Baking With Fats.

Today we worked on three different baking projects.  As always, we started by scaling out our ingredients.  Check out this one – that’s not ice cream, folks…


It’s, SHORTENING!  And in case you didn’t know, shortening is 100% fat.  Just to give you some size perspective, that is a one quart container – so gross!  I’ve never been a big dessert or sweets eater, but this class has definitely made me reconsider ever eating baked goods again.  It is amazing how much crap goes into some of these things!!  I would trust a nice bakery or specialty store to use good, higher quality ingredients, but as for the rest of it, I’ll pass…

Anyways, we used our shortening to make pie crusts, which as usual involved a lot of rolling, waiting, cooling, and more waiting.  Eventually we were ready to form our crusts, and we used a pinch technique to flute the edges. 


Afterwards, we did what is called a blind bake technique, where the dough is baked without any real pie filling.  To keep the crust from lifting and burning, it is instead filled with a fake (non-bake-able) filling – in our case, dried beans!

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Next we moved on to laminated dough, otherwise known as CROSSAINTS!  We weights, mixed, and shaped (boring!), and then I scaled us each an 8 oz. portion.  For these we used a fancy European butter known as Plugra – supposedly better than standard butter because it is 82% fat!  I feel like my cholesterol is going up just being in this classroom!


Croissants are all about layers, so we rolled the dough out and added an 8oz. layer of butter (again to give you perspective – 8oz. butter = 800 calories and 88 grams of fat!).  Then we did our first fold and put the dough into the freezer for a bit.

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After the dough was re-chilled, we used this gigantic laminator machine!  It’s kind of like a super sized pasta roller.   (Look at my cute, pregnant Chef – I love her!) 


We shot the dough through the laminator a few times, and then did fold number 3…



This needed to re-chill again, so we didn’t have enough class time to finish these.  We should be shaping and baking them tomorrow, so I’ll make sure to get pictures of the final product once they are made.

Next we moved on to project # 3 – buttermilk biscuits.  If you hadn’t noticed, the focus of today’s class was baking with different types of FATS!  Shortening, butter, and extra-fattening butter – oh boy!  We measured all our individual portions for biscuits, and then got to mixing.


Next we took our gigantic flaky mass and rolled it out on our floured table…


Check out all those butter chunks!!  We used a ring cutter to cut the biscuits out of the dough, and set them on sheet trays lined with parchment paper. 

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One final step – a quick egg wash, and we popped them into the oven…


They came out golden, super flaky, and delicious!  I had a small bite so that I knew how they turned out, but after seeing all that butter, one bite was all I wanted.


There were leftover biscuit cutter scraps that our Chef said we could turn into MONKEY DOUGH!  We took the leftover scraps and rolled them in cinnamon sugar with yummy ad-ins like chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried fruit.

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They came out like teeny tiny cinnamon donuts!  Now this is a bite I can get behind.


So far my healthy eating is definitely surviving Baking & Pastry class.  I’ve been packing my lunch so that I don’t even have to consider eating the classroom food, which is usually all non-vegetarian anyways.  When my class and work schedule calms down a bit, I hope to be able to try to re-create some of these classroom creations with a healthier twist!