What a week! This week was hectic, but one of the best yet. We focused primarily on lamination, along with some other bread-related things which further cemented the fact that I am in love with laminated doughs. The first part of the week was spent playing around with last week’s brioche in the form of bostock and tart tropezienne, testing out our flaky brioche recipe with different butters, frying up many types of donuts, laminating puff and inverted puff pastry, and making laminated “baguettes”. While clearly not a traditional baguette, Chef Nicole had the genius idea to take a baguette dough and laminate in layers of butter. The scallion, cream cheese and everything bagel version might just be my favorite thing I’ve eaten in the entirety of the term (but of course I forgot to take a photo of it).
Thursday was a big day because we had Jorgen, head baker at Jane, as a guest chef to teach us everything there is to know about croissants. It was immensely helpful to have a full day to deep dive into laminating, shaping and baking croissants and he brought a new perspective to the classroom that I really appreciated. I love getting the opportunity to have guest chefs who are out in the world and killing it (last year Jane was named best croissant in SF!) to understand how they work and what their little secrets are. Jorgen has quite a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to viennoiserie, and while it’s amazing to learn those secrets, it also gives me the confidence to continue to experiment and come up with my own style over time. We literally made hundreds of pastries on Thursday – traditional, chocolate, almond, ham and cheese, nutella swirls, pain aux raisins, and fruit danishes. My favorites were the almond (always) and the ham and cheese, but it’s also worth noting that Jorgen’s pain aux raisins was the best I’ve ever had.
Friday was fun and relaxed since we spent most of the day in the pro culinary kitchen for a joint hamburger social. We brought the buns and the dessert and headed over to other kitchen to make lunch with the culinary class. We used this as an opportunity to improve the peanut butter banana pie we loved so much months back and I’m happy to report that it came together even better. We’ve done a handful of shared days with the culinary class, and since I love cooking almost as much as I love baking, it’s so fun to get exposed to some of their curriculum too (I got to grind meat for the first time!).
Next week is our final week of curriculum in the classroom. To say I’m sad about it is an understatement, but I’m trying to focus on giving my all and enjoying every moment I have. Next week we’ll cover plated desserts (something I’m super pumped for) and have a variety of fun field trips and activities planned. It all starts with a farm trip on Monday! We’re headed up to Sebastopol to spend the day milking goats, learning about cheese making, picking fresh vegetables for lunch and hearing more about what it’s like to be in the business of farming. A love of cooking comes with a love of food overall so I couldn’t be happier to get a closer look at where our ingredients come from.