Not just one of those days
Although my baking has waned recently because I need to reduce the bread backlog in my freezer, it hasn't gone entirely dormant. For instance, I baked some hamburger buns today (thanks, dolfs!) as a demonstration/interview for an instructor's position with the Culinary Center of Kansas City. It was a lot of fun and felt more than a little bizarre. After all, I am, to steal proth5's pet expression, just a raggedy home baker, not a professional chef/baker. Still, any time that you get to talk to people about baking bread is a pretty good time. And I apparently managed to do so in a coherent fashion because they asked me to teach for them.
The demo was slated as a 30-40 minute session in front of six of the CCKC staff and instructors, followed by their feedback. That's a very small slice of time to work with, so I broke it into two separate phases and applied some "TV cooking" tricks. The first phase was to demonstrate the mixing and kneading of a single batch of dough (using pre-measured ingredients), fielding questions as I went. Some of the reviewers are bread bakers, some are not. From a previous test run with the dough, I knew that I did not want to add more flour to the dough. I also knew that the butter content was high enough that the dough would not stick to the work surface. Consequently, I only did a rough mix and dumped the not-entirely-cohesive mass out onto the work surface, which was a polished marble or travertine material. That elicited a few questions about why I wasn't worried about the whole thing sticking, so I showed them how the butter in the dough was keeping my hands and the counter comparatively clean. I only kneaded it enough with the push-turn-fold-push method to get everything to hang together, then started French folding, a la Richard Bertinet. That triggered a number of questions and comments, since none of them had seen that technique previously. They were impressed with how easily the dough developed and smoothed out, and with how it picked up the initial goop from the countertop. Putting that aside, I pulled out six batches worth of dough that I had made prior to leaving home for the demo and put each of them to work shaping the dough into the bun type of their choice, with pointers on how to achieve the various shapes. I gave them tips for the final fermentation and baking (they have plenty of ovens to work with at the center) and that was the end of the demo. Next up was listening to the critiques, which were uniformly positive and provided some very useful tips for me as a presenter.
So, the next step is to work out what courses to offer and to get them scheduled. The catalog for the November 2012 - April 2013 semester is being developed now, so my timing was good. I'll probably teach once, perhaps twice, a month. This promises to be a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to sharing the joy of good, home-made bread with others.