Students bake cake and eat it, too

The advanced baking class gives students a chance to make a professional dessert including sauces. (Photo courtesy of Guenter Rehm)

Nicole Bullard

Saddleback College culinary instructor, Guenter Rehm, teaches baking basics on campus and also advanced baking along with three separate classes that specialize in cake making.

These classes are designed in mind for students who would like to build a foundation for their future in a commercial culinary career. The baking basics class focuses on the baking and dessert aspect, including bread, pies, custards, muffins and many European breads. Advanced baking educates students on how to temper chocolate and different chocolate and caramel sauces. His three cake classes all incorporate different structures of cake making.

The final in advanced baking is what Rehm calls “hotel desserts,” because they are the type of dessert served in a hotel. Each student must make the dessert including the sauces and condiments that go with it. The baking basics class can choose from either making a bread or pound cake.

“There’s three nights on cake decorating, the first class is when you make the cakes,” Rehm said, “the second is when you make all the buttercreams and fillings and the third is when we sample the cake.”

There’s a lot of information provided in his cake classes, which is why he divided them into three corresponding classes.

According to the book “How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science” by Paula I. Figoni, “Today, bakers and pastry chefs have more challenges. They must master more skills. They must adapt to faster-changing trends. They must learn to use a wider array of ingredients from different cultures. They must learn all this in a shorter amount of time. Baking and pastry programs in colleges and universities are laying the foundation to meet these new challenges.”

Just as Figoni said, college baking classes are beginning to stand in a more energetic stance and honing professional culinary skills. However, it is indeed demanding on instructors and students.

“Until I came on board, they had a kind of home economics class, we would like to make it more commercial and get the students prepared for a job, not just home use.” Rehm said.

As a result of the lingering home economics feel to the culinary department, Rehm sees a lot of students enrolling in his classes purely for home use, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but his hopes for his class are that finding job opportunities as culinary students will be a piece of cake.

“I’d like to see that Saddleback is going more commercial to train the students, and it looks like it’s going that way, but it takes money,” Rehm said, “they’d have to invest more money into the culinary department.”

In his advanced baking class, Rehm mentions there are students who know little about baking but are still placed in the advanced class.

“The reason why is there wouldn’t be enough students to fill the class, and you need 20 students in a class,” Rehm said, “so it’s difficult when some students have no baking skills.”

His baking basics class is on Mondays from 6 p.m. to 9:50 p.m.