Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CHALLAH! (pronounced, HALLAH!)

I always gazed over at the bakeshop as a blissful area where things were calm and joyful with a slower pace and easier load. Now, as I walk through the eating area from the "hot side" over to the bakery I get a pit in my stomach that feels like dread as I take on another day. True, it's only day three but I can say with certainty being in the bakeshop is nothing like I pictured. Picture big bins of baking soda and cream of tartar next to 20 and 40 qt. Hobart mixers and flour spotting the flour that people's busy feet trample as they rush from scales to work stations. Picture crates of eggs and pounds of butter sitting out and people at the scaling station taking .02 ounces of flour off a scale to make it a perfect measurement. OOOOH man.
The first day we learned the "creaming method," which basically means creaming butter and sugars etc. Being in groups of three we each usually have one thing to make per day. I made blueberry muffins. You'd think it would be fun and I would look like the Barefoot Contessa from the Food Network gathering my ingredients and mixing them together with such professionalism and ease, but honestly, it was really un-fun. The mixers are huge, there are so many different flour bins I stopped counting and we use scales for EVERYTHING. The scales are in one central location so you need to bring big bowls and supplies to a center island to weigh everything out and then truck it back to your work station, usually after waiting in a short line for a scale. My muffins turned out alright, despite me "overworking" the blueberries. Woops. I think I'll stick to making blueberry muffins at home.
Yesterday I made Challah, which is a Jewish bread made as a sacrifice to God. Traditionally, this bread is made on Friday to be eaten on Saturday, the Sabbath. As you might see in my picture, some loaves have sesame seeds, which symbolize God sending down mana to the Israelites while they were in the desert. It's not my favorite bread to eat but after making the mistake of using "wheat high-gluten" flour instead of regular I liked the taste more. In fact, Chef liked it so much he brought a loaf home! The "wheat high-gluten" flour mistake was made by my good ole' teammate Earl who measured the flour out the day before. Remember him from the Ranch Packet story? Oh the beat goes on.
So, okay, I don't like making bread right now. I just don't get excited. I want it to be done and for me to eat it, but I don't want to deal with baker's percent and starters and fermentation and yeast. Maybe my love will grow today as I take on Sourdough Multigrain and Rosemary and Olive bread. Really though, bring on the cake baking, you know?