Pastry School Update: Breads and Breakfast Pastries

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Another week in the kitchen for our breads and breakfast pastries unit has passed, and ohh, the abundance of baked goods.

I think I have been following a strict butter diet. On to the food…

Photograph (right): Pear danish


We didn’t have class on Monday due to MLK Day. Tuesday arrived with a bang, as we made french bread, started beignet dough and croissant dough, and made waffles.

The French bread was delicious, we shaped half of the dough into baguettes and the other half into loaves, or batons. It was crusty, soft, and not the least bit chewy.

The waffles turned out thick and fluffy, perfect for trapping tasty toppings.

Photograph (below): French baguettes


Photograph (below): French baguettes and batons


Photograph (below): Waffles



Wednesday was a fun day to me because I was so fascinated by the process for making croissant and danish dough. The dough is prepared to a certain point and then proofed in the refrigerator overnight. Then, on this day, we pounded butter into very thin sheets and incorporated them into the dough.

A series of folds is done with the dough to create distinct layers of fat in between the dough. It is these layers that will create all those marvelous flakes we fondly associate with a classic, true croissant. The butter melts during baking, and consequently releases steam, producing millions of flaky layers.

Photograph (below): A flaky croissant


Photograph (below): The cross-section of  a croissant


Photograph (below): Pain a La Biere


We fried our beignet dough balls into fluffy, soft “french doughnuts”, which were rolled in granulated sugar and dusted with powdered sugar. I enjoyed mine with Nutella and it was amazing.

We then made a very rustic version of beer bread, Pain de Biere. The bread had the hearty addition of rye flour, and was brushed with a mixture of beer, salt, yeast, and flour, giving it a gorgeous red color.

Photograph (below): Beignets


Photograph (below): A tender (and utterly irresistible) beignet



We made danish dough, another type of baguette using a sponge starter, pastry cream, and the dough for Kugelhopf, a German pastry. It reminds me of both a cake and a bread, and is studded with Kirsch-soaked golden raisins.

Photograph (below): Kugelhopf



We finished our Kugelhopf by baking it in beautiful molds that are made just for Kugelhopf. Before placing the dough in the molds, almonds are arranged in a pattern on the bottom. The danishes were completed today, and filled with almond frangipane- a delicious combination of pastry cream and almond cream, then topped with either apricot halves or pear slices.

Photograph (below): Apricot danish


Photograph (below): Pear danish


We also made croissants, again, but this time they will be frozen and baked later next week. Instead of making them the traditional style, they will be either chocolate and almond variations.

For additional practice, we baked lemon pound again. Practice truly does make perfect-they turned out even better this time.

Photograph (below): Lemon pound cake


Next week we will be finishing up our breads and breakfast pastries, so by Friday we can begin petit fours.

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  1. Oh. My. Goodness. This a mouth watering post. I am fascinated by how people create these amazing treats. The culinary arts are such a vital part of our society, no lies there. If you are interested in finding other amazing, and helpful information on culinary school life, check out my site 🙂

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