Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pita Bread

Today's Breads class was a little more relaxed than usual. As I mentioned, we meet from 7:30am to 2pm. At the community college, once a month there is a Student Activity Period, where for one hour, students are allowed to miss class to attend a meeting of the student organizations they may be involved with. The Culinary Institute has its own student organizations; my Breads instructor is the advisor to the Baking and Pastry Club so our class attended the meeting from 11:30am-12:30pm. The organizations do a lot of community service as well as help out with events (like A Taste of Charleston and the Charleston Food & Wine Festival). Given that the meeting was scheduled in the middle of class, Chef adjusted our schedule accordingly.

We worked with baguettes again today, but this time, we used an overnight dough; this is something Chef has worked with in the past. The overnight dough allows for a product that has a much longer shelf life because it has a much longer fermentation period. So we all got to assist in the making of these baguettes.

While the baguette dough was fermenting, we made dough for pita bread. The actual baking of the pita bread was pretty fun to watch; too bad I didn't think to film it until after. Anyway, basically, the dough is rolled fairly flat in a circle using a rolling pin. When it is placed in the oven, the goal is for the bottom to develop a nice brown and for the dough to rise. As we were watching the dough, we could see air open up the dough almost like a balloon blowing up. After it filled with as much air as it could, it then released some air and sank some, but overall, the final product still maintained an open and full look. It was a really cool baking experience. Here's a picture of some pita breads, a few of which have been turned over to show the color on the bottom:

While both the baguette and pita doughs were fermenting, Chef did a demonstration on a Buttermilk Scone, which we got to sample. I'll be making scones in the second half of the semester, but more on that in late October. Anyway, we got to taste these scones, which also contained currants - they were pretty tasty. Here's a picture with the medallian presentation like the zucchini quick bread we made last week:

We had sandwiches for lunch with our pita bread. All in all, it was a great class.

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