Friday, December 15, 2006

Day 6 of BPT – Bread, Fire and Drama

Where to begin? Sometimes it best to start in the middle, go the end and back the beginning.

Let’s do that –

The Middle - Yes we had a small fire in our kitchen last night. Nothing major, Chef acted in swift fashion and had everything under control in no time. What happened was we had the flat ovens on (pizza ovens) for our French Baguettes which were currently rising in the proofer. In the mean time we all made a batch of Rye bread which also had to rise but there wasn’t enough room in the proofers so Chef said we could put them on top of the flat ovens on a rack. Which we all did. And so did the class before us. I mention this because I feel this is where the mishap started. The afternoon class had pushed the wooden pizza peels back to make room for bowls of bread. Then comes our class and we push them back farther. Since these ovens are rather tall no one noticed the vents way in the back where the very hot air is escaping. Next thing you know there’s flames and about 10 pizza peels are totally ruined. Chef never got flustered and took command of the situation. We didn’t even have to use the fire extinguisher. (See side note at the bottom on this) We were back in production in no time. I’m just glad we’re not making pizza tomorrow because we low on peels now. I was disappointed in one student who made the comment “It’s ok Chef we’ll make sure they know it’s your fault haha”. That to me was uncalled for. Chef True was in NO way at fault. This was due to a compilation of a lot of errors throughout the day and was just an accident. But to throw your instructor under a bus like that was downright rude. At first I wasn’t going to blog this event because I didn’t want to bring more light to it. However, after that comment and knowing how the buzz will get around the school I figured at least there’d be a public statement here.

Side Note – As I mentioned about the fire it was funny and surreal to me because the day before the Chef left the lab to go make some copies. Every time a chef leaves the kitchen (at least in PCA I and II) the chefs will say “I’ll be right back, don’t burn the down the kitchen while I’m gone.” Kind of like telling an actor moments before going up on stage “Break a leg!” That got me to thinking...gee if we had a big fire the overhead system would go off, but if we did have a spot fire where is the fire extinguisher? I did a quick look around and didn’t see one. Oh come on the kitchen HAS to have one. It does but it’s not visible to the students from their stations. It’s on a pillar on the side that faces the chef instructor. So when the chef asked if someone would get the extinguisher just in case, no one knew where it was. But I did! I’m glad we didn’t need it.

The End - The drama started with two students, both of which are ‘moody’ but in different conflicting ways. E is lack-a-dazy and A is a brooder. In the mean time I should mention I was the sous chef for the evening, which translated to ‘Mom’. These two were both coming to me a different intervals E – “A is so overly moody tonight. I can’t stand his attitude!” A – “E is lazy and not doing her share. I’m sick of it!” and so on throughout the night. I had had enough. Then one of the gals was putting plates away and lost control and ending up dropping a couple that shattered in her hands and on the ground. Next thing I hear is 3 of the guys going “OoOoOoOoOo!!!” and that’s when I went into Mom mode. “Close it! We’re not in 3rd grade and this isn’t a play ground! More importantly how about asking if Janette is ok?” Right after that, within a minute, I hear E yelling at A “I have had enough of you!! Knock it off! Get out of my face and stop talking to me or about me behind my back you ass!” That’s when I had to separate them “Both of you quit it now!” and if that wasn’t enough a couple of our other fellow students thought it was funny “OoOoOOo you guys are in trouble now…” so I decided to remind them they had jobs to do and got out the list of chores. These same folks were still in the processing of getting all their stuff finished up and true to form the main 4 were doing all the cleaning again. So I told chef that since Carey and Eddie had done their chores I was not going to let them continue cleaning because they were done and had nothing else to do, and, that others could just do theirs when they were done and I would stay and make sure they got done. Chef agreed. I really wish he’d let me be the sous chef each night only because I have no problem ensuring things are done and if he needs someone to be ‘the bad guy’ I’ll do it. At least this way I could help ensure things are fair with regards to cleaning and chores. Sheesh. This was, by far, the oddest night we’ve had.

The Beginning – The bread was so much fun. I love making bread. Everything about it to me is enjoyable. The smell of the yeast and flour while you mix/knead it. Waiting for it to rise and peeking at it and seeing it getting bigger. (which makes one very happy because you know your yeast is working) Forming it and of course baking it off.

We made French Baguettes, Russian Rye and made biga for Italian Batard and Brioche. The Brioche we will make a loaf of Brioche bread and use the remainder for Sticky Buns tomorrow.

The baguettes were just delish and my daughter has already eaten a half a loaf of the rye. I can see me making a few more of these and giving these away as gifts in food baskets. Oh to have spare time to do such wonderful tasks. Lol! The really nice thing about bread is you don’t have to sit and watch it, well except for the baking part. You can do many other things while waiting for it to rise. People always use the excuse not to make bread “because it takes so long and uses up most of my day.” Well yeah..but if you’re at home plan that day to be laundry day. Make some dough, let it rise, do a load of towels, then fold, punch down dough let it rise, get a load of colors in, hang them up all the while with the TV on and catching up on your favorite TiVo’d shows. There’s always a way. I can’t tell you when the last time was I used my bread machine. The last 2 loaves bread I made I did from scratch. I used to use my bread machine a lot. But all your bread ends up a big square. Bread is a great form of expression and a good way to get a work out.

If you’ve never made bread before at least try it. Find a simple recipe and go for it. It is well worth it. You cannot compare fresh baked bread with anything else. It stands on its own merit of warm, delicious goodness!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow because I’ve never made sticky buns from scratch before.


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