December 29, 2010
I had a dream last night. I was in the kitchen at school. The school was deserted. It was my first day baking bread by myself. For some reason, another one of the chefs was there helping me measure out flour. Before I knew it, he was helping me put the bread in the oven. After a few dream minutes (which translate into, what - hours?), when the bread was supposed to be ready for service time at the restaurant, I realized two things. First, that I never turned on the ovens. Second, that I never ‘proofed’ the bread (the term proof refers to the amount of time you need to let the dough rise before shaping it and eventually baking it. Typically you need to proof the bread 3 times before baking it, a process that can take up to 9 hours in total. Embarrassingly enough, for the first month of learning to bake bread, I thought proofing was poofing, a term that in the Lobley family is synonymous with farting. Fart was considered a swear word in our household, so we use to have to replace it with words like poof, fluff, toot and other terms that easily could have gotten me beaten up if I used them in public. In any case, all of the notes I took on baking bread say poof instead of proof. If I cared enough about my intellectual image, I would go through my notes and correct each mistake just in case anyone ever saw it. Apparently laughing in spite of myself is much more attractive to me, so the notes will stay as is! Funnily enough, I actually discovered the proper word by accident when I was putting the bread into the proofer machine (yes, one of those exists) and had the pleasure of reading the word p-r-o-o-f-e-r spelled out nicely for my blonde self. I sighed and laughed when I saw it, thinking, “Typical, Lauren – typical!” ).
Wow, did I ever digress! Anyway, somehow (we’re still in my dream) the bread baked without the heat generated from the ON button, and it tasted and looked great despite not being poofed – I mean proofed at all!
Coincidentally (but not really), in real life, today happens to be my first day baking bread by myself! A joyous occasion, for certain. It is even more joyous because my dad is here! He flew in last night for some much needed family time, so I decided and do solemnly now declare today to be (drum roll please) – bring your father to work day (in my best game show host voice)! It’s 7am – off we go!
7 hours later...
I did it! I baked bread for the first time by myself! Success! The baguettes could have had a bit more taste, something I will rectify tomorrow (perhaps less yeast and the addition of a secret ingredient?). I also need to work on my shapes, because some of my baguettes looked like they had seen better days. As for the fruit and nut bread, it was great! Check me out below :) I feel like Kevin James in Hitch, "Once you start it, you can’t stop it!"
Sydney - making me some crepes after a 'hard' day's work! Thanks, Sydney!
See that beige stuff on the side? That's what fresh yeast looks like. You have to keep it separate from the salt, which is on the other side of the bowl, until just before you mix it. Otherwise, the salt will kill the yeast and your bread won't rise - no bueno!
Papa Lobley - um....I don't think he's having very much fun at "Bring Your Father To Work" Day!
Weighing the dough so that each loaf is even!
Smacking the air out of the dough so it has a nice, even texture, free of air bubbles!
Rolling out the baguettes!
Putting the baguettes in the proofer!!
The fruit and nut bread, rising on the table. Check out my view of the city!!
Cutting slits in the baguettes so they look pretty!
My school! This is the restaurant downstairs where I also work sometimes.
Under those towels is San Francisco sourdough bread, rising (proofing :) )
And this is what it looks like after it's baked!
All in a day's work!
Chef Ben showing us how to flambe - Yummy!
Onward to day 2 – part deux – tomorrow!
Have a lovely day!!