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Archive for the ‘Sponsorship’ Category

 I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately-it’s really bothering me that I am so stressed out. I can’t even do something I enjoy without worrying about what I’m doing wrong. I’m so tense and nervous about everything, even though I love being at the bakery and working with Joe and Terrance.

I thought today was going to be a continuation of last week- a calmer, more outgoing day. I arrived feeling pretty good about the upcoming day, but I noticed things were a little different than usual. Joe wasn’t as warm as usual-maybe he was having a bad day, or maybe he was stressed about the Easter rush. I don’t blame him-we all have “off days.” (Trust me, I know…)

It was a lot quieter than normal, there wasn’t much talking or joking around. I feel like I’m a really slow learner or maybe it’s just my negativity-I’m not sure. Anyway, when Joe asked me to scale all the breads, I make the same mistakes like I always do. It’s so frustrating that I can’t get the hang of the math. It’s kind of pathetic too-I took calculus, but can’t do practical, everyday math. I feel so ashamed that I have to stop and think when Joe asks me how many .300g batards I can make from a 10kg piece .

I’m also really slow at forming loaves. Okay-I know, they’re professionals and I’m not. I feel like I’m fumbling around when I can shape one boule in the time it takes Joe to make three. He asked me to roll out the croissant dough and cut them into size. It just took me so long and Joe was waiting on me to finish because I was holding up production.

I tried to speed up, and pushed through the dough with the cutter. While I was doing thing, I knocked over Joe’s coffee all over the table. I ruined a bunch of parchment paper, and almost ruined Terrance’s brioche. As if the day wasn’t already weird enough…

Next, Joe and I made palmiers, apple turnovers, blueberry brioche. This time, my palmiers turned out much better- I cut them the proper thickness. We didn’t, however, make almond twists which we always do. I was kind of glad we didn’t have to-they’re so messy!

I felt like I was pushing Joe’s buttons all day and didn’t really want to bother him with my silliness. Usually, Joe invites me over to bake with him at the ovens, but he didn’t offer this time. Sure, I could have gone over to the ovens, but I felt like I’d be hassling him. Instead, I stayed with Terrance and Mary who were making pastry.

I tidied up the station countless times, sweeping and putting things away because I felt so awkward. When there was nothing left to clean, I asked Terrance what I could do because I was standing around. He had me begin the process of making tiramisu- I had to make moulds with a plastic sheeting. Then, I cut out circles of lady finger dough, dipped them in espresso, and filled the moulds.

Meanwhile, I had to separate egg whites. I was already on the brink of losing my patience, mental abilities, and sanity. I started cracking, and dripped the egg whites through my fingers. Terrance told me not to do this because my hands contain oil (which inhibit increasing their volume). I looked over to Joe, and he kind of rolled his eyes and told me that it doesn’t. He said that the amount of oil in my hands isn’t worth the time and tediousness of separating the eggs the correct way. Mary then made a meringue, and Terrance whipped the cream with gelatin. We always seem to do this-we always abandon Terrance when a project is almost completed because we have to leave.

Joe had clocked out for the day, but he hung around making a strudel. He found some old dough which needed to be used, and rolled it out until it was paper thin. Then, he brushed it with butter. Using my ladyfinger scraps, he diced them into small cubes, and layered the top with apples. When it came out of the oven, it was a beautiful, caramel colored crescent. Joe amazes me-he doesn’t need recipes; he just knows what to do and why it works.

He’s very scientific-I’m not. I try to understand him though when he gives explanations. They’re fascinating, and food chemistry explains so many foods we take for granted.  He explained natural yeast to me; I got so much more out of our talk than when I just read books.

Yeast eat the sugars in the flour and eat oxygen. They produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. When we punch down the dough, we expel the carbon dioxide and incorporate more oxygen- this encourages more growth. It went on and on…I’m so jealous of his science brain! Joe even arranges dough on proofing board in molecule-shaped patterns. To fit the most round doughs on a rectangle board, he makes a diamond pattern because, “ a diamond shaped molecule is the tightest and strongest shape.”

I was asking him for a bunch of baking advice for Ruthie’s . We want to start baking breads there but we’re unsure of a schedule. He told me to make the breads, and let the rise for the final time in the fridge. I can either then freeze the dough, or bake it for the next morning. I think I’m going to keep some of my starter at Ruthie’s so we can make sourdough.

Anyway, I’m kind of bummed out that today was not such a great day- I won’t be at the bakery next week on account I’m going to California. I need to email Joe about the following Saturday. They might be too busy for the Easter rush to watch over me. I hope  everything goes back to normal next time! (In retrospect, I’m not sure if it was the bakery’s dynamics or mine that were off…)

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Last week was pretty much a disaster; this week I wanted to redeem myself and change my attitude. I started today much better-I think I must have fallen asleep at 10PM yesterday, and ate a real breakfast and drank my coffee. Already the day started to look better.

When I got there, Joe was mixing, as per usual. When it came to scaling the doughs, I paid more attention to the order form. When I was reading it, I could visualize what needed to be done, rather than just hearing Joe say, “6 Kg by 20!” Reading the sheet reassured me while I was dividing. Once I start to get the hang of something though, for instance, the new 300g batards, they change it! They’re back to making some flavors (ie. rosemary, whole wheat) as 500g batards. I always need to double check with Joe to make sure if I’m doing what’s right.

We did the usual-croissants, brioche, almond twists, puff pastry, frangipane tarts, etc. I definitely was calmer this time-less klutzy, less frantic, and less nervous. I guess we all have off days (maybe I have more than others)?

Joe let me practice scoring the baguettes and other breads again. Since I can’t really practice at home with bread, I’ve been practicing “mentally” like Joe told me to. I’ll confess-I’m a doodler. All of my homework and papers have scribbles in the margins, but recently I’ve been practicing the motion of the slashes on my papers.

My slashings have improved, but I still need to practice my technique of moving the breads. I’m a little too rough, and I kind of deflate them. Also, when I score the bread, I use my right hand with the razor blade, but with my left, I tend to squash the top of the bread. Joe watches over me, and corrects my technique-I need to pinch the sides of the dough rather than put my hand on top.

I also have to remember what the different scorings are-baguettes have 5 diagonal lines, sourdough batards have 1 straight line, walnut raisin has three perpendicular, pugliese has 1 deep slash, etc. Not only do they add aesthetic appeal, they also differentiate the loaves.

I had a few moments of down time to breathe, and Terrance asked me to make Chocolate-chocolate-chocolate-chocolate-chocolate (fewf)  cookies for him. They have cocoa powder, dark, semi-sweet, white, and milk chocolate in them. I never made cookies at the bakery before, or have used Terrance’s recipes. Terrance uses the US Standard, while Joe uses Metric units. At first, this confused me and I weighed out ingredients in Kgs, which meant I  had to start over.

Working with Terrance is different than working with Joe-Joe kind of watches over me when I do something for the first time, while Terrance just has me go at it. Anyway, I set up my mise-en-place, which means to put in place. Rather than running around frantically, I measure ingredients and gather tools before I start mixing.

Usually, when I make cookies at home, I cream together the fat (butter) and sugar first. Then, I add eggs, and then the dry ingredients. However, we mixed these cookies differently. I melted the chocolate-Terrance has a unique way of doing this. He melts his chocolate on a sheet pan in a warm oven (this is unheard of for traditionalists.) To the melted chocolate, I added melted butter and coffee extract (to increase the flavor).

Meanwhile, I mixed the eggs, sugar and salt together. Then I added the (still warm) chocolate/butter mixture, and combined the two. I sifted in cocoa, flour, and baking powder. After I mixed these together, I noticed the batter was way too thin to be cookie dough.

I didn’t want to disappoint Terrance-I thought I made a mistake measuring ingredients. I called Joe over, and he saw I was panicking. He explained to me that since I added the warm chocolate/butter, there was not enough structure in the dough.  He helped me fix this though-we spread the batter on a baking tray, and let it sit for about an hour. It firmed up perfectly! Thank goodness.

This was supposed to be a one person project- but I had Joe help me, and I must have pestered Terrance a thousand times with questions (where do you keep the white chocolate?). I felt really bad and incompetent, and I apologized for having made it such a production. But Joe stopped me- he said, “have you made these before?” I said “No.” He respond with, “So then, you have nothing to apologize about. This is how you learn.” I’m so glad that he’s so understanding-he’s my positive counterpart.

I asked Joe a ton of questions about baking tips. I asked him to diagnose the problem I recently had with my Italian bread. He suggested that I reduce the hydration by about 5 percent, ferment my biga for at least 22 hours, refrigerate uncovered, and bake straight from the refrigerator. It’s so great that I can ask him! Also, it’s fascinating that he knows exactly what’s wrong and what needs to be done to correct the problem.

I pestered him about his sourdough too-he lovingly refers to his sourdough starter as “the bitch.” In one of my favorite books, Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain, he also calls his starter this. The bakery’s sourdough starter is made from 100% rye flour. Joe told me that the starter can be made with any flour, but rye has the most natural yeast.

Many recipes also start with some kind of acidic juice (usually pineapple). Joe not only has used pineapple juice, but has grape, fresh grapes, onion, apple, etc. to feed his starter. He even gave me a piece of the mother dough to bring home! I need to feed it like I would a pet. It needs to be fed 2:1 flour to water every day, or it needs to be put in the refrigerator. I can’t wait to use it-it will add so much flavor because it is so old!

Hanging out in the bakery with Joe and Terrance is a lot of fun too-they joke around so much! Terrance slides back and forth on the floors, climbs bags of flour to reach shelves, juggles dough (and sometimes knives!), etc. Joe was singing today-I have Rebecca Black’s song, Friday, stuck in my head (thanks Joe!). Honestly, when I drive  home, I’m beaming because I’ve had so much fun- even though I’m exhausted.

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The Equiptment

This is the dough scaler. First add the dough and sprinkle it with flour. Then, lock the lid, and press down on the left lever. This compresses the dough. Then, press down on the right lever. This cuts the dough into either 10 or 20 pieces depending on what is needed. Then, pull up both levers at thes same time. Next, unlock the lid, and press the levers down to push the dough up. The dough is now scaled and divided into pieces.

This is the large mixer. There is a hose which directly adds the water to the bowl of the mixer. Joe and I use this to mix the basic doughs. I’ll take a picture of the controls so I can explain the different speeds better. It mixes in first and second speed, for either a controlled time or a manual time.

This is the scale which is on a moveable storage cart. Here, the scale says -.40Kg. To measure on the scale, it needs to be zeroed out by pressing the tare button. This scale can measure both in Kg and Lb. Joe prefers to use European measurments, while Terrance prefers the American standard.

This is the convection oven which bakes cookies, quick breads, pastry, etc.. Joe does not like to use this oven, but prefers to use the steam ovens instead. There are two levels to the convection oven. To the left side of the oven, breads proof in the racks. On the right hand side, baked goods cool.

This is the steam oven. I’ll be sure to get a better picture of the loading rack as well as breads in the oven. The oven has four layers, two doors wide. The black handle opens up the glass so the loading rack can enter. The blue button injects steam-I typically press this for about ten seconds. The red lever opens a vent to release the steam after the first ten minutes of baking. The bottom of the oven is stone which distributes heat evenly.


This is the infamous dough roller/extruder. The dough goes on the belt, which moves back and forth, using the black handle/lever. To change the size of the dough, I press the silver handle to the correct thickness. This changes the distance between the rollers, and rolls the dough through to the desired thickness. It’s hard to control the machine because it goes through very fast.

This is a baking rack full of couche-lined, empty boards. Joe and I just unloaded these which were full of baguettes, ciabatta, boules, batards, pugliese, etc.. Mr. Granarolo is very specific about the couches-after we finished using them, we made sure they were folded neatly. The couche keeps the dough from sticking to the wooden boards. It also provdes the dough with structure while they proof.

This is a rack full of ingredients: raisins, almonds, walnuts, baking powder, chocolate , spices, etc. I’ll take better pictures (I promise!) but on the right hand side, you can see the 50 lb. bags of flour stacked up. On the left, these are refridgerators that hold the retarding laminated doughs

And here we are! Terrance is on the left, I’m in the back right, and Joe is up front. The table isn’t all that big! I’m working on cutting out pie crusts, Joe is lining pie plates, and Terrance is making brioche. Mary is taking the picture-she’s making pastry crème. Do you see how crowded the table is? The bakery is pretty tiny, but it’s got a lot of character.

This is Joe and I working on mini-pie crusts. He’s filling lining the pans while I’m cutting the circles out. A lot of the workers in the kitchen call me Joe’s “hermanita.” (This means little sister in Spanish.)  I guess it’s the hair?

 

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Today didn’t really start up (or end up) that great. I’m back to complaining-but bear with me. This week was pretty excruciating; every day of school pained me. I’m seriously suffering from senioritis-I just want to get out of high school and actually do something I want to do! On top of the monotonous week, I’ve been exhausted. Last night, I babysat and didn’t get home until 11PM. Okay, I know. 11? That’s not that late-but I’ve been beyond tired this whole week, and getting up at 5AM is pretty painful. I cannot wait until spring break-I can finally sleep in!

I left a little later than normal, forgot to eat breakfast, made too weak coffee…sounds great, right? I thought I was going to pass out while I was driving to Princeton. When I got there, I searched around (again) for free parking, but, there is none-anywhere! So, the $12.50 parking garage it is…

I’m not really sure where my brain was today, but I was a flustered mess for the majority of the time I spent at the bakery. Joe asked me to scale the dough out into different sized pieces-I just made everything so complicated. I’d forget to add more for rolls, I’d cut them too small, I’d not add flour so they stuck everywhere, I’d dropped dough on the floor. It was pathetic. I felt terrible, nervous and fidgety. “Sorry, sorry, sorry…” I could feel the nervousness and self-doubt piling up. I could barely shape the dough into boules or batards.

Joe asked me to roll out croissants, which I’ve done countless times. But this time, I rolled the dough too thin, or too long, or too wide. I forgot to flour the top, and all the croissants stuck. Mine were hideous too…The same thing happened when I was rolling out pizzas-I overworked the dough because I had rolled it out so many times because I’d shape it improperly. And again! When I was rolling out the dough for the blueberry-brioche, I couldn’t figure out what size to roll it to. Everything was falling apart, I was spiraling.

Joe realized how flustered and upset I was, and gave me the task to peel and core a ton of apples. This should be easy, right? Simple, right? I’d get in the rhythm of peeling apples, but the moment I wasn’t focused, I’d mess up. “Joe! What’s wrong? Joe, why isn’t it working? Joe, it’s not taking the core out! I’m sorry, sorry, sorry…!” It was pathetic. I’m so bummed out that I performed so dismally.

He brought me over to the ovens, where we’d bake off baguettes, batards, ciabatta, boules, etc. He refreshed all the cuts in my memory, and I was practicing transferring the baguettes. Oh my gosh. All of mine were crooked-they looked awful. “Relax. Just watch. Three movements-just watch.” He showed me over and over, and then let me practice again. When I took a breath and slowed down, things turned out a lot better. When I had to load the breads into the oven, I thought I was going to break something. I had to push the loader into the oven, which was at least a foot overhead. I thought my arms would fall off, or I’d damage something in the process. I’m such a klutz.

I explained to Joe about one of my frustrations with this project. It’s hard to replicate what I’m learning at home, because I can’t make bread in quantity. It’s hard for me to remember the technique and get better at it when I only practice once a week. For example, I can make baguettes at home, but I can’t practice scoring over and over again. I just don’t have the equipment to make the quantity I need to practice. He told me about practicing just using my mind. He told me that if I just visualize the steps over and over again, I can build my memory and get the technique down. I’m day dreaming about transferring baguettes…

Joe handled my craziness pretty well. He told me to relax, to breathe, to not worry so much. “Bread is forgiving!” he told me when I was fretting over the inconsistencies in my slashings. I guess I looked pretty distraught too and he told me, “It’s not the end of the world.” Although I know this, I felt like such a wreck and disappointment. Last week, I felt so assured and at ease in the bakery. What happened to my confidence?

After Mary arrived, I felt more comfortable. Maybe it’s because bread baking ceased, and Joe and I were working on pastry. Around 12, it’s pretty relaxed-Terrance and Joe joke around. It was nice having Mary there too because I didn’t wallow in my self-deprecation as much.

Joe also showed me a couple new breads today, which they make during the night shift. They make “concha” which is a Mexican bread. It’s a brioche bun, topped with a sugar-cookie-like topping of shortening, sugar, and flour. This is scored, and it looks like a shell. The other bread was a couronne, which is shaped like a crown. It is proofed in a circular basket, and it forms a ring. He was also explaining to me how to adjust cookie doughs to gain the desired result. He explained how substituting different protein-level flours, inverted sugars, clarified fats, baking temperatures/techniques, etc. all change the characteristics of the dough . He’s like a textbook!

By the end, I was feeling better and was less flustered. I need to learn how to relax! Anyway, I gained up enough courage to ask Joe if I could take some pictures of the bakery and the equipment. He said sure, as long as I don’t take pictures of him (Terrance said that too.) Oh well-both of them are in the photos anyway. =P

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I’ve been staying longer at the bakery on Saturdays because my friend, Mary comes from 11:30-1:30. Afterwards, we sometimes get coffee or lunch in downtown Princeton. Although it’s really fun to meet up with her and work with her in the bakery, I’ve been there since 7AM. It’s a long day, but I’ve been learning so much that I don’t really notice the time passing by (except that my feet hurt!).

We did the usual routine-mixing, kneading and shaping breads. When I was scaling out breads, Joe was quizzing me-if you have 8Kg divided by 10 loaves, and you want 1 KG pieces, what do you do? Although the math seems simple, it’s hard to think in different types of bread. For example, batards are 300g, boules are 1Kg, etc. It’s just a lot of numbers to mix up. I’m getting better at it though, and I’m understanding Joe’s method of measuring better.

I’m actually proud of myself! Joe asked me to make croissant dough, and I made the recipe from memory! It’s pretty simple, but still-I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. Also, while we were making pumpkin bread and other various recipes, I was trying to think ahead and get essential tools. Joe said the most important thing is the ability to be aware of other people and to assist them without being told. Although I still usually wait for directions, I can usually assume what’s to come next or what needs to be done in the meantime.

The more time I spend with Joe, the more he reminds me of my brother, Evan. Joe’s very scientific like my brother, and can explain to me the science of baking. It’s fascinating-I love hearing him explain, even though I sometimes get confused. I asked him a bunch of questions about baking bread in a home oven. Right now, I spray my loaves with a water mister to imitate the steam ovens. However, spraying the loaves creates bumps on the outside of the bread, rather than having a smooth crust. He told me to just spray the sides and the bottom of the oven. However, home ovens can never really replicate the bakery’s oven because the steam circulates in their ovens.

I’m totally fascinated by bread baking, but eggs and milk also are amazing ingredients. I asked him a billion questions about egg whites and their ability to inflate when whipped. Joe’s a textbook of information-he told me that when they’re mixed with an acid (like copper, cream of tartar, vinegar) egg whites can never break. Without an acid, the alkaline can break when they are over whipped. It’s awesome having Joe around because he can answer any question I have with an explanation that I can understand.

Since Joe and my brother, Evan, are very similar in age, it feels like I’m actually hanging out with my brother rather than a “boss-like” figure. I don’t really know how to explain it-they’re just very alike. For example, Evan’s very aware of other people’s needs and emotions just like Joe. Around 12, my energy was fading and I was getting flustered as I was making frangipane-filled puff pastry. Joe saw that I was tired, and he told me to grab a cup of coffee. However, the pot was empty, so Joe went to the front of the café and brought me a cup. I know-this doesn’t sound like much, but it was so thoughtful of him to go out of his way to make sure that I was comfortable. It’s really nice working in a place where everyone cares about each other-it really makes working fun and comfortable.

Since I’ve never been in the bakery’s basement, Joe gave me a tour. I’m only 5’2” and my head was brushing against the ceiling! He showed me rows upon rows of paper products, cups, bulk ingredients, etc. This was pretty similar to Ruthie’s bakery-all extra supplies are organized in every inch of space they have. Joe showed me a ton of extra pans and random tools that are used infrequently. This was like a goldmine to me-I love kitchen equipment. I could spend all day in a store like William-Sonoma just looking at pans and uni-purpose tools. I hope that we’ll use some of the interesting baskets and pans-they even had muffin top pans!

I usually only make the bread, but never bake it. This time, Joe let me load the ovens up with ciabatta, pugliese, baguette, and the batards. Very rarely, I do this with Mr. Granarolo-so it was nice to use the ovens with Joe. He was teaching me different slashing methods-each type of bread had their own style. Joe was experimenting too-he made a beautiful loaf with slashed like a wheat stalk. Like cake decorating, this is the artistic part of bread baking. I’m definitely getting better at using the lame- and Joe was very supportive and explained every movement carefully.

I’m definitely feeling more comfortable too-I’m stepping out of my shy self finally! I was talking to Terrance about the industry and the types of jobs he once had. He’s been pastry chef for 10 years at the Witherspoon Bread Company. However, he too started out as an intern when he was in college. He worked as dishwasher, prep cook, line cook, chef—all the way up the kitchen hierarchy. When his son was born, Terrance changed his job in order to watch his son grow up. As a chef in a restaurant, he worked all weekends, holidays, and every night until at least 1AM. As a pastry chef, Terrance works in the daytime, from about 9AM to 6PM. Baking wasn’t his first choice-but he’s learned to love pastry and his job.

Both Joe and Terrance are very versatile and flexible chefs-and I admire them for this. They both went with the flow-they didn’t throw out any opportunities that came their way. They don’t do their job grudgingly-they enjoy their craft and care about what they make while having fun.

So, after about 2 ½ months of interning, I feel like I’m becoming more comfortable with Terrance, Joe, and myself. I’m going to try not standing back anymore, but to speak up and ask questions. I’ll get a lot more out of my internship if I ask so I understand exactly what is going on.

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Since it is St. Patrick’s day this Thursday, the bakery’s special is Irish Soda Bread. Irish soda bread is a quick bread made from flour, salt, sugar, baking soda butter, and buttermilk. I measured out all the dry ingredients , to which I cut in cold butter. Then, I added cold buttermilk, and mixed in golden raisins. This technique is used to make biscuits-the bread is crumbly, yet moist. We shaped them into rounds, and then slashed them with a knife down the center. After we baked them off, Mr. Granarolo tasted it and decided that for the next batch, he’ll be using currants, which are a small, red raisin. For the amount of dough, the raisins were measly. Oh well-it still tasted good.

We made the usual doughs and shaped them too. However, while making tons of batards, Joe showed me a new bread they’ve been making. It’s an apricot, walnut, whole wheat batard. While shaping a batard, we sprinkled fresh cranberries on the dough before rolling it up. This creates a tart berry filling in the center. This has become a huge seller in the bakery; we must have made at least sixty.

I must have slept weird because my arm was killing me. While I was rolling out what must have been at least 100 croissants, I had the sharpest pain in my shoulder. It was really difficult to work, and I noticed I slowed down a lot, compared to my normal rate. Then I began worrying about the future-what if I get hurt? I want to be in the restaurant industry as my future career, but I can’t imagine what I’d do if I got seriously hurt. Making, shaping, and baking all require two hands, and it’s almost impossible to do it single-handedly. Also, the culinary industry is very strenuous-if I’m tired now, I can’t imagine what it will be like when I’m forty-five.

After the shaping a lot of breads, Joe told me about a special type of bread that he makes-a combination of brioche and croissant. The dough has both eggs and butter in it, but it is laminated with butter, making it flakey. He cut it into squares, piped an almond crème on it, and sprinkled it with blueberries. Then, he folded the dough, making a beautiful package. I asked him if it was a traditional bread, and he said no. He told me that if he tried to explain it to any customer, they wouldn’t understand the concept. If it taste and looks good, a customer doesn’t really care how it was made. Joe is an artisan- he takes such pride in his work, and he loves to create perfect breads.

Joe and I made madelines, which are a cake-like cookie baked in a pan which look like shells. He showed me how to use a pastry piping bag to fill the tins. I’m not really sure which hand is dominant-technically I’m a lefty, but I use my right hand to use a knife, scissors, and to shape breads. Anyway, using the pastry bag was rather difficult, because I couldn’t really get the pressure and direction right with it. Maybe with practice I could be neater, but I find that I’m better with breads than pastries. Pastry requires absolute aesthetic precision, while breads are rustic. I get pretty frustrated with little details-I have more of a big-picture, get-the-gist-of-it kind of personality than an exact one.

When I was baking the madelines, I forgot to turn on the oven timer. Joe always uses one, while Terrance does not. Terrance told me that he has in “internal timer,” and doesn’t need a machiene. I asked him if he ever burns anything, and he told me that he does burn things occasionally. Joe then informed me of a secret-always check the oven every seven-and-a-half minutes. This is the magic number-cookies usually take 12, cakes about 50, etc, and by checking often, nothing will ever have a chance to burn.

We also made palmiers, which are made from puff pastry and sugar. They look like butterflies-the sugar makes very distinct layers in the pastry. They were really fun to make-it was like laminating normal puff pastry, but I had to sprinkle it heavily with sugar While I was using the roller, I looked up at the customers- and guess what? I saw Ms. Marionni at the counter! It was so funny seeing her at the bakery. She told me that she loves the Witherspoon Bread Company, and she comes rather often. It’s also funny because I’ve actually never really eaten anything we make. So when I hear people rave about the bakery, it makes me want to try all the breads and pastries I’ve made.

I was definitely inspired to bake after being in the bakery today. It is my friend’s birthday, so I’m baking her a super-chocolatey cake. Even though I’m supposed to be baking breads for my project, I miss baking in general. Before WISE, I baked a lot of breads, but also pies, tarts, cookies, cakes, anything. But I’ve been so focused on breads and the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, that I haven’t baked a variety of goods in a long time. I’m glad to get back into the routine of baking, even though I don’t have a lot of time to do it.

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I just got back from the bakery-today was a long day. I got there around six thirty and left at about one. I’m exhausted! The only inconvenience there is about my internship is the time! I feel like if I wasn’t in school, I wouldn’t mind the early hours. It’s just that I’m so tired from the week of school (and the homework that goes along with it), and then I have my internship on Saturdays and my job on Sundays. I never have a chance to catch up on sleep or hang out with my friends, which puts a damper on senior year.

Anyway, when I got there, Joe was mixing doughs and running around the kitchen. While he was busy, I cracked about 150 eggs, watched Joe, and cleaned up the table.

Meanwhile, Mr. Granarolo let me bake off baguettes again, which was really exciting. I’ve gotten better at using the lame (or, maybe, I just understand the concept better). My slashes were much more uniform and correct, and I’ve gotten much better at using the ovens. I still have difficulty transferring the bread to the racks though. With more practice, I think I’ll improve though.

The bakery is functioning differently now-They’re making more flavors in smaller sizes. However, this means that each flavor has to be individually mixed, as well as shaped. It’s not that it’s such a big deal to sprinkle in some rosemary or a few cranberries, but it’s just an extra few moments from the clock. Anyway, since they’re making so many flavors, it’s hard to do with few laborers. Much to Joe’s dismay, the bakery now freezes his pre-shaped breads, in order for them to be baked as needed. I asked Joe if the customer’s could tell the difference. He said, “No, they can’t. But I can.” I totally relate to this statement-when I make anything-a bread, a cake, a chicken dish-I know when the quality is lacking. If I skimp on something, or over-knead, or do anything not right, I can taste it. Everyone else might say, “This is great!” but, I know, that it could be better. Joe feels the same way-and I don’t blame him. He takes such pride in his bread, and I admire that quality about him.

Anyway, Joe and I made and shaped tons of breads, like always. He always teaches me new tricks; For example, he showed me how to make the most croissants out of the dough-He puts the tip of the triangular cutter at the center of the dough, and then cuts. Something as simple as this can produce more croissants in the long run. He also showed me a new way to for a batard. Rather than folding down from the top, if one rolls it up from the bottom, it’s a lot more efficient.  Also, he showed me how to open a bag of flour. Okay- I know, this sounds simple. But Joe has a specific way. He picks up a 50 pound sack upside down, and tears off the bottom string, which unravels. He then hefts the bag into the container, and pulls upwards. This causes all the flour to come out without making a mess.

A new bread that I made today was a German rye-cracked wheat-molasses bread. It has some name, but I’m not quite sure of it. Joe was joking around that it tastes good with a beer, bratwurst, and mustard, while attending Oktoberfest.  Sometimes just the silly banter that goes on makes my day at the bakery.

Joe and I were organizing the walk-in freezer for the new breads to be put in. This took a while because the freezer has a lot of food stuffs in it, but the freezer itself is very small. We had to make room and organize the shelves to put the breads in. However, as we were doing this, we forgot about the brioche which had been mixing. When we came back, Joe was really upset-the brioche had been over-kneaded. The temperature of the dough had increased, and the gluten had been overdeveloped. It became a gloppy-mess of stringy dough. He attempted to rescue it by adding more flour, but it looked like all hope had been lost.

But wait! He decided to put it into buckets, and let it sit for an hour or two. He went back to the brioche dough, which looked much better and together. Then, he proceeded to stretch-and-fold the dough in order to provide more structure. Although it wasn’t as beautiful and easy to work with as normal, Joe successfully saved the dough from being wasted. (Although flour is cheap, 8 pounds of butter and 150 eggs are not).

Joe and I have a lot of time to chat and joke around, which makes the bakery really fun. Joe’s a really smart guy-he’s into chemistry, microbiology, and basically any subject, ever. I asked him a few questions about different types of yeast and the process of fermentation. He gave me a lot of information in little time- so, I’ll definitely need to do more research. But he explained the different by-products of yeast, the process of fermentation and the development of gluten. He gave me a lot of cool analogies to remember it too-the gluten of over-kneaded dough stretches more like an elastic waistband (sideways) than a nylon stocking (which stretches in all ways).

While I was reading a textbook I bought called Advanced Bread and Pastry, I read about different types of “mixes.” For instance, some baker’s prefer to use a “short mix.” This develops the gluten the least, and the dough requires a stretch-and-fold technique. It has the most irregular crumb compared to a very tight one. Joe said he doesn’t like this method very much, but prefers a mixing cycle that provides the dough with more structure. He also told me that breads that use the stretch-and-fold technique stale slower than breads with a normal mix. For instance, ciabatta, which is short mixed, last much longer than the baguette.

I was telling Joe about the difficulties which I experience when I attempt to explain anything. The other day, my friend and I were baking bread in my house. I get so into it-I forget to explain! Or I just say, “It’s like this!” and fail to really explain what I mean. I told Joe that he’s a great teacher-I mean it too. He doesn’t even get impatient when he’s explaining things for the first, or seventeenth, time. He said it’s because he knows it inside-and-out; he could probably even do it in his sleep. To be a teacher or a mentor, one must fully understand their subject, not just have a slight grasp. Hopefully by the time WISE is over, I’ll be able to explain the process of making bread.

I also asked Joe about working in the industry. He said that he really enjoys working long days, and a few years ago, he was working 14 hour days on a short day. He always worked holidays and weekends. I knew that he worked as a sous-chef, and I asked if he preferred working as a baker or a chef, and he said that he didn’t really mind. Joe likes to have a change of scenery every once in a while, so he says he doesn’t stay in the same business for more than a few years at a time. This way, he can explore more, learn more, and learn more about himself.

Anyway, Joe, Terrance, and I just joked around. I love spending time there-I spent six hours without even realizing it. Hanging out with Joe and Terrance remind me of hanging out with my own brothers. They’re both very close, and have a lot of inside jokes and tease each other endlessly. It’s very similar to a sibling relationship, except they’re adults. The more time I spend with Joe and Terrance, the more I think I’m going to miss them after WISE is over. I sound like a gushing little kid, but really, they’re two of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I’m so glad that they’re teaching me.

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