Saturday, May 16, 2009

the smells, sounds and sights.........

Been thinkin' 'bout what i wanted to write about since, 'bout 3am. Our bakery is on a corner. The southwest corner of Davis and Maple. Our back door doesn't lead out to an alley, it leads out onto the sidewalk. The sidewalk is very wide, maybe twenty feet. The city doesn't allow us to park on the street here, between 3 and 6 am. We park right on the sidewalk. On a summer Friday night we are loading trucks, all night long. we have three farmer's markets every Saturday. Two are close enough that as we get things ready, we head over to the site. Set up tents, drop off tables and baskets, and somewhere in the middle of the night, we start with product.

Along the inside of the east wall of the bakery, we have our ovens in a row. Stone deck oven,a convection rack oven & rotating "reel" oven. Above the ovens we have an exhaust fan, that blows right out into the street. As every Saturday, market morning, the bakery is a buzzin'. lots of commotion, hollerin', oven timers ringing, etc. I was standing at the oven waiting for a deck full of baguettes to come out. Driver Mike was waiting to finish loading his truck and head to the Wilmette market. The oven man, Arturo peeled out twenty two baguettes and placed them in a plastic shipping crate. I hoisted the crate onto my shoulder, and off I headed outside, to the waiting truck. When baguette are removed from the oven, after a few seconds, they start to collapse. Never much, but just enough that you can hear the crackling of the cooling crust. Not like stepping on frozen lake, but like crinkling cellophane. If I had run outside, on a January morning, I'd a woke the neighbors. It really is a very special sound. A sound you only get from long fermentation, with milder flour than most American bakers are accustomed to. And definitely, a sound you'll never hear at a grocery store bakery.

At the same moment, outside the bakery, I passed under the yield from our exhaust fan. They just pulled a rack of brioche, from the rack oven. Not sure what it smells like in heaven, but I'll chance a guess.


Blogger Laminatrix said...

finally the miche cooled enough to cut . . . froze three of the quarters, but sliced off a big crusty hunk with a little butter. sometimes i think i could, in fact, live on bread alone.

May 17, 2009 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Josh M said...

I walk by that exhaust fan everyday. I'm not sure if it's generous or cruel of you to subject me to such delectable temptations.

May 19, 2009 at 4:46 PM  

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