Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by melmck

  1. Thanks. Here is what we've been doing: 8AM make levains for 2 types bread 3PM mix the 2 doughs give turns for 1 1/2 hours at room temp Bulk retard overnight 3AM Put doughs in proofer mix 3 other doughs proof shape bake all done by 7:30
  2. I was bored with 'classic' cinn rolls, so now I make mine with Danish dough, I spray with water, spread cinn sugar all over. roll it up. in the morning I proof until poofy and light, hit it with cinn sug mist with water again, this caramelizes while baking and makes a nice sugar crust. they are awesome, and a best seller, on weekend I can barely keep up. I can't eat the ooey-gooey kind anymore, they are a stomach bomb and give me heartburn. If you look at how much butter gets slapped all over in under practically injected, it just scares me. sigh for a better metabolism!
  3. unprocessed cane sugar, honey use Egg Replacer as a leavener no dairy neccesary! use soy milk if it is.
  4. yeah, yeah, yeah. it is all my decision and my business, I am well aware of that. I do not expect anyone to work like me.I can even look back on past jobs where bosses did expect that, give your life, blood,sweat and tears. It's a freakin' crazy business. I am a workaholic. I do dream of the day I can spend a few days soaking in the hot springs at Breitenbush and become a new person again. (That's what happens!!) I know those concerned (lots of people, friends, family) say oh you can't do this....I say, well do you want to volunteer to work for free? take the load off since you are so concerned? hmmmm beleive me I am always thinking of ways to make production more efficient. The 3AM thing is a big issue right now, I am looking at schedules and thinking how can I revamp the bread schedule. As far as Frenchy leaving, his best friend lives there and it was a financial move, making double what he could make in Portland. I can't compete with that, and he did say if it wasn't for the $$$ to be made there he would never leave. sigh... I remember once on my last day of a job, where I worked 6 days 14-18 hours, this bratty intern asked me why I was leaving "Do you need something more challenging?" bwah ha ha ha ha...no, kid I want something that is cake....
  5. oh, chiantiglace, can I clone you? it seems we are simpatico in attitude. !@#$&* A, people, there are harder things in life than getting up early! If I can adjust to a grueling schedule of tons of work and little sleep you can get up two hours earlier! Criminy!!! It is also fascinating that in an area that has had the highest unemployment in the country for years, those seeking jobs will still turn something down because they have to get up early. I guess welfare and state funded aid is easier??? So I'm a workaholic. I do have a few fabulous employees that I have to kick out the door so they don't get overtime, they would work and work til all was done if I didn't shove them out. I love these people! They work like I worked when I was someone's employee. You sure can spot the 'do the bare minimum' types... ok, tired going to bed.........................
  6. whoa- now we are trying to keep up! we are making Danish and croissants like lunatics- I did 22 patons Saturday!! Sales are fantastic and getting tons of new people in, all happy too. I worked 120 hours last week, to keep up with sales and having lost my Frenchman. And his replacement, he's gonna leave too -got a better offer with more benefits and doesn't have to start at 3am. that's right, so now when I am at my absolute busiest running my ass off I don't have enough people. so in between running 200 mph I am trying to find more people who aren't just damn culinary students who say 'But I can learn!" sorry, kids.... so it is good overall, because it means I can afford to pay dem bills. I am averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night, basically I wake up shower work go home eat shower bed repeat. There are certain folks out there who are driving me nuts by saying "that's no kind of life"blah blah blah hmmm, think I want to work this hard? like it? glutton for punishment? masochist? oh yeah, maybe it's because I have tons of debt, want to make money and kick my husband's ass out of here so he doesn't have to come in here and work 4 hours everyday after his job. I am doing what has to be done, and it seems to be working because I had 310 customers in one day. For a little place with 8 tables that's not too shabby!
  7. I now operate at 200 miles per hour, we are so slammed- nonstop, trying to keep up no time to pee eat rest or anything Danish , croissant flying off shelves, Polenta bread too--- see the power that journalists and editors have?? lunch biz slammin I am terrified of Easter! I know it's gonna be like Christmas Eve, and last weekend was already like it!! We are doing Christmas numbers, everyday. This is fantastic, I can pay my bills, this is scary, trying to keep up. this is adrenaline, pure adrenaline
  8. We are slammed!!!! To quote the dorky McDonald's phrase, "I'M LOVIN' IT!!!!" also I broke my toe last weekend, dropped a peel full of bread, it smashed straight down. Yeeeouch. Oh well, no time for that shit!! Yep I kept on working without stopping (not an option)
  9. Isn't that awesome??? Thanks!! I think the sexual slant on the article is hilarious too, one of my best friends who is gay said "You just won over every lesbian in the city!" I guess to be fair I'd better make the men moan too.....
  10. Thanks for posting the link! Yes I am very happy with it, except for the dumb picture which looks like I'm lurching in to the case! And one mistake saying I taught myself to bake AFTER working everywhere in town- hardly makes sense! hey it's OK, it's gonna be a slammin weekend, Thank you Nancy!!!! So right in the midst of getting busier and busier, my favorite french dude up and vamooses to Vegas, for a great job. (Neil- keep your eye out for Emmanuel-- he smokes 12 cigarettes at once!) (kidding) we will miss him terribly, he really helped me get this place going... I found someone good so I don't expect any serious problems with inconsistency, he has jumped right in and is doing fine.
  11. dumbest question I've ever been asked by a prospective employee---- "What do I use to stir my coffee???" *runs away laughing* this person did not get the job...
  12. ...I don't find the perfect recipe. Well, perfect in my mind -- the ones I grew up on from Hough's Bakery around Cleveland,anyone out there who's experienced them knows what I'm talkin' 'bout. The majority of HCB out there are too bready, too briochey, too dry or hard or taste like citron. these were a cross between cake and bread, and the sugar was crusted, maybe sugar and whites, not an icing but this yummy crusty sugar cross. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm damn they were good. so throw me your favorite HCB recipes, let's try to perfect that one too, like the choc cake thread...
  13. hey it's all a struggle. I accept it. oh,and basically every piece of equipment I have has broken down and needed thousands in repair! you know, I can't even get upset any more, just move forward, try to fix it myself and call for help when I need it!
  14. oh yeah, this is where I step in...so many comments. First off, a very good friend of mine, Jon Beeaker, traveled all over Southeast Asia researching the cuisines. One dish that I absolutely love is a Vietnamese dish called Caramel Chicken. It's so damn good, you have to kill yourself when you eat it! (Big Night ref) it is very spicy, sweet, sour, salty, your taste buds go insane, flitting back and forth between the flavors. Perfect example, just because it has sugar in it doesn't mean it's dessert. Now for my part, I "go both ways" ~~sweet and savory. Plus bread!! I do all equally well. And bread to boot, I always considered that there were 3 types of division-- pastry chefs, chefs, and bakers. Now I am all three. I believe it is all a mindset. "I don't have the patience for it" blah blah blah. Wanna master something ? Read, research and develop. Bust out of that comfort zone where you know you are good at that One Thing. one thing ain't enough! Not in my book anyway. This is one of the fun parts of owning my own place, and because it is a retail environment I have even more chances to play around and see what sells. Mix it up, and sell! I do a lot of savory bakery items as well as desserts. Quiche, savory puddings, tarts, tortes, pies,turnovers, strudels, empanadas, you name it. Plus a whole lunch menu, of soups, salads, panini, sandwiches etc. I get the full range. I also mix stuff up in my bread. I currently have a very sour bread that I mix an apple compote into (apples, currants, cinnamon, walnuts) again, you palate is taken by surprise, you think it will be a sweet bread but oh no, baby- it's sour.with hints of fruitiness and nutty-ness. crossover. It's how good stuff is born. sometimes I see two sheetpans of random stuff stacked next to each other , and think, y'all need to hook up! thus a new creation is born. I also poo-pooh the notion that baking is ALL science and chemistry, and not a freewheelin' art form.sure if we want to get technical, each and every part of cooking contains that. read your Harold McGee!!! but that you have to measure, weigh do everything so damn carefully, when you are learning how to do it -sure. once you've mastered, you can eyeball just as easily as cooking on the line and preparing savory dishes. don't even need recipes for a lot of stuff I do. Once I had an event for 500 people, I made Goat Cheese galettes with blood orange compote, I totally winged the filling, and ended up scraping the last bit out to complete the 500th tart. Eyeballin'! It is possible. Don't box yourself in to set rules that are becoming passe'. Eliminating the stuffiness and historical formalities of Classic Cooking is up to us.
  15. Sara Perry has book out called 'Everything Tastes Better with Bacon" and she has desserts in there too, it's good!
  16. I am nuts about good grapefruit, and have them in my dessert case now- pate sucre tart crust, sweetened mascarpone filling, grapefruit & blood orange segments with a vanilla bean glaze. simple compotes with poundcakes grapefruit napoleon open stacked,sponge cake with citrus segments
  17. Spare Change for World Pastry Cup!!! I want to go, it would be super-cool, but I gots no $$$ for that. I am going to do a new thread, maybe someone will take pity and pay the $2000 tuition for me!! Help, people, I'm not making any money yet!!! You may have noticed there's a few topics I leave out from this blog: Finances Specific problems with employees Names ya know, stuff that could land my @$$ in *%$@. I decided that I would say this though, regarding finances- no I personally am not making any money yet. I have been sans salary for over a year now. Needless to say it is very hard on the personal finances. I did speak with various bakery owners pre-start-up and they all said the same, didn't really get paid the first year. I want to be out of bakery debt more than anything, and I would rather be personally 'po folk' and get the bills out of the way.
  18. our markets are particularly cool. and I can't wait for the Portland Public Market to get going(like Pike Place, sans Puget Sound) as I would like to be a part of that as well. Pike Place was very influential on me as a chef. Cooking from the market was deeply ingrained in me, which is why earlier in the thread I was expressing my views about out of season/imported produce. What we can't actually grow here, yes we import. But everything else has to damn well wait til it's ready. *tapping fingers* there are several markets around town, and one close to my neighborhood actually, but I know wouldn't be as worth it as the downtown Park Blocks on Saturdays. Masses, throngs of people. No fee to get in , it's a farmer's market! People go to spend money, shop, enjoy the beauty of the location, and soak in the vibe. There are two other bakeries that were there last year, they probably will be again. One has kind of basic staple items, the other chi-chi patisserie. I fall in the middle with a unique mix of rustic/chichi. Plus anything I can sell I will ! Preserves, sauces, snacks, etc. The downtown crowd has a much better demographic as well. and will be good exposure to those across the river, up in the hills. so we'll see how it goes!
  19. true enough about the kids, Anne. I am very impatient for rhubarb to hurry up and get its butt in here. I am dying for rhubarb!!! I am applying for a booth at the Portland Farmer's Market. I think it will not only be fun, because market setiings are so cool; but also be great exposure and I should make good sales. Then I can grab my produce right there & then. (well, whoever works it!) I wish I could but that won't be possible for a while.
  20. melmck

    Rice Pudding

    Cold rice pudding??? Barbaric!!! We are not the huns, people. Sorry I am spoiled I only eat it fresh off the stove or oven, which is why I have never/will never put a rice pudding on any of my menus.
  21. I just scrolled through some of the early entries in my blog, and I feel like a different person now. In the beginning, it's exciting, I had energy/optimism. and pre-conceived notions. Now that they've all beeen smashed to bits, I simply deal with each day, each of the several tasks at hand at every moment.. I look back and see where I was stressed out, where I was exhausted, where I was unmotivated, and now we are definitely in a groove, a routine if you will-- all days lead up to Saturday, the biggest day. It's all about Saturday and SUnday. It's odd to be in the public eye as well, and to be complimented so frequently. I have been arrogant at times in my life, mostly because I am confident and know that what I am doing is really good stuff.but when it comes down to it I still say awww shucks. I'm still a dork who plays air guitar to AC/DC, The Scorpions and Rush when driving , duh.
  22. chefpeon- girrrrrrrrrl, we need a drink!! yep, I can't have kids either. So I had a 2700 sq ft bakery and 7 employees instead. (plus 5 nephews, 1 niece) I used to hold the thermometer against a light bulb.....on gym day. another thing I don't get about "that was then" when I was growing up in Ohio we used to have 3 feet of snow and never once got a 'snow day' from school.what the hell? now flakes fall and people run for the hills to stock up like survivalists. Wussies! wussies I tells ya. If you wanted to take the past few topics and condense them it boils down to-- This Is No Place for the Weak!! To work these jobs we do, unless you are cushed out, we must possess physical stamina, mental clarity, emotional balance. Motivation. Sure, you can pull it off if you are a nutcase. or an alcoholic. or whatever! I may become one of those yet......
  23. hell, we haven't even touched down on women's pain/discomfort during menstruation! or enodometriosis, in my case. hefting a 55# block of butter when you have a tumor the size of a grapefruit is super cool. sorry, dudes, you are out of the loop in this one! I have had employees, and not neccesarily when I've been the owner, that just automatically call in when they get their period! "I have cramps!" so fucking what, we all do!! and some of us have way worse problems so take a fricken Pamprin and get back to work. I had open surgery in 1993, nice 7.5" scar down my gut. I went back to work after 5 weeks, and thought I would be doing "light duty", hell no, how about full extra-hard duty!! I have to say that even though it was excruciating and I would go home shaking, I healed faster.
  24. I guess it all depends, and is a case by case basis. Obviously if you are contagious, that's not good. It's a different story when people automatically assume they are contagious just because they aren't feeling '100%'. I am not heartless and do not want to see people in physical pain. If you broke up with your bf/gf/whatever,and it's making you feel sick, I DON"T CARE. I suffer from migraines, and have only called in twice in 6 years even when I was getting 12 a month. I have to work through it. I need to pay my bills. There has never been the luxury of resting and getting myself well. Let me tell you how much I love that advice! In relevance to my tale, however, the fact is that there is no one to cover me. Labor is still my biggest issue. I worked Valentine's alone to save labor, because I do not get paid. That means maybe I can pay my bills. I handled it, I survived. When I had to work with the food poisoning, not contagious, I also had my main guy out, taking care of his ex who had a horrible car accident. Thus, no choice. This is the information that I am sharing in how it pertains to my daily life in a new business. OMG< sometimes it sucks. So if the folks out there reading this see what it takes, in my honest words, it may give them something to think about. It ain't easy. I am not making this shit up. Yesterday, was an amazing day for networking. I feel like we are on the cusp (at this point my husband said, of what failure?No jackass, success!)(you see he is a pessimist/realist, and I am the eternal optimist) I feel like things are moving forward in a good way. Now I need the cash register to be stuffed full of 20's and 50's.
  • Create New...