Video: Secrets of Sourdough

A quick (8 minutes) video that delves a little into the wonders of sourdough bread.

It includes a very brief but handy explanation of the differences between regular yeast bread and natural yeast bread, as well as an interesting look at a typical day in a small bakery.

BREAD by Jeffrey Hamelman, 2nd Edition

Order your copy of Jeffrey Hamelman’s

Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques
and Recipes

This new Second Edition of the original landmark 2004 book from Jeffrey Hamelman includes:

  • 140 recipes, including 40 new ones
  • Many tweaks and updates to the previous recipes
  • 252 illustrations of step-by-step techniques
  • 41 full-color photographs
  • Updated information on working with locally grown whole grains, understanding trends in milling technology, and teaching hand mixing techniques.

This edition is slated to be available mid December 2012, just in time to be found under your local holiday shrubbery.

Click the links or image above to order your copy from your local Amazon today!

Happy baking to all!


Catching up: Weeks 2 to 5 of Pastry II

Where did we leave off? Ah yes, a few weeks back Kevin and I were doing Cakes Week of the Pastry II, our first station in the rotation.

The following week saw us on Ovens duty so nothing to discuss or show here except to note that we made sure the ovens were running smoothly and all the required product was being baked and sent off to the upstairs and downstairs cafeterias as needed. That was week 2. I’d point out here that we really did plow through this (as we have all other stations in the Pastry or Bread sections) even though we are the only 2-person team. Not sure if this hobbled team situation is being noted in our marks; we’re managing to keep up in spite of having 33% less manpower than other teams.

The photo? Just a little fun around the oven with Sara and Josie. Figured this was better than a photo of the oven baking stuff.

After Ovens came the Deserts section which consisted of producing Mousses, Puddings and a German Dough (sweet tart dough) and a Mousse cake, while still making sure regular bar productions (Nanaimo bars, etc.) were kept up.

Continue reading “Catching up: Weeks 2 to 5 of Pastry II”

I love Paris in the Springtime

Tomorrow, we leave for Paris.

Yes, this ragtag bunch of breadheads from Vancouver Island University’s Pro Baking and Pastry Arts course is heading off in all our bright red splendour into the skies, eventually landing some 20 hours later (largely due to time differences) in Paris.

I will eventually get posts and photos added on this blog here but during the trip, Vancouver Island University has asked me to be their official blogger for the Field School so I’ll be updating things from the laptop they lent me directly to the Official VIU Blog space:

VIU Blog: Paris 2012

So those of you interested in following our antics as we visit the 2012 Europain World Bread Baking and Pastry Exhibition, watch the best bakers in the world compete, see the latest baking techniques and equipment and all the usual trade exhibit fun. Then we’ll be hitting a slew of bakeries in Paris and (hopefully) get in “behind the scenes” a bit, visit chocolatier Barry-Callebaut in Brussels at the end of the first week, l’Ecole de Boulangerie et de Patisserie in the second week, and of course get a wee bit of plain ol’ Paris culture in between.

l’Ecole de Boulangerie et de Patisserie a Paris

So hop back in over the next couple of weeks to keep updated and trip about the “City of Lights” with us, even if just virtually.

A bientot! 

Cake Week in Pastry Level 2

With the end of the first section in the CIVIU course, we begin this second half with Level 2 of Pastry where we’ll be upgrading the products we put out. Finer quality items, more detail, a little more complex construction are expected. Likewise, when we get to Breads 2 a few weeks from now, we’ll need to up the ante there as well. This first week in Pastry Level 2 finds me in the Cakes section.

And who’s on the team for this section? Surprise! They didn’t change the teams. So once again, it’s Kevin and I, the only team of two, doing what the other teams of three are expected to pump out. This means bigger workload for us, since we won’t have that third person to help produce all the regular production requirements (cakes, bars, pot pies all for the cafeteria). Fortunately, they’ve decided to cut back on the quantities we have to produce but that applies to teams of three as well. We’re still out one person.  We’ll see how that goes.

Some of the production stuff we needed to do for Cakes week included making a few sponge cakes and carrot cakes (iced), genaches, simple syrups, cheese cakes, simple buttercream and a giant load of Italian meringue buttercream. Since Kevin hadn’t done buttercream when he was on cakes during the previous Pastry section, he got to do it this time. I made the carrot cake. Both of us made a sponge cake. Then we got on to the individual items. Oh, and a special order birthday cake for the end of the week came in… on Wednesday.

Continue reading “Cake Week in Pastry Level 2”