Sunday, October 23, 2005

First Snow 2005

First Snow 2005
Originally uploaded by mzones.
It snowed early this morning! I snapped this picture of my car with a very light blanket of snow on it. There is still a little snow on the ground, but none on the roads.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Baking 1b

I've spent the past two weeks in the bakery at the National Life office building in Montpelier. In this class we prepared breakfast pastries and muffins in the morning and lunch items such as breads (rolls, French bread, ciabatta, etc.) , and cookies for the cafeteria. We also filled orders for in-house catering (i.e. cookies for a meeting) and NECI catering for external events. We were able to reinforce what we learned in Baking 1a as well as add to that knowledge.

A fun time was had by all.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Baking 1a

I've completed the first of two baking classes that I am required to take while here at NECI. It was all about producing mass quantities of baked goods (cookies, scones, quiche, dinner rolls, sandwich rolls, foccacia, etc.) in a bakery. It was a fun class and I really learned a lot!

I am trying to think of some good tips to pass along to you and think that I will share what I learned about cookie spread. If you've spent much time making cookies, you've probably had a batch that spread more than it should have. I learned 7 causes of cookie spread, here are some of them:
  1. When creaming the fats and sugars, don't over cream. The idea here is just to incorporate these ingredients, not to incorporate air. Over-mixing will incorporate air, which is the leading cause for cookie spread.
  2. Too much leavening. If you add too much baking soda and/or baking powder to your cookies, they will generate too much air and cause cookie spread. (Also, there will be a chemical taste to the cookies.)
  3. Greasing (or over greasing) the baking sheet. The slick surface provides no resistance to spreading of the dough as it heats.
  4. Low oven temperature. Fats melt before starches and proteins get the picture.