Over the weekend, I went to attend a cake decorating class (the fact that this post comes just 2 days, not 2 months after it has happened, probably means it is quite important to me).
If you are into cake decorating, you would be able to tell who the teacher was, just by the picture alone. If you are not into cake decorating, doesn’t matter. It’s been a long time since I have been to one. I kind of become choosy over the classes I am willing to spend money on, now that there is so much free stuff on the internet, and I do like to try to learn on my own first. This particular class, is very costly, at least to me. But there were some things I could not figure out on my own, and I was glad to be there to learn and watch how the teacher did it.
Anyway, there were 10 of us in the class.
I finally registered myself for a macarons class.
I should have attended a class long ago, but part of me was not convinced I could not learn it from Youtube (for free..).
Another part of me was not that enthusiastic about working with icing sugar in the house, for they fly around invisibly and then ants just come without you knowing when and how you attracted them.
The latter was such a strong reason I didn’t mind that the whole world was making macarons (and selling them) while I was still failing.
But a few weeks back. I had to go. If I do them well, I could sell them too, I thought.
It was on a weekend evening. For 3 hours from 7pm, I was hard at work together with about 10 others in the class, making these little guys that we would later so enjoy eating.
Due to the copyright of the class materials, I am not able to share the recipes. But these are important notes that our instructor told us.
Chances of making macarons successfully in the home environment is lower, not impossible, but lower, because home kitchens are usually warmer (being non-aircon) and more humid.
In our tropical weather, we cannot do much about humidity except to switch on the aircon or to use a de-humidifier.
It is exceptionally important to let the shells dry before putting them into the oven.
And I knew exactly where my previous attempts went wrong.
First, they shells were not dry enough, hence they did not rise properly -> no feet.
Second, my oven was a too hot -> cracked
Just like the instructor stressed on humidity, I shall repeat again that the shells need to be dry before putting into the oven. When you press with your finger, they are dry, do not stick, yet produces a light dent.
Ok, now that I know the theory, I will try them out someday. On my own. I’m sure they will be nice. The recipe is makes macarons that are not too sweet, and they taste even better after spending a night in the fridge.
Oops, I shall stop enticing you, since I can’t share the recipe (sorry!). Before I try them out on my own (and risk failing again), I shall just look at the pictures of what I made in class and keep smiling silly.
Since the other day when I made my own wholemeal bread, I have made it 2 more times. The second time, I made 3 loaves. The third time, I made a loaf, and sprained my back while doing so, what a dumba**!
Actually, I wanted to test out the recipe. The first time, I tweaked a little as I did not have bread flour on hand. The second time, I followed the original recipe exactly. As bread flour contains more protein than plain flour, it has a higher gluten strength. Therefore, the dough is more stretchy and proves better than when using plain flour.
I made them round shaped and put them on a parchment paper on a baking tray. Bad idea. They stuck to the paper. I should have lightly greased the paper first. Other than that, they turn out pretty well.
The third time, I changed the proportions of the flours – 2/3 wholemeal, 1/3 bread flour. I managed to bake it in my small loaf tin, which I initially thought was too small, but wasn’t.
I sliced them 1/2-inch thick and got about 8 slices. And then while resting my back for the next 2 days, I was thinking how easy it is to make bread! Other than kneading the dough (which makes 5 mins feel like 20 minutes), cleaning up is super easy! No greasy stuff to wash, no mountainload of utensils used. Best of all, no preservatives-laden commercially made bread for the family. There is no excuse for not liking bread. So, try it, will you?
P.S. Photo collage above is made at picnik.com. They are by far, my favourite free photo editing website. But they are closing down on 19 Apr 2012, so you have a few more days to enjoy the last of their services!