We had six straight hours of practical in the morning. Our brioche and croissant doughs were frozen over the weekend and moved to the refrigerator to ferment on Monday, ready for our practical on Tuesday.
We had our lesson in the boulangerie practical room, St Honoré (the patron saint of bakers). They have a beautiful wooden work top and fancy proofing chambers and ovens. We started by weighing out individual portions of our brioche dough so that we could make brioche à tête and some bigger loafs as well. The brioche dough had risen a lot and looked like it was going to rip through the plastic wrap! I enjoyed shaping them. It is a little tricky because the dough is quite sticky, but after a while, I did get a hang of it. The brioche à tête is really adorable. I think it’s my favourite one. However, because they are quite small, they turn stale by the next day.
Brioche à tête
For our croissants, we had to complete our turns with butter before we cut and shaped them. We also made pain au chocolat with our croissant dough, and the chef made pain aux raisins.
I made a big mistake with my croissant dough. I rolled them out too thin and so they didn’t have the size or grandeur of the others in class. I was super disappointed. The croissants made in class are really big though. We seldom see croissants that big in Singapore. Dough-wise everything was ok. I guess I have to work on the shaping next time.
This was all everything that we made in those six hours. I can’t tell you how much butter we used that day. It’s disgusting. I smelled like butter by the end of the class.
Of course, mine were not perfect, but other than the croissants, I didn’t think that they were that bad. The chef gave me three out of four sad faces for the evaluation, which means he failed me. I just don’t understand why! I thought it was really unfair. Honestly, I feel like he had a problem with me because once in the class, he told me to do something in French and I had no idea what he was saying; I simply smiled and looked around expecting someone to translate what he had said for me. He then said something rude to me and that really surprised me. Anyway, I made a complaint yesterday during our chef’s meeting about that chef. I hope they do something about it. I don’t want to be penalised this harshly because I really don’t think I deserve those marks.
I gave all of my brioche and croissants to a homeless lady who I see almost everyday near my place. I only saved a quarter of a loaf of brioche for myself.
After the six hours of practical, we had another six hours to go. This was the first 8am to 10pm day we had, and it was super tiring! We had a demo for dacquoise right after. I didn’t even have time to eat my lunch. I just ate a little bit of the white chocolate-lime brioche before the demo.
Dacquoise is a cake which is made with ground almonds and a meringue. I don’t really like to call it a cake though. It is pretty sweet on its own, but with a layer of cream it tastes much better. The dacquoise we had to make for practical was to be filled with crème au beurre pralinée (praline buttercream). I like French buttercream more and more. I don’t think I want to make Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream anymore. It is not as sweet, and it is richer due to the egg yolks used instead of just egg whites. For decoration, we would make a marzipan rose and leaves.
I did not like the dacquoise when I ate it during demo because I found it too sweet. But after refrigeration, it does taste a little better. I think the texture of the dacquoise improves overnight. Or maybe it’s just me? I also prefer when the buttercream is cold and firm.
I have to improve on my marzipan rose. Mine was not as delicate as they should have been. Chef makes really beautiful ones and I hope I can make them as nice someday.
And finally, the end of the most tiring day ever.