NOTE: I do NOT teach this class. This is just a review based on my personal experience attending this course.
Institute:Artisans Baking Institute
Location: Anna Nagar, Chennai
Class conducted by : Mrs. Lisa
Website: http://artisansbaking.co.in/ – you’ll find course details, open slots, etc.
I know that I am doing this backwards, but I decided to take up a course during the weekends to learn the art of baking correctly. So far, I have just been re-creating recipes I find online, or in cookbooks, or from TV shows. But I always knew that I wanted to ‘learn’ baking.
So I searched online and found a baking institute in Chennai – Artisans Baking Institute, Anna Nagar.
I called Mrs. Lisa and signed up for the course. Level-1 costs 3200/- for 5 classes.
You can find more info on their website : http://artisansbaking.co.in/
Cookies and Biscuits
We went through several techniques of mixing and for the first time I used a palette knife to cream fat and sugar. I was so clumsy and made a huge mess, but it was so much fun. I’ve seen the pastry chef at the cake shop in my office, mix cake icing with flavouring and colours using just the palette knife and I’ve watched him work in awe (He kinda noticed this after a few days and stopped his work every time I was there :P). And all I could think about while I was working with the palette knife was this: the look on the cake shop guy’s face when he sees me do this!!! **face**
And it was also cool to learn new ways of rolling a cookie, like in a checkerboard pattern, or the pin wheel or a swirl. It was fun!
This was my first time making puddings and crèpes, and I must confess. I do not care for them. The crepes were fine, but I think my main objection is the texture of the puddings. I never liked jell-o as a kid and I still don’t like wiggly wobbly things in my mouth. The only time I enjoyed a firm custard was at the Hyatt Regency, Chennai. They served me a Crème brûlée that was so creamy, and so non-eggy(which is a very desirable aspect for me). And the crust, oh! the crunchy crust!
But I am getting off topic here. The puddings and crepes came out just fine, and I am sure that those who like puddings will enjoy them, but I am not a pudding person, so this was not a great class for me.
Today, we made Caramel Custard, Queen of Puddings, Chocolate Pudding Cake, English Trifle and Crepes. Unfortunately, we cleared the chocolate pudding cake before I could take a picture of it. And the trifle became a heap of gooey mess by the time I got home.Nobody should want to see that! 🙁
Yeast Products – Buns
Final day of the Level-1 course. Really excited. Mostly because apart from school and college, I have NEVER completed a course fully before.
So today we made yeast risen buns and rolls. We first started off by making sweet and savory bun dough and then proceeded to turn them into Bread Rolls/Dinner Rolls, Stuffed buns, chelsea bun and the Swedish Tea Ring.
Of all the 5 classes, I think I loved this best, because I learnt how to properly proof and knead dough. And this was the first time I worked with fresh yeast. I never kneaded my dough till it reached the optimum gluten content, so I am thrilled by today’s class.
|Clockwise form left: Bread plaits, Bread Roll and Stuffed bun|
|Clockwise from left: Swedish Tea ring and the Chelsea Bun|
I loved the course. They were fully packed, and the fact that I could dedicate 3 hours completely to baking without any excuses, is a feeling that I cannot describe. Learnt a lot. Met a bunch of lovely ladies. And I can’t wait to go back for Level-2.
What I learned these 5 days?
1. Margarine makes the crunchiest biscuits and cookies. I’ve always used butter, and I always wondered why my cookies never had that ‘bite’ to them. But then again, nothing tastes like butter does!
2. Apparently there are Butter essences!!! Store bought biscuits and cookies use margarine (as evidenced by their ‘bite’ and shelf-life) and the butter taste is mimicked simply by the addition of these butter essences. I may have subconsciously always known this, but I still feel violated!!!
3. I have baked cakes a hundred times, and I always wondered why the texture of my cake differs from the store bought ones. It’s the margarine. Margarine gives a denser, firmer, yet still spongy texture to cakes. Butter cakes always feel oh-so-soft, and so unstable. But a million times yummier. Yes, I am always biased when it comes to butter. I love you butter! Butter RULES!
4. I never have, and never never will like wiggly wobbly things in my mouth!
5. This was the first time I worked with fresh yeast, so that was new.
6. Kneading Dough!! Revelation. None of the online recipes tell you how long to knead or what to look for. I loved the yeast baking classes.