Week 9 – Sugar + Fat

We did it! We actually managed to do it! On Sunday Gena, Lisa, George, Matt, Luke and I transformed ourselves into the Pancake People and we sold over 200 pancakes made from some seriously good ingredients. All of our profits went to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Sheffield – a very worthwhile cause. It’s safe to say that all the students are relieved that the market exercise is over. Getting a product planned and a stall properly set up has been a rather stressful and time-consuming project. I could go on and on about what we did and how we did it, but I think it’s best summed up in the following little video.

On Friday we had Bob from AKK visit and tell us all about fats. The company manufactures a dizzying array of fats for the food, pharmaceutical and who-knows-what-other industries. It was borderline scary to learn the way in which fats can be engineered to suit individual applications. As useful as these specialist fats may be, I think I will be sticking to faithful old butter as much as I can.

With Christmas almost upon us, the bakers were charged with the task of creating tree decorations from gingerbread. We headed downstairs to the Welbeck Bakehouse, mixed up a big batch of gingerbread and cut them into various festive and not-so-festive shapes, the best of which are now hanging on the real Christmas trees situated around the school.

Earlier in the week we conducted experiments in sugars and fats in doughs. The sweetest day involved making five breads ranging from 2% sugar to flour weight up to 20% sugar to flour weight. The 20% bread was incredibly caky and not very usable, but the 5% mix turned out to be a very versatile sweet dough. On the fat front we produced brioches made with margarine and olive oil instead of the more traditional butter. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of deviating from butter and these recipes didn’t quite work as planned, but it was definitely¬†a worthwhile exercise. To hone our plaiting skills we made challah both with and without egg as well as a tsoureki – which earned my bread-of-the-week award. This amazing Greek bread is a rich mix of eggs, butter and spices. Delicious!

Just when we thought the week couldn’t get any sweeter or fattier we were told that we would be making croissants. This really capped off the week perfectly. Emmanuel provided us with recipes for both the standard white flour croissant as well as a more unique wholemeal croissant. Over two days we mixed, rolled out and folded an overly-generous amount of butter into the doughs before shaping them into ¬†little croissants. The results were brilliant and the wholemeal variety even made you feel like the cripsy, buttery crescent you were eating was almost good for you.

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