If you follow me on Instagram you will know that at the beginning of the year I started Joanne Chang’s MasterClass on baking. It took me longer than I’d hoped to finish it (mostly because I didn’t have enough people to bake for), but I am finally done and I wanted to share my thoughts! If you’ve gotten this far but you’re not interested in the details skip to the end for the tl;dr.
Lesson 1: Cookies
Okay, I have to admit I was quite skeptical about this lesson because I am VERY attached to my own chocolate chip cookie recipe. However, I told myself I would commit to following the recipe and directions at least once through before making modifications to my liking, and that was totally the right move.
I still love my own recipe, but Joanne offered some great techniques that really made a difference in the depth of flavor that I could create. Adding room temperature eggs, creaming the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes, and letting the dough chill for three or more hours really did make a difference in how my cookies came out. Now, I always do these things, even when I am using my own recipes!
Lesson 2: Pie
This was the lesson I was most excited about, because I don’t have a go-to pie crust recipe or a lot of experience with fruit pies. And I must say, this lesson did NOT disappoint. The pâte brisée is a super simple, incredibly flakey and delicious pie crust that has a variety of uses. The technique to create the pâte brisée – fraisage – was also something new I learned, and it was so so easy!
This lesson definitely gets a 10 out of 10. I made a delicious apple pie and then also used the dough to make some adorable Valentine’s day strawberry pop-tarts. I definitely got my new go-to pie crust recipe out of this lesson!
Lesson 3: Brioche
This was definitely the hardest lesson of them all. Brioche is can be really challenging and there were many moments where I did not think it was going to come together.
Ultimately it was great to learn more about this new type of dough, and the sticky buns and monkey bread I made with it were delicious. However, I don’t think I will be making this again any time soon. It is a really involved and time consuming process. Look at these sticky buns though – can you say “gorgeous”?
Lesson 4: Cake
Last but not least, cake! This lesson was fun, because baking and decorating cakes is what originally got me into baking way back when. The vanilla cake recipe from this lesson is really delicious and I also got to try out swiss meringue buttercream for the first time. I am not gonna lie, the buttercream was really difficult. Not making it the first time, but whipping it up again after having it in the fridge for a few hours was a pain. It took a long time to come together and the color changed. Originally it was a pristine white frosting and after being in the fridge it became a cream, off-white color. As you can see I used some food coloring to make it look pretty again, but I will need more practice with this type of frosting before I really get it right.
My favorite part of this lesson was the customization section where I learned a bunch of new flavor combinations and how to use simple syrup to keep cake layers moist! Now I’ve caught the cake making bug again – I just need more people to feed.
Tl;Dr – Take this MasterClass if you get the chance! I learned a ton of new techniques and there were so many opportunities to be creative. Thanks, Joanne 🙂