Beat the Clock Challenge
A couple of early mornings at the bakeshop, before starting production, we had some bread making challenges. Here’s the situation:
You are on internship working for Chef Maurice, a.k.a. “The angry French Chef”. Chef Maurice just called from his home in Calais, stating he can’t get out of his driveway due to snow (freak storm) and will be late. Chef Maurice’s mother (also very angry) will be in at 10:30 am to pick up a freshly baked loaf of bread.
Chef Maurice instructs you to make a precise 1.5 lb loaf of bread for his mom, using available ingredients. Chef Maurice doesn’t trust anyone so he takes his entire recipe library home with him at night. You do not have any formula so you must make your bread from scratch, using baker’s percentages.
The available ingredients you have to utilize are: bread flour, whole wheat flour, water, fresh yeast, salt, butter. He also says he will be in by 5:30 am and expects to have the loaf mixed and ready for him to verify as soon as he arrives. Don’t make him angry!!!
At this point, the whole class scrambles to get the scales and bowls and other equipment to mix the dough by hand and have it done within 25 minutes (by 5:30 am). Except first, we have to do the math and figure out what the ratios of the recipe will be.
That time, I did well on time and formulation, but the weight of my actual dough was way off (too low), and so I got “below standards” for the challenge. It’s fine, though. I was excited to have made a loaf of bread from scratch at all. At the end, our breads were judged on weight, texture, appearance, and taste.
The next day, we faced the following challenge:
You are still on internship working for Chef Maurice, a.k.a. “The angry French Chef”. Today might be your last if you don’t get your bread mixed by 5:30 am.
Chef Maurice was just called away to tend to his sick mother. He left instructions for you to make a precise 2 lb loaf of 50% whole wheat bread for his sick mom. You do not have any formula, so you must make your bread from scratch, using baker’s percentages. The ingredients you must use in your bread are: all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, water, fresh yeast, and salt.
He left you a note to say your dough must be mixed by 5:30 am or else! Don’t make him angry!
This time, I did a bit better, getting my dough the correct weight, and done on time. I didn’t win the challenge, but things went a lot more smoothly.
Below are some photos of bread we made, including a kalamata loaf I made on the third day, when we were allowed to add a garnish into our doughs.