BP: Week 6 – Puff Pastry & an Unexpected Side Dish

Puff pastry isn’t easy. Period. The whole day on the first day we were basically turning and rolling and cooking and turning… . I reckon it’s easy to be honest, it’s just that I kept feeling rushed and pressured that I just can’t concentrate and remember the steps that I have stored in my head. We were basically preparing 2kg worth of flour in puff pastries and beef bourguignon for tomorrow. So once again we had nothing to bring back on the first day of the week. 

No problem! says Chef Michael

No problem! says Chef Michael

Puff pastry consists of many fine layers. This happens because between every layer of dough is a layer of fat (usually butter). So let’s say there’s a layer of butter on top of a layer of dough and you roll it out and fold it in half, you’d get 2 layers of butter and dough (or 2 turns). What I did was 4 book folds (each book fold has 4 layers) and a half turn (3 folds/layers). So, if you’re mathematically-inclined, you’d get 4x4x4x4x3=768 fine layers in my puff pastry! Apparantly the French usually do 5 book folds which would yield you about 1,000 layers (which is why puff pastries can be known as millefeuille in French or ‘thousand sheets‘) but because I was so afraid that my puff wouldn’t come out good tomorrow, I decided to just do a 3 fold at then end instead of a 4-fold. :/ But I don’t know. I’m still wondering if I want to do 1 more fold (thereby making it 1536 layers) but overfolding will merge the layers resulting in a breakdown of the lamination and effectively cancelling out all my initial hard work! TT

My class was the only class to have the luxury of using the mixers and the dough flattening machine thingy and it definitely made things so much easier and better looking but I didn’t want to go through the easy path and pushed on doing all my pastry puffs by hand. TT It definitely didn’t look too good by the way. I kept accidentally tearing the fine, fragile dough layers and therefore exposing the butter everytime I handle the dough. >< It was until a little too late that I realised that you really need a lot of flour to be able to properly handle the dough carefully… . But don’t forget to dust off all the excess flour before you fold it! Sigh, I really hope my pastry puffs puff out well tomorrow regardless of how badly done it was. I really wanted to re-do it but there wasn’t any time. :/ Oh well, fingers crossed.

Dead Fish

I thought I could handle it but I give up, this fish is dead to me…

Today is the second day and I just want to pen in some thoughts before I go off to bed. I know that my pastry just isn’t good enough so I was doing my thing today with the knowledge that all my products won’t turn out good at all (we’ll be using the same dough prepared on the first day throughout the week). What I did not expect is to feel so disappointed and depressed watching my product come out of the oven. I know that the rest of my class’s puff pastry came out nice because they used the machine, but so what? I knew that I could’ve done better and the fact that I can’t remake it and hence forced to use the same crappy dough throughout the week makes it hurt even more as I have to continue to churn out unsatisfactory products.

Nicer Puffs

Look at how well the rest of my class did

I was prepared for it but I guess since many other external circumstances have already begun to take a toll on me, it shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve reached my breaking point today after opening the oven. I need something to cheer me up. I’m tired of pretending to smile… .

*end of letting it out*

Chef Gert\'s Puffs

These puffs that Chef Gert made were really yummy

One thing that really disappoints me so far about this course is how we don’t seem to have enough time to do a lot of things that’s in the book. It seems that my seniors get to do them all whereas due to certain circumstances, we weren’t able/allowed to do some of the things in the book. For example, this week we’ll only be doing 3/4 Puff Pastries, Bourguignon Pie, Samon en Croute, empty Voul au Vents, Pithiviers and Palmiers. What we’ll be missing on (we only get to see Chef make them during the demonstration class) are the Chicken Vol au Vents, Vegetable Parcels, Apple Turnovers (Chaussons), Frangipane and Cream Horns. Do you see how much that we’re missing out on?

Today (day 2) we were also reminded on our practical exams in 3 weeks time. It kinda saddens me to realise how short this course is as well as how fast time flies. I’ve learnt so much yet I feel strongly the need to perfect the art; there just wasn’t enough time. Like I said earlier, things like this contributes to my depressed state and I seriously need a good pick-me-up.

Chef Gert moving on with his fish

Chef Gert moving on with his fish

I ended up sleeping over on day 3 which meant that I missed the class on purpose. I recently read that going to work actually helps beat depression which I agree wholeheartedly. But you know in my case especially when you’re pretty sleep-deprived and tired and so on, I guess a good night’s worth of sleep can be pretty helpful (minus the guilt feeling). Anyway, I know that there’s nothing important that I’ve missed today; I’ll prolly just end up using my bad pastry to create more bad pastry anyway. Life goes on, let’s move on. Jelly work next week. ^^

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~ by limmyfox on June 7, 2008.

One Response to “BP: Week 6 – Puff Pastry & an Unexpected Side Dish”

  1. MY, don’t feel so sad over the dough for the pastry!! erm… as in, don’t get too depressed about it, but keep yer chin up, i’m sure you will prevail in the end! :)

    good luck with jelly, it sounds like fun!

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