February 7, 2017
For untold reasons, the images you are about to see may trigger extreme salivation and hunger cravings. (You have been warned…)
Getting back to the grind is always a refreshing feeling, especially when you have been relentlessly coughing and contorting your diaphragm for the past week and a half. Ugh, how awful — stay healthy everyone! As Monday was an unexpected snow day, school was cancelled and I caught up on some much needed cleaning at my apartment in Mt. Vernon. When Tuesday rolled around, schedules were printed and posted in the bakery and we all started working on our perspective projects. Even though I had been away for a week or two, my friends and fellow classmates greeted me with warm regards and asked how I was feeling. So sweet! Thank you all for keeping me in your “get well” thoughts.
The number one thing to do today was macaroons! I have never been a huge fan of these slightly crunchy and mostly chewy little cakes nor have I had the pleasure to make them. But then again I have never enjoyed one of high caliber and taste, so today will be the turning point — and boy was I wrong about those macaroons… Kayla decided on doing vanilla macaroons while I stuck with a classic favorite of mine, raspberry macaroons with a lemon buttercream filling. I am super excited to assemble these for tomorrow’s pastry case in the campus cafeteria.
We also had the joy of blending croissant dough and letting it proof until nice and rich. Then we took half a pound of butter, smashed it with all of our pent up anger into a square and chilled it in the fridge. Once both dough and butter were chilled but still pliable, the laminated dough was rolled into a long rectangle while the butter was placed in the center. The procedure was simple, we would perform 3 three-folds on the dough each within a good fifteen to thirty minutes apart. This would allow the butter to create those wonderful layers that croissants are known and loved for. The dough would sit overnight in the refrigerator and then pulled the next morning for rolling and assembly before their final proof and bake. Some traditional flavors will be featured such as chocolate croissants, cheese croissants, and almond croissants. I am really stoked for all of them, especially when I go to bite into one of those deliciously flaky and warm pastries.
French buttercream sounds hard to make, but in reality it is just watching and having patience with boiling sugar water and whipped egg whites. Easy for anyone such as myself to say when she hasn’t made it in over a year and a half. No problems though, which is good. The only tricky part was pouring the hot syrup into the still-whipping egg whites because you cannot get it on the whip or else you’ll waste the syrup. You have to pour it between the whip and the bowl so that the egg slowly incorporates it. I will flavor my buttercream tomorrow with some lemon paste and zest.
Lastly, but not least and certainly the fluffiest – brioche dough. We had the task of pulling brioche from the freezer and letting it thaw to temp this morning. Once thawed we cut the dough into 2 oz. portions and rolled them into balls. We proceeded to do what is called “hang the chicken” (Chef Dani probably coined this reference…) which is basically turning your hand 45 degrees and sawing a piece of the dough ball until you get a small balloon on one side and a bulbous growth on the other. You handle the balloon end and let it dangle until it is slightly stretched, make a hole in the bulbous end, and shove the balloon end underneath until it meets and pokes above the center hole. They were placed in oiled cupcake pans to retard overnight and baked off in the morning.
A psychotic day filled with dangling chickens, stiff peaks, and chewy feet!