The Bread Doctor

artisan bakery in Torrington, Wyoming
September 21, 2013

Puff Daddy-O

Well, I went again this morning to the local bakery this morning for a few hours to work and it was again educational.  The baker I have been working with is a former student of Marda’s and he is from Tiawan.  His name is Kevin and he does not bake on the weekends, so I will not be going in again until next week.  I was just feeling like I might come back earlier this morning due to a bit of fatigue, when I came around the corner and Kevin had baked me a Barbecue Pork Bun…..heaven.  Then after we finished shaping the rolls, he gave me a pain aux raisin to try and it was heavenly.  I felt like the cat who ate the canary.  I went home with a happy warm feeling brought on by the lightness of the dough and the sweet bursts of golden raisins and cranberries in the roll.  He has been great to work with and has shared a lot of insights.  He graciously agreed to pose for a picture.

Amazing baker with great technique

I then went to class this morning where it was all about cakes and pate choux.  This literal translation is pastry of the lettuce.  Presumably, it is because of the way the pastry blows up and puffs when it is baking.  It is used to make eclairs, cream puffs , and many other desserts and appetizers.  We worked on the classics and then moved to the exotic.  The pastry is a paste that is put into a pastry bag and piped out and then baked…not as easy as is looks if you want the finished product to be even and symmetric.

My teacher then got very exotic and we piped all of the shapes out of puff pastry to make a very distinct French dessert, Gateau St. Honore.  This is named after a famous street in Paris and required some liquid sugar to make the little caramel hats you see on the puffs around the edge.  Each puff is filled with pastry cream and under the ribbons of Diplomat cream is a layer of whipped cream and a layer of chocolate truffle filling.  This is all placed on a disk of puff pastry, and sweetened cocoa powder is dusted on the top.  A definite showpiece, and I got to play with the strands of caramel as well.

The last task of the day was to learn to split cakes evenly into layers and cover them with butter cream to form a crumb layer.  After this is done, the cake is refrigerated so the final layer of icing can be put on and the decorating done.  I had to split many cakes to try and get the even, and covered three cakes with the crumb coat.  This is one in the fridge awaiting final icing and decorating.  This will be a project for Monday.

I cannot believe that it has already been three weeks.  I am grateful for all who have been supportive and to my wife Lisa and children who have been a great to me while I have been gone.  Lisa and Grace are running a marathon tomorrow.  I am thinking of them and my prayers go out to them.  I am very proud of how hard they have been training and working to get ready for this.  Viva la familia!