Knots, Braids, & Challah Bunnies.

Day two of Baking & Pastry class I felt like I had a much better sense of what I was doing.  Baking, especially breads, is so much more scientific than typical cooking – no more “a dash of this” or “we’ll just throw a bit more of this in” type of experiments.  Everything in class is measured to the tenth of an ounce, and then added in an exact order so that all the right proteins and such can form the way they should. 


On day two, my team was scheduled to make whole wheat rolls, muffins, and challah bread – all new and fun.  We started by getting our challah dough ready, since it would need to sit (proof) for an hour. 


Another one of the groups had a miscalculation when converting their recipe, and they ended up not using enough water.  Their dough came out looking and feeling like play-doh, and I heard from across the room, “Emily, I’ve got something for your blog…!”


Thank you, Sid, for the dough bunny.  While our non-sculpted and correctly measured challah rested, we worked on the whole wheat rolls.  This time we were going to do twisted knot and braided rolls, rather than the standard rounded rolls.  Chef Gresham showed us how to make all these cool shapes…

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Which came out golden and delicious (after an egg wash) looking like this…


I was actually really good at making these, which makes me want to do them again if we ever have guests or a dinner party.  Next we moved onto the braided challah bread.  You need lots of space to make this!

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She showed us how, and then we each set off to braid our own loaves.  Mine came out really well!  Again, this would be really fun to make if you were having company over.  I’m so glad I know how to do to this stuff now!


We were behind on timing for the ovens, so we didn’t get to see these beauties come out of the oven, but I did get a shot of them all together waiting on the baking racks.  We’ll be making these again later next week, so I’ll make sure to get a picture of the finished product so you can see how pretty they are when baked!


Our last task was muffins, and we were allowed to use whatever we wanted for the mix-ins.  My group (all boys + me) chose blueberries and chocolate chips, which was fine be me because after seeing the recipe with loads of eggs and white sugar, I knew I would not be having one anyways!

We used ice cream scoops to divide the batter up into 24 muffin cups, and popped them into the super fancy oven that spins the racks around in circles.


A lot of your success in culinary school depends on working well with your group, which is typically selected for you.  You have to be able to trust your teammates to measure correctly, watch timing as needed, and delegate tasks to make sure everything is ready on time and as expected. 

This is what a team with communication issues produces (not mine)…


And this is what you get when you all work together (mine, mine, mine!)…


Next week we are making cakes, croissants, pies, and more!  It’s been weird for me to balance culinary school, running, cooking at home, etc. and get it to you guys on the blog in enough time.  I’m working on creating a new blog posting schedule in order to show you a good balance of school, workouts, and cooking – all in real time.  That way I can get it all in and not get backed up (like I am now!).  It won’t be every meal, or every detail, but more the high points and interesting things worth sharing – recipes, workouts, stories, etc.

You probably won’t even notice the change, but now is a good time to solicit some reader feedback.  Let me know what things you’re interested in seeing most on the blog – what you like, what you don’t like (I can take it…), and what you hope to see more!  The blog is really fun for me, and what makes it fun is knowing that I’m providing something that people want to see.  THANK YOU to the loyal readers that have stayed with me for almost TWO years of blogging – wow!