Practically Perfect.

Today was PRACTICAL day in Baking and Pastry class, which means we have to produce food to be graded – always a little bit stressful!  I am pretty good at written tests, taking notes, studying, etc., but these are like no other tests I’ve ever taken.  Our grade is based on our understanding of the cooking technique, use of ingredients, sanitation, and more.

Today’s test had four different components, and since our classroom only has one gigantic oven, our whole class had to work together to ensure that we’d all be ready to bake at the same time!  We spent hours yesterday coming up with a plan and a schedule, and for the most part it all ended up working well.

We started with Buttermilk Biscuits – the flakier the better!  I forgot to take a picture of my “before baking” biscuits (exam nerves!) but I did take a shot when they came out…


I was actually pretty disappointed with these.  Some of them were so flaky that they toppled over.  My Chef said they were good though, and more flaky than most others.  Just a little top heavy because the butter was cut so big!  Final Biscuit Grade: 4.5 (out of five) !!

Next we made croissants again out of the dough that we prepped yesterday.  To really do them right, croissants are a two-day affair.  Once again I forgot the before picture, but you guys have seen plenty of these by now.  Here is my finished product…


Final Croissant Grade: 4.75!  I guess a few of the tips popped up from the bottom?  Who knows.  But for the first time all week we were allowed to actually eat these straight out of the oven (instead of waiting until the end of class), so I split one with a classmate.  They were amazing – definitely a 5 if you ask me!

Project three was Challah Bread, which we’ve made three times now and never seen the final product.  For some reason, we always end up running out of time to bake these, so they end up getting baked and donated before we ever get to see or enjoy them.  But today we saw them from start…


To finish!!


Isn’t it SO pretty?!?  I love this stuff.  These are pretty complicated to make, so I practiced over and over again, making sure my braid was correct before today’s practical.  Guess it paid off because…  Final Challah Bread Grade: Perfect 5!


One of my loaves may or may not have ended up in my school bag to come home.  :)  Up until now, I haven’t taken anything home because we don’t really eat a lot of baked goods, and it’s just me and Casey at home. 

One of the ways I’ve been successful in maintaining my weight loss is that I am very good at not bringing temptation into my house.  BUT – I seriously struggle with willpower and portion control once things make their way through the door – like Christmas cookies, birthday cakes, etc.  I have learned that for me personally, it is easiest to just avoid bringing temptation in the house – that way I don’t have to worry about it.  But I figured a little Challah with dinner never hurt anyone.

As for the rest of the Challah, I was happy to find out that all of our leftover breads, pastries, etc. get donated to a local shelter down the street.  Unlike the rest of our culinary classes where the leftovers have to go into the garbage (it’s a liability issue…), our hard work in the bakeshop  is shared with those who need it most.


I digress.  Last but not least were Whole Wheat Knot Rolls.  These were my personal baking specialty – I loved them!  From gooey and unbaked…


To puffy and golden!


Final Whole Wheat Knot Roll Grade: Another perfect 5!  Phew!!  I made it through day one.  Tomorrow is the mysterious cake decorating project and muffin baking, along with our written final.  Tomorrow is my last day of Baking & Pastry class, and I’m kind of sad to see it end!  I’ve learned a lot in a subject where I knew very little, and that’s always a good thing, right?

Off to create a dinner that can be eaten with Challah bread…