September 1 1998
Whole lota eggs
measuring cholesterol by the pound

The task of the day:

Basic Baking

Back on AMs again for some basic baking. This schedule really knocked me out last time and probably will take me a bit to get into the swing of this time as well. This afternoon I took a nap for about three hours. I feel terrible and could have kept sleeping right into the night, but that would have ended up with me awake at three AM.

The new class is called Basic Baking, but I suppose you could also call it Baking Principles. The Chef we have is excellent. Well planned lecture and production plans for the day, very serious about his work, willing to spend more time in the kitchen rather than less, and very helpful.

* * *

On the first day, we produced things that are basically just milk (or cream) and eggs together. Vanilla Sauce, Crème Brulée, Crème Caramel, and Pastry Cream (used for fillings in eclaires and suchlike). We're not producting especially large batches, but they are on the order of a quart or so, which means more than a dozen eggs. The recipes typically give weights, which are over two pounds of eggs. Sounds like quite a bit. That's because it is.

Today we pounded out pie dough, biscuits, scones, and Pâte à choux. Pâte à choux is how you make the body for cream puffs, eclaires, and suchlike. We'll actually bake and fill them tomorrow. Likewise, we'll be baking pies tomorrow. So far, the only finished products we've made have been the custards from yesterday, some of which made it out into the dining room today. Tomorrow is going to be a big day, with lots of products.

As expected, I'm learning a great deal in this class. My baking experience is very limited, and although I've made all of these recipes at least once before, I now know what to look for and how to judge and correct them. Very cool.

We're also in "the nice kitchen" which means decent vents, lots of work areas, and so on. My team is Andy and Richard. Andy's a pizza baker. Richard cooks at a private school for 500 rich kids. Both are very nice, and with three people, this production load is not really any big deal.

* * *

Made calzones last night for the housemates. Used the italian sausage that I had made in class a few weeks back (it's been in the freezer since then, along with a gob more stuff). Some basic long cooked tomato sauce, and dough. I'd been craving something like that for a while now. I suspect that in a few weeks I'll have another cooking jag, assuming I adjust to the schedule. Right now I'm basically just very tired.

Milla's been running around barking all afternoon because of kids skateboarding outside. It's probably just as well that she woke me up. But I guess to a rotweiller, skateboarding is a crime.

Time to hit the books. Tomorrow is sponge cake day.

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy