Have I waited six years to finally become a chef? Maybe I’m exaggerating a tiny bit, but the time has come!
I registered for this class back in February, not knowing what to expect. And I LOVE IT! All my fellow classmates are nice and especially my instructor; Chef Wong (also instructor at McCalls’s) is basically the best! Although my classes are basically every Sunday, from 1 to 5pm, meaning that my Sunday’s are no longer Sunday’s aka being free and getting to sleep in, I am greatly impressed and proud of what I have made and the techniques Chef Wong has given.
All students are required to wear head to toe uniform, which is covered by the tuition about $650 CAD (fee covers ingredients but excludes safety shoes). There are about 11 students in the class, which is small, considering that the class caps at 24 students. Full kitchen with professional ovens, sinks, fridges and all, let’s get baking!
Class 1 & 2: Pie Dough and Pie
The first two classes were introductory. I learned pie techniques, including rolling, how to make the flower design and what the difference is between butter vs shortening. The second week was dedicated to apple pie. My pie is on the right (below).
I was amazed by the rotating oven. Cause I’ve never seen a commercial/ professional oven that rotates!
Class 3: Creme Caramel & Bavarian Cream
Class three was a love and hate relationship. I’m the type of person that loves to make all kinds of food but not necessarily eat them all. I didn’t love what I made, but my dad did. So if he asks me to make him some, I will. The recipes given to us in class makes a big bunch, so I’ll need to cut the recipe in quarters. Honestly, I made 8 creme caramels and 8 bavarian creams. Sixteen cups of desserts is way to much for one person (I was thoughtful and gave some away to friends and family).
In class 3, I leaned how to bake using a water bath. It was my first time baking using the water bath method.
Chef Wong always demonstrates what we will be making that week and therefore we always get to try her finished product.
I missed Week 4 because I was in Ottawa. Chef Wong is so nice and told me if she teaches this class next semester, I can attend the week that I missed. : )
Week 5: Soft Rolls (aka bread)
This was a fun week. For me, bread is always difficult to make. I don’t know if it’s the yeast (most likely) or the way that I’m handling the recipe, it just doesn’t turn out the way I imagine it to be.
This was the first time I made bread that had eggs. And it was really fun to watch the dough rise in the short amount of class time.
Because each group (station) has two people, we always divide the recipe evenly. We got to play with this dough cutter machine, that sliced the dough into 36 equal pieces.
This was a long and boring process. I had 18 dough balls and had to roll each of them into long strips. After dreading the rolling exercise, it was time for the fun part. We had a sheet with pictures showing the different types of rolls; double knot, braided and figure eight. As you can probably tell, the top roll in the photo below was a fail.
We placed the rolls in a proofer, until they doubled in size. Then toppings of our choice was sprinkled on top; cheese, poppy or sesame seeds, caraway seeds or salt.
From all the classes I’ve attended, I’m most proud of this braided roll. The finished product looks bought from a bakery.
For all the foodies out there, I highly recommend you try a baking course (if you already haven’t). I was not expecting to get so much from this class and was I wrong! I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Sometimes, the class does not take 4 hours, so we leave early…and make the most of the remaining hours of what’s left of the Sunday. I’d have to admit that Chef Wong does make the learning experience super enjoyable and better. She makes jokes, teaches us baking tricks and we can ask her anything related to baking. She’s the type of instructor you can easily ask if you’re having trouble, she’s glad to help. And she’s one of the instructors I’ll remember.
Click here to read more about the baking arts class.
Photos via iPhone 6.
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