The Culinary Institute of America has 5 student run restaurants. Every 3 weeks a new class makes their way through to work the front of the house and back of the house. As a baking and pastry student, we spend 3 weeks in the back of the house at Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. Our last stop before graduation is working pastry in one of the other restaurants!
Currently, in back of the house Apple Pie, my classmates and I have been split up between pastry, breads, or savory. I am on the "lamination station" in the breads shift (12AM- 9:30AM). The lamination station is responsible for all croissants, ham and cheese croissants, pain au chocolate, cinnamon raisin danish, passion fruit danish, kumquat danish, meyer lemon croissant, apple chausson, and other various pastries made with laminated doughs! For those that aren't sure, laminating is the technique used to get the flaky layers in puff dough and croissant dough. Butter is encased in a pocket of dough that is then rolled out and folded several times.
There are many things that can change the outcome of a finished laminated product. The dough and butter must be chilled and relaxed in between folds to the proper temperature. The amount of flour used in between the layers can make a huge difference. One damaged layer with butter melting out of it could have a domino effect and damage the rest of the layers. Chef Migoya, the head chef for the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe, cuts open one of my croissants every day and is looking for a nice uniform "honeycomb" structure.
There are still days when I have a damaged interior, but my products continue to get better everyday! At the end of the day, it's amazing to see all of the finished products come together to be sold at The Apple Pie Bakery Cafe!
Chef Migoya was pleased with the end result and it was sold in the Cafe as a daily special! I'm really going to miss this class when it comes to an end!!
Enjoyed this article? Read more about Racheal's experience working in the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe!
Apple Pie Back-of-House
Apple Pie Front-of-House