A Crunch Like I’ve Never Heard Before

I spent the majority of the morning cleaning and organizing my tools. Yolanda prepared some blueberry muffins which I shoved down my throat just before taking off for class. When I arrived at Lab 2, I immediately noticed an additional working station close to the front so I quickly snagged it and I think this is where I will stay for the remainder of the module. After we cleaned our stations, Chef Lora finished the baguette demonstration. She is incredible to watch—she makes it look easy, too easy. Some of my classmates scoffed at my copious note taking. Perhaps it is a little excessive, but what can I say, I want to learn—really learn. While the baguette dough was benching (resting on the table), Chef demo-ed Pain de Mie which is crumb bread. She returned to the baguette and shaped it. So cool!

Anxious to start my own baguette, I quickly returned to my station once Chef finished the baguettes and left them to proof (sit out) before baking. I have to admit, I was nervous. I don’t know what it was! Making bread is just so completely foreign to me. Aside from using a bread maker, I don’t think I have ever make anything close other than quick breads—biscuits, scones, etc. I carefully followed the detailed notes I took. When I began to knead, I started to worry because my dough did not look like the dough she had placed in the fridge the day before. In time, the dough developed enough gluten that I could stretch it and it would not tear (the window pane test). It still felt soft so I kneaded it a few more times and all of a sudden it was perfect—round and smooth! I let it sit out for 30 minutes before cater wrapping it and placing it in the fridge for tomorrow.

Before we mise-ed our ingredients for pain au lait (milk bread), Chef prepared the ovens to cook her baguettes. She placed bread stones on the bottom of the oven (just inches off the surface). She threw a handful of ice underneath. She transferred the parchment containing the baguettes onto the stone. She sprayed above the baguettes with a spray bottle containing cool water. It was like nothing I have ever seen! Of course, she was explaining the reasoning behind taking such deliberate steps, but suffice it to say that all of these steps furnished one of the best baguettes I have ever tasted! When she pulled the bread out of the oven, she had us each take a turn to squeeze the loaf. The crunch was like none I have ever heard. Brisk. Bright. Bold. She walked to a nearby fridge and pulled out a large wheel of fresh parmesan. After slicing the warm bread, she cut thin pieces of the fresh parmesan and invited us to partake. I ate three pieces. I probably shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t stop! I KNOW I’m going to love this 6-week module! Each of us devoured our bread samples and then quickly started a conversation about how excited we are to eat our own baguettes tomorrow. In no time, class was over and we were free to go.

I stayed on campus and updated my resume. I felt as though I should talk to a counselor regarding my desires to work in publishing and food television. I guess I did so in hopes that she would have a suggestion regarding viable options for my externship. Now, what I am about to share with all of you readers is information that is still in its infancy! My counselor notified me of a potential opportunity to intern in New York City for a three month period. During this time, I would be working on set with all the major shows on the Food Network. Such an experience would be incredible eh?  What an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of producing a show! Not to mention networking opportunities. Again, I cannot get ahead of myself! The school can present up to three qualified people and spend them to NY to interview with the network, so there is still quite a large chance that I may not have this chance. I do, however, now have a lofty goal I can start working towards. This would include building my resume and gaining more kitchen experience. I just wanted to share it all with you because it was quite the highlight of my day! Euh, well, it rivals the delicious bread tasting that’s for sure!

I returned to the Bellevue home with a spring in my step! What a good day. I really wanted to make dinner, so I thawed some chicken and prepared Lemon and Almond Chinese Chicken. Have you ever wondered how oriental chicken is prepared in such dishes? Well, I learned today. You cut chicken in the desired shapes (I like long and thin) and soak in a beaten egg. You coat the chicken in cornstarch and fry in a shallow pan of oil. After the chicken was cooked, I poured it into my lemon and almond sauce and then garnished the entire dish with sliced lemons and green onion shafts. The chicken was cooked perfectly, but the sauce wasn’t the best I’ve ever had. Quite disappointing.

After dinner, I immediately returned to the books and before the night was spent, I finished my blog entry. YAY! I have some scripture reading to do and then I’m off to bed. What a great day!

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