Here we are already. The end of term two. This week was a busy one, with a few written assignments due alongside a practical patisserie assessment. While I feel like I didn’t do particularly well in any of the written items I think I put about as much time as I possibly could into them given the spread of work I have on at the moment.
First up was a presentation in business on the results of our latest farmer’s market exercise. I made a few more videos for this, but none quite good enough to be put up on YouTube like last time. The presentation went well and I think the feedback we got from our customers at the market was beneficial to all of us. There was also a rather nasty essay due for business on the role of entrepreneurship and business growth in artisan food businesses.
Tuesday saw the patisserie students engaged in a challenging practical assessment. We had to produce two items – on traditional patisserie item with a twist and one item of our own creation. Just to make things difficult for myself, I chose to make three different types of tarts for my own creation. Two were creme-brulee tarts with herb infusions (one was saffron and the other coriander) and one was a basil custard and strawberry tart. My piece was a twist were mini-galettes with slices of pear inside them. Unfortunately my creme-brulee tarts didn’t have enough time to set and my galettes exploded a little. Even so, they tasted pretty good and I’m sure I did enough to at least pass.
On Wednesday Sara Autton from Fermex, a distributor of flour additives, improvers and conditioners visited us to discuss the roles these ingredients play in baking and how they could improve our products. As artisan bakers we aren’t supposed to be interested in these kinds of additives and I think Sara did very well at explaining how they work to such a tough audience. Her technical understanding of how baking works is incredible, which is why she is the coach of the British World Cup Baking Team. We’ll be catching up with Sara in a few weeks when we visit Lesaffre in Lille, France.
The last two days in the bakery were very laid back. Wayne showed us the types of doughs used in producing bread art – the kind of decorative pieces you see on display in more traditional bakeries around Europe. While this dough is technically edible you probably wouldn’t want to eat it. It’s very stiff and dead, allowing it to be shaped easily and not change its shape too much when baked. We each made a wheat sheaf on Thursday then produced our own designs on Friday. I made a little Rollapaluza piece to commemorate my upcoming trip to London to compete in the finals then packed up early – I had to get to the train station at midday to meet Jess for the start of her exciting holiday in the East Midlands!