Saturday, February 26, 2011

Churros Con Chocolate, Panettone, Ciabatta, Stollen,Tarte Flambée

Chef Karen's Impressive Bread Basket

Tarte Flambée, Ciabatta
Panettone, Stollen, Mini Panattone
Churros Con Chocolate

I took a record 53 photos today, courtesy of Chef Karen who read my blog and was so psyched about it she wanted to contribute as much as she could. Not only did she recreate this amazing display in the kitchen (2.5 hours in demo is never enough time) she was also patient enough to let me snap away at her "work in progress".

Then she thanked me for the nice (and true) comments I wrote about her, which surprised me coz in all honestly we don't give ever our chefs enough credit. I admire their passion and dedication, but do not envy the work they do. Teaching the same lesson time and again, to hundred of international students with different backgrounds, learning abilities and expectations, is no mean feat. Any chef's teaching style and approach may suit some students but not others, as such they're often unfairly scrutinized and get more flake than they deserve.

Gluten Development In Biga, Sexy Ciabatta Dough

First produced in Liguria, this Italian bread was so named for it's resemblance to the olden day slipper. Into yesterday's biga starter we added flour, water, yeast and salt, working the mixture till a smooth dough came to be. Gosh it looks so much like a giant ball of mozzarella I just wanted to sink my teeth into it!

Proved Ciabatta, Carefully Portioned Without Degassing
Handled With Care, Final Prove

The dough is proved at room temperature for 2 hours, or until three-quarters proved. At this stage, as ciabatta dough is a lot more delicate then say, the robust baguette, we do not knock the air out. Instead, we handle it as little as possible, gently cutting out slipper-like loaves and transferring them onto silicon paper for a final prove before baking.

Making Tarte Flambée With Extra Ciabatta

A famous Alsatian dish, tarte flambée is the French take on Italian pizza: In place of the red tomato base is a white sauce made with creme fraiche, egg yolks, ground nutmeg and salt, followed by an oh-so-good topping of fried onions and bacon. And while pizza is quickly baked for instant gratification, the tarte has to rest and prove before it hits the oven.

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

Gorgeously Charred Bacon Bits

Panettone Proved Till Double In Size

The panattone is taken out of cold storage, left to prove at room temperature until double in size, then into the oven it goes.

Baked, Brushed With Butter, Sprinkled With Icing Sugar
Sliced & Devoured For Breakfast!

Nothing beats fresh bread straight out the oven. The fragrance of the zesty macerated fruits hit you first, then warm, moist crumb greets you with every bite. Christmas or not, this is one winning breakfast I'll gladly have any day of the year.

Cooked Churros Panade, Mixed With Eggs Into A Paste

Churros is like Spanish doughnut, made better with an accompanying rich chocolate sauce. I'm reminded of the superb Churros con Chocolate I had in Madrid, crisp churros sticks served with a strong molten hot chocolate, and was aiming for the same result today.

Similar to choux pastry, we first bring to a boil milk, sugar, butter and vanilla beans before adding flour and soda bicarbonate to form a panade. Into this we incorporate eggs and egg yolks, an absolutely messy and resistant affair, before it all comes together to form a paste of piping consistancy.

Piped Into Shape
Fried Till Golden Brown & Delicious

Dredged In Cinnamon Sugar
Dipped In Chocolate Sauce, Delicioso!

Stollen Dough For Demo

I'm glad we didn't have to produce any stollen today, the ingredient list is a mile long and the process takes up too much time. If you would like to give this German Christmas bread a go, drop me a note and I'll be happy to go through the steps with you. :)

Handmade Marzipan, Rolled Into Stollen Dough

I would've tried my hand at making marzipan if we had more time, it's not something you do everyday. Sugar, almond meal and egg whites are combined to form this sweet paste, which is rolled into a log and wrapped around with the stollen dough. A "foot" of dough is left unrolled and the dense loaf is baked at a low temperature for up to an hour before it is ready.

Already Looking Like Christmas

Babes On Coffee Break

Meet Margarita & Sunny, dear friends with whom I struck a cord from the start. From chatting incessantly and exchanging snacks in class to enjoying more than our fair share of wine at the Hunter, my LCB journey would not have been half as fun or memorable if not for their company...I'm gonna miss them when this course is over.

From Ciabatta To Focaccia

Goodness me, I added double the amount of water that was required for the ciabatta and beat the already wet dough into a slurry before realizing my mistake. But not all was lost: Chef Luigi is Italian and knows a thing or two about breads. With a little more mixing, a drizzle of olive oil and scatter of dried herbs, he turned my lost cause into a traditional focaccia, the softest and moistest kind you've ever tasted. Thank gawd for the Italian Stallion!

My Bread Basket: Focaccia, Ciabatta
Churros, Mini Panattone

The focaccia was so soft I could use it as a pillow if it wasn't so perishable, and my small batch of ciabatta, though shaped more like batards then slippers, was soft and springy to the touch. I loved my flavorsome churros even without the chocolate sauce (this is one instance where adding brandy was a big mistake) and the panattones made me feel like it's already Christmas. I can't believe I made all that, today!

Special Treat From Chefs Karen & Luigi

To be getting so much done, we needed an energy boost, so the chefs got some extra ciabatta dough  together and made us all pizza. Mama mia! This was one heck of a day, and I loved every minute of it!

No comments:

Post a Comment