Bakery Day 87: day at the office

Today was a typical Wednesday for me. I got to do some paperwork at home before going to the bakery. What was different was that I had many things already prepped for tomorrow so I did not have to work so much, or so hard.

I was out of croissants so I made two batches. I was supposed to freeze one but I forgot in the middle and just kept rolling them. So, I can leave them refrigerated tomorrow for Friday that will be no problem, but maybe I will need them tomorrow since it is market day in Inca.  With the expected rain, who knows?!?!?!?

One thing I noticed today was how many customers came in to the store looking for bread, and I kept hearing Sandy have to explain that on Wednesday’s we do not bake bread. I think this must change. If people want bread we must provide it first and foremost.

I really do not know how businesses survive, at least in Spain. There are so many taxes and charges, and fees, and more that it is nearly impossible to see green. For me, this is quite true. I suppose at some point things will turn and we will start making money, but this first year is going to be a doozie for sure 🙂

Friday night I decided to do sushi for tapas. I want to do something different and I want a break from the same routine. So, here is my planned menu:

1. spicy edamame in a bowl
2. caviar on avocado cucumber roll (nori on outside. Sushi inside only half way with caviar filling the rest)
3. avocado cucumber mango roll
4. Gyoza
5. cucumber roll with avocado on outside (from inside out: cucumber, nori, rice, avocado)
6. Tempura

I am not sure exactly how much work this will be. I mean, I know how long it takes to make most of these, but, I need to find edamame for starters. Without it, I need a new menu item 🙂  And, once I do find them, I need to find a way to keep them warm until served. They are always better warm!!!

I never made Japanese dumplings before (gyoza) so that will be a bit of a treat. I am nervous I will need to search for specific flour… if so, I will sub this out for something different as well. What is important is that I make plenty, and they are beautiful…

And finally.. a customer who comes now fairly regular forwarded a complaint today. She said her neighbor (whom I provide bread for his horses at no cost) complained and said he would never come to the bakery. She said that he came at 6:30 to make a reservation for 6 people and when he brought them back at 7:30 we turned them away for tapas. Sandy gave me a completely different account of the story and I believe her 100%. She said he stopped in at 6:30 and said maybe he would come back with some others. At 7:30 he came in and said they decided to go somewhere else. It is not likely there is a middle ground to this story and there would be no reason for Sandy to not tell the truth, especially since we are both so customer focused and do everything we can to support every need of everyone who walks through the door.

Maybe it was not nice, but I told the woman to let him know it is fine if he never comes to the bakery but please keep enjoying that lovely free bread for his horses.

And that is that!

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s entry…  and remember….

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Day 86: depressing

I did not feel well today with my work. I gave the integral bread a good amount of time for fermentation and they easily got to 80% when I put them in the oven.  Yet, somehow by the end they were smaller when they came out of the oven and just terrible in my opinion.

That set a tone for the day. I had some other baking failures as well, including the coffee chocolate chip cookies and a cake I made. I managed to bake a couple of other things that turned out nicely and sandy helped me some as well.

But I think most of my down mood came from spending an hour at the phone place getting a factura for my stolen security system. This just reminded me of how difficult things have been and still seem to be two steps backwards. Honestly, I wanted to give up today and just say forget it, it is just not worth this battle anymore. Then I am reminded that I have no money left and I have no other options. But it also occurred to me that walking away is admitting I was beat. I am in no way ready to admit that.

So, after 14 hours of work today I went home and just decided to not think about this anymore today. Tomorow is a new day and I embrace that notion as a way to sleep perfectly tonight.  I am not surprised by my mood swings from excited to sad. Mainly because of everything involved. I just have to keep remembering that every tunnel has a light at the end of it and it is me who chooses if I want to go towards the light or not.

Thank you for reading ❤️

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Day 84: Third time is a charm

I have officially lost my sense of humor regarding this topic. Last night we were broken into again. This time from a different door. I try to make light of it or jokes or find the good in it, but really, I just feel creepy inside.

What was taken: Well, they did not take much. One of the speakers for the bluetooth sound we had for the bakery. They took the alarm for the security system I am installing. They rummaged around behind the counter looking for goodies and found none. And then, they took 6 ensaimadas and a bottle of wine.

What else can I say at this point? I am happy they have good taste in ensaimadas? It just makes me sick to my stomach.

Today was the bread fair and we had a table. It was raining in the morning but cleared up nicely. There were many bread businesses and it was nice to see some of their work. We did well. We sold many breads and all of the croissants. We only sold a few ensaimadas, but such is life. I am really glad we were there and our friend Paola helped us. Also, when the mayor stopped I told him we were broken in for a third time, so he is now on alert. I like him and think he really does try to do good things for Inca.

Sandy did a great job wrapping up the breads for selling and I am so happy she did. She really works so hard and even though she was very upset this morning, she managed to pull things together and make sure everything ran smooth. I know she is tired, I see it on her face and I am doing the best I can to help her more and be more supportive so she can feel more secure, rested, and smile.

As always, thank you very much for reading the chronicles of our bakery life.

#doeverythingwithlove or do not do it at all!

Baku day 83: A slow day at the office

I did not so much baking this morning at the bakery, instead I used some of the time to go to he city to get some supplies for the bakery. And this I did.

It makes me excited to think of the creative foods we can sell with the new gold I picked up. I also managed to get some boxes for ensaimadas and cakes and pastries. These things are expensive and it’s ridiculous!! There must be more cost effective suppliers somewhere and at the same time using recycled materials. Kind of off topic but I just remembered someone had a purse they showed me some days back and it was made from recycled jeans…

Tomorow will be quite a day. I will be at the bread fair with a table while Sandy is at the bakery. Because it is a festival we will be open longer at the bakery. The bad news is it is supposed to rain all day. Not sure how I will manage carrying everything to the event as it will be more work to drive my car there and then back again and then two more times .. but I prefer to be walking since it is only about 900 meters away. To be honest, with the rain I do not want to do the fair but we are obligated. Not many people will come and time will pass very slowly. I also do not want to be outside while it is raining. Even though we will be under a cover it will still be damp. Such is life !!

i have to be up in 5,5 hours so I sign off now … I am looking forward to sleeping on Monday 😂😂

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Days 81 & 82: lots of catching up

First, I am very sorry for not posting yesterday, I worked so long and hard I just passed out when I got home. In fact, I worked 14 straight hours today but I do not want to miss making posts.

i started yesterday with making large batches of everything. The first was 7.1kg of chocolate chip cookie dough. Sadly I actually messed up the recipe and had to remix two times. Prep in bulk is not as simple as I thought. I also made a new simple sugar cookie recipe which I will use for two types of cookies. I then made four double batches of croissant dough and then  laminated and cut them. Everything went in the new beautiful freezer.

today I did a lot more prep. I made ensaimadas (4kg) which yielded about 50 80g ensaimadas. I baked some of the cookies and some of the croissants. I also baked the bread masa I made last night.

Then I made a pizza dough for tapas and then made some tapas. After that I made more bread masa for tomorrow. Oh, I also made a double layer chocolate cake with mousse in the middle and chocolate frosting on the outside. It is the same cake I made for Sandy’s birthday. Sadly, the first cake was bonk because I did not put enough baking powder.

Here is a tip for you in case you do not know:  baking powder makes things rise, and baking soda makes things spread out.

We had I think 10-12 customers tonight for tapas too.

And finally… Sunday I am nervous about. We will be open all day at the bakery and I will be at the bread fair with a stand all day. Sandy is going to be working very hard. We will also be open Sunday night. This too makes me nervous. It is good we will he closed on Monday.

Thanks for reading today’s update and sorry I missed yesterday again. I hope you enjoyed today’s post!❤️

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Day 80: Making a schedule

Today was a day of work, even though we were not open. Yesterday I bought a new freezer and a small refrigerator. This frees up a lot of space in the kitchen for me to make things in bulk, some of which I can freeze and some I can put in the refrigerator. THAT, makes me very happy!!!

I also built a couple of more shelves and moved a few things around. The idea is to make the work space as easy as possible so I can move freely without working around things. It is not easy, but I manage so far. Sometimes I really like the enclosed space, but other times, I realize how much easier my work would be even if I had double the space.  Such is life, I am thankful for what I have.

The ensaimadas I baked today turned out amazing. Laura helped me and she came up with an idea for an ingredient to simulate the taste of a traditional ensaimada as they are made with the fat of a pig. Of course I am not doing that so we have this substitute. I cannot share this secret ingredient and if I write a book, I will leave it out unless I find a way to see if this is already publicly done, which I highly doubt!!

Here are the two large ones we made as a test.. they turned out incredible!! Of course, they get powder sugar on them just before they are sold to the customer 🙂

I have spent a lot of time tonight starting to build the schedule of baking. As I look at it, I have NO idea how I will do it all myself. I have yet to include savory foods, or tapas.  I now understand the importance of this, along with having the recipes written out to match these to make sure I minimize my work effort from one day to the next. I am very happy that I can freeze some of this stuff too in that beautiful new freezer (I will try to take a photo when/if I remember)
…..it is a work in progress for sure

So.. that is where I am right now.. tomorrow I will start doing the recipes and making what I can to see how it goes. I will pretty much treat tomorrow like it is a Monday since we are closed tomorrow.  Thanks for reading this short but hopefully informative update 🙂

 

Bakery Day 78 & 79: closed until…

Yesterday, as you know, we were closed as we are always closed on Mondays. Today, we are closed by my decision. We will continue to be closed for the rest of the week. Originally I had hoped we would be open on Thursday but after 9 hours of testing tonight, I see there are still far too many things that must be done.

In short, my plan is simple.. change how we work, what we sell, how I prepare, and how we approach our business. I had a great talk with my favorite croissant mentor, and a very long, firm, and smart conversation with my amazing friend. He put me in my place and gave me insight that will help Sandy, Tablespoon, and myself immeasurably. Well, there will be measures, but positive for sure.  At one point it was so hard I went to the bathroom to cry for a moment, but I know, it is the love that one gives that counts the most. And, at times, this love must be tough. That man, means the world to me and what he did for me in 3 hours last night I will never ever forget.  “rockstar” hehehe

Ok.. its a short note. I had to spend my savings and buy a professional freezer and another refrigerator today. This will help me with the changes we are making. I hope by Thursday I can share with you all what we will be doing. Some things are the same (croissants, etc.) and some are very different.  This is mandatory. But furthermore, it is how I see the business that will also change.

Thank you again for reading this post, it means the world to me. <3

Bakery Day 77: It happened again!

Last night someone tried to break into the bakery again. This time they were not successful in getting in thankfully but it is a terrible feeling. Right now Sandy and I are in Barcelona for the second half of her birthday and I worry what will happen before I can return there Tuesday morning. I hope nothing!!

Not much to report other than this today news about the break in. We only had three customers this morning and made very little money. Very little!!

Tomorow the bakery is scheduled to be closed as it is so we will be in Barcelona and visiting bakeries to do some homework.

So I leave you with this, the best name I have ever seen for a restaurant. We saw this walking down a street here in Barca. Thank you so much for taking this time and sharing it with my life! ❤️

Bakery Day 76: it’s almost funny

Today was a lovely day in that I got to give Sandy the cake I baked for her last night. I was surprised not only by her reaction to the taste but that of the other 9 pieces sold to customers.  They loved it.

In case you forgot, it is a chocolate cake with a chocolate icing, and a chocolate mousse in the middle.

Today I was at the bakery a little late, a bit after 6, and I stayed until 8:30 tonight with Sandy and then we closed the doors and came home. We had only one customer in the evening so there is no point to sitting there just to sit there. We also had no customers at our tables outside today at all. It is life and we will continue to work hard to change this.

I made normal breads today and I made a centeno (100%) which I think turned out lovely. I do not know how it tasted, but it looked beautiful.

I also made donuts, two batches of croissants,  ensaimadas, and empanadas.  The donuts were not complete until the early evening so I am not too upset we did not sell any. My hope is that everything goes tomorrow since we will not be back until Tuesday morning.

What is almost funny to me is yet again, a problem in the vegan community. There was a community fair in Inca today, and a vegan group formed a small part of it (as I am told) but we were not invited to participate. The only vegan business in Inca and we were excluded. So, I vented my frustration and I got a lot of backlash from some of the members of the organization calling me a liar that I was invited and declined the offer.  To be clear once again and for the final time. Sandra nor I was ever asked to participate. I am not so sure I would have even if I were, but, having been included would have made a world of difference. Many customers asked me if I was participating and more asked me how come we were not participating. But, what is interesting to me is how this pack of people stick together with their story and just continue to call me a liar. I asked for proof, any kind of proof and of course I am ignored.

I say it clearly, the biggest weakness the vegan movement has as a whole on the entire planet, is not converting others to veganism, but not knowing how to work together with other vegans to promote a positive way to get more people interested in the idea. I see so many times how vegans attack other vegans like they are horrible human beings and it leaves me baffled beyond comprehension.  When I made a post about Anthony Bourdain I could not believe the so many nasty comments I got, from vegans.  I even had a couple tell me I should kill myself like he did. There were thousands of comments in replies and very few vegans were positive, most wanted blood. The very same thing they fight for protection of from all other species. IT MUST STOP. We must learn to be kind to all living beings and less judgmental about those we know nothing about. In fact, the only person we have a license to make any judgment about is ourselves, and no one else.

next…

I am looking forward to taking Sandy to Barcelona tomorrow. She keeps asking me what we are doing and I keep avoiding her by making jokes. She was lovely in the bakery today and I was so happy to help her as much as I could to make her day pleasant. She is smiling, and we had a nice day, and THAT, my lovely friends and readers, is all that matters.

I love you for taking the time to read my posts, and I mean that sincerely.  Thank you ❤️

#doeverythingwithlove

Vegan Pastry Cream

Vegan Ingredients:
500g plant milk (I always use soy)
lemon zest
80g butter or margarine (prefer butter)
60g sugar
50g cornstarch
10g vanilla extract

Instructions
1. Mix cornstarch with milk in pot then add lemon zest, sugar, and vanilla.
2. Continue to stir and mix on medium to high heat while slowly bring this to a boil. Once boiling gently continue to stir for a short time longer then remove from heat. Keep stirring a bit longer to make sure nothing burns or sticks to the bottom.
3. While still very hot, strain the cream through a sifter in to a bowl. I use a plastic spatula to push it through. This will remove any lumps you have.
4. Once in the bowl, gently stir in your butter until it completely incorporates and melts.