Today marked the beginning of the third week of this term in school. And that means I’ve been in Baking and Pastry for two weeks now. Right before this term started, I was told by a few people that I would hate this class.
They were absolutely right.
Well, I need to clarify. They weren’t ABSOLUTELY right, because we’re making good food. But they were right because a lot of the things we are doing are, quite honestly, boring. Compared to my other culinary classes, this is a much slower, albeit welcome, pace. I freely admit that. I do miss the stress a little though. There’s no running around right now. There’s no worrying about my sauce being the correct consistency. There’s no concern if I get amounts of ingredients wrong. It’s a totally different ballgame. I will say that I do have a new-found respect for bakers. Does that mean I plan on switching concentrations and becoming pastry? Not even close.
So in the time that I’ve been in this class, I have made a lot of really good stuff. There were the bread days were we made fluffy yeast rolls and braided loaves. There was the day where we made double-chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies and butter tea cookies. Certainly can’t forget about the biscuits we made on day 2, and again on day 9 for our practical. There was the cinnamon buns and danishes made with homemade danish dough, and the banana bread that we made in our spare time. It would certainly be irresponsible of me not to mention that as I write this, I have a pie dough, a tart dough, apple pie filling AND pastry cream in the cooler waiting for me at school. And quite possibly the highlight of this course for me will be when we make tiramisu. From scratch. Including making the lady fingers. From scratch.
Now, if it seems like I’m being a little harsh on this class, It’s because I am. Having to weigh every single thing out is a real drag, and I’m a sucker for attention-to-detail. Luckily, there are a lot of students taking this class right now, split across two kitchens, and some equipment is a little sparce. Really all I’m talking about is the fact that my chef wanted us to use the manual scales to weigh everything about and those things have got to be from the third century B.C. For the sake of sanity, she relented and is now allowing us to bring in our digital scales from home (if we have them) and that speeds up the process considerably. As you all know from previous postings, I am quite fond of my digital scale, and I am guarding that thing with my life. Maybe not my life…but I do keep my knives very sharp in my bag.
Another benefit to this pastry class is that we are all culinary students. I think we (the culinary students) would feel out-of-place if the class was filled with mostly pastry students. Because of this fact, the chef makes it a point to try and relate baking things/terms with things/terms in the culinary world and I think that’s really cool.
I went to lunch with my wife a few weeks ago and had a burger. One of the best burgers I’ve had. Ever. I think people forget that, when all is said and done, a burger is really just a formed patty of beef. Yes, I know people make these patties out of chicken, turkey, black beans, tofu. Blah! A real burger is made with beef…with a small exception for lamb if it is made right. Here’s one thing I want you to take away from this little rant. If you’re gonna make burgers at home, do yourself a favor: simply season the meat. Save the crazy toppings for the bun; heck, go crazy. That’s what it’s there for. Leave the meat alone. It doesn’t need anything other than some salt, black pepper, and a little love. Maybe a little dap of oil on top if you’re feeling adventourous, but that’s IT! I’ve had burgers before that were more like mini-meatloaves and I don’t like it. If I wanted a meatloaf, I would have asked for meatloaf. The reason why I mentioned the burger at the restaurant is because the meat had nothing special done to it. It was a good quality beef, seasoned well, and cooked perfectly. All the added zing was in the toppings (that I got to choose) and it was phenomenal.
And my last note here is that I’m gonna try to take more pictures. I’ve been pretty busy (or lazy, either way) and haven’t been able to get my pictures taken… plus a lot of the stuff I’m making (both at home and school) really aren’t all that picture-worthy. Also, I’m gonna try to get a vlog up in the near future. Topic, to be determined! Hooray for mystery! But that’s it for now. Hope you all are doing well and eating well!Stay positive, love your life, and play with your food 🙂