Wednesday evening, the stress of the previous night's exam was evident from the look of exhaustion on every one's face. But we moved ahead to begin the second module of our program which is focused on two different types of doughs: bread and pastry.
We began with a semolina bread, learning the techniques of the straight dough method and kneading. While the bread was proofing and baking, we discussed concepts and terminology of breads. The kitchen smelled delicious with all the loaves of baking bread.
I used the semolina bread for my sandwich on Thursday. I was not totally impressed with the taste of the bread, as it was very commercial tasting.
We used the second method for breads, the sponge method, in Thursday's class. Teams prepared a fougasse and either American black bread or olive bread. I worked on the fougasse, which is similar to focaccia - a thinner, quite herby bread. This recipe called for cooked bacon and the residual bacon fat to be used in the recipe. I could hardly wait to bring home the finished product to Mike - hopefully a nice treat for his stressful week.
Luckily, the fougasse had cooled enough by the time I got home for sampling. Mike was a bit skeptical at first, but I think it was love at first taste. I was forbidden from taking the loaf to work.
The American black bread was not my favorite. Our instructor informed us that the taste was very similar to a Northern European rye bread, which made me tentative from the beginning as I am not partial to the overwhelming taste of rye.
It was fun beginning a new subject, especially one which with I have no previous experience (excluding cinnamon rolls). As I was enjoying kneading the doughs, I thought of Mum talking of how Nana Newman used to make fresh bread every week, out of necessity more than anything. I don't remember her very well and I found myself wishing I could spend a day with her in the kitchen, asking every question I had about her techniques, tips and secrets.
Funny how the smell of freshly baking bread can make you miss family and home.