Sunday, November 15, 2009

A New Face at Paige's Place

I've invited my culinary classmate Margaret to also earn her externship hours at Paige's Bakehouse. She lives in Round Rock and had heard me talking about working at a bakery there. Working with Paige has been a huge blessing for me and I believe that you should always try to share a good thing. This way, Paige gets free extra help for the busy holiday season, Margaret gets a great place to hone her baking experience and we all make a new friend. Win-win-win! I also think it will be great to have another classmate to share the externship with because we can bounce ideas off of each other and compare notes and experiences from class.

Who Says Three is a Crowd?
Margaret stopped by Paige's on Friday to check the place out and see if she would like to complete her externship there. I'd told Paige that Margaret was coming by and was interested in externing there too. I also let her know that I didn't mind sharing with another classmate, so long as it didn't affect my externship hours. I think Margaret will fit in just fine to the wacky fun that is Paige's Bakehouse.

So when Margaret dropped by, Paige invited her into the kitchen with us to observe and help out a bit. Paige had given me the duty of making the batter for a yellow, white and chocolate cake (for three different customer orders) from scratch on my own. Since this is now officially for the externship, she is allowing me to do even more than before, so that I gain experience...hooray! All three actually came out pretty good with only one minor hiccup on the chocolate cake. We doubled the recipe, but I must have forgotten to double the flour because the batter was watery. Paige added more flour to it though and it came out great!

Jack Daniel's Apple Pie and Yeasty Ciabatta Bread
Once that was finished, she asked Margaret if there was anything she would like to make. She chose to make a pie to take home to her husband and Paige suggested making her very popular Jack Daniel's Apple Pie. Ryan ordered one recently for his potluck lunch and it was a huge hit. I've never tried it, but I've helped her make it and it smells fantastic! Plus, it's the biggest pie I've ever seen — it's tall and very heavy. I helped prep the apples for the pie while Margaret observed the process since this was her first day.

I told Paige that Margaret was interested in baking breads, so Paige suggested we make ciabatta bread. The day before, Paige had made some yeast starter, which is live yeast that is grown with warm water and flour (and you can add yeast to boost it but that is optional). Live yeast starter can last forever so long as you keep it fed (remove half and add fresh flour and warm water), keep it warm (but not hot) and store it correctly. The older the starter, the better. She told us that some people have starter that had been made centuries ago and has been passed on since then! Paiges' starter batch was only a few days old though.

The yeast gave the uncooked ciabatta dough an almost gelatinous consistency that felt like a wobbly water balloon — or as the three of us giggled — a silicone implant. See, I told you the bakery is wacky fun. Paige then formed the dough into a loaf shape, sprinkled the top with flour, covered with a clean towel to protect it and put it in to bake. The end result was a very soft and tasty, loose-crumbed bread.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray....I am blogworthy!!! Thanks for the great tip with Paige...I am sure we will both learn tons from her and she will benefit from our fantastic skills (or soon to be fantastic).



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