Friday, July 31, 2009

I Hate School

I haven't done much today other than work on my online class. I still don't feel like I've gotten very far or am close to being done. Stupid Labor Relations. Keep trucking on I suppose.

I took a break to bake some cookies and make granola bars to ship to my brother & newly accquired sister-in-law. They just moved to California after the wedding last weekend so I'm sending them a house-warming gift.

PB Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Raisin Granola Bars

Lunch was a simple affair.

Flat-out wrap stuffed with egg, mushrooms & feta cheese
Sliced Apple
Really long carrot

My roommates came home this evening and we made a trip to HEB and Blockbuster. For some reason group grocery shopping is really fun. We rented Defiance to watch. For dinner I made a simple salad.

4 oz. seared Tuna

chopped lettuce

24 g Avocado

2 sliced strawberries

And I may have had a spoonful of PB for dessert...

Tomorrow I'm meeting friends to make dosas(!) and German Chocolate cake. Great combination of flavors I think.

Last night I couldn't fall asleep until 5 AM due to my crazy sleeping schedule last week. Hopefully tonight will be better. Until tomorrow!

EDIT: Squeezed in a quick/short 1.5 mile run last night before bed. Needed out of the house & away from the stupid textbook!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Inside Day

Today was my last baking shift for the week. It went very smoothly. Luckily I have tomorrow and Saturday off. Plans for tomorrow include meeting up with a friend to go see the new Harry Potter and grabbing lunch. Saturday is dosa day! In between now and then I need to finish my online class though. Can't wait until its over.

Chocolate Croissants - Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Hot coffee, hot oven. - Loading pan bread into oven.

Food today was kind of all over the place. Before leaving for work I had a bowl of cereal.

40 g Kashi GoLean
3 Strawberries
Small handful of Blueberries
8 g Almond Butter
4 oz. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze

After work I came straight home, took a shower and went to sleep. I was able to sleep until 4 o'clock this afternoon without waking up. I think it's because it was cloudy and rainy this afternoon. As soon as I woke up my roommate knocked on my door sounding slightly panicky. I came out to see on the news that a chemical plant in College Station caught on fire. The fire department was recommending people in the surrounding area evacuate. Orange smoke was billowing into the air. Was a really disturbing site. My roommate and I didn't evacuate but definately stayed inside for the rest of the afternoon. So that's not something that happens everyday.

After I woke up I made an carrot, Almond butter and Flat out wrap. Then an hour later I was still kind of hungry so I made another bowl of cereal. I eat too much cereal.

Around 11:30 PM I started getting kind of hungry but the thought of a real meal was unappealing. Therefore, dinner was a strawberry banana smoothie. I love using our hand blender. So much cleaner than a regular blender and way more fun.

1 small Banana
20 g Blueberries
6 Strawberries
2 oz Non-Fat Plain Yogurt
Crushed Ice


Things I've Learned from My Co-Workers & Working in a Bakery

Just wanted to jot down a few of the valuable lessons I've learned over the course of this summer.
  1. If it doesn't contain meat it's probably not worth eating.
  2. Ovens may also serve as a laundry dryer.
  3. Time management is vital. Learn how to distribute work over the course of the shift so that you can look hard-at-work during important time periods.
  4. Always blame the heat or the mixer for poor quality bread.
  5. Guatemala has a fairly cold climate.
  6. Purchasing a gym membership would be a waste of money. Lifting 50 lb bags of flour, digging 40 lb doughs out of mixer, hand moulding 120 bagels, scooping batches of cookie dough, and rounding pizza dough are great free alternatives.
  7. Always take advantage of end-of-the-shift pastries.
  8. Only voice your opinion about important work issues to people who have no power.
  9. Everybody should speak spanish.
  10. Never throw out the extra sourdough starter before you've finished feeding the chef levain.
  11. Bagels should be boiled for approximately 20 seconds before baking.
  12. Be kind to the pizza guys and they will be kind to you.
  13. Converstations are vastly more interesting when holding an air microphone in front of the person speaking.
  14. Surveillance cameras make decent dance montage videos.
  15. When working with a peel remember there are two ends to the stick.

Muffins! & Seeded baguettes

The bread bags

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Slow Start

Obviously because yesterday's baking went so well, today had to be the complete opposite. I had to wait several hours for the dough to adequately proof, the oven was super hot, I nearly burnt a jumbo loaf, and I didn't finish until nearly 8 o'clock.
The Bread Baker's schedule runs something like this:
  1. Arrive at 1 AM and open door of brick oven to allow it to cool
  2. Check doughs in retarder - determine if doughs need addition 'floor time' to proof. If doughs need more time I pull them out of the retarder and into the warmer bakery.
  3. Sweep ashes out of brick oven
  4. Create bags for the finished bread by placing labels and price stamps on bags
  5. Set up bagel equipment- turn on stove (often much harder than it sounds), fill large steel pot with water, and pull bagels out of kitchen cooler.
  6. Preparing and scoring loaves to go in oven
  7. Baking the bread- normally I alternate between the brick oven and MIWE oven. Typically the jumbo loaves are ready first & I load them into the MIWE. Then the pan loaves and batards are ready and I load them into the brick oven with a peel. Next, I normally bake focaccia in the brick oven. Then the sourdough soup bowls are loaded into the MIWE.
  8. Mix poolishes for following day
  9. Boil & top bagels- bake bagels in MIWE
  10. Prepare and score baguettes- bake baguettes in MIWE
  11. Slice pan loaves in bread slicer
  12. Bag all products and sort orders properly
  13. Build a fire in brick oven, sweep & clean up area

Later I'll post an outline of the entire production schedule our bakery uses for bread and pastries.

Jumbo whole wheat loaf scored and ready for the oven. The WW loaf is the hardest for me to score. Its better than when I first started it still needs help.

All the jumbos baked and cooling

I came home, took a shower and went straight to bed. Very tired. I can't seem to sleep past 3:30 PM though, so I've been averaging about 6 hours of sleep a day. When I woke up I was ridiculously hungry but remembered I have virtually no food. I made a mushroom/cheese/egg white omelet with a sliced apple and PB.

For dessert I had a couple squares of dark chocolate.

Before I went grocery shopping I was hungry & knew I'd be extremely hungry by the time I got home if I didn't have a snack. So naturally I had cereal.

35 g Kashi Good Friends

20 g Blueberries

3 oz Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze

Dinner included:

Gardenburger VeggieMedley pattie

1/2 Flatout wrap

14 g Reduced Fat Feta cheese

Steamed broccoli & carrots

Plans for this evening, as it's already 9:30, include finishing and turning in my exam, shredding with Jillian, and tidying up the kitchen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Tuesday

My baking shift went really well this morning. All the doughs were adequately proofed and ready for the oven around 1:30 am so that made the entire shift run much smoother. I was also able to bake much more of the bread in the brick oven than usual becuase it cooled down faster this morning.

These are parmesan cheese and Italian batards baked in the brick oven.

Pan loaves ready to go into be scored and put in the oven.

When I got home from work I made a quick egg white, mushroom & cheese omlet before showering and crashing into bed. I woke up around 3:30 pm and fixed a terrific bowl of cereal.

  • 45 g Kashi GoLean
  • 1/2 Banana
    40 g Blueberries
  • 8 g HEB Honey Roasted PB
  • 4 oz Unsweetened Almond Breeze

I had plans to meet some friends for a Bible study this evening, so I whipped up a pan of brownies to take. These are my go-to brownies when I need something fast, simple & delicious. Bible study was with a group of international students (primarily from India) who are studying at Texas A&M. Saturday we have plans to make dosas!

I ate a corner piece- I love the corners! I got home around 8:30 and started making a real dinner. I threw a sliced carrot and squash (seasoned with pepper and chili powder) into the oven to roast at 400* for about twenty minutes and pan-seared a tuna filet when they were almost done. Muy tasty.

Now I need to finish my exam and possibly do some grocery shopping. I'm running low on vegetables and fruit. I am also shredding it out later with Jillian. Good times! Must go be productive!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Middle of the Night

Morning! I just got off my shift at the bakery. Another quality seven hours well spent with bread. I took my camera in this morning to take some pictures. My co-worker (actually the only other person there) laughed at me when I took a picture of proofing dough. He never thought unbaked bread was interesting enough to photograph. I think its totally photogenic- but I am a huge baking nerd.

This is the wood-fired brick oven that smells wonderful & creates beautiful things. We use it to bake pan loaves, focaccia and sourdough batards. During the day it's used for pizzas!

These are poppy seed bagels waiting to be baked. I dipped them in simmering water before topping them with seeds to give them that lovely chewy texture.

View of the bakery. Kinda narrow huh?

During my shift I consumed a Chocolate Chip Clif ZBar and loads of coffee for fuel. For the most part I keep very busy preparing doughs, baking bread and packaging the finished product. Not a lot of time for breaks or snacks. I always think it's kind of ironic to eat something that didn't come out of the bakery while I work there. Oh well.

Well, I am going to sleep now. I'm Shredding this evening and then cracking down on my homework!!