Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mise en place

Early in my baking life I learned a process that I later discovered as 'Mise en place'.  It became one of the most important things I've learned, & it's spilled over into other areas of my life as well.  Mise en place is a french term, pronounced 'MEEZ ahn plahs', which literally translates to "put in place".  It was applied to professional kitchens around the time of Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846 - 1935).  He is legendary for elevating the status of cooking to a respected profession.  Escoffier's approach to kitchen management remains influential, even today, worldwide.  The 'Culinary Institute of America' defines mise en place as "everything in place".  It is a state of mind, as well as a culinary technique.  When used it allows a baker/cook to produce in a more smooth flowing, time-saving process, which allows as much enjoyment as possible.  I offer these steps, along with mise en place as a way of allowing your baking experience to produce as much pleasure as possible.
1-  Prepare your workspace starting with a clean kitchen, & empty dishwasher.  Remove any unnecessary items off countertops, allowing maximum work-space.
2-  Read your recipe, being certain to have sufficient ingredients & proper necessary equipment. 
3-  Wash ingredients, chopping them or preparing them in any necessary manner.  Measure & place each item in an individual container.  (Have a tray available to move things as necessary , to a table or any other area, as required.)  Preheat ovens.
4-  Clean as you go.  (This may be the most important, helpful part of the process.)
Happy Baking!

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