Okay, so I have a terrible way of not updating! >.< Today was motivation day so I figured I’d get a quick update in.

We started the Basic Baking course today. A good amount of lecture about professionalism, some class tools, and scaling all ingredients. Our instructor for the course is very solid in what he’s done and how he teaches, I’m really excited to have the chance to pick his brain a little and learn all that I can from him. Also he slipped and said “ya’ll” today – he’s from Rockport and had a stint in Corpus Christi where he had a bakery, it made me smile. I really love baking breads and hope to get plenty of good solid instruction on traditional french breads when I get to that production group next week. This week my four-person group is working on laminated doughs. These are doughs that incorporate butter in layers through a series of folds and re-rolling out in order to leaven and tenderize the dough through the evaporation of steam in the butter layers (or at least that’s my previous knowledge definition). This is how you get those flaky tender croissants, danish, and puff pastry desserts.

We didn’t do any laminating (folding the butter into the dough) today, but we did get a few doughs made and some fillings, as well as a prepped a few dry ingredients for doughs we’ll make tomorrow.

I really felt happy to get to class today. I love the feeling of a wooden bakery table and the smell of fresh yeast, not to mention, I think dough is just plain fascinating and amazing. You can make so many different finished products from different permutations of the same basic four ingredients of flour, water, yeast, and salt (not to mention more products from just adding some milk, oil, cream, butter, and/or eggs). This will be the first time I have the availability of the proper tools to make really great things that have only been mediocre in the past. I know you should be able to make what you love anywhere…but with baking it’s so precise that it’s hard to expect a perfect product with imperfect conditions. A well sealed evenly heated hot oven with the ability to hold in steam is hard to find out of the professional world (and sometimes even in the professional kitchens they can be kinda shoddy). The ovens the school has provided are pretty great, especially with the level of maintenance that they get on a daily basis. Not to mention the instruction which was okay at best before – I have made some good things before, but I had no real solid hold on how to mix things and only  a vague idea of the proper way to get those mixtures into an oven, that’s all they were -good. Knowing that the techniques I am learning provide consistent results makes me feel really great about getting things right in a bakery.

Tomorrow we laminate and bake croissants (filled and not), and almond danish. I’m a little nervous, it’s an intimidating process of keeping the butter and the dough cooled and rested, but so far the hard part is done and that’s getting the ingredients measured and mixed correctly.

I’ll try to catch up with all the really exciting things I did the last two weeks of the meat fabrication and saucier course soon, also last week we did a Bordeaux wine tasting that changed my view on wine! I’ve been letting myself get lazy the past couple of weeks…it’s time to change and recover a good routine again.

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