Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Bake in the Life

Ahhh, Thursday. The weekend is coming, and we're cruising ahead to springtime. Thursday should be a breeze, right?

Au contraire, mon frère (and anyone else reading).

Thursday is known around this narrow little neck of the woods as Baking Day. Let me show you:

I get up at 6 AM, run through my usual morning routine, wake up the computer, and tie on my apron by 7 AM to slip into my baking groove. The artisan dough, rising since last night, gets shaped into boules and popped onto a baking sheet to rest while I mix up the first batch of maple-oatmeal bread dough.

Everything is a blur for a while, as I mix batch after batch of dough (four rounds of maple oatmeal) and start baking off the loaves. By 9:30 or 10, though, the first loaves are cooling on the rack, basking in the morning sunlight, while I take a short break to make a fresh cup of tea.

This week's specialty loaf is this artisan boule studded with delicious dill cheddar curds from Blue Jacket Dairy. Good thing I had a wee bit of dough left to make a small roll for myself -- a very tempting treat for tea time!

All that good local maple syrup and sugar, whole wheat flour, butter, and oats just can't contain themselves -- these loaves are bursting at the seams!

By midday, all the maple-oatmeal loaves (all eight) are done, and I've switched over to making pains aux noix. Though these loaves may look like they've arrived from Easter Island, the recipe is a French one, made Wooster-wonderful with home-milled local spelt, local butter, and local maple syrup.

After an afternoon meeting and a conference online with one of my clients, I switch over to the last baked items, having baked 21 loaves of bread for the day. I whip out a batch of sesame crackers (again with the local spelt flour), then finish with a flourish and a dozen pesto scones for the bakery case.

All in all, I spent the better part of 12 hours baking today -- and while you might think that overwhelming, I would counter with the fact that my place has an overwhelmingly tantalizing aroma of yeast, butter, basil, and nuts right now. Heaven!

I'll finish packaging everything later and take them to the market tomorrow for Saturday's market day.

And next week, I'll do it all over again.

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