It starts at 2am, a brief, incomplete look at my holiday baking
The ramping up for the holiday sales started about two weeks ago, but this week was definitely the bulk of it all. Each day started at the crack of the middle of the night, 1 a.m. when I awoke to get ready for the big days of baking starting promptly at 2 a.m. all this week. That meant going to bed at about 5 p.m at night, and focusing on being rested for those 12 hour days of baking.
We (the four bakers) gathered around and tabulated sales from last year to decide what should be made for the day. When that was done, roughly taking thirty minutes, we began the mixing and sponge/poolish prep.
But for me, most of the time it started with the dry mixes for the scones and cookies;
Egg nog scone ready for the mixing, just add your liquids : )
Which an hour or so later led to some rum frosted and finished egg nog scones I was rather proud of!
Then I moved on to some pumpkin batter bread and muffins, the muffins ready to go in the oven;
Then to some Oatmeal Chocolate chip walnut jumbo cookies! Scooped and ready for the oven, made about 400 jumbo sized cookies, a bunch of small ones too!
Into the oven they go! Please don't forget to pin them to prevent burnt cookies : ( No one would want that!
In the mean time, I mix up some batter breads, including a candied rum batter bread, brownie, a few muffins, and did I mention very, very large cinnamon rolls!
While all that is going on, I am helping with the sponge and doughs for the day too, in fact the first dough was a large sweet white bread for swirls;
Which was mixed till shaggy, anyone ready for those stretch and folds? Trust me, it is difficult.
I won't bore you with all the pictures I took, but we did about twelve different doughs; the first seen here;
Those are going to be cinnamon swirl breads which I made about 200 of just today alone. But why did I chose to try and document this on the busiest day of the year? Because when the next dough is ready, it is ready regardless if you are not.
Seen there is the pecan bread being dumped and ready to be shaped, although I still had a good amount of swirls to go. Working in a bakery is about being efficient and effective.
Here are a small chunk of the swirl breads I did, later on during the morning. Sorry these were all taken on my phone.
I also made rolls...so many rolls of so many kinds it is really hard to imagine. Even if I were to try and put it into prespective, it really can't be concieved unless you saw the amount personally. We would fill up a mixing bowl with dough just for rolls alone, then repeat it again later in the day. Repeat this with about six different doughs over and over again. People just love rolls.
Here are some cheese garlic rolls hitting the oven, it is one of the few breads I can still smell when at the bakery!
Of course with twelve hour days, you wonder, is it any fun? Well...I still manage to have fun with dough out of work and even at work!
I pretty much put my own little touch on the loaves you could say!
But in the end that was just a touch of my busy day today at the bakery. It would have been too hard on the other bakers if I stood around taking pictures of every dough, every kind of loaf and so on. Although I did make, cinnamon bread, cinnamon raisin, cheese, pecan, honey wheat, white, 9-grain, stollen, challah, lots of muffins and cookies and more today, and well everyday I am there! It's a labor of love and I am willing to go to bed at 5 p.m. to be able to work at 2 a.m. each day! Not many people can say that, but I certainly am glad I have found something I love! Next week will be a bit easier, bed time will be adjusted to 6:30 to 7:00 and work will start right around 3-3:00 a.m.
Of course, there is the part of the job no one talks too much about but anyone interested in this profession needs to be aware of, and that is the cleaning and lifting!
Those are easily 55 pound steel mixing bowls that need to be lifted up to a sink and rinsed, scrubbed and dried numerous, and I mean numerous times every single day. Also 50 pound bags of flour and ingredients being hussled left and right every second too.
So it is work, it really is. But I find it enjoyable and never a chore, and that is the secret I believe!