Well-known baker/chef Charlie Van Over and author/chef Priscilla Martel spent one week at The Lab working on some bread recipes. They were some of the most fun and colorful chefs to spend time in our lab. Chef Charlie had developed a specific mixing blade for the Cuisinart, and he and Priscilla had spent time developing the perfect ratio and mixing time to make the ultimate baguette and other breads. They gave us a demonstration at the end of their week, and it was really amazing.
They even sent this beautiful loaf to commemorate their experience at The Lab. Thank you!
I think what has caught my interest about research and development is the never-ending quest for the perfect food item. In the case of bread, the bakers were seeking the right crust development, the appropriate chewiness, and the best fermentation. It takes experience and knowledge to know the process to achieve the characteristic sought. In addition to that, it takes a personality that focuses on details, records the changes and formulae, and a persistence to try the experiment again when it doesn’t quite go as expected.
I’ve recently been returning to experiments that I’d started exploring before our months of promotional dinners. It seems like the hands and brain are a little slow at getting back into their rhythm of some of those preparations after weeks of herbs, crusts, and mousselines. However, I am reminded of how much I enjoy that fussy work, and it refreshes my soul.