Basic Doughs

Yesterday we had our very first real demo and then practical. The demo was really cool. We had Chef Herve again so I still don’t know any of the other chefs. In the demo we learned basic french terms for things like sifting (tamiser), sabler (sandy consistency), and fraiser/fraser which has no english translation and is hard to explain without you seeing it.

The Chef showed us how to make pâte brisée, pâte sablée (which he made petits sablés nantais out of), pâte sucrée, pâte a foncer, and damiers which are checkerboard cookies. At the end of the demo we were allowed to taste them and take pictures of them. I forgot my camera so I didn’t get to take a picture but I did sample the cookies. The petits sablés nantais were my favourite. I didn’t care much for the damiers. I thought they were kind of dry and bland.

So after the demo was the practical. Group A went first, right after demo, and group B went at 7pm. I was so nervous in the kitchen! Chef showed us around and taught us about the proper “kitchen etiquette”. Then it was time to make our doughs. We had to make pâte sablée, pâte brisée, and pâte sucrée. And in that order! Because in the first one and the last one you use the creaming method, but in the second one you use the ’sablér’ method. And Chef wanted to see if we would remember and not mix them up. I was really nervous, making/baking things in a new kitchen, especially one where you are being watched, it’s scary! I grabbed my scale and went to start my mise en place. Except my scale didn’t work….it would show random numbers and wouldn’t tare. So the Chef lent me a scale from the loan cabinet. I don’t particularly like the scales we were given. It goes straight from 0-1 without showing you the decimal increments. I miss my scale from home so much. I found myself either under-weighing or over-weighing every time and it was hard to get it just right, especially with the small ingredients like salt and baking powder. But I managed to weigh everything properly and started my first dough. We have to do everything with our hands. Including creaming the sugar and butter together. It’s really fun, although very very sticky and messy! We use our right hand to mix and our left hand with the scraper to keep it all together. I finished all my doughs using the proper technique etc. I was the second one done. And there was still about an hour and half left so Chef let us roll out our sablee dough and make petis sables nantais. It was fun. Mine tasted and had the exact same texture as the ones the Chef made in demo so I was really happy about that! But I didn’t take enough time to make the tops pretty because I just wanted to get them in the oven ( and I didn’t want to keep the guy beside me waiting because we used the same oven). That’s okay though, because we aren’t getting graded until the 4th lesson. Then when everyone was either done their doughs or baking their cookies we started to clean the kitchen. It goes really fast when 11 people are doing it. I got to wash down the marble countertops in a race (Chef said that if we damage the marble countertops we either have to pay the $6000 or work for him as his assistant for 1-2 years to pay it off. I wondered if any student has ever wanted to purposely damage it so they could be his assistant. What good experience that would be!). 1 student washes the marble with a soapy cloth, another comes along and wipes it with a clean wet cloth, and the last student comes after and dries it. If the second or third student catch up to the first student then they get extra points (not real points). But no one even came close to me! (: I was a speedy washer.

Then practical was over and we all went home. The best part about living in this house is that most of the time when you come home there are other sitting around the table and talking/eating. Two of the guys in the house who are in intermediate pastry made some tarts that day so we ate them. One was a passion fruit tart and it was soooooo good I wanted to eat the whole thing. Basically for dinner I had passion fruit tart and cookies. Nutritious! Then I went off to bed around 12 since I had to be up at 7 for the HACCP class all of us basics had to do. Basically it’s about food safety. It was boring but we had to do it.

Now I don’t have any class until tomorrow! Then 2 days off. I really should go grocery shopping….I am down to eating oatmeal and tuna all the time.

Butter used: 500gms
Total so far: 500gms

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