Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Well-Prepared Fairy Takes a Nap

After milking the fame of my bittersweet chocolate cherry challah for as long as I reasonably could*, I decided to do the right thing and pass along the secrets to a chosen few.  After all, I'd tried my hand at teaching before**, with reasonably good results. Why not kick it up a notch?  Go for the gold.

Become a Bread Fairy.

Fortunately, the message of the week at kickboxing class*** could not have been more timely:

Preparation leads to Peak Performance!  

So I began to prepare for my class.

Step 1:  I drove to IKEA.  A big part of the Bread Fairy magic is cool party favors.

Step 2:  I typed up the secret recipe**** and made copies.  I spent a bit of time picking a nice font.

Step 3:  I had a glass of wine and watched an episode of Prison Break on Netflix.

Step 4:  The next day, I went to the grocery store and bought 40 pounds of bread flour and an absurd amount of yeast.  Also stuff to make breakfast treats and a gourmet lunch*****.

Step 5:  I checked my email to see if perhaps the students had cancelled.  Probably should have done this before investing in all that flour.   They had not.

Step 6:  Drank a lot of Diet Coke at dinner.

Step 7:  Mashed bananas, baked muffins, marinated chicken breasts, made fruit salad, pitted and macerated two pounds of cherries, buttered ramekins, sliced sugar snap peas, julienned jicama, stashed piles of paperwork in other rooms, laid out the party favors neatly on the table, mixed up crisp topping in food processor, set out tray of bread flavorings, watched Jon Stewart, had another Diet Coke, cooked chicken (it had marinated the recommended few hours), washed enormous pile of dishes in the sink, started dishwasher, set alarm.

Step 8.  Made one batch of bread dough ahead of time for demo and braiding purposes.  Set out fruit, muffins, and cheese tray.  Arranged flowers, put drinks on ice. Donned apron.  Had a Diet Coke. Took a deep breath. Answered the door.

Yet again, the message of the week did not steer me wrong.  It totally pays to be prepared.  It also pays to be nocturnal and caffeinated.  The class was a big success!

But even though I am a true creature of the night, next time I think I need to start Step 7 before it gets dark out.  Thankfully, I had time after class for Step 9:


* When they kicked me out of the school.  Graduation is bitch.
** Clearly, I had conveniently forgotten how much work it had been each time.  I should have reread this post and this post before I opened my big mouth.
*** Unfortunately, I was so busy preparing for this that I barely made it to kickboxing class, and my performance when I got there was definitely on the valley side of peak.
**** You'll notice I'm not posting the recipe.  I got it from my Bread Fairy, and I think it's some kind of Bread Fairy code to only share it with people who pay money to your school for the privilege.  I will, however, be sharing the recipe for our cherry crisps in another post.
****Another big part of the Bread Fairy magic is somehow effortlessly feeding your students several delicious meals in the middle of everything else.  This stuff is way trickier than it looks.
***** As measured by the oohs and ahs over the warm finished loaves, the polishing off of the lunch plates and the requests for the banana muffin recipe, the students emailing me photos of what they'd baked up at home after class, and the state of my table when everybody left.

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