Good evening, friends and neighbors!
After last weeks post about the basic science of bread, I figured it might be a good idea to keep going on this rudimentary road trip through the land of yeasted loaves and carbs. For this post, and most of the posts coming up, I pulled out one of my old culinary school textbooks as a reference, and the memories came flooding back.
Namely, “Holy f*** this stupid thing is heavy.”
It’s still an excellent resource, though. The book is “Advanced Bread and Pastry: A Professional Approach by Michael Suas, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to do a deeper dive on the science and craft of baking bread.
As for today, we’re gonna keep it light and- literally- go by the numbers as we cover The 10 Steps of Baking!
Stand by for tasty science!
from The Emperors New Groove
Good evening, friends and neighbors!
A few years back, Emily and I were checking out a candle shop in Collingswood, NJ. The place (predicatably) smelled almost overpowering. Besides candles there was a lot of incense, Wicca, natural- healing, and- what I have been told is an accepted term- “woo-woo stuff.”
The proprietress was behind the counter, and she asked what we did as she rang up our purchases. I told her I was a baker, and the following exchange happened:
“Oh good! I’ve always wanted to ask a baker this! Okay, so what’s the difference between wheat, yeast, and gluten? Like I’m trying to go gluten free because it’ll help my chakras align, but I’m also vegan and I REALLY like nutritional yeast, so like, is there gluten free yeast? Isn’t yeast alive, so isn’t it actually not vegan? And I was also wondering bzzzzzzzzzzz…..”
To avoid anyone from having to deal with this shenanigans again, and to answer a couple questions that have been pitched to me by other non-baking pros, here’s a Crash Course on Bread.
Let’s get started.
Good morning, friends and neighbors!
One of the things I love most about any kind of craft or creation- food, cuisine, beer, woodworking, music, whatever- is that when you first get acquainted with that craft, it seems monolithic- until you realize it isn’t, that nothing is, and what you always thought was one solid notion is home to a universe of variety.
It’s terrifying, crazy-making, paralyzing, beautiful, and exhilarating all at once- at least to me. How do YOU address the complications of life? Well, let’s discuss it!
Good evening, friends and neighbors.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not comfortable using the term “chef” for myself even as a joke, and that I tend to correct others when they address me by it.
It’s not because of modesty or humility- false or otherwise. It’s because, by my own criteria, I have not earned that title.
Roughly every couple of weeks, someone on an online cooking group will pipe up with:
“What makes a chef a CHEF?”
or some other navel-gazing, masturbatory variant- and the responses tend to vary from the crude to the judgemental/equally navel-gazy, to my personal reaction:
“Oh for f***’s sake, here we go…”
You see, the answer is in the name. “Chef” literally means “chief.” “Boss.” “Head of Operations.”
It means “LEADER.”
How you got about leading is the real discussion that should be going on, rather than faffing about over what’s stitched on your jacket.
Here it is, everyone! The Amazon Kindle version of “Blood, Sweat, and Butter” is available NOW! Thank you so much to everyone who pre-ordered!
Click to check it out on Amazon Kindle!
Good afternoon, friends and neighbors!
Even as affairs in American kitchens are slowly changing from the bad old days, one aspect of the Kitchen Life still holds up:
The professional kitchen is a meritocracy.
You either can do the job, or you can be TAUGHT to do the job, or you can’t. Doesn’t matter where you went to school, who you know, how many cookbooks you have.
You can either show up, on time, in the right state of mind, and do the job like you said you could… or you can’t.
That said, the space between arrival and the last two week of a position can be… colorful, to say the least.