Monday, August 31, 2009

leapt up in a panic

Felt good to be back in the bakery yesterday. All day, by myself. Had a lot to catch up on. Got a lot done. Weekend was good, very good. Weather could not be better. We are seeing lots of folks movin' back onto the campus here. Life is about to begin again. In fact, it is so comfortable outside, that we may even push up the start of our post Labor Day offerings. We always stop florentines between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but I think we might get started a little earlier this year. Labor Day is a little late this year. Things are going to really run together. Our "Back to school cookie special" will end on Rosh Hashanah. Our little bakery here will be rockin'!

Has funny experience Saturday afternoon. I returned to Chicago on Friday night around midnight. I knew we were in the weeds for the Saturday markets, so I was here at 2am. Truth be known, I missed the bakery. So it turned into a very long day. Got home around 3pm, showered and fell asleep watching the little league world series. John Roeser and I usually compare notes, late Saturday afternoons', just to see who had the more "Bizarre" finish to their day. I don't want to disclose much here. Most Saturday's, our demise is self inflicted. I was sound asleep, phone rang. I answered and it was Johnny. I asked "What time is it"? He said "5:30". My wife said I jumped up, and I was terrified. I thought it was 5:30 Sunday morning. Sunday was my day to work. A late start on my scheduled Sundays' is 4 o'clock, AM.I don't think John or wife have stopped laughing yet.

Yesterday we made a sheet of plum kuchen slices. Sold about eighty percent of the sheet. We used Danish pastry dough. We rolled it to fill a sheet pan. Spread it with a blend of pastry creme and almond creme. We covered it with sliced fresh plums, packed 'em on the dough pretty tight. Sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar and rimmed the edges with streussel. After a short proof, baked it. We sprayed it with apricot glace and sliced it. Glad to see it sold so well. It is really tasty stuff.

Yesetrday, while I was working, Peter Yuen stopped by the bakery. I mentioned that he will be competing in Paris, come March '10. He will be representing the U.S. in the viennoiserie category. I will be going with him, acting as manager/coach/chaperon, etc. He has already begun the "Yeast dreams". All past competitors talk about them. The dreams that will keep you awake, wondering if you remembered the yeast in all the preferments. Or you will dream that you are ten minutes behind schedule, with two hours left. They will plague him from now thru September '10. It's awful. On top of that, he is struggling with a shape for his last pastry. Been there. It's awful. Peter is a very talented and knowledgeable guy. He saw my attempt at tempering chocolate, chuckled and taught me a few tricks. This morning, the chocolate sheets I laid out, were perfect. Best part about this business, ya never stop learnin'. I knew the chocolate could would be better than what we had been doin'. I sent a text to my son last night. "I learned two things today that will change your life". We hadn't been getting the chocolate hot enough for the proper crystals to form. We were only taking it to 35c. Peter said it needs to go to 40c. We spread it out on acetate sheets and break it into random shards, and apply the pieces to the sides of our chocolate leaf tortes. This morning, chocolate was shiny as a mirror. Thanks Peter.

I gotta get upstairs. We lost Val, Valerie, last week. She went back to waiting tables. She got a job at the Publican. To bad, she is a very good baker. My son is away, Joe and Mark are off today. It's me and Jennifer on sandwich and croissant detail. Weather will be nice this week. Labor Day and farmer's markets should be busy.


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