Sunday, October 23, 2011

Le Brioche

Making the brioche dough was intense!!! I have always looked at people in TV making brioche, and bread in general and always wanted to give it a try myself but was scared to do it, without anyone teaching me how. Here I finally had the opportunity to do it. I definitively won't do it by hand even again, but I loved the experience.
We have the dough, but what to do with it, well I know know a lot of things I can do with brioche. We had the demo, and the chef showed us, many options of things we can do with it, and gave us lots of interesting ideas, and suggestions of things we can do with them. I just love this lectures where the chefs go beyond the recipes they are to teach us. Makes the class much more interesting, and of course makes the chef look really impressive.

Here is all the chef did at the Brioche demo:

Suisse Brioche

Pain aux Raisins

Brioche Mousseline

Braided Brioche

Grosse Brioche

Brioche Moule

Brioche Nantes

Grosse Brioche individual pieces

Again my favorite part of class "la degustation", this breqd was so good, just warm out of the oven, the only thing missing was a coffe or hot chocolate to go with it.

Next day we had our practical, which  was very excited to see how my bread was to come out like being that I made the dough all by hand. Thank God, it came out really good, with no mayor problems in the practical.

My pain aux raisins  and my Grosse Brioches

my Brioche Nantes

Don't they look good!!! Next time I would definitively do it in the mixer, but I can absolutely get used to this homemade bread, is just awesome!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Le Croissant !!!!

So the day came when we learned how to make croissants!!! One of the most iconic things about France and specially to anyone coming to Paris is Croissants, so everyone in class was really excited to reqch this class. I have love croissants all my life, is one of my all time favorite breads ever. I like it salty with some ham and cheese like a sandwich, I like it sweet with jam, chocolate, cajeta (goat's milk caramel) condensed milk, and specially by itself, with a nice cup of coffee with milk; so, as you can imagine I was very excited to learn how to make them.

When class starts, it begins with the chef teling us that he has prepared 3 surprises for us, he was going to teach us 3 extra recipes using croissant dough making a total of 7 different things he was going to do in class.

The chef made:

Croissants and Pain au Chocolat

The croissants might not look picture perfect golden, but they are the best ones I have had in my whole life, they were spectacular, and how couldn't them since these are one of the specialties of the chef that gave us the demo. And the pain au chocolat, what can I say?  Incredible too.

Moulins aux Cerises et Oranais

Since I don't like cherries I didn't try the moulins but the Oranais which are filled with pastry cream and have apricots at the ends, I did try and were so good. It was unbelievable how good everything was.

The three surprises that the chef made were:

Apricot and Cherry Tartines

Again I didn't try the cherry one, but the apricot one was soo good. It doesn't really matter what you put on the dough, what made everything unbeliebably good was the croissant dough itself, and how good it was.

Pain aux Raisins

These are usually made with brioche dough, but the chef told us he personally liked them better with croissant dough and since our next lesson is brioche dough he told us he though he would make us some, so we can actually compare and see which way we like them better. So far these will be very tough to beat since they were very good.

and finally the chef made Kouign-Aman

I know that I have been saying for everything that it was so good, and it really was, but the best of all things is this, the chefs other specialty. He told us that he learned to do this when he was only 13 years old, and when he came to Paris he was asked to make it, and was told he did the best Kouign-Aman in Paris. He said that is made more commonly now than when he first came to Paris, but he still believes his might be one of the best if not still the best in Paris!!! I know it might sound a bit pretentious of the chef to be saying that, but after tasting it I believe him 100% and have no doubts he makes the absolute very best one.

Just looking at the chef make all this was good enough, but tasting it all was awesome.

There was not a single thing I didn't like and we all in class usually behave and keep our manners eating just what is given to us in our plates, but this time, none of us in class cared. We were all surrounding the chef's table trying to grab an extra piece. The chef at the end just threw all the leftover food in the table and said here you all can have it, and everyone just threw an arm to take whatever was at reach. Personally I didn't care how much calories it had, everything he made was so incredibly good, I couldn't make myself stop eating, it was awesome and horrible at the same time!!!

Now practical was going to be our turn in making these yummy goods. Personally I didn't think it was very hard to make them. I do admit that I definitively need more practice in making the croissant shape, since mine are not very pretty looking. My pain au chocolate came out looking pretty good!!

These layers are insane, and the flavor is very good too!!

In the same practical we also made the brioche dough we are going to use next class since it has to be let to rest and rise. We had the choise to make it in the mixer or by hand, and in my class I was one in three who choose to make it by hand and it was intense!!! We had to knead the dough for like 40-45 minutes!!! I couldn't believe it took so long, and though I was never going to finish on time, but barelly did. I am so glad I did it, is one of those things you will never do again, but so glad I did it once since I get to say I did. My arms were so sore for the next couple of days, I will never take this bread for granted, specially one made by hand!

Lets hope all these work comes out pretty tasty.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Though I Knew How to put Frosting on a Cake!

I was pretty confident I knew how to put frosting on a cake after my cake decoration classes, and then after the ones I made at home, until we had to make "Mocha" cake at school.
To begin with, to me this cake should be called Coffee or something like that, since as far as I know Mocha is a combination of Chocolate and Coffee, and there was not chocolate what so ever in the making of this cake.
We got to class and the chef made these five amazing cakes, and made it look so easy, I was feeling pretty good about myself since it was not new to me, maybe he had a different technique, but nothing that I couldn't do (or so I thought).

So he not only covered the 5 cakes, he managed to showed us different ways to decorate them.

This cake is very good, I think is one of my favorites of what we have done so far, the bread is imbibed with coffee syrup, but is not sweet at all, is just right, very moisture and the flavor is soooo good.

So here I go, all happy to my practical, I work pretty good, until the time came to put the icing in the cake, and Ohhh Gohs, is nothing like I remembered!!! It was HORRIBLE!!!
To begin with the texture of the icing which was a butter cream, was so much softer that what I normally use. Then after we did the crumble layer I usually put my cakes in the fridge or the freezer for a little bit to firm up the first layer, so it's easier to do the second layer, but here we couldn't do that. To top that off, my top layer shrank a bit while cooling down, so it was very hard to get a straight 90 degree angle at the top and make it nice and even.

Then my top, I could not get it to be smooth, no matter what I did, I was sooo frustrated, is like I had forgotten everything I know!!!

The only thing that made me feel better was that everyone else couldn't do it either, hahahaha. The chef had to help us all in the final coating. The decorating part was not bad, but I got so mad because the chef said decorate however you want to, so I did, but when grading time came he gave me a lower score because he said my decoration wasn't difficult enough. I mean if you give freedom to decorate you cannot grade difficulty or not. I was so mad, because is not like I couldn't do the other decoration or I did it bad. I was so frustrated and felt so upset at myself for listening and changing the decoration. I should've just done the chef told us to do, but Oh well, nothing can be changed, so I had to get over it.

Besides that I do have to practice a bit more my writing in cakes since I did write moka on it, but I didn't do the M the right way and it looked like it said Mooka. That aside my cake tasted really good, this cake definitively is a keeper!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Has it really been only one week?

Wow, I just checked that my last post was almost a week ago, and it feels like so much time has gone by. I have had 3 demos, 3 practicals and a class meeting since then. It feels like so much time has gone by but not really. I am exhausted I had class every single day of the week including yesterday (Saturday). The positive side is that this coming week I only have class on Wednesday. So hopefully I can catch up on sleep and on blogging about all I have been doing these days!!

I will begin from when I left off which was the Palets aux Resins on Monday. Well on Tuesday we had demo at 8:30 in the morning, it was horrible, I couldn't get up, I just wanted to sleep some more. I somehow managed to get out of bed and get to school. The theme for the day were individual tartlets. 
The chef made 6 different types of tartlets:

Tartelettes a l'orange / Orange Tartlets


Tartelettes au Citron / Lemon Tartlets

 These are very good, they taste like a lemon meringue pie, without the meringue of course.

Tartelettes au Chocolat / Chocolate Tartlets


These are decorated with gold leaves!!

Tarteletts aux Poires Bourdalou / Bourdaloue pear tartlets


Les Amandines / "Amandines" tartlets


Tartelettes bretones a l'abricot / Brittany tartlets with apricot


We had the practical for this demo, right after it, so it was kind of stressing not having enough time, to rewrite my notes, and go over the recipe to know exactly what to do. Overall the practical was ok. I had a little trouble with my dough when I was rolling it out, and the chef just said to hurry up, and use more flour, but I still don't know exactly why. I wanted to roll the dough thinner, but didn't want my shells to break so I ended up leaving them a bit thick but to look better.

 At the end of class the chef said that they looked very good, except that I had done my shells to thick, to make them thinner next time. He also said I work good, that I am clean and organized, which of course made me very happy, since everyone else that had said that to me is usually complaining about it, not complimenting me, hahaha. Anyway it gives me confidence that I am in the right track, and to keep working hard!!
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