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More 2015 Baking Classes

Turns out i may need to go back home and do one more round of hands on baking classes (hopefully i can squueze in some cakes and cake deco classes), before the house is torn down around January of next year.

The last hands on class was very fruitful and i met some interesting people along the way. Hats off to one student (won't mention his name) who despite being wheelchair bound and disabled made it to my class. That is guts in the purest sense. What are some of the tambays doing at a time like this? Nada. Here is a guy who has a lot of bread baking sense even if his brother once failed in his bakery venture a couple of years back. Not a problem. He thinks he can do it, he will for sure. One thing that acts on his behalf, he loves Ensaimada so much he can eat a dozen in one sitting. So i heard. Good luck to you guys and thank you.

Now there are also some pretty brain shaking lessons to be learned on my part during one of the sessions. Never trust anyone when he tells you the age of an ingredient. I almost ruined one day's worth of session when a student gave me a pack of instant yeast who, by the way, about a few days before the session started told me it was two weeks old.

Now, i want to share you this story because in my class, my first order of the day is to tell the students about the importance of these two ingredients, namely the yeast and the flour.

So there i was, preparing the ingredients for the morning after when someone sort of like whispered in my ear. I did not hear a voice mind you, it was something like a nagging thought, an itch that won't go away, something was telling me to TEST THE YEAST first before i weigh it in but i did not test it.

Now, my brain just won't let go so i told myself, okay, okay, i will test it tomorrow na lang in front of the students para matuto sila how to tell when a yeast is dead or old etc., etc., I know i will forget it because i do not test the yeast every time i hold a class, it's just not part of the routine i do. So in order for me not to FORGET IT, i prepared two measuring cups with water, (talagang ready na), equal amounts and told myself. i will put the yeast this guy gave me, and the Red Star which is what i bought for the class (about a month old).

Morning came. As usual, once the students arrive, lots of chats here and there, questions here and everywhere blah blah blah and since the cups were already on my prep table i did not forget them. I immediately told my class ( i was thinking at the back of my mind, this is useless since he told me it was two weeks old, it probably won't do much show and tell effects). "okay class, i want to show you how to test your yeast just in case you forgot to seal it tight or blah blah blah and so on".

I proceeded to add the same amount of yeast into both cups. One yeast bubbled and foamed in a couple of seconds, one yeast just went flat. I almost froze to death right there and then. Okay fine, do not panic. The yeast i weighed for the class were in individual mini containers, not mixed in with the flour yet.

We waited, all of us, staring at the two cups for a good couple of minutes and my Red star yeast kept bubbling while the yeast this guy gave me just went flat. I asked him, "i thought you said you had it for two weeks?"," Oo, two weeks nga pero matagal na yan sa so and so!"

This guy did not realize the enormity of the damage he could have done to me and to my students, to my long years of baking just because he FORGOT OR DID NOT TELL ME THE TRUTH. So much for free stuff. If i did not test the yeast, my breads, our breads for that day will be totally ruined and my students will be back for another day of the same lessons. I just would not allow them to go home feeling so bad our cinnamon rolls did not rise at all.

When someone asks you for the age of the yeast, you have to say when you bought it, not when you got it. Apparently he had it for quite some time, months ago and came home from a trip and that's how long he has been at home. Two weeks. I am speechless.

To my angel, the one who whispered in my ear, i thank you. I remember trusting this guy with my whole heart, i told myself, "why would i test the yeast, it was two weeks old he says" but this nagging thought of "Shirley, you have to test it, test it, test it" just won't let go and so i did.

Listen to your instincts. When in doubt, check and double check. When my students left, i cried. I cried because you cannot imagine the embarrassment i would have felt, the sleepless nights i would have gone through if all the 3 KILOGRAMS OF DOUGH for that day's class DID NOT RISE. Later on that night i noticed that the yeast somewhat bubbled a little, but it took like 5 -6 hours at the very least, and we did not have 5 hours to WAIT FOR THE DOUGH TO RISE so we can bake it.

My lessons, my recipes are under time constraints. Students go home around 2-3 pm, the breads have to be in the oven by 1 pm or so, not 4 or 5 pm. His yeast was old, old enough to just use for a sponge but i just threw it away.

So remember guys, not everything that is free is heaven sent especially when it comes to yeast. This is the first time that it happened to me, i am glad that i prevented a catastrophe. But who else experience such a thing? A lot. Most of my students will tell me right on the first few minutes of class, "oh now i know, kaya pala di umalsa yung tinapay ko'...

Please log on to my website around May for the latest schedule, and i hope to see you guys in my class. Reservations are done online, sorry i cannot give you a phone number since i am still in New York.


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