I work in the loop in Chicago, IL. I was lucky to recieve a promotion at my firm. However, the promotion entailed switching to 3rd shift and working from 12:30am to 10:00am. Since I love baking and understand these hours are when most bakers are preparing their doughs/breads, I thought there might be a chance for me to volunteer and help out at a Chicago bakery or restaruant 1 or 2 days a week on the weekends. I bake from home but my bread baking is mediocre at best. However, I think I could provide great assistance.
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 :)
I assume most of you guy's on this site work in a Bakery of some sort, I am just wondering if any of you who have had success in maintaining a healthy weight, how all of you avoided eating the foods we make in a Bakery?. This is a huge struggle for me. I am gaining weight and it just won't stop.. thanks in advance!.
Oh and the food I eat is obviously strudels, doughnuts, cookies, etc.
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.
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.
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!
I haven't been baking lately because I'm on a health regimen (for three weeks!) under which I have to jettison all joy-inducing things like wine, bread and cheese, to name just a few. All self-imposed, I'm not ill, just trying to be healthy. So I haven't been as active on the site, but I've been cheering you all on from the sidelines. It's funny, I've done this regimen quite a few times before and don't miss eating bread as much as I miss the process of making it!
Anyway, I'm working on a project of cataloging and repairing some photographs my mother took way before she was my mother, while she was living in Mexico City in the mid 1930s. Her name (later, after marriage) was Eleanor Ingalls Christensen. She had just graduated from Wheaton and would go on to do graduate work in fine art at Radcliffe, and in between took a job tutoring the children of an American couple living in Mexico. She took many wonderful photographs while living there, and now that she's gone I love looking through them. I'm trying to get an album of them ready to honor her memory on Mother's Day (will also try to even out the variation in overall tone; they have aged differently from one another). I thought you 'TFLoafers' might like to see some of the ones related to baking, so I'm posting them here. The one at the top I have framed and hanging in the entrance to my kitchen. It's my favorite.
Hi and welcome to my first blog and my first tentative steps into the bakery business.
My name is Robert and I have been a chef for the last twelve years. I am currently lecturing in a north east (UK) male prison but a few months ago I decided it was time to give up the day job (and the night job too!) and setup myself up doing something I really wanted to do. My vision was to turn a market trailer I owned into a fully self-contained, wood fired, microbakery. Unfortunately after fitting out the trailer, installing an oven etc I was scuppered by the local planning authorities/town council. However, fate intervened and whilst out one day trying to source wood for what has now become my mobile event pizza trailer (only minor re-jigging was needed) I happened across an interesting lead.
I had arrived at a site in Northumberland called Earth Balance. It was a project setup in 1999 that involved the local authorities buying a derelict farm and setting up a sustainable organic farming initiative. On site there was a brewery, vegetable producer, poultry farm, cafe and best of all.... a bakery with 30 acres of willow planted to provide fuel for a huge wood fired oven. Unfortunately the charity setup up to run the enterprise when bust in 2001 (despite being given all the funding in the world) and since then the place has frankly fallen into disrepair. One of the original food producers took over the tenancy of the land, lake and some of the buildings and has been doggedly trying to keep the project going in some shape or form for the last ten years or so.
On the day that I arrived I had a chat with a guy from the horticultural training facility on the site and just happened to mention my woes with the microbakery and he just happened to mention the vacant bakery! I could hear the voice of fate calling so I got in touch with Marty (the aforementioned dogged tenant farmer cum organic fishery owner) and the rest hopefully will be history. Marty told me that his plans were to reopen a small scale farm shop on the site and we agreed a deal for me to get involved and become the resident baker.
First day nerves.
As I mentioned earlier I am a chef not a baker and though I have knocked out many a half decent loaf over the years I have never baked on a large scale at all. So when it came time to do a test bake in the oven I have to admit to being distinctly apprehensive about churning out bread in large quantities and of consistant quality.
In the week prior to the test bake I fed up Viv (my partner's buckwheat starter) with wheat flour untill I had a 20 litre frothing, foaming, levitating beast on my hands and gathered together as many plastic bowls and linen squares that I could get my hands on.
The night before I made up three 8 kilo batches of dough: pain de campagne, white sourdough with French T55 flour for baguettes and a wheat and rye mix with malted wheat flakes and rye berries. I hand mixed the lot with 20% (approx) leaven in each, put the boxes in the boot of my car since the forecasted overnight temp was 2 degrees c and went to bed trepadatiously. In the morning lo and behold (and thank God!) the dough had risen so I gave each box a turn and set off with my fingers crossed.
The bakery itself is somewhat of a chaotic jumble of random equipment, currently has no electric and is lacking in workbench space/shelving so working conditions were not ideal. Anyway I made the best of things and the (poor quality) pictures below are what came out of the session.
The results were generally encouraging though I have highlighted several areas for development- not least my slashing technique. The oven performed pretty well but this was the first firing for ages (years maybe) and the fire was only started 12 hours previously so it didn't hold it's heat for as long as I hoped. I had to make a top up fire half way through the bake.
If anyone is interested I will share recipes in a later post but I will end this entry now as I don't want to bang on and on and bore people.