Thursday, November 19, 2009

game on

The holiday bake officially began yesterday. We baked our first fruit cake yesterday, and Arturo made Christmas cookies all day long. He'll be at it for the next three days and on Sunday, a herd of folks will be in to pack them. We'll put up one pound boxes, and two and three pound trays. During the year, one can purchase "loose" tea cookies, by however many you'd like. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, all of our cookies are packed. If we allowed customers to pick out their cookies, one by one, we'd need another store person,or two, and another scale. I remember the first year we did that(only offered packed cookies), my mother had a fit, "They want to pick out their cookies", she said. She got over it quick. I think around Halloween the next year she was asking "When do start packing cookies"? We sell a lot more as well. There are more people that can't wait for cookies to be weighed, than those who want to pick out their cookies. Plus they look nice, all the trays get tied with Bennison's ribbon.

Yesterday we baked fruitcake. Something new this year. We baked them in beautiful, bakeable, wooden forms, from France. They really look nice. I must say, this batch was really done well. Baked nice, not to dark.

I had a remarkable experience yesterday. We baked our second batch of stollen. While I was in Germany, I bought molds, specially made for stollen. You can't get them in this country. I didn't think I would get them this soon. They arrived on Tuesday. I bought two different sizes. They size them by stollen weight. I bought molds for 500g and one kilo stollen. The smaller mold has six in a frame and the larger one, four. Yesterday we guessed at the weight on dough, we felt was needed to fill these molds. We tried to outsmart 'em. We scaled the dough heavier than they suggested. I dropped 500g of dough in a mold and I was sure, it was to light, so we kicked it up to 560g. We scaled the larger mold at 1020g. So we shaped, proofed and baked 'em. I was pleased with them when I took them from the oven. They actually bake upside down, in a unique shaped mold with a lid. The colour was nice. Turns out, we scaled them to heavy. I guess we should have taken into account the marzipan we put inside each stollen. Ya gotta understand, I've been wanting these molds for years and years. I allowed them to cool to the point that we could handle them without hotpads. I carried one over to the table, grabbed a clean sheet pan, and in one motion I flipped the mold over. The stollen fell out. When I lifted the mold off, angels sang. Everybody is the shop was watching. In unison, they all gasped. You know that little drawn breath you make thru your mouth. They are gorgeous. A little tear formed in my right eye. The sixth most beautiful thing I ever seen, holding each of my three kids for the first time, seeing my baking team picture on the cover of the French bakers magazine,(holding the World cup), seeing the Stanley cup, live, in '92, now Bennison's stollen. They are a minimum three inches tall. Symmetrically shaped, no burned raisins, perfect. Besides, baking them in a mold, they don't loose much moisture in the oven. Jennifer smothered 'em in melted butter, and covered them with vanilla sugar. This morning we cut one, I'm struggling here, I guess, moist yellow cake, loaded with white raisins, orange peel, whole almonds and a nice layer of rum flavoued marzipan. Beyond words.

Gotta get upstairs, today is the first day of a very long string of seven days. Gonna be night and day, until 3 pm, next Thursday. Not complaining. I guess the easiest way to avoid it, is to stop looking for ways to improve our goods.


Blogger Laminatrix said...

Given how good they were before the molds--which was pretty freaking good--it's hard to believe they're even better. Guess I'll have to find out for myself . . .

November 20, 2009 at 11:21 AM  

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