Back in the Saddle. I Mean, Bakeshop.

After three weeks off I’m finally back at school and starting my second semester here at the CIA. From noon to four p.m. every day (a much more leisurely schedule than we usually have here) I am in the Baking Techniques bakeshop with half of my group. The other half has the bakeshop all to themselves from five to nine p.m. We overlap for an hour of lecture between four and five. The advantages of having our 16-person group divided into two groups are that each baker gets to have his/her own table to work on instead of having to share space, and even more importantly, lots of one-on-one supervision from Chef.

Today we kept it simple, doing the kind of baking I can do with my eyes closed after having worked for almost a year in a coffeehouse. We baked pound cake to practice the creaming method and corn muffins to practice the blending method. Very straightforward in both cases, but of course little quirks in the baking process did alter people’s results. One edge of my pound cake was a little too dark because it was too close to the sides of the oven. Other people oversoftened their butter or scaled wrong or undermixed or overmixed. My corn muffins needed about 20 more seconds in the oven. One student entirely forgot the sugar. But this is why we are students after all.

I am excited for tomorrow, since it is totally uncharted territory for me. Sponge cake (or genoise if you like French, which chefs seem to an awful lot) and spritz cookies! The name always makes me think there should be “spritzing” involved in the procedure, but I don’t see any spritzing in the recipe.

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