The Pastry School Diaries: Rising to the Occasion

Author:
Publish date:

Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Baking & Pastry Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences!

I was excited to start our bread unit for various reasons: for the variety (sweet! savory! croissants! pizza!), the experience (I've never made bread before) and of course, for that amazing aroma of a freshly baked loaf. We're only two days in, but my expectations have already been exceeded. We've baked four different types of bread in seven different shapes, I've learned about different yeast and rising methods and I've taken home more bread than I know what to do with. The cherry on top? I'm learning from the best of the best, Chef Sim Cass, dean of the bread baking program at ICE and founding baker of Balthazar Bakery.

On our first day, we made a one-step bread, which means you don't need to let the yeast ferment overnight. You simply add it to warm water, add your flours and salt, mix it, knead it, let it rise and bake it. The end product is a light, fluffy and super flavorful French loaf.

IMG_1533

Whole wheated French rolls

We also made a starter, which is a a fermented mix of flour, water and yeast that you add to the dough you're making. This causes the dough to ferment, and fermentation equals flavor! Some bakers have had the same starter for years (Balthazar's has had theirs for 38!). Our starter was only a day old but it still imparted tons of flavor into the finished product. Imagine what a few more decades could do!

IMG_1548

Whole wheated farmhouse bread with pecans and raisins

IMG_2876

A sliced walnut loaf to share with the office

It's a good time to be one of my co-workers! Check back next week for more bread goodness.