"Many died there without ever tasting real bread again. I still live. It seems remarkable to me that I can eat real bread. Bread is holy. And bread is profane. It is most wonderful when all can have it. In the six thousand years that men and bread have lived side by side there have often been moments when each of God's creatures had all they wanted. "And they were filled," the Bible says. No simpler words can be written to describe happiness, satisfaction, gratitude."
Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone.
Good evening dear readers. I'm very proud to announce that the new oven is finally here. Time to transition from opening a bakery to running a bakery. About time!
It's been a long, stressful, and expensive week. The candle has been burning at both ends lately, and I'm afraid it's starting to show. Right now I'm feeling pretty good, thanks to a tasty Americano from my friends at Gear-Up, so let's take advantage of this momentum and catch everyone up on what's been happening.
We've been shut down here since Monday, but the oven was delayed and didn't get here until Tuesday. With the help of a whole crew of wonderful Gear-Up regulars we got the oven un-crated and in the door in record time. The technician, Justin, came in the following day from Ohio and we set to work getting everything put together with another crew of wonderful Gear-Up regulars (I'm incredibly fortunate to be so close to such an excellent crowd of folks). Justin and I stuck it out until late Thursday, finishing up by loading the oven for the first time. Friday and Saturday where mostly spent setting the bakery back to order. Today was more cleaning, a baguette test bake (getting close, but not quite there yet), and getting ready for tomorrow. This cold spike we're having is really making itself known here in the shop, tomorrow's dough moved slooooooooow.
Other current events.
The idea of the bread pre-order sheet for Thanksgiving was abandoned in the chaos of this week. Instead I'll just over shoot my regular production and donate whatever doesn't sell. The bread should be on sale at Gear Up starting around 9 or 10am, swing by early to make sure you get a loaf.
I'm working on finalizing the baguette recipe, hopefully it'll be good enough to sell sometime soon. I'm also reworking the Dark Rye for the new oven. My ambition is to bake it in the old tradition of loading it into the dying heat of the oven at the end of the day. The long, slow bake in receding heat is supposed to develop fantastic flavors. The first few cracks at this method have been promising.
I'm shutting the doors again from Thanksgiving until Monday the 30th. This will give me some more time to catch up on sleep, work a few recipes without pressure, and make up ground on a few other things that have taken a back seat. On my plate for the month of December is to refine my daily production process and to start landing standing orders with local businesses. Wish me luck! Oh, and I want to put a lot more work into the website now that I have a bakery to photograph. Know any talented local photographers willing to work for bread?
These grey, chilly, and wet North West mornings can be a little daunting. Looking out from the bakery, separated by a thin pane of glass, one's outlook on these things is transformed. The occasional spectacular sunrise, the people of Silverton out for a morning walk or headed off to work, the odd deer family of deer wondering down the street, these are the things that fill in the tapestry of my mornings. Crummy weather, I've learned, is easy to embrace when surrounded by warm air and the smell of fresh bread.
And on to business. So first off, my oven is getting here Monday the 16th, and I'll be shutting down all week while it's being assembled. I'll be selling bread again at Gear-Up the following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (11/23-11/25), and I'll be closed from Thanksgiving Day through the following Sunday (11/26-11/29). Next week there'll be a sign up sheet at Gear-Up for Thanksgiving bread reservations, so swing by to ensure that there'll be bread waiting for you. More details to follow shortly on this front.
In other news, after a few runs at the Challah (a traditional Jewish braided bread), I've decided to retire it from the menu. It turns out that incorporating all of the eggs and oil into the dough by hand is a very challenging thing to do at production sized batches. I'm working on replacing it with a Garlic and Blue Cheese infused loaf, a test batch of which is in the oven right now, making the shop smell fantastic. I'm thinking of calling this one the First Date Loaf, because it's certain to lead to a memorable first kiss!
Stay warm, dry, and safe out there!
Good afternoon faithful readers! I'm excited to announce that the oven is finally on the way! It should be arriving on the week of the 16th, and hopefully it will be assembled and hooked up by the 20th. I'll be shut down for an indeterminate period of time while the oven gets put together and I learn my way around it. The current plan is to sell loaves on the 25th, the day before Thanksgiving, and then resume business as usual on the following Monday, the 30th.
Thanks for all your support and patience.
Quick Announcement: There won't be any bread Tuesday or Wendnesday (11/3 and 11/4). My power will be out as we finalize the electric upgrade to the bakery. No firm updates on the oven, although the distributor thinks it will reach Ohio by the 9th and be headed out here soon after. Fingers crossed for an uneventful journey!
I've finally got some time today to sit down and do some thought gathering after a pretty week or two. The Co-op event this last weekend was a ton of fun and a complete success. I'm very grateful to the Co-op crew and the folks that came out and bought bread. Hopefully I'll be seeing those faces again soon at Gear-Up. I learned that my comfortable bread limit for one day is around a dozen loaves. I tried to double that, so I could bring bread to both the Co-op event and Gear-Up, and it was a complete headache. Once the oven gets here I hope to make about ten dozen loaves a day, but until then I won't be growing too ambitious.
Those of you who've been checking up on the bread at Gear-Up might have noticed a pretty significant change in the bread recently. I went from baking in loaf pans to baking on a pizza stone. Loaf pans are great for certain kinds of bread, but the kind of breads I love need to be baked on a hearth. A pizza stone is one way of replicating a hearth in a home oven. To create the oh-so-important steam is a bit of a challenge, but I've worked out a system that seems to do a decent job of it, albeit a bit messy and contrived. Below is the result.
It's a constant work in progress, but things have mostly been going well and they're heading in a very promising direction. I baked a batch of the Whole Grain (formerly the six grain) the other day that came out so nice it made me want to call home. Anyways, I hope you're all well and that you've had a chance to sample the bread. If you haven't swing in to Gear-Up and give it a try.