The Bread Doctor

artisan bakery in Torrington, Wyoming
September 15, 2013

Vive la Napoleon!

Well, we have spent much time on breads and pastries from France, and one does have to admit that they have a corner on the market when it comes to baking.  But the last two days we have been making Danish pastries that are truly the Denmark way, and not those squishy flat things you find laminated in the supermarket bread aisle.  I did not know that they could be so beautiful and super tasty.  The pastry is constructed similarly to the croissant, but has other elements in the dough that make is crisper and a bit richer.  We made more great shapes today and finished baking off all of the layered dough that I had made this week.  I have totally become a fan of Danish pastries.  They are like fancy turnovers or pies and feature the filling beautifully.

Cherry Danish 

Lemon Danish

Cream Cheese Danish
These were great fun to make and it is always a surprise to see how much they puff in the oven.  There are many chapters in books that I have been browsing from Marda’s library about how to shape different kinds of Danish pastries.  On of Marda’s former students has a bakery here in Bend, and she came over today to bring some new Macaroons that she had made, and brought cannoli.  She wanted Marda’s advice about the texture of the macaroons and Marda was very gracious and nibbled one bite and then started asking questions.  It was like watching Hercule Poroit of the baking world, but it was reassuring to know that she maintains such a strong commitment to her students. Marda made us lunch of Piadina, a Southern Italian flat-bread pizza, out of mozzarella, nicoise olives, and some chantrelle mushrooms that her friend foraged.  I have had no hallucinations yet.  Apparently foraging for mushrooms is widely done here and there are classes taught on it.  The mushrooms were fabulous. 
Then after lunch, we made coffeecakes out of the scraps of dough from the last three days.  It is a great thing.  As a baker, you have worked very hard to make these layered pastries, and then you have to cut out very geometric shapes.  Of course all dough has round edges, so you save the scraps.  When you have enough saved, you make something.  We made coffeecake.  Actuallly, we made about 25 cakes.  The dough goes a long way, but that is the scrap from 260-300 pieces of pastries we have made this week.  Many of the cakes are getting delivered in the morning to the community kitchen.  They are constructed with convoluted scraps, apple filling, crumb topping and a bit of pastry cream to bind it all together.
The last culinary stop on our tour today was….you guessed it….France!  We made Napoleons. This was a great thing, because they have long been one of my favorite pastries.  We worked on it step by step together and each made one.  It is filled with custard and whipped cream and topped with chocolate.  This was a great ending to the week.  Here are some progressive photos.

They are getting frozen tonight so that on Monday we can cut them in pieces.  It turned out pretty well for a first effort.  A look at the entire days work looks like this
Of course, I finally had to try one of the brownies for supper.  It is very soft and almost like a truffle sensation in the mouth. It is also made with Callebeaut chocolate, and Bourbon Vanilla.  So, for all of you devoted brownie lovers, here is a big fat close-up.

I will be cooking dinner for the missionaries tomorrow after church, and they are going to get brownie bits and ice cream for dessert.  It was a full week, and I cannot believe that the class is half over.  I have much to digest still, but am loving every minute of it.  I am glad, however, that the Lord invented the Sabbath Day.