Professional Baking Course: Week Three

A few of the products we pumped out each day for the caf

This week at the Culinary Institue of Vancouver Island, we entered into week three of the Professional Baking course which meant getting closer to full steam production BUT at the same time, still learning many of the steps and methods required to actually produce the baked goods required by the University’s hungry students.

As such, the pace had been cranked up somewhat and photo-time was set aside in order to focus more on learning what we needed to do. Therefore the photos for this entry all come from Friday’s bake, although some of these products were being made all week.

Over the last five days, we’ve tackeld numerous new items, including croissants, Montréal bagels, danishes, doughnuts and several types of bread under the watchful eye of Mr Martin Barnett, a.k.a. “Mr B.”. Below are photos representative of some of the work we did over the full week, along with the normal array of pizza rolls, pepperoni sticks, muffins, etc..


Here are a few of the steps we did for croissants, using a “rolled in” procedure. First (and not shown) we mix the dough and set aside to relax then refrigerate. Meanwhile, we set up a sheet of butter about 2 cm thin and about 12″ x 16″ (fits in a half-sheet pan) and refrigerate. When ready, we roll out the dough to a rectangle twice as large as the cold butter sheet and place the butter sheet on half, folding the other half over and sealing the edges. We now have a “pocket” of dough full of butter. This is where I’m at in photo one above.

In the middle photo, I’ve now rolled out that same pocket of dough to a very wide rectangle using both hand rolling and sheeter to get the final size seen. this is now a verrry long sheet made of layers of dough, butter and dough. This is then folded into thirds as shown in the last photo so we now have dough/butter/dough/dough/butter/dough/dough/butter/dough.

This is left to chill for a while and the dough then gets two more turns of tri-folds, making the final product a multi-layer dough with thin layers of butter which, when baked, creates flaky pastry.

The dough is then rolled out one last time and cut into the desired shapes, in this case, it was made into plain croissants.

To get a better idea of the process, here is a video of Chef Ciril Hitz making croissant dough:

And now, a whole bunch of photos…


Nicole & Sandie prep pizza dough, Cassy, Alexis and Chelsea make sub buns (I think).


Andrea butters some braided challah; Taina and the elusive Conner get orders ready for the cafeterias


Ally and Paul C. are on doughnut duty


More wild prep; Mr B bursts into song. Or is hamming it up. One or the other.


Mr B shows us how to slash the sub buns which head into the oven


Demo: making danishes. First is a pastry cream, a very light dusting of cinnamon sugar, walnuts and dried cranberries in a roll. Next, a lemon and poppy seed roll which Mr B finishes with a “butterfly” method – using the stick to press down the center of each roll all the way to the table, ending like so:

I didn’t see these baked so no final photos. Maybe another time.

The sub buns, all baked up. Purdy!!

Lauren and I made up some brioche dough for a couple of different products. I made cinnamon buns:

…while Lauren made a gorgeous coffee cake with apple filling:

And that concludes our first week of yeasted breads and production training with Mr. Barnett. It’s been a blast, challenging and amazing.

Next week we begin pastries and delve into cooking sugar with Chef Harper.

Have I mentioned how much fun this is? Sure, there’s a fair bit of theory and science behind most of it but even that is intriguing, especially when the end result is something (usually) tasty and beautiful.

See you next week!

5 Replies to “Professional Baking Course: Week Three”

  1. Hey Paul,
    I’m having a blast reading these posts. I just love all the photos and the descriptions w/ them. Sounds like you are in bakers’ heaven. I am learning lots of stuff from this even though I can’t be there. I just made my first sub buns last week and now I know how I ought to slash them. Loved the Ciril Hitz video!
    Thank you for posting your experiences!!!
    Melanie recently posted…Apple Strudel using NM’s Instant Puff PastryMy Profile

  2. Hi Paul, I attended the one day Artisan class yesterday. Really appreciated all the help you and Sandie gave us. Mr. B is a great instructor and provides a relaxed atmosphere to learn for the Saturday class.

    My wife and I enjoyed the whole wheat pumpkin brioche for breakfast this morning. Thanks again. Looking forward to seeing more of your blog. Great work!


    1. Hi Mike,

      Glad you had a great day and I hope it propels you into making lots of great baked goodies at home. Maybe we’ll see you for the more in-depth two day course in a couple of weeks? You’ll get even better bread since you’ll be able to make pre-ferments and sourdoughs overnight.

      And kudos to you and everyone for being so tidy!! Seriously appreciated.

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