Thursday, May 20, 2010

finally, chocolate macarons

It's Thursday morning, busy Wednesday market yesterday. The weather was perfect. As you can see in the photo, we had some beautiful strawberry/rhubarb danish. Needless to say we sold all of the danish and all of everything else. The market kids told me loads of folks came looking for our new sweet city loaf, I was glad to hear that. As unique as our bread is, nothing we offer at the market is as unique as that loaf. Carrots, onions, honey, flax, filberts and a hint of coriander, really tasty stuff. When Marc mixes it, he really pushes the hydration. I was helping the gang shape it on Tuesday afternoon, it was almost like shaping foam. It was really spongy. It had great structure after it was baked.

I finally made some chocolate macaroons that I'm really proud of. It has taken me, literally, a good year. There was a Northwestern journalism student here yesterday, she is working on a story about macarons. She plans on making them herself. She watched me make a batch, and once they were out of the oven she said "Everyone speaks of how difficult they are to make, that was easy". I was really taken back. I explained to her that I've made hundreds of batches, Countless were unusable. Two or three of our culinary school graduates warned her, but she was unfazed. I'm expecting a call after the weekend.

We ended up with a "Short" loaf of miche, from yesterday's bake. We sliced it this morning, if I must say myself, it is truly, very special stuff. We have been struggling with it. As I said before, organic flour is not balanced at the mill. One takes what one is given. Hydration rates and falling numbers, are all over the board. We are blending two different, high extraction flours, to create our loaf. we are down to fifty or sixty bags, won't be long and we will have to learn all over again. That's what keeps this business interesting. That, plus the fact that Hans picked up eight quarters of sliced miche yesterday, to satisfy his delivery route between here and the upper peninsula of Michigan. He has miche and rye bread stops along the way, and more importantly, one on the way back. On the way back he stops at some German butcher, north of Milwaukee. He brings back, absolutely the world's best summer sausage. He also gets landjaeger, little smoked sausages, that are joined at one end, and sold in pairs. He's coming back on Tuesday. I have just enough sausage left, to get thru the weekend.

Funny thing happened yesterday. I was on my way home, in one of the delivery vans. They are pretty well covered with our name. I was sitting at a red light, second in line. I was in the center lane because there was a Metra bus in the right lane. The bus was stopped, and I looked to my right, thru the passenger side window, there was a young woman holding up a Bennison's bag, looking back at me. I waved, the light changed to green, and I still wonder what was in that bag. She looked like a cheese danish or sugar twist, type girl.

Gotta get upstairs, I have pound cake in the oven and I can hear the oven timer ringing.


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