Pizza Party and Magical Croissants

I can think of few better ways to start off a day than what was on this board.

I can think of few better ways to start off a day than what was on this board.

The last two days of laminated dough week presented an abundance of delicious, interesting and exciting treats – most of which were completely brand-new to me as a baker (but not as an eater). First thing Thursday morning, Chef Liza returned for an all-school (culinary and pastry) pizza-making party. When the first pizzas started rolling out of the oven close to 9 am, no one cared that it was still the breakfast hour. Bring on the pies!

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Flaky Buttery Croissants

The sign of croissants well done: a huge flaky mess!

The sign of croissants well done: a huge flaky mess!

After a week of somewhat standard breads, we moved into laminated doughs. Laminated refers to the process of creating thin layers in your dough through the repeated rolling and folding of the dough. What are the layers? Well, it’s dough and butter. That’s what makes these doughs – in croissants, in kouign amanns, in puff pastries – so flaky and delicious. Croissants in particular are a three-day process, so we had to exhibit some patience. As will you – unless you skip ahead.

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Bread Gone Wild

So much bread - including breadsticks, Parker House rolls, Kaiser rolls and more.

So much bread – including breadsticks, Parker House rolls, Kaiser rolls and more.

One of the things about falling behind on the blog that I dislike most is that I’m often looking back and reflecting on things later than I’d like. So as I sit here on Friday morning, at the end of laminated dough week, the previous week of breads seems so far away. I’ve done so much since then. I’ll let the pictures do as much of the storytelling as I can. Because many breads took multiple days – and because it’ll just be more interesting and cohesive – I’m showing the whole evolution of some doughs instead of the chronology of the days.

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Weekend Overload

A little powdered sugar and these ricotta fritters are ready for consumption!

A little powdered sugar and these ricotta fritters are ready for consumption!

I knew I was in trouble as I saw this weekend approaching on the calendar. Months ago, before even arriving in San Francisco, I saw a promotional deal for two tickets to the SF Chocolate Salon. I looked it up, saw it was an enormous collection of chocolate makers gathered in one spot, and bought the tickets. Easy. Then, the TA schedule for school came out and the “Donuts and Fritters” class landed one day before the chocolate salon. Oh…and did I mention we spent the week making ice cream?

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We All Screamed for Ice Cream

Hilary and Megan made baklava for use in an ice cream sandwich recipe.

Hilary and Megan made baklava for use in an ice cream sandwich recipe.

After the teaser post from a few days ago, I am finally able to sit down and share with you the deliciousness and (for me) gluttony that was ice cream week. I absolutely love cold desserts, probably more so than any other sweet treat, except a warm and fresh doughnut or chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven. However, both of those things require effort and proper planning. Eating good ice cream, gelato, mousses and other chilled or frozen delights often do not. So it was hard to resist the many, many (many!) things that we made this week.

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Gearing Up for Ice Cream

The traditional dragon in the Chinese New Year parade.

The traditional dragon in the Chinese New Year parade.

Last week at school was Ice Cream Week (and gelato and sorbet and granita and semifreddo) and it was quite indulgent. There was quite a lot of buildup to our Thursday afternoon ice cream social with the culinary students, and it’ll roll out during this post and the next one. But first, it was parents’ weekend in San Francisco as my mom and Michael came to visit.

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Crepe Cake Disaster & Rebound

View of the chef station from the second level of The Progress.

View of the chef station from the second level of The Progress.

Before returning to the subject of our Boot Camp week, I have to digress to my dinner at The Progress. The sister restaurant to State Bird Provisions has a totally different look and feel, yet all the same high standards for food and service. While Mimi had to bow out, Megan, Hilary and I had still had an amazing meal!

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