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Menu Design Week Reflection

This week has been exciting. I learnt that even though the recipe says it’s been tested till perfect, it can always get better.

On Monday, I made Lemon Meringue Tarts, I learned that the filling takes some patience to make. The first try at the filling, I thought I had gotten it right, but it was a bit lumpy due to scrambling the seems a bit. The second try was worse. The eggs were majorly scrambled due to walking away from the stove, while the stove was on high heat, to discuss the first batch filling. The first batch of lemony kind of scrambled eggs went into the fruit bars. The second batch got eaten. Very lemony eggs.Later, I made tart shells out of S.S.P (Sweet Short Paste) and blind baked them. I learned that tart shells can be baked as is, not blind baked. They weren’t browned, but still usable. I made and baked off another batch tart shells, these shells came out nice and light brown as I hadn’t blind baked them. I also made the meringue. The meringue was kind of dry, could have been because I put the sugar with the egg whites from the beginning. Sugar should be put in after the whites have been whipped a bit.

Tuesday, I made Chocolate Raspberry Muffins. I noted that the batter tasted a bit too chocolaty. Thursday I will reduce the chocolate. Overall the muffins look normal. The 3rd and 4th tries of the lemon filling were successful!! I kept the stove on low and stood there the whole time and stirred continuously. After this, I put the, in the fridge for about an hour, the filling was still kind of soft. So I put them in the freezer for about 10-15 mins. I also piped the tarts and used the torch to give them that nice light brown color you usually see on meringues at the store.

Wednesday, I made Almond Chai Cookies. I learned that using the purple scooper was much faster than hand scooping them. Also packaged my lemon meringue tarts and realized that meringue can get destroyed really easily. Every time tart’s meringue got touched, I had to touch it up with the torch.

On Thursday when the lemon filling was done, I was told by a classmate that if I put the filling through the robo coupe, that I would’ve even need to strain it!! The robo coupe worked wonderfully and the filling was gorgeous! So much better than when it went through the sieve. Whipped up 2 batches of meringue as the first batch couldn’t cover all 36 of the tarts and they didn’t look very nice without the meringue.
The Chocolate Raspberry Muffin batter didn’t taste like how I would expect it to taste on Tuesday, and since there is both cocoa powder and chocolate chips in the batter I decided to lessen the cocoa powder by 10 grams and increase the raspberries by 10g. This was not a good idea. The batter tasted better, and when they came out they looked fine, but after sitting in dry cooler for about an hour, they looked ghostly and weird. The tops were kind of grayish and kind of scary. These muffins look totally different than the batch made on Tuesday. Also the tops and sides also look different from each other. The only time they would be sellable, would be around Halloween. Too bad we’ve passed Halloween by about 5 months. So, this batch of muffins went into the fruit bars. Out of the 3 recipes, the Chocolate Raspberry Muffins are the most expensive ones to make. Well, that’s going to take a toll on my profit.
The Almond Chai Cookies were fast and easy. A bit too little butter and sugar was used (I probably forgot to tare my scale), causing the mixture to be a bit sandy and easily breakable, but that was easily fixed. I added a bit more butter and sugar to account for the shortage, and all was well. They baked nicely in the rack oven and didn’t spread anymore than usual.

Monday really my only days that had waste. Monday being the eggs and Thursday being the whole batch of ghostly looking muffins. They both went into fruit bars, except for the 2nd batch of waste that I ate. In correcting my waste calculation, I had $0.26(hopefully I did the calculation for it correctly) in waste that went couldn’t be saved. The rest went into the fruit bar bucket. After calculating my profit I realized that I hadn’t factored in my waste. After calculating my waste I realized that I had a negative profit of 0.60 cents. This is when I realized that I made an error in calculating the packaging for the Almond Chai Cookies resulting in a much lower selling price per dozen cookies. With that corrected, I now have a profit of $10.98. I don’t think that is too good..

Overall, it was a very enjoyable week. I had fun tweaking recipes to make them what I thought they should be without throwing them off kilter (though sometimes it didn’t work).
Next time I design a menu, I will choose more profitable recipes, and try to keep waste to a minimum.

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Waste Management Reflection

These last few weeks have been a great learning experience.

I have learned several things during these last few weeks. I have learned that proper creaming techniques (creaming sugar and butter together, till light in colour and until enough aeration has taken place.), are crucial to a product coming out well. There is also creaming like you’ve creamed before. You have to cream it till it is a pipeable consistency (sand cookies are an example of this type of creaming.)

When I was on the oven station crew, I learned how to tell whether or not an open face pie is fully baked. When checking an open-faced pie such as a pumpkin pie, a sour cherry pie, or pecan pie, you must jiggle the pie to see if the filling moves. If so, the pie isn’t fully baked. In pumpkin pies the filling shouldn’t move at all, whereas in custard pies, it should only be slightly jiggly about 3/4 of the way into the pie.

I have also learned about proofing and how to check if a loaf has fully proofed. If the loaf has proofed to about two fingers above the loaf pan, it has fully proofed. Not enough proofing and your bread won’t rise, over proofing could cause your bread to collapse.

I was surprised that my butter tart mixture wasn’t liquidy like it should be. It looked kind of like dough except not rollable. When a dozen tarts were baked with this strange mixture, the inside was dense and unlike a normal butter tart should be. It remains a mystery as to why it the mixture wasn’t as it should be.

I would like to know more about how to make different kinds of breads and tarts now that I have realized that they can be fun to make. Prior to this course, I had never made bread or tarts in my life.

During these last few weeks, I have encountered some challenges. I found that the big digital scale can slow you down. I plan to address this challenge by using my own digital scale which I had to order and just arrived last night (which was Valentines Day, interestingly enough.)

In the next course I look forward to being up in the bakery, assisting customers, organizing the baked goods on the shelves, and learning even more than I do now. I will continue to work on time management, being prepared, and getting my methods and techniques down pat.

Part B

Waste management is the skill of being able to use what you have to it’s full potential. Whether it is cutting out dough to minimize scrap, or just recycling unsellable baked goods & left over product. Wasting products and unsellable baked goods can make or break your business. You are pretty much throwing money down the drain every time you waste something. This is why waste management is so important to know and learn.

I have learned how to reduce waste when baking. We reduce our waste by making sure that we minimize our scrap when we cutout dough, saving unsellable products, using the FIFO rule (first in first out), & by using opened products first before opening a new package. Sometimes we also reduce waste in ways that we don’t always know we are doing at first. For example, we use the plastic containers to store left over products in, but we can also use them as scoops to get product from point A to point B. After we are done with them, we can rinse, wash, sanitize, rinse, reuse & repeat! We also reuse parchment paper that isn’t too dirty, sticky or broken up. We always recycle and compost unusable waste such as fruits, vegetable skins egg shells and the like. Veggies can be preserved by putting them in bags to keep them from wilting and going bad too fast. We do the best we can to scrape down our bowls well, date our ingredients, & use up old ingredients first so that they don’t go bad and become waste.

These waste management practices and procedures are vital, and highly beneficial to have in a bakery, so it can flourish and so that there isn’t very much money lost in the process.

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Problem Solving Reflection

When baking, things can sometimes go wrong. We can use critical thinking to help us remedy what went wrong and to learn from it.

If plain biscuits are tough and misshapen, there are some reasons that this could have happened. Firstly, it could be caused from over gluten development due to overmixing & over kneading the dough. Too many rolled over end pieces could also have contributed to the biscuit becoming tough. When cutting the dough, it could be possible that the dough wasn’t cut straight through without dragging the knife. Another cause could be lack of leavening. The lack of leavening would inhibit the biscuit dough from rising. Lastly the oven temperature might not have been high enough for the biscuits to rise at.

Blueberry muffins that look greenish and pale on top, lacking the caramelized, light brown crust, yet the bottoms are normal in colour, could have been caused by having the deck oven temperature set at too low of a top temperature. The greenish colour that you see is most likely caused by the weeping of the blueberries. If you coat the blueberries in a bit of flour before adding them, it will help prevent the blueberries from weeping as much.

Nobody likes a soggy bottom especially if it is raw. To avoid this happening to the bottom of a pie crust, you should always make sure that the bottom temperature is higher than the top temperature in the deck oven. The dough may also have been rolled out too thick. To remedy a raw looking pie crust, place the trayless pie directly on the deck oven stone so that it can bake a bit longer with a more direct heat contact. However, if all else fails, it could be possible that your oven is malfunctioning.

White pan bread that have a darker crust and are smaller in volume than usual, even though the baking temperature was the same as usual could be the result of many things. The volume problem could have come from adding too much salt, & too little liquid and yeast. The yeast may have gone bad & the flour may not have been strong enough. Also the oven may not have been hot enough & the dough may not have been proofed enough . Overmixing or undermixing creating too strong of a gluten network preventing the bread from having good volume may also be a factor. Becoming darker than normal may have come from adding too much sugar or milk & under fermenting. The oven temperature being too high, baking the bread for too long & not steaming the bread at the beginning are also causes that may have played a role.

By learning from our mistakes we can create a better product next time.

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