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.


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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#29 – Be Inspired, Be Sweet On Veg

Sweet on Veg

Sweet on Veg

As I looked back on my list of blog or bust shares I realize I have yet to include the Vancouver-Vegetarians! So this share #29 goes out to my veggie-delight readers and anyone who loves a good garden salad – visit Sweet On Veg.

To be honest, looking for a vegetarian Vancouver based food blog wasn’t as easy to find as I thought. But when I found Sweet On Veg, it kinda of blew me away. Heavy on the photos, recipes, and inspirational phrases, Jennifer (blog-host) has done a great job channeling culinary-inspiration in her site. There really are some tasty looking recipes paired with fab-photos!

Check out her BLISS section in the navigation bar for inspirational quotes. I guarantee, if you spend just a few minutes on this site, you’ll leave feeling inspired to treat your body right and live a little bit healthier. What’s your favourite quote?

Do you know any other vegetarian blogs in Vancouver? Send my way! …Actually, uhh, wait, I just looked a little harder and found these two others also in Vancouver: Vegans Eat Pencil Shavings & The Vegan Project

#27 – The Slow Food Movement

Did you know there is a Slow Food International Movement happening in the world (including over 150 countries apparently)?  And we have a local site + blog that is part of the movement called Slow Food Vancouver (my blog or bust share #27).  After reading through the sites, it all makes perfect sense to me… read on and you likely will agree…

For starters, many of you are likely reading this while multi-tasking, with several windows open at work or at home; on a break from work; or even reading via Twitter or Facebook mobile applications… You’re on the go – in a fast-paced lifestyle – naturally, fast/convenient food fits into your regime the easiest.

But fast doesn’t always mean healthy and the Slow Food Movement is about eating they way we were made to. Read more about their philosophy here, and for you history buffs out there: here is the manifesto written in 1989 that started it all.

Now, zoom into Vancouver’s food scene, and follow the local slow food movement happening here. The Vancouver Slow Food team’s signature is their Slow Food Summer Cycle Tours and other events including:

Tastings:  Events this year include a Coffee Tasting; Cheesemaking; and  Red Fife Wheat baking.  Terra Madre Food Community Events:  Themes include First Nations and Wild Crops.”

This is an organization worth supporting and following. You might even feel like you don’t have time to read everything I’ve just linked you to, but the short of it is that you should know where your food comes from and support local food chain suppliers. For those who watched Food Inc. or SuperSizeMe, you might adhere to the slow food movement more quickly…

Slow Food Vancouver helps support local farmers and encourages local eating. Their site includes a ton of information and interesting articles, like this one on Taste Education for children – it starts from the beginning folks: teach kids how to taste.

Slow Food Vancouver

Slow Food Vancouver

#25 – Victoria’s Food Secrets

Victoria’s Secrets have taken on a new form in Vancouver, with foodie twist!  Victoria has hit the spot with her food blog readers by providing delicious photography of local dining experiences and even includes a handy restaurant pricing guide. …Not many food bloggers offer a pricing guide, that I have seen anyway.

Blog or bust share #25 is Victoria’s Food Secrets. With a feminine touch to her blog look, and including fun sections like, Top Secrets, Restaurant Reviews, and Events, she’s covered fair ground in Vancouver, Whistler, and includes some travel too. Her about page is smart too, by including some fun frequently asked questions, like what is in her fridge, what food she doesn’t like, and what would be her last supper…

What would be your last supper?  …Do I have to pick only one?!

You can find Victoria on Twitter too @victoriachemko!

Victoria's Food Secrets

Victoria's Food Secrets

#23 – Food and Tell

Food and Tell

Food and Tell

This blog name is possibly the most appropriate I’ve see yet: FoodAndTell because this blog is heavy on the photos – punned like the familiar phrase, show and tell!  Smart foodie!

With so many photos, this is a great local blog to browse if you just want to see food images and enjoy light descriptors.

Vancouver based, Food And Tell is archived well with links, categories, archives and popular tags. The blog covers eating and cooking in Vancouver, and local places to check out. Once again, a familiar pattern with blog or bust shares, this food blogger is on Twitter too: @foodandtell

#20 – Always Room for Dessert

A woman after my own heart, I agree – there is ALWAYS room for dessert! On occasion I even have dessert first.  …On a really rare occasion – don’t tell my Mom or my Dentist, shhh! – I could easily have nothing but dessert for dinner! Life is simply too short sometimes, you know!?

While the title suggests all things sweet, Laura – the host, includes ‘all things that come before [dessert]’ too.  She has been blogging locally since 2008 and has a classic blogging style – including recipes, photos, and the stories that lead up to it. For blog or bust share #20, visit Always Room 4 Dessert!

Always Room For Dessert

Always Room For Dessert

#19 – Foodosophy



Foodosophy is a diverse food blog that includes content from all over the world, as their eight contributors travel and share their food experiences.  They have many posts from all over, but their most heavily covered city is ours – Vancouver.

I like the title of this blog, yet another pun (love it!), and then their tag line, “Eat, Sleep… Dream… Food”.  I could not relate more to that mantra!

For my Blog or Bust #19 share, check out Foodosophy.  See where they have traveled – its an extensive list!

#10 & #11 Finding Tiny Bites & Casual Baking in Vancouver

To wrap up the long weekend, and double up on my blogs (in lieu of missing yesterday, due to giving thanks) here are a couple more quality sites to add to the Vancouver food blog repertoire in my blog or bust challenge include TINY BITES and the CASUAL BAKER.

#10 – Tiny Bites is a blog lead by one, Karen Hamilton, with two additional contributors. Karen is  a women after my own heart, as her blog encourages local tourism and helping Vancouverites decide what to ‘bite’ on. The blog is another award-winning site in the food blogging community – check it out!

Screen shot of Tiny Bites food blog

Tiny Bites food blog

#11 – Casual Baker, is sweet blog written by Sheena, a Vancouver women with a self proclaimed penchant for sweets – bake on my fellow foodie! Her blog is simply baking, since 2006, and covers an array of recipes, handy to have in your shortcuts toolbar as a cookbook in your virtual library (She even has a recipe index – convenient!). Her stories paired with the recipes are great, sometimes including music video YouTube links and other fun-interesting parallels.

Her photography is rustic reflecting the baking and recipes; looking oh so tastefully homemade. I would definitely support this casual baker if passed in a farmer’s market.

Casual Baker food blog

Casual Baker food blog

#6 – For the love of food


LOVE sculpture on Georgia Street, downtown Vancouver

Many locals should recognize this piece of artwork that graces Georgia street in downtown Vancouver. I’ve been past it countless times in my 11 years here, and every time it grabs my attention, with a rubber neck. Secretly, I’ve always thought it would be rather (hopelessly) romantic for anyone to meet their true love in front of this statue. Yes, I know, it may be quite ridiculous but there is nothing wrong with dreaming, right?

The other day as I walked past, to take the photo, I took the time to look up this piece of artwork for the first time. I learned that it is not the only one in the world surprisingly. We are a piece of the LOVE sculpture collection around the world, including other major cities like New York, Montreal, Lisbon, Bangkok, Istanbul, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and more…  I am not familiar with the criteria behind the city selection for each sculpture replica, but all of these cities have great food too so could it be correlated?  One can dream, right? Art and food in great cities around the world… Vancouver loves food and we do it well.

There are many writers out there who agree, including the Foodists, a popular Vancouver food blog that includes a list of contributing writers who have also found food love in the Vancouver area and beyond. The blog includes food news, events, restaurants, great photography, and an appropriate tag line, “enlightened appetite”.

My blog or bust #6 post is Foodists. I met one of the contributors to the Foodists blog at my PC Confections tasting with Paul Croteau; it was fun to meet other food bloggers from around the city – offline.

#2 – Butter On The Endive

The most important food blog ever, is Owen Lightly’s opening header for Butter On the Endive.  I think he can take that claim.  Owen is the blog’s editor-in-chief and works at Araxi in Whistler; he has one blog contributor, Katie Sanders, and each have professional culinary training. When I met Eric Pateman earlier in the summer, this was among the blogs that came up as we chatted about local foodies.

This is blog #2 for me because it is one of the first food blogs that was referred to me. Since then I have read about Butter on the Endive numerous times – and agree it is quality food blogging. With great photography, by contributing photographers, writing and recipes, they even include videos too.

PS. For those who may not know, endive is a type of leaf lettuce.

Endive from KitchenGardens.org

Endive. Photo source: kitchengardens.org