All right. Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a yeast whisperer. You give me the ingredients for dough, I'll mix them together, and somehow they won't even rise. I don't understand how to make bread happen at all.
That said, if you give me dough that already exists in a decent state, I do know what to do with it.
Below are the results of my Advanced Artisan Bread class, which I only gained any enjoyment from when I was a) making existing dough into shapes or b) eating the results of the day's lesson. Those big decorative platters, aka The Fun Part, aren't edible (the dough is designed to be modeled, not eaten - they would taste like Play-Doh), but everything else on the table is:
My group's decorative pieces are at the leftmost end - the one with the wine bottle is baked around an empty bottle, which can then be removed and replaced with a bottle of whatever you're planning on serving at your big fancy dinner, for maximum classiness. That one had its specific design dictated to us by Chef, hence the three wine bottle holders all looking the same, but our second decorative project was left up to us... it's only a coincidence that they're all hearts, or maybe it's because my class is 90% female. As for all those nifty shaped loaves on the table, they're all just plain dough like you'd use to make a baguette, and three of them (the long jagged one with seeds, the one opened up into diamonds - that one's mine! - and the one curled into an S) are basically baguettes that we continued to shape afterwards. The long one with the chevron pattern on it, though, has garlic herb oil brushed between its layers, and was extra delicious.
Here are some closer shots of my group's decorative wine bottle holder and heart basket, and a shot of the decorative-dough portion of my practical, on which we were given pretty much free rein to design however we wanted:
(You don't want to see the sourdough and baguettes I did for the other part of my practical... they fall under the umbrella of "Well, at least I passed.")
As for what else I've been doing for the past two weeks? Here.
And now... I want a sandwich.