So, let me start by saying, today's Artisan Breads class was lightyears better for me than Tuesday's. I worked hard to make it that way, but a few key things happened. First, I found a really good partner to work with. In my first week of school, I have really realized how important it is to have a good partner. As I noted, we often work in pairs, sometimes more than that, so working together is vital and having a good partner is key. I am glad this has worked out for me now in each of my courses. The second big factor is that I was no longer as freaked out as I was on Tuesday. I knew what to expect today, and I personally challenged myself to execute better and work with more confidence. It's total cliche, but attitude makes a huge difference and it did for me today.
So, we made baguettes again. Something that looks so simple is so complex so we'll be making baguettes often. On Tuesday, we hand mixed our own batch of 3 lb dough and we used active dry yeast. Today, we worked with a partner and used the mixer to make 6 lbs of dough with fresh yeast. We'll be doing variations like this all semester. Today, my dough was really good dough. I know this because Chef used my dough to make one baguette in his demonstrations. On this picture, you can see three baguettes. The chef's is on the left; my two are on the right.
You can see, even before these are fully baked as shown in this photo, that Chef's has great stippling and my baguettes still need a lot of work in this area. I did a little better today, but I still have to work hard at getting better in this skill area. This is critical because all of the work you do with your dough up to this point (which is at least 2 hours of a process with fermentation) can go to crap basically if you don't have good slashes. So, I'm getting there. The inside of my dough and the general crust was good, which means I worked the dough well throughout the day. I just have to get that stippling down, so I can execute more fully. One day at a time.
Chef showed us another variation on the baguette. This is called pain d'epi and it is executed by using kitchen scissors. Epi is French for wheat, so this design is meant to mimick a stalk of wheat. It is a great bread to use when gathering with family and friends who can "break bread" by taking one piece off at a time.
Another amazing part of the class today was that Chef demonstrated how to fold in different ingredients into this dough. Today he used roasted garlic, fresh rosemary, black pepper, salt, olive oil, and onions to make this dough into rolls. Um, can you even imagine how amazing the bakeshop smelled throughout the day? I heart garlic, particularly roasted garlic. I can't wait to perfect this type of bread at home. The possibilities are endless. And because I know you're curious, here's a photo of those as well: