Culinary School Blog • #culinaryschool

Culinary School • Week 3

Written by Becky

We started off the week with pastry: pies, pretty cakes and pate a choux.  My brain felt like a Kitchen Aid mixer had scrambled up all of the familiarities of previous baking notions: Cups into ounces and pounds, meausuring and weighing everything, and flour dusting my body pretty much from head to toe.  My mind was just as exhausted as my arms from rolling doughs and mixing cakes.  Only with the help of a brilliant instructor did we get it all straight and end up with success in our baking sessions (even at 9,000′ elevation).

The rest of the week we played with grains, testing out pilaf methods on various savory dishes, rolled out homemade gnocchi and we also made cheese.   Cheese sounds way more intimidating than it really is.  The simplest of cheeses can be made in a home kitchen in a matter of minutes.  I have an archived post on homemade ricotta that you should visit if you’re interested.  During our class we made Fromage Blanc, Mozarella, and Paneer.  We fried and enjoyed the Paneer with Saag Paneer, an Indian dish I’ve been wanting to make at home for a long time.

Here are a few photos from the week as well as my weekly tips for you:

Culinary School Tips for the week:

never boil grains or salt them during cooking – both will affect the texture of the grain

add a touch of wine as you’re cooking any grain – this helps preserve its texture

brown rice takes a touch more liquid than its white counterparts

red lentils need less water and more attention than green or black

always use unsalted butter with baking and pastry then adjust the salt to taste

for higher altitudes you may need to increase flour or eggs for the structure of a cake to hold up

if your butter separates while mixing a cake, apply heat to your mixing bowl to emulsify the butter into the sugar

when making cheese if the liquids and solids don’t separate bring it back onto the heat and add more acid

don’t cook or bake any cheese dish higher than 350 degrees or the cheese will separate and become greasy

cakes from culinary school

After baking lots and lots of cakes we looked them over to discuss what changes we should make next time and then we taste tested!

Mid-week we had a cooking challenge to come up with several dishes using fresh veggies and a grain. Lunch on that day was one of my favorites.

Our instructor took a blow torch to the mixing bowl if any of our batter looked separated.

Gnocchi Perfection!  The key was only adding just enough flour and not over working the dough before rolling it out. Here’s my step by step on gnocchi making if you want to also try this one out.

Lentils really are a beautiful thing. We made ours with a mixture of sweet and savory spices.

All of our pie dough ended up being used for beautiful savory tarts and galettes like this one.

Paneer cheese was the easiest of all of the cheese to make.  After it was set we sliced it up and fried it to go with Saag Panner (below).

saag paneer

Here are links to my first two posts on Culinary School:

Week 2 Culinary School blog

Week 1 Culinary School blog

I’m attending Park City Culinary Institute and they are currently offering a great deal to any of my readers who are interested in taking on the same journey! This post has more details.

Comments (10)

  1. This looks so awesome Becky! A blow torch on the mixing blow! That’s seems very Alton Brown-ish if you ask me :-). And thanks for sharing your tips. I’ve obviously been cooking my grains all wrong (boiling and forgetting the wine – gasp!). XO

  2. Wow! Applying heat to melt the butter in the mixing bowl….why didn’t I think of that!! Makes good sense, especially if the butter is just out of the frig.

  3. You’re inspiring Becky! Love that you’re doing culinary school. I’m sure you’re a natural, and I can’t wait to see all you learn. I’m living vicariously through you!

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