Week 5: Five baking tips from a pastry student

It has been five weeks into the program at Northwest, and despite my exhaustion, I still love every minute of it. I can hardly believe there are still 10 weeks to go because we have already covered so much. What else is there? Well, we still have to learn about cakes, chocolate, sugar work, frozen desserts, etc… Yes!

Rather than detailing through each day’s rises and falls with yeast, I thought I would share some of the lessons I have observed from class to share with you in your kitchen, and some more photos from class…. just because I love looking at my photos (and hope you do too).

Last week, we wrapped up the second week of bread and I think I speak for most of the class when I say we were ready to move on from bread. There was a lot of yeast, bread flour, kneading, kneading, and more kneading… all by hand too (so we are familiar with the dough feels). My hands are super dry from all the work with flour and frequent hand washing. The sampling of bread was FILLING too. I felt more tired after bread days than in previous weeks, just because of the bread samples. It all tastes so good though. Mmm. Fresh bread.

I don’t want to leave you with the wrong impression about bread week though, I loved learning about bread, working with yeast and gluten, and how to make both yield the bread you desire. It’s truly a science and I found it fascinating. But after two weeks, I think I have decided working purely with bread full-time, might not be for me.

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My first brioche buns! I am holding a traditionally shaped brioche bun, with a little ball of dough on top. Brioche dough is soft and it was hard to shape – I need more practice.

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Pastry School Here I Come!

It’s official: I am going to pastry school this year!

Before you read further, I’ll warn you, this particular post is a long one and shares how I came to this recent career decision. It all started somewhere around the time of this photo:

Jeanette LeBlanc helping bake in Terrace, BC, at the approximate age of 3 or 4.

Jeanette LeBlanc helping bake in Terrace, BC, at the approximate age of 3 or 4.

Well, I won’t go that far back, but there are many moments in my life that contributed to this pastry school decision. I’ll fast forward to 2014 and confirm that I’m still as excited as I was as a kid to be in the kitchen.

So, switching gears in my career from communications to enter the kitchen professionally may seem like an easy decision. It’s a big decision, but, an easy one. Continue reading