The Bread Bakers Guild of America's 2009 National Tour blew through Chicago last month when pastry chef and 2008 Bread Bakers Guild Team USA member Peter Yuen taught an advanced viennoiserie class at Kendall College. Yuen and his wife, Susan, are the owners of La Patissserie P, a Chicago bakery specializing in French and Chinese pastries.
“We weren't trying to reinvent the wheel with this class, just get a better understanding for the many ways the wheel can work,” Yuen says.
Titled Creative Breakfast Pastries, the course was designated as a Major League class in the Guild's baseball-themed summer tour. The course built on attending bakers' existing viennoiserie skills, urging them to “think outside the proofing box.”
The class consisted of four locked-in butter techniques and four lamination fold techniques. Yuen stressed the variety of approaches available to create successful pastries, emphasizing that there is no single correct way to create the best pastry. He explained that a variety of techniques, when employed properly, can be used to reach the same end goal. It's a matter of knowing which technique to use in different situations.
“I think to some of them, it was an eye opener. We used all the varied techniques, and got a good result with each.” Yuen said. “Bakers sometimes think of a fixed number for dough thickness, or believe there is only one right way to do it. But there are a lot of ways and a lot of variation in the layer width.”
Yuen also focused on synchronizing terminology. Particularly with folding in lamination, there isn't a single, agreed upon industry standard for discourse. He hopes to get bakers back to a more common language for easier communication.
The class produced classic croissants, raisin walnut Danish and varieties of brioche. Participants also produced a complex pastry called Chambord Swirling Duo, which is composed of brioche dough, pistachio paste, candied raspberry and mascarpone cream. This pastry was a centerpiece of Yuen's team entry for the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.