Sunday, May 4, 2014

What we learned in culinary school this week: Week 16

Sick again, so I missed Yeast Breads and Enriched Breads, but as Chef pointed out, since I've enrolled in the upcoming full-time Baking and Pastry Program, I'll cover that later.

We did flaky dough (pie crusts) and sweet tart dough on Thursday. Here's what we learned about that:

Baking is much more of an exact science when it comes to the ingredients, especially measurements. In professional and commercial baking recipes, measurements are given in grams.

In pie crusts, all-purpose flour is used about 95% of the time. AP is soft enough to create tender, flaky crusts, but hard enough to hold its shape and texture. Most flours, with the exception of whole wheat, can be stored indefinitely. Store flour in a glass or plastic container with a secure lid.

The fat added is usually butter, but doesn't have to be. Crisco or rendered lard can be used. We were told that Whole Foods carries a higher quality version of Crisco. Duck fat also works great. Butter will produce a more buttery, melt in your mouth crust, while lard produces a more crunchy, crispy crust.

The dryer your dough is, the flakier the crust will be. However, it's also harder to roll out.

For fruit pies: Cooking fruit generates a lot of juice. You need to thicken it with flour (for starchy fruits like apples and pears), tapioca or cornstarch (both for watery fruits, like berries and stonefruit). However, your fruit doesn't have to be pre-cooked.

Blind baking is partially pre-baking your pie crust before filling it, adding the top crust (if using) and finishing it back in the oven.

Sweet tart dough is easier to make and hard to ruin. In other words, idiot proof. I should make more tarts.

Chef made a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie while
demoing pie crust.

Edges crimped!

Ready for the oven.

Coconut Cream Pie (YUM).

Big pies, little pies...

And a galette to grow on!

Tart crust.

Lemon Tart.

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