No candy thermometer? No problem, use your fingers!
Monday, September 19, 2011

Today was a bit of an uneventful day compared to the rest. We each made 3 blocks (about 800g/block) of inverse puff pastry dough. That would make over 500 chaussons aux pommes (apple turnovers). For the first time, we felt the workout in our hands/ forearms. I imagine this is what our stage will be more like, except not for 2 hours but for 10 hours.

My bright red hands after rolling for 2 hours!

Then, we made a french buttercream to practice our piping skills. A french buttercream requires cooking a sugar syrup to 120°C, adding this to whisked eggs, whipping to volume, and finally adding softened butter to finish. I find this a lot lighter and more smooth than making a buttercream from just whipped butter and sugar.

To measure the temperature of the sugar syrup, Chef told us to stick our hands in the boiling syrup, pick it up to see if it’s at a soft ball stage. We thought he was kidding. The trick was to dunk your hands in ice cold water to numb them first, then dip it in the boiling syrup for a millisecond, and then immediately back in the ice cold water. Then you can feel the texture of the sugar on your fingertips and judge the temperature/stage of the sugar.

Although skeptical, we all got curious and tried it ourselves.

 

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!