I have officially started Baking 110 at Le Cordon Bleu. I was so envious of those who were in baking in the previous weeks. I'd walk by and get whiffs of chocolate and sweet things, plus I love to bake at home and consider myself to be a pretty good baker. I have never, however, made things like homemade bread - unless you consider banana bread, bread. With in the first couple days we have made baguettes, epi, whole wheat rolls, pizza dough (yum), pain de mie (double yum) and brioche (triple yum). I've made more bread than I know what to do with and REALLY how much bread can one person eat?!
Being in the baking lab has been slower and more boring than I anticipated. For whatever reason the minutes feel like hours and the few hours that I am there seem like days. Perhaps it's the fact that there is no air conditioning and we are in a room with over 8 ovens and too little ventilation. It get's so freaking hot that its hard to stand up straight.
It hasn't been all bad. Some of the breads we have made are really quite superb. It's been really interesting to learn how much WORK goes into homemade bread. It's so meticulous. And using things like raw yeast is a first for me. I was really surprised at how much kneading the typical bread requires. I had to sit and knead my baguettes for like 20 minutes. It's a lot of work...especially in an un-airconditioned kitchen. I was also rather surprised to see how flavorless my bread tasted without butter to lather on top. Wheat rolls brushed with honey and topped with oats or poppy seeds are rather bland without salted butter.
What do I do with all this bread I make, you ask? Well I don't really know. I gave my mom a few pieces and she acted like it was the most amazing bread in the world, which was nice and made me feel accomplished. I stuck the rest of it in the freezer and am hoping I can use it a future dinner party or something.
Today we got to make pizza. We made the dough yesterday so that it could ferment overnight. I was so excited about the pizza. I even brought proscuitto from home to top it with. With got our doughs out and rounded them off. I topped mine with tomato, mushroom, caramelized onions and mozerella. I took it over to the deck oven and BAMMMM I DROPPED it!!! It landed face down on the floor. The whole class let out a "NOOOO.....!!!" It was sooo disappointing!!! I still had one other dough to make but I wanted to take that dough home and make a pizza for dinner. It was so upsetting. Meanwhile everyone else is making there perfect pizzas. I pulled it together and used my second piece of dough to make the pizza again. It came out wonderfully.
The pain de mie was also a success...I can't wait to make french toast and grilled cheese with it!