I worked my tail off for the week of August 29th to September 2nd at the Culinary Institute of America's week long baking and pastry career discovery course. I have to admit, it was the most satisfying work that I have done to date. I love getting results and working with the pressure of getting all of the products done on time.
Each day we learned a new method for baking.
Day One - Creaming Method and Introduction to the Professional Pastry Kitchen
I missed this day due to the fact that I was at the ER with Sophie (see Strider post). This seemed like the easiest day from reviewing my lecture notes and the recipes for that day.
The items made were Sour Cream Pound Cake, Lemon Pound Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookies, White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies, Hazelnut Biscotti, Walnut-Butter Shortbread and Pie Crust. I had some of the biscotti the next day and it was wonderful!
Day Two - Foaming Method, Blind Baking, Sponge Cake
This was my first day in the class. I walked in to discover that my instructor was Stephen Durfee, the former pastry chef and co-founder of French Laundry. I was a little star struck. We spent two hours in the class room discussing the previous days work and also reviewing the recipes for the day.
Items on this days schedule were Genoise, Buttermilk Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, Currant Scones, Cheese Scones, Tiramisu and Lady Fingers.
So mainly custards, cooked and baked, and a rubbed dough for the scones which were very tender and crumbly at the same time.
Day Three - Yeast Doughs
This was probably the best smelling day in the kitchen due to all of the breads that were baking. It was also the most physically demanding as most of the recipes yielded around 25 lbs of dough.
On the schedule for that day: Ciabatta, Basic White Sour Dough Bread, Basic Lean Dough (baguettes), Rosemary Bread, Rosemary Olive Bread, Orange Panetone, Challah Bread, Sunflower Sweet Bread, Parker House Rolls.
I was so full at the end of the day from sampling all of the breads it was great! I grabbed a ziplock and brought a slice or two of everything home for Jake.
Day Four - Flatbreads
This day was hectic due to all the different baking methods that we used to make each flat bread.
On the schedule for the day: Lavash which was cooked in a convection oven, Thyme Bread also cooked in a convection oven, Soft Pretzels cooked in a steam injected deck oven, Naan cooked in a Tandoor oven, Focaccia cooked in a brick oven and Pita cooked in the steam injected deck oven.
The strangest discovery from this day was the fact that the pretzels are dipped in Lye in order to give them their deep color.
Day Five - Chocolate
This day was unexpectedly fun for me. I always felt that making chocolates was too fussy, artistic and detail oriented. It ends up being all of those things but the process was very relaxing for me.
On the schedule: Chocolate Ganache Tart, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Souffle Cake, Rochers, Grapefruit Truffles, Honey Truffles, Cointreau Coconut Truffles, Mocha Truffles and Mendiant au Chocolate.
Jake was in heaven this day as I got to bring two of each chocolate home and I also swiped a piece of the flourless chocolate cake.