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.

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Convert & Scale a Recipe

Recently, new member Beckamojo over on the Mellow Bakers enquired about getting a white sandwich bread recipe to use in her 13 in x 5 in x 5 in Pullman pan.  She was having a few issues with her trials at making a Pain de Mie from a US (cups-based) recipe including not knowing how much dough she needed for her large Pullman. Jacqueline, another Mellow Baker, asked if Becka had digital scales so she could be more precise than her original use of cups for measuring. We would also need to look at proofing times and make sure her process didn’t end up with over-proofed dough.

I did a little hunting and this is what I suggested:

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Professional Baking Course: Week Two

Coming back from the long Labour Day weekend, our baking class began at 9 a.m. so we were past the early morning bake. After a little ‘theory’ class time where we went through some quick tests (health and safety, etc.) and laying out in general what the year would cover, we then went into the kitchen and basically oriented ourselves a little more on important things like:

Where’s the salt (not where you’d think)? How many refrigerators are there and what are they each for? How many things can you do at once (mix thing A while watching thing B bake and putting things C on trays) and not mess any up? Where’s the parchment paper? Where do you put wet canisters?

None of it earth shattering in importance but you still need to know these minor kitchen details. AND they’ll be entirely different when you work in another kitchen.

Apologies again as I didn’t take photos each day. The first two are all text but the last two are crammed with pics.

What we’ve made: MONDAY, our class was split up into small teams of three and our group mixed up a huge batch of bran raisin muffin batter. It was a LOT wetter than you’d expect a muffin batter to be. However, as it sits overnight, the bran soaks up a lot of the moisture and by morning, when the muffins are scooped into the pans and baked, it has solidified a fair bit.

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Liquid vs Stiff Starter: Do I need both?

Which type of starter will be most beneficial?

The question of stiff vs liquid starter has recently been bought up here on Yumarama and since it was discussed over on Mellow Bakers previously previously, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to carry that conversation across to the blog as well.

BREAD2AngleSomeone recently asked what the point was between using stiff and liquid levain, specifically in Jeffery Hamelman’s book BREAD. I pondered and, in effect, could not come up with a solid answer for myself, primarily because I haven’t really dabbled with a stiff starter very much. But still, why DOES Jeffrey ask for a stiff starter here or a liquid (he prefers 125%) there? In other words, what are the benefits of each, in his view?

So I figured I’d go to the source and ask.

Hi Jeffrey,

Someone recently brought up a question I was a little confused about and figured I’d go to the source to see about an explanation.

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CIVI Pro Baking Class, Week One

Finally! Yes, it’s finally Aug 29th and day one of baking class at the CIVI* begin for my 2011-2012 session. I’ve been looking forward to this day with great excitement for a while now and it’s really, actually here.


Can I get a “Woohoo!!”*

* What is CIVI? The official name for the baking end of VIU is actually “The Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island” Pretty fancy, eh?

Being that the first couple of days are mostly orientation, we spend the majority of days one and two just going through the basic inauguration into the University: After introductions from our teachers, Mr Martin Barnett and Chef Ken Harper, we meet a few of the important people in the bureaucratic background, taken for a quick tour of the corners we’ll haunt, such as the Food Lab, got our Student Cards, hit up the bookstore to spend more money, etc.. Wednesday we had off (but lots of reading homework) due to the Uni having a “pre-class” staff meeting. Since Pro Baking is starting almost 2 weeks early in order to be ready to pump out breakfast goodies when school officially opens, our teachers are taken away for that day.

At last, Thursday came along and we are now actually, really, ready to bake! Continue reading “CIVI Pro Baking Class, Week One”