Thursday, July 21, 2005

70%

Before I move on to the main subject of today's post, I'll tell you that we made lemon pound cake (to be baked tomorrow), made French bread dough (to be used tomorrow in a French bread recipe; letting it sit overnight allows it to ferment and gives it a richer, slightly sour flavor), baked the brioche Parisienne (brioche with Even! More! Butter!), baked palmier (a.k.a. elephant ears) out of leftover puff pastry dough, and made an apple strudel (including the part where you stretch the dough so thin you can read through it; I'd always heard about that, but never tried it before today). Tomorrow is French bread, lemon pound cake, and something that uses up stale brioche.

Today was a little discouraging. No, that's not quite the right word. I feel like I'm performing about about 70% of perfect. I know that perfection is not a smart goal, that it's not possible on a "production" schedule, and that it tends to vary in the eye of the beholder--that is, perfection is not what I expect of myself. It's a target, it's the direction toward which I want to move, but I do not expect to land there often, especially not in these first few weeks, and I will not berate myself for not getting to perfect. However! 70% is also not good enough for me. We're getting close, we're getting most of the things done in a timely fashion, the products taste just fine (how could they not?), and they generally look sort of okay, but there's usually something a little wrong. Today my partner almost forgot to put the butter in the pound cake; we both forgot to put the sponge crumbs in the strudel (which means it burst open a little bit and was a little mushy in the middle, because the crumbs would have soaked up some residual moisture from the apples); we rolled the brioche spheres badly such that they grew all over the place, and the elephant ears were a little tight (although, in my opinion, mine were pretty successful--more like 85%). My pithivier from yesterday didn't look great--the aforementioned hacking kind of screwed it up--and my puff pastry didn't puff as much as I would have liked.

We get our first evaluation from the chef tomorrow, so we'll see what he has to say, but I suspect it'll be similar. I'm missing details. My partner isn't going to pick up the slack on that one--she will tell you herself that it's not her strong suit--but that's not at ALL a criticism on my part. I personally think everyone needs to work on details, first of all, and, second, I know that if I'm going to have my own place, or have any kind of responsibility anywhere, I'm the one who's going to have to keep track of my shit, not someone else.

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