The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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tfreese's picture

Internship in France

January 16, 2013 - 2:19am -- tfreese

Through a mutual friend I was invited to do a brief internship at a very small bakery, in France.  The bakery has asked me to look into what the French government requirements are.  They have never done this so, they do not know. The length of my visit would be about 3 weeks. So the question is, anyone familiar with the French governments requirements to do this?


mcs's picture

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.


mcs's picture

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 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!



CJtheDeuce's picture

I met Mark just last September.   That visit was just a primer and I wanted to come back to learn more.

This week, I came to Kalispell to help Mark while Sharon was out of town.  I wanted to post some pictures of the fruits of our labor. 

Last year this machine scared me to death.  This year I accepted the challenge.


You scolded me and scolded me, and I got it.  I can shape Sal's without having baguette dough stuck up to my elbows.


I shaped all of the burger rolls for Loula's Cafe in Whitefish.


Packed, beautiful and ready for delivery.


Dinner Theatre at the bakery.


I asked for a sign if I was at the right place at the right time, and this appeared.


Special sweets for the market.


Tired but happy.  In 2.5 hours, everything in this picture (and in the van) was sold out.

Pack up, lunch in town, and back to the bakery for a much needed nap.

For those who have come before and those who will come after, Happy Trails!




PastryPaul's picture

On internships

January 26, 2012 - 4:24am -- PastryPaul

Hi All,

In other posts, I've made it clear that I consider internships to be a valuable part of our team building/hiring process, not to mention that it's a great way to "give back" to the industry. Lately, however our local schools have made some changes that seem to be somewhat bizarre and counter-productive.

mcs's picture

Last week, Charlie came from Bowling Green, Ohio to hone his baking skills during a one-week internship at the Back Home Bakery.  Despite the initial butterflies, Charlie quickly adapted to the bakery hours and work schedule improving his dough handling skills throughout the week.  Below are some of the highlights from the week.

Thanks for the hard work, and I hope your family gets to enjoy some of the bread/pastries you learned to make during your internship.



Charlie transferring baguettes from the canvas to the baguette screen.


Here goes Charlie on the rolls


Charlie shaping croissants like a pro





mcs's picture

This past week Randy came up from Missoula, MT to help us out at the bakery.  It was a very busy week as we had plenty of special orders plus the usual wholesale and farmers' market work to do.  Fortunately we had perfect weather for both farmers' markets and we had lots of happy customers at both of them.  On Saturday we had quite the customer demand as Sharon and I quickly filled the orders and Randy worked his butt off to keep the shelves filled with bread and the display cases stocked with pastries (sound familiar Thomas?).  If you haven't experienced it yet, it's a very gratfiying feeling to have worked your hardest for the week and to have dozens of very pleased customers waiting in line to enjoy the breads and pastries you've produced.
Thanks for the hard work, Randy, and I hope you show off some of the baking skills you've learned at home for your family.


PS If you missed Thomas' account of his most recent experience at the bakery, you can see it here.


Randy paying his dues the Back Home Bakery way


Me watching in wonder as Randy tackles 18 loaves worth of stretch and fold


Happy Randy as he boules up 27 pounds of dough after a stretch-and-fold





mcs's picture

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.


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



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