Genius Hour Final Assessment

After looking back on all the food I’ve made for the past months, I have noticed that my progress and skills have grown from when I first started. The original plan was to gradually increase the difficulty of the recipes and to cook some Chinese dishes. However, this did not go as planned as I only baked instead of also cooking Chinese dishes.

In my first blog, I contacted my expert Bread +Butter, which is a small bakery in my neighborhood. Within the email I talked about wanting to learn how to make a danish and if they had any tips for me that would be amazing. After a few weeks, I still had no response so I decided to contact another bakery called Duchess Bakery. Just like the other email, I asked if they had any tricks that would help me become more advanced and still, no response.

Living with a mom who loves to cook and bake also influenced me to do harder things. I started baking cookies and then moved to cinnamon buns, tiramisu, and Japanese buns. Some things were challenging, such as waiting for every part of the tiramisu to set, having to re-add the yeast to the cinnamon buns because it didn’t activate, and knowing when to take out the bakeries from the oven. Despite all these things, I worked around the problem to make it work.

In the end I believe that I have increased my skills and hopefully I will continue to bake for my family and friends.

Genius Hour Week 8

This week I found the mascarpone cheese which is the key ingredient for tiramisu. I took a big step by choosing a more challenging recipe that would test my baking skills. Although the tiramisu was a little soggy I would still call this progress.

The first step was to separate the egg whites and yolks, then I added milk, sugar and heated the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture thickened, I transferred it to a bowl and plastic wrapped the top.

Then I mixed the egg yolk mixture with the mascarpone cheese.

while I let the cheese and yolk pudding chill I made the whip cream.

Now its time to assemble, I did each lair twice.

This is the finished result.

Once I finished I let it sit over night before we tasted it, the tiramisu was good but I would have put less coffee and rum mixture because it made it to soggy and the rum overpowered the coffee flavour.

Genius Hour Week 7

Originally, the plan was to make tiramisu. Unfortunately, I could not find the cheese used in the recipe so instead I made Japanese milk buns. The process was very tedious, as I had to add different ingredients in one by one.

First I mixed together water, milk and flour until it had a thick texture. This is called tangzhong which is used to make the dough a better consistency.

To get the golden brown look on top I put egg wash and then glazed them with garlic butter. When I tried them, it was really light and fluffy but also bland, to improve them I would put something inside or have it with soup. Next week I will try to find the cheese for the tiramisu.

Genius Hour Week 6

This week I made peanut butter cookies with a recipe that only uses three ingredients.

The instructions said that the cookies wouldn’t spread but in the second picture you can see that they took up more space and became thinner. Next time I would refrigerate the batter before putting them in the oven and space them out more. Although this was only a three ingredient recipe I think it was better than the recipes that include flour because the peanut butter was more concentrated. Next week I am going to make tiramisu with my cousin.

Genius Hour Progress Report

For the last two months I have been working on my second Genius Hour project which is baking. Originally, the plan was to bake and make Chinese dishes, but I haven’t gotten around to cooking with my grandmother yet. I’ve made pretty easy baked goods so far, but now that we’re over half way I’m starting to try new and harder recipes. I want to get into more bread-like desserts like danishes, croissants, and banana bread. Other than my skill improvement, both bakeries that I contacted have not answered.

Genius Hour Week 5

I am still waiting for Bread+Butter to respond, but since it has been over a month now this week i’m going to contact another expert.

I found a new expert called Duchess Bakery. I messaged them today and hopefully i’ll get a response soon with information that could help me improve.

The last few baked goods I made were cinnamon buns, muffins, and a cake for my Birthday but didn’t take pictures of. The cake went well although it could have been more moist, but the icing was made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, and heavy wiped cream which was really good.

Genius Hour Week 4

This week I made maple muffins with a recipe Inaiya, Lydia, and I created during our food class. I left the muffins to bake for about 20 minutes, after I took them out I found that they were a little over-baked which made them dry. They tasted okay, but if I were to make them again I would add more maple syrup, as it did not taste too sweet and only had a mild maple flavor.

The batter after everything was added.
The muffins while they were cooling.

Other than this week’s Genius Hour, my expert still hasn’t replied. If I still haven’t gotten a response by next week I will look for another expert to contact.

Genius Hour Week 3

This week I made cinnamon buns with a recipe I found online. It was pretty easy at first but then I made a really bad mistake. The recipe calls for yeast, but I had traditional instead of quick rise, so when I was letting the dough rest it wasn’t rising and that was because the yeast wasn’t added properly. I had to take out the little inactivated yeast balls and then add activated yeast. In the end it worked out and you wouldn’t have guessed anything wrong had happened.

Besides the baking my expert still hasn’t responded to me.

Genius Hour Week 2

Last week I chose the bakery Bread+Butter as my expert because they are a small business in my neighborhood. I’ve bought bread and other baked goods from them and they were delicious. I’m planning on baking a danish once I’ve become more skilled and understand what i’m doing, then, i’ll do a side by side comparison with one of the danishes from Bread+Butter. Other than bakeries, I still need to make a date with my grandma so we can make a Chinese dish.

Bread+Butter hasn’t responded yet.

Next week I will start baking, since it will be my first real Genius Hour I will start off with something easy, like cookies or maybe a cake.

Second Genius Hour

Now that I’m starting a new Genius Hour project, the upcoming weeks will be about making bakery’s and Chinese related dishes such as dumplings and buns. I think this would be a good way for me to explore my culture and spend time with my grandmother. This week I need to contact an expert that can provide me with tips and instructions that will improve my baking skills. My expert for the Chinese dishes will be my grandmother and her sister because they have both owned restaurants and have their own recipes.