My semester began on Wednesday January 6th, but because of the holiday, I just had my Monday classes for a second time yesterday. It's been a little hard to get in the groove of a new semester so far, partially because we had a holiday but also, I think, because i only have classes two days a week. It's also a little weird because it definitely doesn't feel like school.
I have two classes on Mondays. The day is a little longer than my Wednesday, but I have a break in the afternoon. I started the day with Cake Design and Decorating. Two weeks ago, we had to bake two types of cakes with which we will practice decorating for the first part of the semester. We used the same ingredients and measurements but two different mixing methods. The first was the creaming method, which most people know, especially if you'd ever made a pound cake before. You cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, then alternate the dry ingredients and wet ingredients. This makes a nice dense cake that holds up well to the weight of a large cake. The other method was the Two Stage Method. I was not familiar with this, but I like it. You add the dry ingredients, the sugar, butter, and a little of the liquid (in this case the milk and eggs combined). You mix until fluffy then add the liquid in two stages... hence the name! It makes a lighter, fluffier cake.
This week, we split and filled the cakes and iced them. We practiced border decorations and writing. While it's not Cake Wrecks material, it wasn't fabulous either. I need to practice getting my icing more smooth on the sides. The top was pretty smooth though. That's much easier. This week, my homework will be to bake a cake, make buttercream, and practice piping. Pretty crazy homework, huh?
Here's my cake:
Monday afternoon and evenings are occupied by Artisan Breads. Best. Class. Ever. This is, as I expected, my favorite class. The subject mater is great, the instructor is great, my classmates are AWESOME! My lab only has 6 people in it. It's a nice size. Everyone is really interested in learning, working and teamwork. Our text is The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. Last week we made a white pan bread and a light wheat. The white bread was good, but the light wheat was fantastic. This week, we made french baguettes with a preferment called pate fermentee and pita bread. Both breads were great, but the pita was unbelieveable. It was so easy to make and a super-speedy bake. They puff up like little pillows then slowly deflate. The bread is soft and chewy. If you have any interest in baking bread at home, I'd suggest getting a copy of this book and also trying the pita at home.
Go here if you'd like to see photos of our bread from this week and last.