After a couple of years of fine dining cooking and traveling around Asia to learn about asian cuisines, I have now decided.. It is time to take a chance on conquering my fears-- BAKING AND PASTRIES! And I will start that by attending the French Pastry School in Chicago, where I will begin my first steps of overcoming the nightmares of flopped baked goods.
The Pass. The Judgement day of plates.
Bring the finished plates up to the pass for inspection.
Making French bread is quite the thrill!!.. HA.. no.. not really. It's actually quite boring. The only fun part of it is the shaping aspect. The dough is so soft and easy on the hand to play with. I started yesterday with a poolish, which in simple terms is just a starter dough that will give you a boost of flavor in your bread with early fermentation. What is interesting about the Poolish or starter dough is that, it is actually ALIVE! Yup, it's alive. Like frankenstein alive. And just like all living organisms, you need to feed it food to keep it alive and healthy. As for the Poolish, it eats flour, so every morning you feed it with some flour and it's happy. There are stories of crazy bakers, mostly frenchies, where they would bring their poolish around as they travel. This way they can feed it everyday and also make delicious bread where ever they go. It's pretty neat. I think.
As boring as making bread is for me, I still admire the process of making it. It makes me happy to see perfectly shaped dough, ready to be scored and baked. The feel of working with lots amount of flour, eggs, yeast and salt.. getting messy with your hands, sometimes it's annoying but there are times, where you just feel so relaxed with kneading all the ingredients together into a soft dough. The feel of your hands and finger tips, crusty with the bits and pieces of dried dough, yes.. it's quite annoying also but hey! It's well worth the effort and the mess.
So sometimes we would make up to 40-50 loaves a day of french bread or other types of breads, pastries and desserts, but by the time I get home, I only have 1 loaf of bread in my hand. Yes, I give them all away to people I see. People who I don't even know that I bump into, people who happen to sit next to me on the train, or neighbors that just happen to walk in the elevator when I'm in it.
Final note. People are always so surprised when I offer food to them, and although I'm shy and I don't really like confrontation of such behavior from strangers. I know this loaf of bread, cake, or pastry will make the rest of their night a more positive one. They will go home and say, " Hey honey! guess what.. some asian kid just gave me a free loaf of bread ! " .. lol. strange.. but is it? Should it be? It makes me wonder.. what has this world become to when the thought of giving without asking for anything in return is a suspicious motive. But I'm not going to let that thought stop me from sharing what I love the most. Making YOU happy by doing what I love to do. Sharing the food that i make DUH!!!