BPA 105 Day 2: Mes amis Julienne et Brunoise

BPA 105
Day 2, Tuesday

Lesson 2: Knife Skills, Cutting Carrots and Potatoes

My supplies are out and ready for action: French Knife, Paring Knife, Knife Steele, Vegetable Peeler, Scale, and Sharpening Block/Stone.

Set up is my knife station, my tools on a sheet tray with parchment, and a sanitation bucket is underneath the counter. I am ready up to sharpen my French knife on my sharpening stone. It is a double-sided grinding stone with one side rougher than the other that works best when used with mineral oil or water. Since I have never done this before, I was paying very close attention to Chef Mangalore as he was demonstrating the proper way to go about this.

I moistened my knife and the stone with some water, and holding the knife at a 20 degree angle, I applied slight pressure to the knife as I pulled it evenly across the surface of the stone. Always move with the knife blade away from your body, never pulling it towards you. I counted 10 swipes on each side. Count to make sure you are doing the same amount on both sides, uneven sharpening will cause the blade to loose its v-shaped edge and therefore dull the knife. Next I move on to honing my knife, which Chef says should be done before each use. Sharpening does not need to be done each time. This fine tuning tool follows the same as the previous, a 20 degree angle with even passes on each side.

Today's instruction on cutting carrots includes:
-How to peel your carrots (and later potatoes)
-Dicing and Julienne
-Proper weighing and recording their APQ (As Purchased Quantity)
-Weighing of the finished dices and their EPQ (Edible Portion Quantity)
- Comparing the yield
We have learned that Yield% = EPQ/APQ
I scaled out 2 lb of carrots and peeled them, resulting in 3 7/8 oz of waste

My peeled carrots, measuring tape and french knife, scale, and waste bowl

Sizes of dices and slices:

Large Dice- 2cm x 2 cm x 2 cm
Medium Dice- ½ inch cube
Small Dice- ¼ inch cube
Brunoise (Fine Dice)- 1/8 inch cube

Paysanne- ½" x ½" x 1/8"
Julienne- 1/8" x 1/8" x 2 1/2"
Bâtonnet- ¼" x 1/4" x 2 1/2"

Before I begin I make sure I have a good grip on my knife and that it is comfortable in my hand. With my other hand I keep my fingers flat and serve as a guide for my knife while I hold the carrot in place.

I began by cutting my cleaned carrots into 2 1/2" long segments and from there attempted each of the various dice sizes. Since it was my first time practicing my knife skills, I took time to make sure the measurements were as precise as possible. With each crooked slice I had to re-slice and large dices quickly became medium dices. It was very difficult at first, I had problems with keeping my knife straight and found my eyes always undershot the true For example, I would measure the first couple of dices at 3/4" and attempt to continue down the line just eyeballing it, but by the end my dices were inconsistent and definitely smaller, more like 1/2 ".

The smaller dices were easier to make. I began by cutting 2 1/2" long pieces that were 3/4" wide and tall and then made 1/8" slices. Those then became my Julienne slices at 1/8" x 1/8" x 2 1/2". To make the Brunoise fine dices I cut the Juliennes again to make the 1/8" cubes. The 2 1/2" long pieces I also sliced into flat "squares", the Paysanne, at 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/8".

I ended up with an EPQ (Edible Portion Quantity) of 11.5 oz and a tin of Julienne and Paysanne slices, large and Brunoise dices.

Part Two: Potatoes

I peeled my 2.14 lb of potatoes and had a scaled waste of 5 1/8 oz, not too bad I thought. But by the end, let's say I was ready to be done dicing potatoes.

The potatoes were different from the carrots in that they appeared to cut more smoothly, i.e. the knife went through cleaner and made for a nicer looking Julienne and Brunoise. The large dices were easier for me because of the initial size of the potato, there was more to work with and allowed for greater control when slicing.

What I thought was one of my nearly perfect large dices

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