Monday, August 17, 2009


Today's forecast is not good. Been raining since 5am. Humidity is very high. Tough to keep a crust on our baguettes today. The night guys are supposed to cool the oven down some, and bake them a little longer. I don't think that happened. That idea was great back n the day when demand for our bread wasn't as high as it is now. Testimony to the idea that the more volume you do, the less you can keep an eye on things. Being an American, I want absolutely as much out of that oven as we can get.

I got here this morning and discovered an noon order for a dobosch torte. Dobosch, is an Austrian thing. A few months back, "Saveur" magazine did a story on Demel's Konditorei. Demel's is in Vienna. They claim to be the originator.They have been around for four hundred years or something like that. Beautiful pictures. Really portrays the European lifestyle. Coffee break in the middle of the day. Read a newspaper when you're not, in the bathroom. Hard to imagine. It's simple multilayered cake made from simple sponge cake filled and iced with chocolate buttercreme. The rub is that each layer needs to have a top and bottom crust. Baked in a sheet and cut out. I learned that from Karl Kleinert. I worked for him in 1976. Kleinert's Konditorei on Lincoln avenue, in Chicago. Karl would bake a sheet for each torte. Cut it into six cake "disks". He would use five for each torte. Baked them a little darker, so the crusts were pronounced. Pretty typical to just use yellow cake layers and split them, but Karl wanted it done differently. At Demel's they decorate the torte with fans made from a disk of sponge cake that has been spread with caramelized sugar. That's how we do it here. Real pain, caramelized sugar is hot, and it seizes quickly. Ya gotta get it spread on the sponge cake and cut into wedges, before the sugar hardens. Takes a little getting used to. Not only is it difficult to do, it has limited shelf life. Humidity in a refrigerator will liquefy that caramelized sugar, while you are standing there looking at it.

Karl was a great, great pastry guy. No bread. Only tortes, torte slices, cookies, bienenstich and some meringue pastries. He made incredible stuff. He pretty much worked by himself. He was difficult to get along with. He had "Konditor Gesucht" painted right on the window, "Pastry baker wanted". Didn't bother with a paper or cardboard sign. Whoever he hired would be gone in a few days. He wanted stuff just so. He had a seven pan oven and a thirty quart mixer. That was it. He worked night and day. Hard to imagine how one man could do what he did. I learned a lot from him. He made magnificent stuff. He moved to Florida and others tried to operate on that corner, but no one ever made it.

well, gotta get upstairs and get busy with my dobosch. They'll be here at noon.


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