Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Externship: It's a Wonderful Life

Ever imagined what it would be like to do your externship in a bakery? Enjoy the excerpts below from CIC student Violet Beasley's final report.

  • Week one. I should have known that I would injure myself within the first 10 minutes of starting this job... Important lesson # 1: The outside of the oven is hot!
  • I wasn't expecting to scoop several hundred cookies on my first day, but as the unpaid extern, I guess I should have predicted I would be doing something "easy" that no one else wants to do. Important lession # 2: Lift weights before going to work in a bakery.
  • I officially hate cinnamon buns. I've made cinnamon buns every week I've been here, and I hate them with a burning passion. Important lession # 6: Cinnamon buns are only your friend when you're eating them.
  • I've discovered something amazing. One of the things I made this week was brookies. A brookie is basically a chocolate chip cookie encased in a brownie. My mind can barely process all the awesomeness. What could possibly be better than that? Important lesson # 13: Brookies are the greatest thing ever created by man.
  • One thing that happened this week was a visit from DHEC. It wasn't actually interesting, though, because nothing really happened. The health inspector walked around and took notes, then it was over. We did really well. Important lesson # 18: Health inspectors are boring.
  • I made a pretty awesome new dessert this week. They were chocolate timbals: basically death by chocolate baked in a tube mold. There was a layer of flourless chocolate cake under baked chocolate mousse, topped with ganache and wrapped in a dark and white chocolate shell, garnished with an apricot-glazed strawberry. They were made over the course of about two weeks and took half my day to put together. Important lesson # 21: Anything that takes two weeks to make is well worth eating.
  • I tried being slightly creative for the first time this week, but I have no idea if that was a good idea or not. I normally put white chocolate, pistachio, and dried cherries in the biscotti, but I was starting to get sick of that. I decided to put some different stuff in them, but I ended up leaving before they were done baking, so I never got to taste them. I'll always wonder if those biscotti turned out okay. Important lesson # 26: Don't be creative near the end of your shift.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Applications Available for Les Dames D'Escoffier Women in Culinary Leadership Scholarship

Les Dames D'Escoffier Women in Culinary Leadership Scholarship applications are now available.

The award is $1,000 for 1 term, paid directly to the college. Women must be enrolled in at least 12 hours in Culinary Arts, have completed at least 1 term maintaining a 3.0 GPA and excellent attendance. Applications are due to the Les Dames office by Oct. 31. You may pick an application up at Mrs. Mueller's office, 112D in the 920 building.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chef Alexander Bakes Anson Mills' Colonial Cornmeal Poundcake for Southern Legislators Conference

Thanks to Anson Mills for sharing this recipe.
1 (9x5-inch) loaf pan
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted European-style butter, softened, plus additional for greasing the loaf pan
2.5 ounces ( 1/4 cup) Anson Mills Antebellum Fine or Coarse Yellow Cornmeal, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting the loaf pan
7 ounces (1 cup) superfine sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting the loaf pan
7.5 ounces (1 cup) Anson Mills Fine Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons orange-flower water
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Sift the 1 tablespoon cornmeal through a fine tea strainer into a small bowl and discard the coarse particles in the strainer or return them to the bag of cornmeal. Add the 1 tablespoon sugar to the sifted cornmeal and stir to combine. Dust the buttered loaf pan with the cornmeal-sugar mixture, tilting to coat the bottom and sides, then knock out the excess. Set the pan aside.
2. Turn the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Crack the eggs into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add the orange-flower water, sherry, milk, and vanilla and beat lightly with a fork until combined.
3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat-beater attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add the sugar, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and aerated, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternating with the egg mixture in 2 batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and scraping down the bowl 2 or 3 times. When all of the ingredients have been incorporated, detach the bowl from the mixer and fold the batter lightly with the rubber spatula to ensure that no wet or dry pockets remain.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and, using a small offset spatula, spread it to the sides and corners of the pan and smooth the surface. Bake, rotating the pan after 35 minutes, until the cake is deep golden brown, nicely risen, and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, then turn it right side up and cool the cake to room temperature.
Makes one 9 by 5-inch cake
Chef Alexander sauced both the plates and cake slices with creme anglaise and gave each serving a dollop of mascarpone lightened with heavy cream and sweetened with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chef Alexander Is Featured in DISH

A lesson in the art of bread making
An Artisan Approach
by Jeffrey Alexander

"An artisan is a craftsman, someone who produces handmade goods using as little machinery as possible. The goal for a craftsman is not making money or attaining a big, glamorous lifestyle. His goal is to deliver an honest product made with honest ingredients and intentions.
"For the artisan baker, these ingredients are flour, water, salt, and a natural starter.
"The craft is a circular process that begins with grain shepherded through harvest and milling, added to natural ingredients that live in our environment, made into a dough by the baker with his knowledge, and baked into something that provides life again. True artisanal bread procedure, made with only the four ingredients, through fermentation and hydration of the grain, can result in hundreds of different breads. Small wonder that in France the artisan baker is held in the same regard as the artisan cheesemaker and the artisan winemaker.
"My artisan breads class is required for students seeking an associate's degree in baking and pastry at the Culinary Institute of Charleston."
For the rest of Chef Alexander's story, see:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chef Mitchell Featured in Post & Courier

Chef, Instructor a Role Model for Local Culinary Students
By Teresa Taylor
The Post and Courier
Saturday, August 7, 2010

“I just want them to reach for every opportunity,” says chef Kevin Mitchell of the students at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, where he is an instructor.

For the rest of the story: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2010/aug/07/chef-instructor-a-role-model-for-local-culinary/