by student blogger Morgan
There are two breads classes in the baking and pastry curriculum at the CIA, Hearth Breads and Rolls right before you leave for extern and Specialty breads at the end of your first semester when you return. Breads is personally an area of pastry that I haven't had a lot of experience in, so I've found both classes to be really interesting and new. The Specialty Breads class starts bright and early at 5:00 am and we bake all of the bread for the entire school, including the three restaurants (Apple Pie makes all of their own bread items in house). It's a step up in production and a chance to see what baking bread for a restaurant or commissary bakery. In addition to the basic breads we learned in Hearth Breads and Rolls, we traveled around the globe making stollen, gibrassier, gugelhopf and conchas.
We created and cared for our very own sour dough for a week and then made loaves from it. Chef has a rye sourdough starter that he brought over from Germany and has been in his family for over a hundred years!
We got to experiment a lot more with different pre-ferments and flours to expand on the doughs we had already practiced. Halfway through the class Chef Welker hosted the 'Golden Baguette Challenge', and we competed in teams to see who could make the most uniquely flavored and perfectly shaped baguette.
We created tartines using one of the five 'mother' breads: baguette, sourdough, semolina, challah or multigrain and our choice of toppings. Everything from smoked salmon, dill cream cheese and pickles to fig jam, goat cheese and prosciutto.
The class culminated in setting up a buffet of all the different breads that we baked in the class in Farqueson dining hall. Seeing all of your work nicely laid out and displayed is so gratifying.