January 21, 2008

Getting to know YEAST

Classes at the NotterSchool has been keeping Su on her toes! I've had so many pictures taken and so many fun experiences to share with everyone!!! The only problem is actually getting a moment to jot them down here between my really busy schedules and day-long classes.
I havn't exactly been updating my posts the past 3 days from extremely hectic full days spent at school. What have I been doing all day there? ....*giggle* that's a secret... I have a surprise to share with everyone! I'll leave that for my next post~ A long pause from posting from me usually results in cool stuff in the next! and don't worry guys... I'm not going anywhere... Hehe..thanks for those who emailed me to see how I'm doing though. I know everyone must be anxious to know if I will still be keeping my blog active. Of course I am! I love it here :)
So... what have I been up to?
Breakfast pastries!.. yes.. it's 67 hours of Breakfast pastries.. We've done so many types in the past week; it's so hard to keep track of every single item. I try to go through my notes at night and retype the recipes to recall what I've done during the day to refresh my memory and have a better understanding of our practical work in the labs. Chef James has scheduled the class to allow us to learn to multi task in the kitchen and I feel it's a great way to keep us ready for the real world. It's lucky I have Nicole with me. We split tasks and share out the washing to quicken things up with unpleasant activities like scaling ingredients and drying washed utensils/tools. I seriously don't think I've done so many dirty dishes and pans in my life. *laughs* It's good practice though.. we learn to save on using too many and to keep as clean as we while we work to avoid a huge mess to wipe up at the end of the day.Chef James usually begins the day with a short lecture and note taking session for us to absorb what to aspect for the day. He tells us what to look out for during the day and gives us a run down of what is expected of us. This is just an example of all the things we have done within a day.
Notes were taken on yeasts; different types of pre-ferments for doughs, steps of baking good bread and mixing doughs. Chef James also introduced us to different types of breakfast pastries and where they come from. Before we are allowed to go; he sometimes gives us homework... *pout* I guess it's helpful to have done research about the day to come before actually digging right into our mixing bowls.
So what have we learnt about preferments and yeast? Well.. Here is a snapshot of an assignment I handed in last week.


Ideal temperature for fermenting yeast : 75-95 F (24-35 C)
Yeast is dormant : 34 F ( 2 C)
Yeast Dies : 138 F ( 59 C)

Types of yeast:

Fresh compressed yeast:

-ivory colour; soft moist and crumbles easily. It is very perishable. Keep refrigerated. It will stay fresh for 8 weeks. Can be frozen for longer storage. Do not use if has a dark colour of dry spots.
-Yeast must be proofed prior to adding to dough mixture to test if it is still active.
-Dissolve in warm water with a pinch of sugar or flour. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and liquid should turn foamy and smell yeasty

Dehydrated yeast.

-susceptible to moisture. Wrap well and keep in cooler after opening.
-It has 2 forms.
-( active dry yeast ) – must be re hydrated before use. Shelf life is 1 year from date of packaging.
-(instant dry yeast)- More concentrated, does not need re hydration before adding to dough. Small particles dissolve easily. Can mix with flour prior to adding liquid. Has 2 year shelf life if unopened.


are beautifully shaped round sweet bread from Provence; often flavoured with lemon of orange zest, orange flower water and almonds. Personally; I thought they were delicious! We made the dough for these early in the morning and my tastebuds were begging for a taste from intoxicating aromas produced from the citrus blossom ingredients added into the dough! They were infused with wonderful flavours from added aniseed and covered in a sugary crust! Gibassiers are soft on the inside and crisp from the tossed sugar on its surface. YUM!

Panetonne is a typical Italian sweet bread, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year. It is generally made in the shape of a large loaf and contains dried fruit and citrus peel. James had us do them in dainty muffin cups. I thought they turned out pretty good. I've never really liked Panettone;...and this batch didn't change my mind about them either. *laughs* I find Panettones a little dry and coarse.
Banana Bread loaves

These were uniquely flavoured with lemon zest and nuts.

Corn muffins
Apricot + Almond brioche
I loved these!!! It had a decadent chocolate almond glaze topping covered in powdered sugar for a crisp crust! The apricots in and almond paste bits in the centers were a great twist to our simple and traditional brioche recipes.

Pumpkin Brioche filled with pastry cream
Who doesn't love donuts?! well..truth is; I'm not much of a fan. I like a donut or two some days.. but... I never really crave these deep-fried yeasted rings covered in sugary coatings of assorted colours much.
The cinnamon sugar ones are probably my favourite if I had to choose. Mini bite sized ones made from donut circles are yummy too~ It's just those custard filled and icing glazed ones which I tend to stay away from. Of course.. chocolate covered ones are always fun!
I remember feeling a little upset and nauseous from all that grease in the air after a full morning of tossing donuts in hot oil.

I know many have been requesting for full recipes from the NotterSchool; but unfortunately I can only share so much with everyone. I guess tips on baking and ideas to inspire should be shared online, but I personally feel it wouldn't exactly be appropriate to give out "everything"-- down to written recipes and long tested formulas from the school. It isn't exactly everything the diploma program is about either. I hope everyone can still try to be satisfied with just me telling stories about it. Of course; if it's my own recipe, I'll definitely have the proportions up for everyone to try! :)


Dr. Chang said...

Hey Su Yin,

Wow, I'm envious of your position! Thanks for posting about your experience at the school. It's a great insight to what goes on. I just have one question for you. I notice that you guys make lots of yummy goods, but where do they go? I know you guys probably get to taste some, but what about the rest? I wish I was there to eat some :D Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

can't wait for the surprise. Hmm..let me guess. You are going to be on the Food Network? =p

Anonymous said...

Who eats them all?

Anonymous said...

Hello Su,

With Yeast, do you have to soak it in water to 'wake' it up or put it straight to the dough. How many times do you prove the dough?

Last question, what's the diff bet banana cake and banana bread?

Love your adventures in Notter school - i'm soooo envious! I wish I'm there to learn and EAT too with you!


Huh! Your lovely pictures make me hungry la my dear.

Anonymous said...

Hi Su! this is Chiara from Italy!!! WOW, what a beautiful post! I LOVE your posts! they are so inspiring for my passion at baking. But I must correct your spelling *smile and wink*:the correct word is PANETTONE. We usually have it for Christmas and New Year's Eve, as you correctly said. Usually guests and friends bring it as a traditional gift. It's better if you warm it up a little in the oven before eating it because the warmth brings out the yummy smell; sometimes we eat it with CREMA PASTICCERA (custard) or CREMA CHANTILLY (custard and whipped cream mixed together). Hope this is useful *smile* !!!
Bye, xxx

ashieBee said...

hi suyin :))

the donuts look yummy!!!! and yeahhh who eats all those food you guys produced??? just wondering. hehehehe. takecare girl and urmm wuts the surprise???? tell us tell us


Anonymous said...

unlike the rest -after this post -i am not asking where all that food goes to...but just have to say that why did you have to go and move halfway across the world and do this course instead of coming to sg & hopefully moving next door to me! i could help you eat all those goodies! i am now hungry after staring at all your wonderful photos! = P

Apa itu said...

Aha! Remember you had problems with yeast and making bread? Problems solved? I would like to know when you make sandwich bread what makes it all so cottony soft. Bread improver?

Anonymous said...

Dear Su,

I am so proud of you as you really supported copy right. Many young people shared too much and this is infringing others. Well done and well said, with politeness.


Bean Sprout's Cafe said...

hi...I am Thai, Ja, who have been your fan for a long time .. ur blog is so awesome...and made me decided to apply for LCB in sydney this Apr 2008..

I graduated from Commercial cookery at William Angliss, Melbourne for 6 month course...then wanna change to Patisseries...At first, I was so confused about going to last school or LCB..then read through ur blog about studying there..hehe...finally, fall in love with u :D

And now so happy cuz can see u update blog about LCB again...Thanks so much

Anonymous said...

Don't post recipes from school, Su. I dont think that's right at all and I'm sure it must be a course rule, even if it isnt clearly mentioned. Good luck with learning and we're all happy to see you excited and busy.

Anonymous said...

I've read you're blog for a while and it's super interesting! i love how you share your experiences with us while you're at school :)
I'm just a average teen and i wish to be a chef when i grow up, i'm hardly ever allowed to cook at home because my parents don't let me, and sometimes i think being a chef would never become true in my life, but everytime i read you're blog again, i am filled with hope :)

Anonymous said...

Su, I adore you and your blog - but since I'm allergic to yeast - this has got to be the worst tease of a blog entry ever! lol.

Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

joann: erm..my neighbours; the ladies working at the office of my apartment block; a dude I've be-friended from an electronic store close by... *laughs* most of them are in my freezer or in my tummy... I know nicole gives them to people at work though. So i give her more! *giggle*

lin: HAHA OMG I WISH!!! haha..i'm watching it right now; it's heaps fun

ling: hmm...everyone is wondering huh? haha well; at least i'm not pigging out on them all on my own hehe

jenny: It really depends on the recipe jenny. Instant yeast does not need to be hydrated before adding into the mixture; but active-dry yeast needs to be hydrated first. Depends what your recipe uses. I wouldn't know the exact difference but I would assume that the texture within the bread which makes its a cake or a loaf. They are generally banana CAKES...baked into loaf pans to resemble bread loaves :)

wanzuha: i'm returning to Malaysia soon! Taste them then! :P

Chiara: Hi again!! Haha..i DO apologize for the spelling error! I'm going to fix it NOW! haha.. I will definitely try eating the way u have recommended. THanks for sharing so much of your culture with us all :)

ashiebee: We divide them into portions; save the best for ourselves and give the rest away! hehehe

m: Hmm... I don't know; I was chasing my dream.. I wasn't chasing 'm' haha :P. It's lots of fun! I love learning to do these fun pastries.

apaitu: Hmm We never use bread improvers in our artisan breads we make in school; and they still turn out wonderful. I suppose bakers baking commercially in businesses would definitely contemplate having improvers added into their breads for them to stay soft as long as possible. Good bread generally stays fresh not more than 1-2 days if not frozen.

wanna: Thanks for that :)

Ja: Wow.. Its amazing how I have influenced your decision! I hope everything is going well for you. I love it here :)

anonymous: thanks for adding in your note of approval as well! It means alot to know people support my choices.

dellie: I love how everyone aspiring to be chefs voice their hopes and dreams here too! Don't worry dellie; it'll come with age and if you truly love something and show passion for it; they will understand eventually. :) I started off just like you too! Don't lose hope; it's never too late!

tracy: thanks sweetie~ awww I'm so sorry to hear about your allergy; I didn't mean to be nasty. *lol* we do make yeast-less breads and pastries too!! *if that helps at all* haha