Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Advanced Baking Class

by CIA Student Morgan

Advanced Baking Principles is a second year class in the Baking and Pastry program at the CIA taught by Chef Coppedge. It's the last bakeshop class you'll have before moving on to your final semester in the AOS program that is Wines Class and "Restaurant Row"...but more on that later. In Advanced Baking we spent the first two days taking our 5th term practical and then dove directly into a week long lecture and experiment series addressing four of the largest dietary restrictions for baking: gluten-free, dairy free, sugar free and vegan. 


Each day begins in lecture, learning the ins and outs of the different ingredients you can use as substitutions to meet the specific requirements to be gluten free, kosher or vegan. It was eye opening to realize just how many products are available and to see how each one affects the outcome of a baked good differently. Chef Coppedge split the class in groups and we took turns baking different variations and then compared them all together as a class. One of the biggest things that I will take from this class are the gluten-free flour blends that Chef has developed. Six in total with multiple different purposes and made from a range of gluten-free flours and proteins, these recipes are golden! Converting a traditional recipe into gluten-free was a cinch after learning about them.


And that came in handy when we got to the third and final part of this class that is a project in which the students chose a traditional recipe and develop two or three different variations that comply with four total dietary restrictions. It is an individual project and a lot of work to do on your own, but I thought it was hands down one of the most valuable assignments that we've had so far in culinary school. I loved the experimentation phase the most when we could recipe test and adjust ratios and ingredients to figure out how they made your final product look and taste. We considered flavor, texture, "essence" and appearance when deciding what to keep and what to substitute.


My class had projects on everything from a Smith Island cake from Maryland, to a Nanaimo bar from Canada.


We presented sample sizes of all of our products and opened the bakeshop to just about any passersby to come in and taste. In addition to recipe development, we also had to provide nutritional information (which we found using software provided by the CIA), the historical relevance of our products and an analysis on how it fit a certain dietary restriction. Without a doubt, Advanced Baking is one of the highlights of the Baking and Pastry Program, and a class that you won't see at most other schools. 


And here are my lovely ladies with Chef Coppedge on our last day, all in our blue service uniform because our next stop after Advanced Baking was Wines Class!


PSSSST: The CIA also offers several boot camps and Continuing Education classes that are taught by Chef Coppedge if you're interested in baking for dietary restrictions but you're not in line to become a full student here. You can check them out on our website by clicking here. He also wrote a book that we used as a textbook for this course called "Gluten Free Baking with the Culinary Institute of America."

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