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Today I baked up a few 100% rye ("Cocktail Rye") with this cool pan that I picked up from WalMart a couple of months ago.  The metal is a little thin, so I put it on a sheet pan to bake.  After some experimenting, I found 1kg of dough for each loaf fills out each channel nicely. 

As you probably know, Montana is well known for some of the best flour in the world, and the organic rye that I use from Montana Flour and Grain is my favorite.  It's slightly sweet and perfect for this type of bread.  This is my recipe that I used for 3kg of dough:

Organic Rye Flour: 1704g
Cold Water: 1176g
100% hydration Rye Starter: 120g
Salt: 33g

Over time, I've adjusted the recipe so I can use a dough hook rather than a paddle for mixing, so the dough is the consistency of thick clay when mixed.  It's shaped immediately after mixing, then topped, covered and allowed to rise.  Last night it rose for 16 hours at an average temperature of 68F (20C).  It was baked at 405F (207C) with initial steam, for 40 minutes. 

Normally they cool completely for a few hours before wrapping or slicing them, but since I had to get out the door for deliveries pretty quickly, they were sliced and packaged about 45 minutes after being baked (still warm).  I cut each loaf in half, wrapped each half in two damp paper towels, then wrapped them again tightly with plastic wrap.  As the loaves cool, they suck in the moisture from the towel and the condensation softens the crust perfectly. 

The first photo shows them immediately after shaping - topped with caraway seeds, dusted with rye flour, and topped with fennel seeds.  Next, they are shown 16 hours later.  The third photo is after they emerge from the oven, and finally after being sliced in half (the plain rye is wrapped and ready).

-Mark
PS If you want to see other stuff I've been up to, be sure to check out the bakery FB page!




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mcs

It's been a little while since I last told you people about the progress of the bakery here in Belgrade/Bozeman/Big Sky, MT.  In fact, in my last blog entry I was writing about the soon-to-start Big Sky Farmers' Market.

Last night was market #7 up in Big Sky, and this past Saturday was the #9 Bozeman market at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in downtown Bozeman.

Both of them have gone well, with the Saturday market being more of a breakfast focus and the Wednesday market primarily being dinner/appetizer based.

I've developed a very loyal customer base in both places, and I decided to ask a couple of the customers to come inside the trailer while I was busily working to take some photos for my bakery Facebook page and this TFL blog entry.  Paul and Kim Cameron of Bugaboo Cafe in Big Sky graciously obliged, and snapped bunches of pictures, some of which are below:


There I am pulling some scorching hot baguettes off their pans for customers waiting by the windows.  Last night I sold more baguettes than I had ever sold in one market, despite the rain and lightning that slowed the last half of the market. 

 


When I got home and checked out the photos Paul had taken, I saw this one and thought 'Now that's a cool one!'

 


The market has just started and the baguettes are flying out the window!

 


You can see the customer standing on a platform I had built that raises them up to the same level that I am standing at.

 

 
Don't forget the pastries...

 


Proof that Sinclair's Bakery is at the end of the rainbow!

 

I've got some more photos on the bakery Facebook page over here...and just so you know that I'm also taking the time to enjoy the people and scenery of the area, I've included a couple of photos below. 

Enjoy.

-Mark


I'm the one with the cowboy hat :)  This past Saturday after a busy market and a quick nap, some of my homies and I performed a few songs on ukulele for a local show.  It was a lot of fun!  Here's an article the local paper did about the ukulele group about a month ago!

 


And...last but definitely not least, here I am doing some flying just outside of Bozeman on a training hill.  I'm in the process of getting my paragliding certification, and my next flight will be a BIG one from one of the mountains just outside of town.  :)

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mcs

Hey there everyone.  It's been a couple of months since my last update so for those who haven't been keeping track on Facebook, here goes.

The farmers' market season is just getting rolling.  There are plenty of events here in the Gallatin Valley, plus some in nearby towns and counties.  I decided not to pick up any wholesale accounts until after the market season has slowed down later in the season.  Today was my third time selling at the Gallatin County Farmers' Market, and Wednesday was my 5th evening market in Livingston, MT.  Livingston is just north of Yellowstone National Park and just under an hour east of Belgrade, MT.

And just so you don't think I'm just standing around taking pictures of the scenery, here's some filled rolls that I sell at the evening market.  The ones with the white sesame seeds have shredded beef in them, the mixed seeds designate chicken teriyaki filling.  Thanks Michelle for the suggestion on the toppings :)

 

This is the cross section of some croissant dough I made that I was particularly proud of.  Nice, huh?  When it comes out like that, you just go 'aaaaaaaahhhhhhh'.


Here are some strudels I was making yesterday morning while it was still nice and cool.

Below are some croissants I baked up at the market today in Bozeman at the fairgrounds.  "Quick, I need to get a picture before the customers come!"  A vendor came to get one before the market started.  I told him they were currently in the oven, and when he asked how long he'd have to wait, I turned the timer around so he could see it.  "Two and a half minutes," I said.  How's that?




Buckwheat Flax and Sour Rye 400g mini loaves

 

Next week, I'll be trying the market at Big Sky and possibly testing the waters here in Belgrade at the evening market they have on Thursdays.

After a short hiatus from the baking world because of my move, it's nice to be back in the mix and to be hearing things like, "I used to live in Paris, and this pain au chocolat is better than any I ever had there!" 

I had one customer two weeks ago who told me, "My wife is very particular about her baguettes; she's French.  I'll take one and if she likes it, we'll be back next week."  This week he came back with a smile on his face and his wife.  "Well, I told you I'd be back if she liked it.  We'll take two!"  His wife chimed in, "Three."  :)

Another woman, probably in her late 70's, and with a thick accent came back and bought three baguettes.  She told me, "Last week I got one of your long breads, and it was the best bread I'd ever had, so this week I'm getting three!"  I asked her, "Do you mind if I ask where your accent is from?"  She said, "Switzerland.  Basel"  I told her "When I was a teenager my family and I traveled to the Engadin Valley and I enjoyed the bread and pastries so much, I decided I was going to become a baker."  She smiled.

Anyway, that's the short of it; word is spreading fast and all of the good bread and pastry loving people are coming out of the woodwork.  If you'd like to see more pictures, you can check out the bakery Facebook page here.  All of the photos are set to public view, so you shouldn't need a FB account to see them.

Happy Baking everyone.

-Mark

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mcs

So the last you heard, I was picking up my trailer and just about to get the show on the road.  Well, I haven't quite been 'on the road' baking yet, but I have been using the trailer as an 'at home' bakery in my warehouse/home.  I've sold at the last three Bozeman Winter Farmers' Markets, plus had a couple of other gigs this week.  Below are a few photos to give you a timeline of what's been going on here in Belgrade/Bozeman:


Rye boules from the first market I attended back in February.  This one's for you Eric.

 


Who would've known I'd meet an Italian pizza guru here in Belgrade?  Friend and top-rate baker Tommaso Damasco spent time both working with me teaching me the proper way to make Pizza Romano, and in turn he learned to laminate and make croissant dough.

 


A little bit of parmesan to top off the pastries...

 


Yes, I got out the silver platters and doilies for the Bozeman Film Festival.  I made these Spinach Artichoke puffs and other hors' d'oeuvres for the occasion.  I even wore a collared, button-up shirt to play dress-up, but you'll see no evidence of that.

 


This is looking into the trailer from the entrance.  The freezer, fridge and ovens are on the left, the sinks are on the right.

 


Here's a couple of work benches and cooling racks.  The near bench is 2'x4' and  is attached to the generator compartment.  I put flat-iron back splashes (and a side one here) on the wood surfaces to keep flour from getting behind them.  The far table is 2'x6' and to the left of the mixer is an under counter fridge with a 2.5'x4' stainless steel work top.

 


This is my set-up for the indoor market in Bozeman.  Hot Cross Bun 4-packs, just in time for Easter,  are in the white boxes on the left.

There you go. 

If you want to check out bunches more photos, this is the bakery FB page.  I think I have all the photos set to 'public view' so even if you don't have a FB account I believe you can see them.  Feel free to 'like' the page.  That would be nice :)

Happy baking everyone. 

-Mark
http://SinclairsBakery.com

 

 

 

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mcs

Latest Update!
Next Tuesday I pick up my completed concession trailer and get busy!  I can't wait.  That means that in exactly two weeks (March 2, 2013) I'll be making the Sinclair's Bakery debut at the Bozeman Winter Farmers' Market!  I won't be bringing the trailer since it's an indoor venue, but instead will be baking in the trailer here at my place, then transporting the breads and pastries to Bozeman, just like a regular market. 

Here's a couple pictures of the work in progress.  Here's a Facebook link for more photos and a flickr link in case you don't do Facebook (same photos). 

I'll post more photos next week when I get the trailer, and then some more when I get the graphics on the trailer.

-Mark
http://SinclairsBakery.com

edit:  At the bottom is a photo of the trailer that I picked up yesterday,  2/19/13.  There are more photos at the links above.

link to a previous post about the project





 

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mcs

TFL'ers,
Hi there everyone.  Last time I wrote to you I had just finished my last bake at The Back Home Bakery.  I was hoping to be able to post pictures of the newly opened bakery at this point, but alas delays have occured.  Rather than wait until I'm open I figured I would give you an update to show you the progress so far.  Anyway, soon after, I packed up all of my stuff and the bakery equipment and headed south to Bozeman, MT via Nampa, Idaho.  Why Nampa, Idaho you ask?  Well, that's where Sinclair's Bakery is originating.  After searching high and low, I finally found a place that would be able to help me with my project.

Let me explain.

As those of you who have been following me for the past few years know, The Back Home Bakery was located in the lower level of my home.  Most of my baking business came from a very busy summer season selling at the farmers' market, plus it was supplemented through wholesale work throughout the year.  Of course I realized this would be impossible to duplicate in a brand new area/market without a home to start with, so this is the plan.  The folks at Double R trailers in Nampa will be taking my idea and equipment and building me a concession trailer.

This is an example of a similar concession trailer, but NOT mine:

Below is the floorplan for the trailer they are building for me:


Much of the bakery equipment will be in a concession trailer.  It will be supplemented by a 20KW diesel generator which will be on the tongue of the trailer.  The overall size of the trailer wil be 8'6" x 24' and will be towed by my 3/4 ton truck.  If you are familiar with the '5 minutes at the Back Home Bakery' video then you will recognize that some of the equipment missing from the trailer are the 60qt mixer, the sheeter, and the large work bench.  This equipment among other things like the bakers racks and large 3 compartment sink will be housed in a warehouse where I am living. 

This will allow me to bake on site not just at the farmers' markets, but also at other event locations.  Fresh baguettes and croissants for everyone!  For wholesale and on off days, I can plug the trailer in and use as a small bakery, much in the way I used to at the Back Home.   Below is my design for the outside graphics of the trailer which I will paint upon arrival here in Belgrade, MT (just outside of Bozeman).

Here are some pictures of the warehouse/studio where the trailer will be housed and where I live:

The studio can be seen at the top of the stairs to the right, the rest of the bakery equipment is in the rear.

 


This is looking down from the top of the stairs of the studio.

 


Some of the rest of the bakery equipment.

 


The living quarters upstairs.

If you'd like to see more pictures of the area I now call home and you are the Facebook type, feel free to check out my page here.
If you would rather check out the pictures of the area I live now on Flickr, then click here.

The initial projected completion date was mid-January, but it has been pushed back to mid-February.  In the meantime, I will keep myself busy by growing more white hairs and substitute teaching at the local schools to earn a few bucks. 

There you go for now, and happy baking to all of you in the meantime.

-Mark

 Edit:  mid-February update here

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Hey Everybody,
Well guess what?  Buddy of mine and TFL member Bob (TFL screen name bobkay1022) made a guest appearance at The Back Home Bakery this week.  Just in case you aren't familiar with Bob, both he and his wife of 41 years primarily reside in Arizona, but spend much of the year traveling the U.S. in their motorhome.  Although he bakes at home in Arizona, he has also baked during his travels using a convection microwave in his motorhome.  Bob and I have corresponded quite a bit in the last few years having first become aquainted with each other here on TFL.  As I knew he would be in the northwest part of this country sometime this summer, I extended an open invitation for him to visit should he make it to the Flathead Valley.
Anyway, they rolled in to the area on Friday morning and were invited to join us at 1:00 AM for a Saturday morning session getting ready for the Kalispell Farmers' Market.  Bob heartily accepted the invitation while his wife thought better and instead decided to decline.  Bob will also be joining me on Tuesday morning to get his hands in some dough and help prepare for the Whitefish Farmers' Market. 
Here's a couple of photos of us on Saturday.


Bob packages up some pizza dough for the market.  'Take-and-Bake' pizza dough is now one of our biggest sellers!


Here we are striking a pose while we should probably be working.

-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

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mcs

Hello Everybody,
As you may know, for the last two weeks of August until Labor Day, baker Codruta Popa (TFL screen name codruta) who writes the wonderful blog codrudepaine.ro worked as a Back Home Bakery intern. 

In preparation for opening a bakery in her hometown of Timisoara, Romania, (still in the planning stages at this point), we tackled the usual task of making plenty of bread and pastries.  The goal was to give her as much experience as possible in each of the different areas of the baking process, and as you'll see in the photos below, she excelled in each area.  Although the styles of our breads that she and I make often differ in variety and consistency, I tried my best to see that she was proficient as possible in handling everything from two-handed roll shaping to laminating pastries to mixing and shaping 77% hydration baguettes.

Enough of the chit-chat, and on to the pictures. 

Don't forget to check out the video at the end of the post, of Codruta using the sheeter to create the beginning stages of Palmiers. 


Working with new and different doughs is always interesting, isn't it?  Here's some two-handed shaping, sour rye, focaccia, and Sal's Rolls aka mini-baguettes. 

 


Above is the stretch and fold of 20 pounds (9 kg) of focaccia dough.  The key to working new doughs?  No fear!

 


From top left to bottom right:  Baguette crumb, Buckwheat Flaxseed loaves and Portuguese Sweet Bread Rolls, Cherry Danish, Rustic White and Sour Rye loaves

 


Codruta looks like she's having a good time making Peach Turnovers and Apfelstrudel.  Both were made with puff pastry dough that she had laminated from start-to finish a few days before.

 


More pastries.  All of these were new for Codruta, and she enjoyed making them more than she had expected.  Cutting the Bear Claws, Shaping for the Cheese and Cherry Danishes, Putting the final touches on an Apfelstrudel and a tray full of shaped croissants.

 


Two-handed preshaping with 77% hydration dough is not easy!  Shaping a baguette.  Scoring with a lame that she brought as a gift.  The end result is perfect!

 


Set-up and ready to go at the Kalispell Market.  Everything came out great.

 


A happy baker showing off some perfect bread.

And last but not least, check out this short video of Codruta working with puff pastry and doing the first stages of Palmier making.

 

Thanks Codruta for all of your hard work and I wish you all the best in your future work as a professional baker!

-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

 

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mcs

So we just got back from our two-week vacation in Europe-   Spain, France and Holland to be precise.

I'm going to roll through some of the highlights, but if you'd like to see a lot more pictures of the Big Adventure, you can check them out on my Facebook page here.

We landed in Madrid about mid-day, found our hotel, washed up a bit and headed out into town.  If you ever happen to make your way there, you should put this place at the top of your places to visit.  The Mercado de San Miguel is an indoor market with lots of booths filled with food and wine.  Yes, and because it's in Spain this means that you're free to eat, drink, and be merry while you walk and sample everything from fresh mozzarella with blueberries on a sliced baguette to a glass of wine from La Rioja.

 

Next we move onto the island of Ibiza where we visited my friend Helena.  Although its recent reputation is as the party capital of Europe, Ibiza has a rich history with relics dating back to Carthaginian times.  Helna hosted us at her home and gave us a super tour of the beaches, the local foods, and fantastic churches and museums. 

 

Our next stop was further north in the land of Spanish Wine known as La Rioja.  Two of our friends were generous enough to give us the local tour complete with visits to Logroño, Santa Lucia, and Laguardia.  In the first picture, accomplished sculptor Félix Reyes poses with some of his work and my friend Javier.  Below, there's nothing like a night on the town in Logroño with good friends, food, and wine.

 

Next, we took the train up to France and managed to spend a night in the picturesque village of Saint Emilion.  Since we were a bit early for tourist season, we had the streets to ourselves as we walked through the town at night after an outside dinner in the evening.

 

After spending a night in the very scenic town of Tours, we began our three day visit to Paris.  Of course we had the obligitory visits to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.  Breakfast and/or lunch was spent touring the various boulangeries- pictured here are Michel Deschamps' and Eric Kayser's.  Baguettes were coming out of the oven at Deschamps, but we opted for a couple of delicious quiches instead.


I know it may be heresy to say on a bread baking forum, but by far the highlight of the Paris portion of the trip was not the baked goods, but our first-time visit to the Palais Garnier.  Back on January 9, I spent between the hours of 12:45AM and 2:15AM 'standing in line' online waiting for tickets as they went on sale for the first time for the Robbins/Ek show titled 'Dances at a Gathering' and 'Appartement'.  It was well worth it as we got front row seats in the center of the second mezzanine. 

If you only have one night to spend in Paris, this is what I would recommend.  I particularly enjoyed the second half of the show which featured the Swedish band Fleshquartet playing live as a modern ballet was performed in front of them. Here's a link to a video of a portion of the show from a few years ago.  It was as good as it gets.

Finally our Big Adventure was capped off with a high-speed train ride to Amsterdam, a visit to the Van Gogh museum, and a personalized tour of the Keukenhof tulip gardens by fellow Fresh Loafian and BreadLab meister,  Freerk.  It was the perfect finale as we saw more colors and varieties than one could possibly imagine and thanks to Freerk, we actually got to and from the gardens without ending up in Belgium, Germany, or just in the water somewhere. 


 

And thus ends Sharon and Mark's Big Adventure of 2012.  Thanks to everyone who helped us feel the local flavor of their wonderful lands! 

-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

 

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mcs

Greetings everybody!
Today was 'Fundraiser Day' at the Back Home Bakery in Kalispell, MT with all of the profits from the sale benefiting  the Flathead High School French Club.   A small crew of high school students worked the final shift baking, packaging, and delivering croissants, palmiers, and pains au chocolat for their happy customers.

It started a few weeks ago as the students took orders for different combinations of pastry boxes so we could get our work order.  Next two shifts of teacher, student, and parent volunteers came up to the bakery to shape everything (a new experience for all).  Lastly, this morning we baked and packaged everything and even had a little left over to feed the worker bees. 

Ready for the grand totals?
Croissants: 198
Palmiers: 264
Pains au Chocolat: 319

Not too shabby, huh?  Check out the pictures below to see how well everything came out. 

Good job everyone and I hope you enjoyed your time in the bakery!

-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

 


cutting and shaping Croissants

 

 


Pains au Chocolat and Palmier shaping

 

 


more shaping of Palmiers and Croissants

 

 


finishing the croissant shaping and then begins the baking and packaging

 

 


lots of eggwashing and 'bien cuit' Palmiers

 

 


Pains au Chocolat and Croissants fresh from the oven

 

 


a beautiful box of pastries

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