Tuesday, July 28, 2009

sugar or salt?

Always seems to happen, just as you put your coat on, something goes wrong. I was getting’ ready to leave yesterday afternoon, ‘round 4:15. I know it was that time, cause the first thing I do is check to see how much time I have before the hardware store closes next door. Our deck oven wouldn’t get over 390’. Then it comes out, been happenin’ all day. Nobody says anything until they’re ready to leave. I was told that earlier in the day it went up to temp and then couldn’t hold it. Kept falling. It’s happened before a few times. The oven burner draws airborne flour into it and it gets all plugged up. So I pulled the burner out of the oven and used some plumbers cloth to clean up the flame rod and spark igniter. It’s a pretty safe system. If the burner doesn’t sense a flame, it won’t allow gas to pass the valve, otherwise, it could fill up with gas. Small spark and a big explosion. Put it all back together, works like it should. But, John Roeser says "while ya brought the tools up from downstairs, ya might as well do a little maintenance on other things". Got the airhose out, so I blew out a few refrigeration coils.

Always, always, something to do in the bakery. Common line between my dad and myself, we’ll ask each other “are you finshed”(for the day), reply is “no, but it’s time to go home”.

Made some real headway on the certification stuff yesterday. Pretty comfortable, I’m in good shape. All the ingredients are ordered, some of them already delivered. I’m buds with the guys at General Mills, they’re always quick to help out a master baker exam. They were and still are very generous with the BBGA. They are the exclusive “Platinum level” member sponsor. Not sure what that costs, but I bet you could find somethin’, for the same money that would sleep six. We use a lot of General Mills flour. The Harvest King flour we use is a General Mills flour. When we were practicing in San Fran, preparing for the coupe, we used the same flour. At that time, they were milling Harvest King in three mills, Buffalo, New York, Avon,Iowa, and a mill in northern California. They have since, closed the Buffalo mill, or milling something else there. But every time we practiced in San Fran, we used only the flour milled at the Iowa mill. Didier wanted that flour. Had the closest specs to French flour.

French flour is very different from ours. Even with the same spec numbers, it’s still different. When you roll out a dough made with our flour, it has a lot of recoil. It bounces back. Roll a dough to 4 mm on the sheeting machine and place it on the table, and it will recoil to 6 mm, or so. Damn French flour is cool. You roll it to 4 mm, and it will stay there. Every baking team I’ve been around gets very concerned about “the French flour”. Turns out no big deal. It’s actually easier to work with. There are all kinds of lab test to measure the strength, protein, absorption, elasticity, fermentation tolerance, but there isn’t any type of test for gluten quality. The only way to measure gluten quality, is to bake with it. Common fact, the higher the protein percentage in flour, the poorer the quality. I had a guy call me three, four weeks ago. Had a great deal on flour, told me the specs. they were close to right. He sent us eight bags to try it out. No good. Canadian spring wheat. Real white, no flavor. Said it was around twelve percent protein. I question that. Thanks, but no thanks.

I was thinking yesterday about other times God was standing next to me, in the bakery, referring to my danish mishap at the CIA. We started our day in Paris, at the coupe. Nobody knows this, William won’t remember. The judges said go, and off to our bakeshop we ran. Opened our boxes and started scaling. An hour before, we were briefed by the staff, as to where all the ingredients were. I scaled sugar, then salt, for my first dough. William said “hand me the salt”, I passed him the container. He said “no, that’s sugar”. I had them reversed. Can you imagine. Sixteen months worth of work. Countless dollars. William happened to ask me at the most very perfect moment.

Actually it wasn’t William speaking, it was a far greater being. That whole footsteps in the sand poem. You’ve heard it, “when I carried you”.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home