At this point in my career I haven’t yet done it all. However I have experienced and learned about many things. One subject which is still bleak to me is the world of baking & pastry. This is the area of cooking where science truly dominates. Weights, measurements, timing, and understanding chemical reactions are all important when attempting to achieve balance within a specific dish. The amazing thing about baking and pastry is that from a handful of essential ingredients, numerous creations can be concocted. Many of the dishes are similar in their familiarity, yet worlds apart in their application. What is the difference between a cake & a muffin? Why is one an ‘acceptable’ breakfast and the other isn’t? What about a tea loaf and a quick bread? Is one just sweeter than the other? Is a scone just a denser version of a biscuit?
Recently I saw the Good Eats episodes about popovers and pate choux back to back. I realized that the finished products are similar in design and both are created by steam. The process for making each is very different though as popovers come from a batter and choux paste is more of a dough. Ironically it was a bit difficult to find any sort of in-depth comparison of the two pastries online. I did however, find this short post: joepastry.com/…/are-popovers-and-choux-the-same-thing
Among my searching I discovered another pair of pastry cousins:puff pastry and phyllo.
The next step on my culinary To Do list is to experiment at home with baking and pastry dishes. I won’t truly understand eclairs, popovers, creme brulee, or a simple loaf of bread until I actually make these things. Hope to post some adventures & pictures soon.