It's 2010 already?!

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Damn.  Story of my life these days.  I have entered an alternate universe in which time has no real meaning.  The days blend together so quickly and on the same toss of the coin, 2 days can seem like 2 weeks.  It's a strange zombie-like haze which has colored my world over the past 3-4 weeks.

A few reasons why this lazy bum has not updated her blog during this time:
-I've been lazy.  Step off.
-I've been busy as hell which makes for a moot point #1
-Traveling back home for the holidays
-Oh contracted a lethal virus which took the better part of a full week to remedy.  The other part of this story is that I am still working on getting some pics ready to upload from the past 3 weeks.  Patience will be rewarded upon my next post!

So, damn the luck.  However, I'm back in action and ready to update y'all on what I've been up to since my last tawdry post of sticky buns et al.

While flying back to SLC for Christmas, I attempted (successfully!) to smuggle some sourdough starter onto the plane.  I had my concerns about toting around a paste like substance coated in a white powdery mass of flour.  Who knows, maybe Homeland Security would have considered this a national threat.  Some type of biological item coated in anthrax which I was toting back to the land of conservatives.  Turns out being a rather fair skinned woman asking politely if bringing some bread dough in my luggage would be permissible got me on the plane, luggage and all scott free.

My first order of business was to sleep.  Next up: making sourdough with the parental units.  I gave my dad a crash course in the science of bread making and creating a sourdough culture as well as maintaining a starter.  I'll be honest, I was exactly 4% satisfied with the results of the first bread run.  It's difficult when you're used to whipping out loaves by the dozens in a commercial setting.  The factors are entirely different than a home kitchen.  Batch size, mixers, proofers, ovens, environment are a few of these variables.  Point being that I was left to leap over multiple hurdles in order to produce an acceptable loaf of bread.

My 4% satisfaction level was outvoted by my family's 110% approval rating.  Moral of the story: we are our own worst critics.  In hindsight, for the first batch of bread, it was pretty damn great considering I had stepped into an entirely new environment and did a great deal of thinking on my feet.

What have I been up to at SFBI since the porno-sticky buns?  Lots and lots of fantastic things!  Pies, tarts, choux pastry (you know this as the evil temptress named cream puffs and eclairs), ganaches, meringues (not to be confused with merengue music from the Dominican Republic), all out madness I tell you!

Since I've been back in school from the holiday break, I've also decided to enter an artisan bread baking competition along with some other students in the program.  Today was a trial run for a few formulas I am developing for the competition.  I can tell you that one of these was delicious.  It was so tasty, there somehow happened to be a slice of it permanently attached to my hand for me to munch on all damn day.  It'll need a few more tweaks over the next few weeks, but it's a great start.  You can find out more information about the competition and cheer me on from near or afar here.

I'm a bit disappointed I can't share the pics from these awesome escapades quite yet, but hang in there and I promise a full photo session in the very near future.  None of this post in a month crap.  Ha!



Adriana said...

Hi Rachel, welcome back.
I totally hear you about smuggling the starter onto a plane. I "smuggled" mine back and forth to France, from Brazil, and never gave it a thought... The reason I took it along for the ride is that I was going to be out for more than 3 weeks and didn't want to risk losing it.
I'd really like to hear more of what you sense are the differences concerning the pro equipment you've been using in school. What kind of mixers and how big? What about the deck oven, is it just the temperature settings and control, and the steam? I'd love to get my hands on one of those loading trays that make life so much easier, and bread that much more beautiful, but they don't seem to have them here (in Brazil). Every single bakery I visited in France, from the neighborhood boulangerie to the big, traditional bakers like Eric Kayser, use them.
I guess, after all this training, you are apt to deal with the workings of a French boulangerie, bread, sweets and savory stuff.

pastry said...

Hi Adriana,

Email me at and I'd be happy to tell you what I think!


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