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mcs's picture
mcs

Last week Patrick loaded up his truck and drove up from San Antonio, Texas for the first internship slot of 2011.  We had a busy week preparing for Memorial Day, some wholesale accounts, and two farmers' markets.  Patrick had a bit of practice with all of the bakery equipment including using the sheeter to laminate 75 pounds of croissant dough on Thursday morning.  He elected to stay in the area for an extra week for some rainy sight-seeing in Glacier National Park and finished his stay by helping us and intern #2 (May) on an extra-busy Saturday morning.  More about that in my blog entry about her week. 
Thanks for the hard work during your internship week and for helping us on both farmers' market Saturdays.  I hope you enjoyed the stay and learned lots about the baking process.

-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com


Patrick showing the mixer who's boss and operating on a Mannele made with baguette dough

 

 


Both of us working on a batch of rolls on a Saturday morning

 

mcs's picture

Back Home Bakery internships 2011

March 21, 2011 - 8:39pm -- mcs

Here we go again.  Just when you thought I had faded away into a cloud of flour, I'm back with another proposition for you eager bakers. 

I'm looking at having 2 internship positions for the beginning of the summer and 3 towards the end of the summer.  All 5 positions are for 1 week each and all are during the 'busy season' so if you're thinking about it, be prepared!  These are the dates:

Session 1:  May 29 - June 4
Session 2:  June 5 - June 11

mcs's picture
mcs

Hey TFLers,
This is a short no-frills video re-visiting some of the parts of shaping that I feel are important.  In the beginning I demonstrate slowly using a damp dishcloth, then I use the same technique with a few different doughs.  Lastly, I use a slight modification on the technique to form a couple of boules.  Enjoy. 

-Mark

http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

 

 

mcs's picture
mcs

Hey there Freshloafers,
I thought I'd poke my head out of the dough and cloud of flour to update you on the bakery's progress.


A few weeks ago I noticed that we had our two year bakery anniversary.  I think it went like this:
Me:  "Last week was two years for the bakery."
Sharon:  "Really?  When?"
Me:  "I don't know, some time last week, I think."


It wasn't exactly a 'stop the mixers and break out the champagne' type of celebration, but it was pretty cool to think of the progress we've made in such a short time.  Rather than summarizing the last two years, I thought I'd let you know what's happened in the past 12 months or so.  (Here's the post I did on our opening day two years ago; This is the post I did on our first year strategy)


During the slow months last year (November through April), I continued the baking for my wholesale accounts while working to finish the construction on the upstairs of our house.  Sharon had been patiently looking at sheetrock screw heads for the past couple of years.


taping


the loft


I also put in a new floor downstairs, which I completed just hours before our first farmers' market in the spring.


bamboo floor


The other goal during the off-season was to take my first days-off with the wife in two years.  If you missed that post, here's the link to my entry about our trip to Vancouver Island.


As far as the Baking Business goes, I continued the first year plan while making a few adjustments like:
1.  Cutting back on wholesale deliveries.  Thursdays is now my prep day which comes in awful handy now that the busy season is here.  It's now my laminating day since the place stays nice and cool without the ovens on.
2.  More special orders and special deliveries.  Last winter I used Friday as my 'home delivery' day to extend my farmers' market season a little bit longer.  I'll continue it this winter as I offer everything that I do at the market for home or workplace delivery ($10 minimum).  The new customers are very excited about this deal.
3.  DVD sales.  Last winter I started selling some baking technique DVDs, and that's definitely helped to supplement the long and slow winter.  Here's my post on them.  The next one will be on croissants.


Other than that, it seems that it's mostly business as usual.  There have been a lot of improvements as far as efficiency goes which have added up to 'a little less work making a little more product'.  I sleep in an hour later each day, but mornings are absolutely filled with baking and/or pastry prep for the busier days.  This leaves my afternoons a little more relaxed.  Funny thing, but the difference between waking up 1 hour later each day and sleeping in on Sundays is a big deal.  Ask any of the interns if they could've used an extra hour of sleep each day!  Plus sometimes we even get to eat dinner before 7.  Hey, not all the time, but every once in a while.


Anyway, that's about it.  I'll leave you with a few pictures of some of the special orders that I've worked on this past summer and spring.


Happy Baking.


-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com


mini croissants


mini croissants baked


hot cross buns


burger buns


 


 

mcs's picture
mcs

Last week my wife and I took a short vacation to a small farm on the outskirts of Victoria, BC.  We stayed with Diane (aka intern#2 last year) and her husband Ed - both gracious hosts, tour guides, and entertainers for our (almost) week long stay.  On one of the days I taught a couple of classes at The French Mint, a culinary school in Victoria run by chef Denise Marchessault.  In the morning I taught a class on croissants, in the evening a class about sourdoughs.  Both went great.

Other than that, I mostly sat around or marginally earned my keep by taking their Yugoslav Shepherd for a walk.  Sharon (my wife) was happily busy cleaning fresh eggs, milking the goats, feeding the newborn goats, and pulling weeds in the greenhouse.  Diane force-fed us fresh bread, brioche, eggs, and everything else under the rainbow, which of course led to more of me sitting around.



Zeva taking me for a walk



Butchart Gardens



Diane baked this much bread everyday



Sharon and an 8 hour old nubian



Ed and some calves


We had a great stay, and to top it off I got to try some Roger's flour (from BC) and came home with some Alberta flour also.  I used the Roger's flour for both of my cooking classes and was very pleased with their unbleached white and rye flour.  Nice texture, flavor, and color. 


Thanks a lot Diane and Ed. 


-Mark


http://TheBackHomeBakery.com


PS If you'd like to see more pix of the trip I'll be posting them on my Facebook page

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

While I have been baking in the last several weeks, most of it has been geared to sandwich loaves.  Don't get me wrong; that is some pretty important baking.  While it has been nourishing to the body, it hasn't been anything to stir the soul.  I've had some old favorites: Clayton's Honey Lemon Whole Wheat and plain old honey whole wheat.  I gave Beatrice Ojakangas' Granary Bread a try.  Lovely stuff, but not at all anything that qahtan or others who have had the real thing would recognize as such.  Essentially, it's honey whole wheat (um, I'm beginning to see a theme emerging here) with golden syrup subbed in for the honey.  I'm going to digress for a moment.   For all of you in the U.S. who have been wondering what on earth golden syrup is, here's the inside scoop: it's molasses.  Yes!  Really!  A very light, mildly flavored grade of molasses, but molasses none the less.  There.  Now you know.


I've also been experimenting with some rye breads.  The most noteworthy was a spectacular flop of the Sour Rye, year 1939, which came to my attention via Shiao Ping's blog.  It looked and sounded so lovely in Shiao Ping's post and I'd been wanting to venture further into the rye world, so I thought I would give it a try.  The first bad decision (I won't bore you with the entire list) was to opt for the free-form loaf, rather than the panned loaf.  Being in full "never say die" mode (not readily distinguishable from denial), I soldiered on to the bitter end and was rewarded with something that had the general dimensions and texture of a 1x8 pine board, albeit somewhat darker.  The flavor was worlds better than pine, but the amount of chewing necessary to extract the flavor made the whole enterprise unrewarding.  Hence, my retreat to Ms. Ojakangas' book and the selection of her version of Granary Bread.  A man's gotta eat, after all.


This weekend, still smarting from last week's debacle and still wanting rye bread, I hauled out Mark Sinclair's formula for Sour Rye bread.  This I've made before, and in quantity, so I know how it works and how it is supposed to turn out.  There are some differences between my execution and Mark's.  First, he's a professional baker and I am not.  Second, he uses dark rye and what I had on hand was medium rye.  Third, he has some really big and really cool toys, while I was doing all of my mixing by hand.  Since my use of Mark's formula is by his permission and a consequence of my internship at his Back Home Bakery, I'm not at liberty to share it here.  If you really, really want to make this bread, sign up whenever Mark offers opportunities to intern with him.  If you want something very close to Mark's bread, look up Eric's Fav Rye on this site.  Mark started with that and made some adjustments that suit his selection of ingredients and production scheme.  Both are excellent breads and they are very nearly the same bread.


As noted, I have medium rye flour on hand, so my bread came out somewhat lighter than Marks.  Since I don't have a mixer here, I mixed by hand.  Initially, the mixing was primarily to combine the ingredients uniformly.  Since Mark relies on the mixer for kneading as well as mixing, I continued to work the dough in the bowl in what was essentially a stretch and fold maneuver to develop the dough's gluten network.  As the dough became more cohesive, I dumped it out on the counter for some "slap and fold" or "French fold" kneading, a la Richard Bertinet.  This worked very effectively to finish the dough's development.  The dough was then gathered into a loose boule and placed in a greased bowl for the bulk ferment.  After the dough had approximately doubled, it was divided in three pieces of about 710 grams each and pre-shaped.  After resting a few minutes, the dough was then given its final shape and placed on a Silpat-lined baking sheet for final fermentation, lightly covered with oiled plastic wrap to prevent drying.  As the dough was nearing the end of the final fermentation, I pre-heated the oven.  When the oven was ready, the loaves were uncovered, brushed with egg wash, liberally sprinkled with poppy seeds and slashed.  The baking sheet was put in the oven and hot water was put into the steam pan on the lower rack.  Half-way through the bake, I rotated the loaves so that they would bake evenly, even though I was using the convection setting.  I also pulled them off the baking sheet and let them bake directly on the oven rack so that they would bake and color evenly.  They were a bit closer together on the baking sheet than I thought they should be for optimum results.


And the results?  Well, I'm a happy baker today.  Here's the finished bread:


Sour Rye, Back Home Bakery


I won't have a crumb shot until tomorrow, but the exterior is encouraging.  Slashing can definitely improve and I might have allowed the final proof to go a bit longer, but I'm pretty pleased with how things are looking so far.


Maybe I can get back on that 1939 horse again...


Paul


Here is a picture of the crumb:


Back Home Bakery Sour Rye crumb


As I surmised from seeing how the slashes opened during the bake, the bread could have been proofed a while longer.  However, it's rye bread; it is supposed to be hefty rather than fluffy.  The crumb is very moist and surprisingly tender.  The interplay between the earthy rye and the pungent/astringent caraway flavors is balanced so that each complements the other, with neither dominating.  It makes a wicked base for a ham and swiss sandwich.  The lighting for this photo was an overhead fluorescent fixture (sheesh, I almost spelled that as flourescent!), hence the greyer tone of the crumb


 

mcs's picture

Baking Bread Videos

December 16, 2009 - 12:42pm -- mcs
Forums: 

Hey there everyone.  Well I'm emerging out of hibernation to tell you about my latest project.  Last spring I started working on a couple of instructional baking DVDs but I never finished them before the busy season hit.  Then when I got back to work on them this fall, I decided to re-shoot the whole thing and spend some more time on them. 


Well, I just got finished. 

mcs's picture
mcs

...and rounding up this year's interns at the Back Home Bakery was Brendan visiting from Washington, DC.  He came prepared with two-handed-roll-making-skills and a willingness to work his hardest at everything.  Thanks a lot Brendan for all of the help;  hope to see you running your own bakery some day.


-Mark


http://TheBackHomeBakery.com



shaping rye, stretch and fold on 15# Rustic White, ready to sell on a chilly Saturday morning

mcs's picture
mcs

For those of you who may have missed one or two of the recent postings of the intern bakers who have visited us at the Back Home Bakery this year, I thought I'd use this as a reference page for all of them.  Click on the links to visit the pages specifically about them.  Enjoy.


The cast in order of appearance:


Thomas (tssaweber):  Having grown up in Switzerland, Thomas had the taste of fantastic bread from an early age.  When he moved to the US ten years ago, he began baking his own bread and during the past 5 years he has spent much time experimenting with sourdoughs and native Swiss breads too.  This is the page of his internship.


Diane:  Diane's been cooking and baking bread for many years also.   In her spare time, she's also a cheese maker and dairy farmer.  Here's her internship page.


Paul (PMcCool):   Paul's enjoyed baking breads for over 30 years.  He's also a regular contributor here on TFL and he frequently blogs about his baking adventures.  This is his blog about his visit.


Callie (calliekoch):  Callie has spent most of her life cooking at home and has been baking bread for the last few years.  About a year ago she began to enjoy baking sourdoughs with her own starter.  Here's a bit about her internship.


Greg (gcook17):  Greg's well versed in both pastries and breads.  Although not a professional baker, he's taken several courses at SFBI and has been baking artisnal breads for many years.  This is the page about his stay.


Pat (proth5):  Pat's a great bread baker with the mind of a pastry chef.  Not only has she baked bread since she was a little child, she's also studied under some of the top bread bakers around the country.  This is her blog about her stay.


Brendan (smithbr11)  Brendan is relatively new to bread baking, but is improving quickly.  With his kinesthetic learning style and detail oriented mind, he'll be an expert in no time.  This is my blog entry about his internship.



Thanks so much to all of you interns for all of your help and time.  I hope you went home with some improvement in your skills and maybe a little more baking knowledge too.  Take it easy.


-Mark


http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

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