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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Culinary School - Session 112: Cheese and Restaurant Day Preparation

Culinary School: Session 112 (05.18.15)

Cheese and Restaurant Day Preparation

What, no Velveeta?
An evening of Cheese. And as you would imagine, unlike the Tea and Coffee tastings from earlier sessions, this one was a little bit heavier on the stomach.

For the record, American Cheese and Velveeta did not make it on to the tasting trays. I personally think Velveeta is delicious in the right context (i.e. in a binge-eating stupor, curled up on the couch in the privacy of one's apartment). But for the record, Velveeta is actually a "pasteurized, processed 'cheese product'". If that technical disclaimer doesn't scare you, then dig in!

But before bellying up to nine cheesy hunks of pasteurized (and unpasteurized) deliciousness, several hours were spent working on the recipes for the upcoming Restaurant Day. That little workout probably didn't hurt anyone.

Pate a Choux Waffles for Restaurant Day

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (05.18.15):
  • Flour: 26,080g
  • Eggs: 18,100g (362x)
  • Sugar: 38,715g
  • Butter: 18,575g
  • Milk/Cream: 19,870g
  • Chocolate: 9,335g (since 01.12.15)

- Cheese Tasting -

A forgotten course?

The Cheese Course has become a bit of a relic in the U.S., even at most fine dining restaurants. As diners, we prefer to end a meal with something sweet, so the Tallegio and Roquefort are skipped entirely in favor of the Tiramisu.

But a well-balanced Cheese Course can make for a very satisfying alternative (or addition) to a sweet dessert. And most Cheese programs fall under the domain of the pastry teams.

To get acquainted with some of the major types of cheese, we sampled nine varieties. Here they are, from mild to stand-back-stinky.

A word of caution... when faced with this much cheese... pace yourself...

Cheese Tasting Board

1. Triple Creme

Country of Origin: France
Milk: Cow
Notes: Contains 75% butter fat in its solids for a total of 40% fat, like a heavy cream
Taste / Smell / Texture: Extremely rich and creamy, but very mild in flavor

Triple Creme Cheese

2. Sainte-Maure

Country of Origin: France
Milk: Goat
Notes: Soft-ripened cheese with an grey, ashy rind. The exterior ring of the cheese is notably softer than the interior
Taste / Smell / Texture: Creamy texture with a grassy / hay flavor

Sainte-Maure Cheese

3. Tomme Crayeuse

Country of Origin: France
Milk: Cow
Notes: Crayeuse means "chalky", which refers to the interior texture of the cheese. The distinctive texture is the result of a two-staged ripening process: first, in warm caves to speed the process and later in cold caves
Taste / Smell / Texture: Mushroomy

Tomme Crayeuse Cheese

4. Taleggio

Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cow
Notes: Heralded as one of the most iconic cheese of Italy
Taste / Smell / Texture: Very soft and somewhat elastic in texture

Tallegio Cheese

5. Ossau Iraty Vielle

Country of Origin: France
Milk: Sheep
Notes: Said to be one of the first cheeses ever produced
Taste / Smell / Texture: Hard and somewhat mealy in texture with a distinctly nutty flavor

Ossau Iraty Vielle Cheese

6. Zimbro

Country of Origin: Portugal
Milk: Sheep
Notes: Aged for 60 days to produce a "pudding-like" texture
Taste / Smell / Texture: Extremely liquid texture with a smell and flavor that is sweet, floral and yeasty

Zimbro Cheese

7. Cabot Cheddar

Country of Origin: USA
Milk: Cow
Notes: While common-place throughout the USA, the extent to which Cheddar is an extremely unique product stood out when sampled next to these imported products
Taste / Smell / Texture: Dry and hard with a mild-aged flavor

Cabot Cheddar Cheese

8. Parmigiano Reggiano

Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cow
Notes: The 2+ year aging process dries out the cheese and intensifies the saltiness
Taste / Smell / Texture: Hard, dry and crumbly with an assertively salty flavor

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

9. Roquefort Blue

Country of Origin: France
Milk: Sheep
Notes: Roquefort is a highly regulated Blue Cheese which can only be produced in a certain region of France, similar to the production regulations for true Champagne
Taste / Smell / Texture: Extremely pungent and assertive, although very smooth and creamy

Roquefort Blue Cheese

    - Restaurant Day -

    Taste this...

    Recipe testing is in full swing. Cakes, Ice Creams, Mousses, Sauces... batch after batch in preparation for the May 27th Restaurant Day, which is effectively the practical exam for Advanced Plated Desserts.

    I'll be posting the final menu later this week, which will include a Pre-Dessert, six Main Desserts, three Petits Fours... and a little take-home snack too!

    In the meantime, here are a few of photos of the works in process.

    Sheet Tray Full of Components for the Pate a Choux Waffle Sundae

    Pate a Choux Waffles

    Pate a Choux Waffles

    Holed Apples for the Brown Butter Apple Cheesecake Dessert

    Apples for Compote

    Cheddar "Frika" - A Savory Tuile

    Cheddar "Frika" - A Savory Tuile

    Brown Butter Apple Cheesecake with Crispy Cheddar Tuile

    Buttered Popcorn Macaron Shell

    Buttered Popcorn Macarons

    Next - Session 113: Wine and Restaurant Day Preparation

    Previous - Session 111: Dietary Restrictions and Coffee

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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