Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Celebrating Pin Da's Birthday in Vietnam

Celebrating Pin Da's Birthday in Vietnam
Today, the four of us celebrated Pin Da's birthday. After we arrived at the bakery, we decided to source for a plain vanilla sponge cake. Following that, we brought the cake down to the cake decoration department (the place where the May and Siew Lee are working). With the help of some of the workers, they applied the skills that they have learnt on the cake (piping roses, flowers, edges, etc...). To further give Pin Da a surprise, May managed to get a sugared dragon decoration for the cake. What a day! Happy 19th Birthday, Pin Da!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The end of 1 week in Vietnam

The end of 1 week in Vietnam
On Thursday, we tried the 2nd of the 3 choices (Baguette with fried eggs, Noodles or Bee Hoon Soup, Porridge with salted eggs, peanuts, vegetables and pickles) available for breakfast at our hotel – Noodles Soup.

And to kick start our morning, what better way than to have a cup of ca phe (Vietnamese Coffee). The coffee here is very thick and sweet (Haha! What we would call in Singapore… Espresso with condensed milk).

We proceeded to the bakery as usual with 3 other Singaporean consultants (Mr Foo, Mr & Mrs Kum). At the R&D laboratory, Pin Da and I were taught to use the frozen sweet bun dough to shape into 3 different breads (Pork floss buns, Ham Buns, Hot dog Buns). Here are the thawed frozen sweet bun doughs and half finished products in the proofer.

We were also taught how to make Bahn Mi (Vietnamese Baguette). While waiting, for all the breads to be proofed, we saw Chef Meng doing some chocolate decorations and asked him to show us. Amidst all the chocolate decorations, this one caught my attention and we learn how to make this chocolate decoration pattern.

Our buns baked and out of the oven, with some finishing touches!

After lunch, we would usually head to this sugarcane stall just outside the bakery. Often, we would see other staffs of the bakery and would try to make conversations with them (Most of the time, we would be figuring out what they are trying to say rather than start a proper conversation). The afternoon was spent rounding the plain sweet buns (frozen dough) which is used in huge amounts daily!

On Friday, when we first entered the R&D laboratory, these cute animal breads were sitting on the table next to the oven. From this, you can see that the Vietnamese bakers are very good at handicrafts.
Our Bahn Mi… Proofed and ready to go into the oven to bake!
Our baked buns… 100% done by ourselves.
This is an interesting bread. Korea Bread. It is packed with black sesame and on top of that, a high amount of modified starch is used to make this bread. You can see the difference in the gluten structure of the bread. Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, sweet and fragrant!

For dinner, we were recommended to try this place “Hai Lou” which is about 2km from our hotel.

The famous Vietnamese sticky rice.

Boy! Saturday… Yes we are working 6 full days here. First thing that was done in the morning, making this frozen hot dogs buns (notice the pattern… very similar to Danish pastries, but they are actually normal hot dog buns).

Rondo Sheeter… Extremely useful in a bakery.

Laksa for lunch??? (Haha. More like Curry Bee Hoon. Anyway, the curry here is slightly sweet).

Croissant Buns…

And we have the privilege of learning some baking skills and technique from Mr Kao himself. He taught us Financiers, French Puddings and a new pattern of shaping sandwich loaves. Financiers…

French Puddings (using all the remainder egg yolks… as the financiers use egg whites).

New pattern of shaping sandwich loaves…
Today is Sunday!!! Our off day!!! We explored the area around our hotel, did some shopping and spend the afternoon chilling at Trung Ngyuen Coffee (an equivalent of Starbucks or Coffee Bean here in Vietnam).

Well, it seems like this Bake Journal is becoming a day to day narration of what I do at Duc Phat Vina Bread Company… I will blog about more interesting finds in Vietnam soon.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Updates… First Off Day and First Working Day

Updates… First Off Day and First Working Day
On Tuesday, our off day, we slept in and decided to have "dim sum" for brunch at this restaurant recommended by Christine which is opposite our hotel. The whole meal cost us VND 280000 (SGD28). Here are the pictures for you to feast your eyes on.

As for dinner, we found a nearby Chinese "Zee Cha" at a corner coffee shop.

On Wednesday, we officially started our first day of work. The hotel we stayed in provided breakfast. Here is our breakfast…

After which, we waited for our transport to take us to the bakery. Here is a picture of Pin Da and me in our uniforms.

Siew Lee and May are attached to the cake decorating department for the first 2 weeks while Pin Da and I are attached to the Research and Development Laboratory. We will swap after 2 weeks. Since pictures paint a thousand words… I shall elaborate on what we learn on Wednesday.
At the R&D laboratory, observing how they vacuum packaged their cakes.Croissants… Part of the frozen dough department
Yes! This is how they do egg wash in the bakery… Much faster than using the paintbrushes.

Sweet bun rolls layered with something close to yam filling. A picture of how these buns are made… Roll and Cut!

Our lunch! At the bakery’s canteen…
The view of from where Pin Da and I rest during our 2 hours long lunch break. (Here, the lunch breaks are longer partly due to the longer working hours and nature of work). After the lunch break, making Pizza using cutter to cut uniform round shapes.
Sweet bun rolls layered with something close to green bean filling.
Last task for the day which took up the whole afternoon… Rounding the plain sweet buns (frozen dough). The pictures show the dough being kneaded, Chef Tan transferring the huge dough into a divider and together with the other staffs, Pin Da and I rounding the sweet buns (frozen dough). Today, will be reporting back to the same department… OITP in Vietnam continues…
Meanwhile, I have gotten a Vietnam Mobile Number. Just in case any of our friends or lecturers needs to contact us. +84938569656.