Last wednesday was the first day of my second semester. What a day it was! I'm in class from 9 AM to 7 PM with no breaks, except for the time it takes to get from class to class. My day began with two lecture classes and continued with two labs. My labs were a lot of fun. In Garde Manger, we made garnishes for a few hours, tomato skin roses, radish roses (or as my brother calls them-cracked radishes), celery and green onion garnishes. It was fun. Tomorrow, we get into herb identification and salad dressings. Garde Manger, for those who don't know, encompasses the cold kitchen. We'll cover topics like garnishes and salads, but also sandwiches, platters for buffets, even sushi. In Garde Manger II, which I plan of taking, we'll cover butchering and sausage making and advanced garnishes including ice carving. My class is taught by my department head. He's awesome, hilarious, knowledgeable, and tough. I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting an A in his class.
My second class that day is Hot and Cold Desserts. We also jumped right in with cheesecake and custard desserts, rice pudding and bread pudding. My bread pudding didn't turn out well at all. I followed the instructions and ended up with too much liquid. Oh well. My cheesecake came out great, however, which is what matters since it is supposed to be served as a dessert in our restaurant. Apparently a lot of what we make in this class is production for the restaurant. Everyone in the class is great. Everyone worked hard, had a good time, and generally enjoyed the whole process. At the end of class, we critiqued what we made. We all talked about hat worked, what didn't, how it could be served or fixed. The vibe in the class was so much better than in Baking I. Everyone wanted to be there and not because Food Network makes it look so fun. I'm really going to love this class. I have the same instructor that taught my sanitation class. I really loved her. She has a ton of experience in most aspects of the hospitality industry. She really wants her students to succeed. She also told us that we can be as challenged as we want to be in this class. She wants us to think like pastry chefs. For example, we don't have to make our cheesecake in a round traditional pan. We could use a muffin pan for individual servings or a long rectangular pan. We can make deconstructed desserts, different flavors, etc. It's going to be a good semester.
Yesterday was Day Two. The day is a little longer, but I have a break in the afternoon. I started the day with Cake Design and Decorating. We had to bake two types of cakes with which we will practice decorating or 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.