked. We ended with a gooey collapsing center. If it's any redemption, we got a perfectly cooked outer ring, so we salvaged what we could by cutting out the wet parts and just having pieces of carrot cake. It tasted quite good. I didn't take any pictures of this failure. We're going to try again tomorrow so I'll have pictures then.

Our second cake was a chocolate spongecake. I guess from the standpoint that it's a whipped egg cake, it's pretty simple. It's going to just take time and experience to know the proper mixing time and stuff to get "thick ribbons" for example. Our cakes came out alright. We are chilling them to ice with buttercream tomorrow, so no pictures tonight. I'll have pretty ones tomorrow.

The last thing that we made were eclairs. Yes, we made them in the past. Yes, they have nothing to do with cakes-they're custards. We made them because it's on our final and so it was practice. Looking ahead it seems like we're gonna be making it every week the rest of the quarter. These came out very nicely. They were pretty close to perfect I'd say. Our pastry cream was good too. Unfortunatlely I was stupid and refrigerated it, rather than just cool it, so the consistency suffered a bit, but after piping it came out fine. I have no pictures unfortunately just cuz I forgot, so sorry but tonight it's just a wall of text.

11/20/09 - At Home - Bread

I gave my Kitchenaid a whirl for the first time and I'm quite happy with it thus far, for the little I've done with it. I had read reviews where it is loud and can get shaky so wasn't sure. I was kneading bread so it was on low, but it was fine for me, quiet even compared to the Hobarts at school. It is nice that it has 10 speeds so you can be much more precise and can change the speed more gradually. You can tilt back the mixer which makes getting to the bowl, for scraping it down or for removing the attachment, much easier. The bowl is cool too. You just twist it into place and it stays firm. You had to clip the Hobart bowls into side arms and raise the bowl and it could get difficult and tedious. I guess comparing a home mixer to an industrial mixer doesn't really work, but those are my only bases for comparison.

Well today I made some bread. I made another sourdough, since I got a new starter going from some I got from school. This time I tried a levain that uses the starter as the only rise, no additional yeast is added. I will have to see what I think of this recipe, but that's definitly a plus. Flour's a lot cheaper than yeast. The bread was quite simple, though it definitly takes planning because it is a long process. I began the recipe last night when I mixed some starter and a portion of flour for a couple minutes and then let it sit at room temp overnight to activate the yeast and rise a bit. This morning I finished the recipe, adding more flour, water, and salt (very simple) and mixing that. It fermented another two hours, then I shaped and proofed it another hour. This time for proofing I tried something new to try and similate a proof box. I put the bread in the cool oven and then filled a couple cups with boiling water and placed those in there, with the hopes that they'd steam, raise the temp a bit, and sorta simulate a proof box. It didn't have nearly the heat or moisture of a real proof box but they didn't dry out so I guess it was okay. After 45 minutes of proofing I finally baked. I will have to think about whether or not I do this proofing method again. It simulated the proof box sorta but then I had to have the bread sit another 10 min for the oven to get to temperature, and I don't think that works very well.

Here's the final product. I did half whole-wheat flour again. I didn't get much rise again. This dough was too moist also, it was difficult working and kinda flattened when I formed it. That's my fault though, I just didn't compensate enough with flour. The only way that I can think of to get better rise is using less whole wheat flour, but if anything I'd want to increase it, so I just don't know. The fact that I don't exactly have facilities for good fermentation or proofing probably affects it too.

Last time that I made bread I raised the consideration of a milk wash to make a softer crust. That's what I tried with one of these. Unfortunately it had no effect on the crust, it was just as hard as the unwashed loaf. I tasted a tiny bit of it and it actually tasted rather chewy, but that was just the heel and pretty much all crust. I'll have to see if it's okay when I have a real slice of it. Despite having no effect on the crust, it did make it brown more and gave it an interesting speckled appeareance. Too bad it also ruined my baking sheet from the residual milk that ran off the bread. I guess it's good foresight that I had ordered a new baking sheet just this week. So my breadmaking is still a work in progress. I still want to achieve better rise and softer crust, but I'm not sure if I'm gonna get either of those with the recipes I use, the rise due to whole-wheat flour, and the crust, due to them being sourdoughs. Well, perhaps the crust is a problem because sourdoughs bake at a high temp. If I just bake lower and longer it might be better. I'll think about that next time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11/18/09 - Equipped

I've wanted to get a stand mixer for quite a while now. After using them in class, it simply makes a world of difference compared to a hand mixer, or kneading bread by hand (I don't mind it but I'm sure I'd get better product from the machine). However, I couldn't reasonably justify a purchase of that magnitude with no income. I couldn't even afford groceries and I made no nonessential purchases. However, I promised myself that whenever I finally get a job, I will purchase one. I happily remedied that situation this week (more on that once I actually begin working) and so I went ahead and made the purchase. It is kinda tough putting a big piece of equipment in my already pathetically puny kitchen, but with some rearrangement I managed. It's really not as big or heavy as I thought, though I'm used to those hulking Hobart stand mixers at school. So it's found its nice little niche in the corner of my kitchen. I look forward to giving it a maiden run on some bread later this week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Class 11/14/09 - Just Cookies

We ended the week on a pretty good note. We just did a variety of cookies today and it went quite smoothly. I've been baking some of these cookies since I was a little kid, so I guess it's kinda the roots of my trade. What I can't get is how like every group did at least one thing wrong with the recipes tonight. I think cookies are the easiest thing we've done all quarter. Whatever, everything we did turned out well.

The first thing that we did was get our German chocolate layered bars from yesterday baking. Those took about an hour to bake and then we chilled them. They broke a bit when we tried to divvy them up because they're supposed to chill overnight, but it's all good. I tossed them in the freezer at home so that'll solidify them pretty well.

Next up were gingerbread cookies. There isn't really much to say about them, they're one of the first cookies, if not the first I had ever made. A different recipe but not much has changed.

Next were sugar cookies. Same boat as the gingerbread. One of the oldies. Easy stuff, came out just as one would expect.

Next were cinnamon sugar biscotti. You may recall that a month ago maybe I had experimented making them at home, and they were overly hard. Today's outcome was better than that at home. I'm not really sure what changed, but perhaps I just had something wrong in the recipe. When I rolled out the dough it was much softer and stickier (but it shouldn't have really been sticky, either the dough was too wet or the environment was just too warm). It spread more when it baked, and wasn't as crisp after the first baking. They came out well. I'd surmise that from the time at home, either 1) I measured something wrong (unlikely), 2) they baked too long (possibly), 3) I baked them too hot (also possibly). Maybe I'll try making them again sometime, who knows.

Finally we did cinnamon butter cookies. They weren't anything special, just kinda sugar cookies with cinnamon, and then cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. I don't know if they're exactly the same but they seem to be like Snickerdoodles, though I'm not sure if that's a really commonly known name. I never heard of it until I worked at Firehook.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Class 11/13/09 - Tarts and Cookies

Some more cookies today and even more tarts. Before I worked in a bakery, I don't think I had ever noticed tarts for sale and we've been making them for like three weeks now. Today was the last night of tarts I believe, however.

First is the Linzer tart which we started yesterday. Today we just shaped the dough and filled it with raspberry jam, then gave it a lattice top. If I ate sweet things, I think that I'd really like it. The dough smells really good, it kinda reminds me of gingerbread, most likely from the cloves. It turned out quite nice.

For our second tart, we made tartlets. These were fresh berry tarts. Rather simple, we just pre-baked tartlet shells, made some pastry cream and filled them in the shells, topped with fresh berries, and glazed. I'm kinda tempted to having them, since my diet is woefully devoid of fruits, despite them being my favorite foods, but the tarts are still pretty unhealthy and they're glazed. I'll think about it.

Our final tart was a raspberry mascarpone tart. Mascarpone cheese, honey, and a few other things were mixed up and then heavy cream that was whipped to soft peaks was folded in. That was put in a pre-baked tart shell, topped with raspberries, and glaze. It is pictured above with the fruit tartlets.

Next we did some cookies. They're easy stuff. First was peanut butter sandies, just peanut butter cookies with some sugar on top. I'm not crazy about the extra sugar but that's the recipe.

Our last completed item today was traditional shortbread cookies. It was just a shortbread recipe and we rolled them, froze them, then applied egg wash and sugar, then sliced and baked them.

We also began work on German chocolate brownies. They take a long time to bake and then need to chill before they can be cut so we just prepped them and put them in the fridge to bake first thing tomorrow. It was a two-part recipe. First we had to make the chocolate/nut brownie, and then a topping that was primarily coconut. We'll bake those tomorrow and I'll get a picture then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Class 11/12/09 - Puff Pastry, Tarts, and Cookies

When the class began it seemed like we were doing one or two subjects a week and moving on. It's proved to be not quite true, as this is I think the third week now we're working with laminated doughs and pies/tarts. We're also beginning cookies.

First up was some work with puff pastry. We used pre-made puff pastry instead of making our own. Since we've already made danish and croissant doughs, the chef thought it'd be unnecssary since it's pretty much the same thing. Plus in any professional kitchen you buy pre-made puff pastry. They have perfected machine manufacture of it and making it by hand is time consuming and will probably yield an inferior product. So with the puff pastries, we made a Cream Napoleon. We baked off the puff pastry, but we didn't want the puff but rather a crisp dough, so we docked it and kept it flat with sheet pans. We also prepared pastry cream to go with it. To put together the Napoleon we layered three pieces of puff pastry with two layers of pastry cream. We then topped it with some fondant and made a spiderweb design with some more fondant that we added chocolate to. The chef gave a demo of putting it together including tips on putting on the pastry cream and fondant to not break the pastry as well as for cutting and squaring it off for good presentation. The left picture is from the chef's demo and the right one was my group's product.

We began some work with cookies. Today we made "Chocolate Jumble Cookies" which is flavored with coffee liqueur and chocolate, and has chocolate chips and chopped walnuts in it. Our batter was wetter and runnier than the others-we added too much liqueur and melted too much chocolate-but the final cookies still came out fine.

We also did more tart dough preparation for tomorrow. We made both the regular tart dough and Linzer tart dough. More on those when we use them in production tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

At Home - 11/08-10

A little bit of baking at this week.

On Sunday I made tortillas again. This time I increased the recipe slightly so that I could make larger tortillas. They came out to be a good size this time. I also doubled the recipe and froze half of them for next time. The only problem is I cooked them a little too long and they began to get crisp. I think that I may have cooked them a little to hot actually. I used the second six and they broke when I tried to roll them. However the first size I froze and they felt softer before I froze them. I turned up the heat partway through to make them cook faster so maybe that's the issue. (BTW forgive the picture, for some reason it uploads rotated and I can't figure out why).

On Tuesday I made some cornbread. A couple weeks ago a classmate of mine graciously gave me a whole lotta buttermilk after some cooking and the expiration date is rapidly approaching so I want to use it as soon as I can. It can go beyond the sell-by date by a good deal since it's already cultured, but it's sourness was already quite defined so I don't want to let it sit too long. As opposed to the corn muffins I've made in the past, I decided to make "Southern Cornbread" which omitted the sugar and was baked in a pan. I'm fine with the pan concept-I just made a double batch and did it in a 9x"13" pan. I just break it up and eat it like cereal anyway (great for portion control) so being a muffin didn't matter to me. I was okay with the idea of omitting the sugar, if I can make it healthier I'm cool with that, but the lack of sweetness was very noticeable and it really detracted from it. Next time I might try at least part of the sugar or perhaps honey for some sweetness.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Class 11/07/09 - Tarts

Today wasn't difficult, but it was kinda bleh for me. I wasn't in the best of moods and my group just made it worse. I made the best of it though.

The first tart I made was a lemon curd with Italian meringue. I'm not that happy with the outcome. When I was making the lemon curd, I thought it came out very well. It had a nice color and good consistency and was very smooth. However it never set very well when I chilled it. I'm not sure if I didn't cook it quite enough or what. I was unhappy with the Italian meringue also. Again, when I made it, it turned out quite nice. However since we had to chill the lemon curd, we had to let the meringue sit and so we chilled that as well. When we finally put it together, the meringue had lost it's volume and consistency and became what is seen in the picture. It's not that bad, it still has the taste, just not the volume.

The next tart was an orange milk chocolate tart with creme chantilly. First the chef gave us a quick demo on how to "supreme" a citrus fruit-in this case, a grapefruit. All it really means is sectioning the grapefruit by skinning it and then cutting down the membrane so you have just the flesh and none of the membrane. Of course he made it look easy. Mine weren't terrible, but not great. I blame the fact that my knife wasn't as sharp as it should have been.

In addition I made creme chantilly for the topping. It's just whipped cream that's sweetened. I just figured that it's worth noting since I did it by hand for the first time. It was helpful in learning how to get the feel for the consistency. It takes it time to get going but once it starts setting it can go from soft peaks to stiff peaks to overwhipped very fast. I got a perfect consistency for piping.

And then finally was actually making the tart. It was quite simple. All it took was boiling heavy cream and milk and then blending in butter, corn syrup, and a few drops of orange oil. We then poured it over chocolate which melted from the heat and after whipping it together, it thickened and became a ganache. It was then put in a tart shell, chilled, and once it was set, the grapefruits were placed on top and the creme was piped in. At least this one came out nicely.

Unfortunately I never got any pictures of the rye sourdough bread production. The chef took care of the breads himself, and even though we ran extremely late, the last of us leaving at like 11:45, the bread was still baking so I didn't get any pictures, or free bread.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Class 11/06/09 - Tarts and Bread Production

This evening we had a fairly light workload. We had the beginnings of a lecture in chocolate. I don't think we do that really until the end of the class but we are using it in a recipe tomorrow so I guess it's a good intro.

Today we made a walnut tart. We baked off the tart dough that we made yesterday. The two tarts that we're making tomorrow require fully baked shells so we baked those off. They were cracking a little, one broke completely, but that's cuz it stuck to the tin. I'll have to diagnose why it was cracking, not sure if it was overworked perhaps or something in the prep (I didn't prep the dough and I don't trust my group members). The walnut tart turned out nicely. We blind baked a tart shell and then filled it and finished baking. It ended up being kinda like a custard. We did begin cooking it on the stove before putting it into the shell, though we didn't thicken it at all-that may have just been to have it hot for baking. It looks like it came out alright.

That was our only actual recipe tonight. Some other groups made some more croissants or danishes but we weren't interested. Instead we focused on continuing the work we started yesterday with the big batch of bread. We combined the poolish from yesterday with more water and flour as well as salt and let it ferment some more before working on it. You can see in the first picture just how much we had after the ferment, and that had already started being portioned. We then made a bunch of baguettes, some rolls, and a couple loaves. The rolls were cool because we used a machine-I forgot what it was called-but you put a big portion of dough in it and it portioned it into even size pieces, I think 36 total. We shaped and proof it all and then baked it off. The baking took a long time and so we were there until past 11:30. We'll need to learn to better time it all. There just wasn't enough space in the deck ovens so we were staying late for just a couple more sheets. It was fun though, and we of course made a lot. The final picture is just a portion of what we had, not even half probably-some was already taken and a lot was in the process of baking. I didn't mind staying late or anything, I thought it was fun. Making four servings of an item isn't really practical experience, this gives you a little feel for the reality.

I also helped myself to a bit of the sourdough starter that we had in class, to replace the one I killed. I figured it couldn't hurt to have some. I don't think I really need to throw out so much starter every time I refresh it like books say, as long as I drain off the alcohol. Plus this starter has a few months on the one I had, so it's purer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Class 11/05/09 - Midterm

Twas a good day in class. We had our midterm and it went quite swimmingly. I'm glad I put in the bit of practice this week. As stated previously, we had three recipes to make - country biscuits which was done individually, and then blueberry muffins and soft yeast dinner rolls as a group. I ended the night with a perfect score on the practical so I must say I'm content.

Everything looked really nice. You can't tell from the picture, but the muffins turned out better than I've ever made them before (they got a bit damaged in transport, I should have just taken the picture in class).

We did some more stuff in class as well. We made up some sweet tart dough which we refrigerated for Friday and Saturday. It's basically pie dough only it's full of sugar (hence sweet) and fully incorporated rather than being flaky or mealy like pie dough is. Nothing to really see, hence no pictures. Wait for the finished tarts.

We're also going to be doing some bread production in class tomorrow, so that calls for a lot of dough. We made two starters for tomorrow. One other group did a sourdough, a very dense dough that I didn't take a picture of-I'll try to get one tomorrow before it's portioned. My group made a poolish for levain baguettes. A poolish is half the flour, the water, and the yeast mixed and let to sit and rise and develop flavor. The rest is added tomorrow. It was quite a recipe, 11.25 pounds flour, 10 pounds (1.25 gallons) water and 3.5 ounces of yeast. And more is going into it tomorrow. It's gonna really grow tonight though. When we first mixed it together it was about 2/3 full in the round container. By the end of class, about an hours time, the container was already full and it had to be split into a second. Sounds like tomorrow is going to be fun, and I'm gonna get a lot of free bread. I already made off with a lot of free food tonight so I'm happy (though my diet is like 90% carbs right now, I'll need some variation when I run through all this stuff).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

At Home 11/02-03/09

I did a fair amount of baking this week. Midterms are this week so I wanted a little more practice before that.

On Monday I made some corn muffins. The recipe I have calls for the muffin method but I decided to try making it with the creaming method, since that is what I'm going to be tested on with blueberry muffins for the midterm. They turned out well, they taste good, but the texture is rather different than corn muffins that I'm used to. They had a pretty smooth texture and were more light. I'm unsure if it is due to using the creaming method or ingredients-I have white corn meal which doesn't seem as coarse. I'd guess that the smooth texture is due to the cornmeal and the lightness is due to the creaming method. Either way, they taste good, even if they aren't that reminiscent of regular corn muffins.

On Wednesday I also practiced some more making country biscuits. I have made them several times but I still wanted to practice on them. This time after prepping the dough I shaped them into a rough square that I cut into nine pieces. I did this in order to minimize the amount of work on the dough-cutting in rounds forces you to re-knead, toughening it. This way the entire dough was used without having to re-knead, so they turned out pretty well. The only thing is presentation though. They aren't uniform in shape or size, so I'm not sure if I'd want to present them for grading like that or not.

For dinner I made some pizza. I've made pizza dough a lot so it's not much special but it looked pretty today. I tried par-baking the dough and then topping it with the ingredients and finishing baking. I'm not sure what I think of it. During the par-baking, it rose since there was nothing to weigh it down, but it cooked more evenly. I guess next time I could try docking it, but I don't want a flat, crisp dough. I'll think about it next time I make pizza.

Then I also tried making some biscotti since I had a recipe and it seemed pretty easy. It is easy to make but takes a lot of cooking time for not a lot of product, I don't like using that much gas. However during baking the aroma was fantastic. I don't like sweet food much but the aroma of baking is what I love about it so much. I am unsure what I think of the recipe. The recipe itself seems fine but I don't know about the baking part. It called for the first bake to be 50 minutes then a 20 minute finish after cutting. The recipe in the book has a 20 minute bake and then the temperature is reduced and baked for 40 minutes. The way I did it (the former) made them extremely crisp. After the first bake it was pretty tough to cut them and then the second bake made them even crisper. I also used an egg wash which crisped it some. Maybe next time I'll use a milk wash, which will give it color but a soft crust. I think if I make them again I may try the same recipe but using the book's cooking times.

Oh I also gave up on my starter. I was getting some activity but not much, meaning most of it was dead. Ah well. For the moment I don't think I'm gonna make another. I'm content with straight-dough breads since doing a starter right means a lot of wasted flour since you toss a good amount of the starter every time you feed it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Class 10/31/09 Pies and Laminated Dough Again

Finishing off the week, we continued with the same topics as yesterday.

Here is the cream pie with Swiss meringue from yesterday. Pretty. On an aside, that picture was taken with my phone since I forgot my camera, I'm impressed by how good it came out.

We still had a third of our danish dough, so we shaped and baked those off. They turned out pretty well though the bottoms of some burned a little. The ovens at school are so unreliable. They look pretty much the same as yesterday so I didn't bother taking pictures.

Another pie we made today was a lemon chiffon. This was a fairly difficult pie. It was also our first time using gelatin, which can be difficult, and I learned that first hand. For the most part, prep went fine. We made the custard like normal over a double boiler and added the gelatin which we previously bloomed. It took a long time for it to thicken to the right consistency since we were doing it by hand. Chef said that he'd use a hand mixer in professional production since that would incorporate the air so much more quickly. We finally made it pretty nice and then put it in the fridge to chill. That's where I failed, because that completely set the gelatin. So when I tried to fold in the beaten egg whites, it was just hardened clumps. I was able to incorporate it eventually by heating it back up over a double boiler, but I lost all the volume and fluffiness of the whipped egg whites, so we ended up with a dense cake, where it was supposed to be airy and puffy. The flavor didn't really suffer though so it's not bad, just the wrong consistency.

We also finished working our croissant dough and made those today. Like the danishes, the croissant dough is kinda tough to work, but in a different way. Even after a day of refrigeration, it didn't harden like the danish dough did so in one way it was easier to work with but in another way difficult because it was harder to keep its shape. Working with the butter was much harder too. It was a much smaller quantity than the danishes, so for one it was rolled a lot thinner making it hard to work with, and at that thickness it softened a lot faster, also making it more difficult. We were able to do our folds quicker though, we did a couple at a time instead of chilling the dough thirty minutes between each, so we were able to bake off the croissants today too. They came out beautifully.

I didn't have the best success with the pies this week but I am quite surprised how well the laminated doughs turned out. They were both fairly difficult to work with and both products came out exceptionally. But the pies do kinda bum me out, I don't like messing stuff up and only the fruit pies were decent, the custard ones not so much.