Bakery Day 5: what is that, things happen in threes?

 

I managed to sleep early last night, in bed around 9. I work at 1am to high winds and a storm coming over my home, my bedroom is on the back and my bed is up against the window wall and the bay style windows are wide open. I went outside, naked (yes I sleep naked sometimes) and took down the clothing on the line… about an hour later I fell asleep again.

I was a bit tired getting started in the bakery but today I had the idea of making some more bread. So I mixed up an extra large batch of white and while I was working that i made a batch of whole wheat. 

Everything was going great. The white breads baking away and came out and were close to beautiful, even the olive round loafs. I even made a 2kg tin loaf which is beautiful and really looking for a nice home.

Whole wheat is baking away… and I start cleaning up and notice a problem. Sometime during the making of the whole wheat rolls, a tiny chip of the razor blade I use to slice them is now missing. I spent the next ten minutes looking everywhere for this tiny piece of metal. Finally I told sandy and said we cannot sell the bread. So, I pulled all the wheat out of the oven (not fully baked) and let it cool for a home in the trash. 

After it cooled I started pulling he bread apart trying to find it (5,5 kg) and of course it is tiny and could be anywhere.  I cleaned everything down, and made more whole wheat bread. It’s just finishing now. 

The woman next door asked me to make her a whole cheesecake. She said for Monday so it is no problem. Then, while she is staring at me, Sandy asks how much, so i said 15€. I was under pressure and didn’t have time to think. The ingredients are about 12€ because of the quality of what I use. But I told her no one else gets that price, which I think about 34€ is closer to what I should charge.

I didn’t mention but a couple came in the other evening, lovely. The man returned yesterday and then again this morning with black berries from his garden. He asked me to make him croissants with them and asked me to make 15 of them for an event he has tomorrow. Of course I said yes, and in the same breath he asked to a loaf of gluten free bread. 

So, the bakery has no sweets right now but the cookies. Why? Well, a woman came in and she tried one of everything. Sandy was very sweet with her … I made the mistake of coming out. “Are you the baker?” Yes I replied. I want to tel you, I have five complaints. So she started with the cookies, she didn’t like the texture. The muffin was only good where the fruit was. The crust of the cheesecake was not crispy enough… and on and on… I did not want her to pay for the food she bought but she had already paid. She also said she wanted a sticky bun but they were gone and she doesn’t like cinnamon. So, I will make a special one for her. 

Now I take these few minutes to gather my breath and try to not cry. The woman went on and on about how bad everything was, but she likes Sandra and will come back again, even if only for coffee. I am smart enough to know that one critic does not make for the opinion of everyone, but it hurt very much. 

Why am I writing these? Is it therapy? Or away to avoid going back in the kitchen to make something else someone will not like? Being a solo baker is no easy task. My days are structured such that I do breads in the mornings and create desserts in the afternoons… lets see how well this goes today… 

I love my wife, I love my life, and I wish you [my] kind of success

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Day 4: Patience

Why is it patience is a virtue? I knew that yesterday would be a slow day. At night Sandra does the bookkeeping so when I wake up in the morning, I get to see I we reached our goal. Keeping to that sentiment, we made less than half the money as the previous day. I tell you, I felt myself starting to cry. I felt my work was not good enough and people found out and decided no more.

The truth is, Inca is a ghost town on Wednesday and maybe a good day to relax. Some of the businesses around me are closed on Wednesday’s and I felt it’s a good opportunity to maybe bring people in who have no other place to go… we will remain open on this quiet day for this very reason.

This morning I got up just after 4, and was working just at 5am… Thursday is the outdoor market day which we are in the middle of, so I knew it would be busy. We were very busy up until 1:30 or 2 pm. I was even helping out front a bit to make sure we were taking care of everyone. Ok, truth is I was probably getting in the way, i don’t know how to make coffee and I am confused about such things … but I did talk with many customers…

The short of it is, we have surpassed our daily goal in the first half of the day, I am so glad we prepared for this. Last night I made a dozen raspberry muffins and now there is only one… plus the chocolate cheesecake is well on its way to gone …

A few people came in today and one yesterday asking for very large bread, like 2,5kg in size. So, I think starting tomorrow I will make one big loaf a day, if it sells a lot I will make two. We also have a man who ordered six rolls for today and wants six more tomorrow ❤️

Last thing on the bread, I changed my method with the oven and the breads turned out better so I am happy about this too… I have many questions but I cannot get answers… maybe it’s a secret club where these answers live, an underground society 😂😂

In closing, I am very proud of the bakery. On the outside we are hardly noticed (working on it) but inside it’s so beautiful and relaxing and every day I love being in here more and more .. it’s a true pleasure for me.

And so I leave you with one of my favorite quotes

“Hey, I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I’ve failed as much as I’ve succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you, my kind of successes.”
– the late great dicky fox

Bakery Day 3: I am free, I am really free

Today I write a little early as I went shopping and I am a bit tired. Did not sleep until 11 and was up at 5:30… I promised myself I would sleep at 9:30 last night but I needed to do a load of laundry (bakery towels)

While laying in bed last night waiting on the laundry, I realized something very important. All of my life, ALL of my life, I answered to someone for a paycheck and my reward was just that, the paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, I have been extremely fortunate to have had so many great opportunities, my favorite being the chance to move to Europe. My first job, I worked for a small company who made succession planing software. A very brave man, Ren, took a chance on me even though he wasn’t hiring. I learned a lot about many things and set my path. I am eternally thankful for that.

In all the years that followed I always had the idea of owning a business where I could really make the decisions which would impact my life, and that of others. I tried many times doing different things and sitting here today, writing to you, I realize why they all failed. I lacked the love, and deep desire. Now, for the first time in my life, I am in control of my paycheck. It’s more stress than many may realize, but I am free. The work I do, impacts many people instantly, through their experience of my food, and the ambiance of the bakery.

I took the fork in the road and now back on track.

This morning I took a new approach to making bread and had a couple of setbacks, the worst being relates to three loaves of bread. Two are filled with olives and one with sun-dried tomatoes. I was so busy making many things that they over proved. What this means is, they became gassy inside and deflated the moment I touched them. For a good bread you wanna roughly follow the 80/20 rule. You prove 80% and let the oven do the last 20%.

Anyway, without thinking, I tossed them in the oven. Now they are flat like ciabatta but of course they are not these breads. A fix, for anyone who wants to know, degas and kneed the bread again, let it rest for 15-20 and then shape it..

Last night, a solo customer came in. She lives in Santa Maria, was in Inca, and came across the bakery just by chance. She convinced herself quickly to try to cheesecake, never noticing or asking that we are vegan. As she was about to eat she did ask if we are ecologic friendly and so we had a short chat about that. I waited for her to eat two bites before I asked her what she though, (after she also took a photo and posted on social media)… she said, “it’s very good”… I replied, “es vegano”… she was so surprised and smiled… and then proceeded to eat every last crumb.

In a few minutes I will start on another cake. I’m not decided on if I do a raspberry one or chocolate. I imagine both will be equally fantastic.

I admit, I’m dragging a bit today, shopping took it out of me (easily my least favorite activity)… but when I came back to the bakery, two of Sandra’s friends were here and my friend Abel brought his wife. Can you imagine the smile on my face after seeing such lovely human beings?

I want to tell you a few important things..
1. If you really have a dream, do what you can to make it reality. There is no better feeling for me…
2. Sometimes it does cost money (I have literally used all of my life savings and have pennies left).. ask your family, friends or even the bank if necessary. The expression “it costs money to make money” is quite often true depending on your passion
3. You will climb mountains … the past five months have been the most stressful I could imagine but I knew if I did not give up, even when I wanted to many times, i would make it. And really, if I can do it, I know anyone can… I know it..

An elderly lady came in this morning. She was here yesterday giving me advice on how to cut the bread (all in Spanish)… she told Sandra that she loved what we did to the bakery to make it so inviting. She sat and ate avocado on toast and I presume, loved it… that, makes my job complete.

Bakery day 2: Slow and steady wins the race.

I wanted to sleep at 9:30 last night but it was almost 11 when my eyes finally closed for the last time. I know it was going to be long days, 15 hours to be specific (in the bakery) but I have not had a job for quite some time so it is going to be an adjustment.

This morning I woke at 5, walked Reina and was at the bakery before 6. I wasn’t refreshed but I was smiling a lot because this is my life, which I love, and I am in charge of!!

At 8:30, a lovely man who happens to be blind came to the bakery but we were not open yet. He is maybe 68 years old, his name is Juan, and he smiles all the time. He came back about two hours later and had avocado on toast (maybe a first for him) and a San Miguel beer… he and Sandra had such a lovely conversation. As he left I yelled out, “muchas gracias chico” and he turned with a smile and said hello so he spoke with me some but I had no clue what he was saying which I told him .. hehehehehehe

I learned a lot yesterday, some really important things and some not so much. For instance, the Mallorcans seem to like intergral bread more than white bread. So this morning I was sure to make more integral.

Because I was more prepared today I was able to focus outside of bread a little bit. I made the chocolate chip cookies (bite sized for free with coffee) and then big ones to sell. I also spent about two hours in total making a cheesecake out of some ingredients I have not used in the past. It is not on the sweet side but for me this is ok and the time baking in the oven was shorter than I anticipated. I was worried about it until I took a bite and then I smiled more … so it’s not my most beautiful cake (especially because it is plain) but it certainly could be my most technical cheesecake and I am happy about it and yes, selling pieces for 2,95€.

Around 1:30 a young guy and his wife and her mom came in. Turns out he is a friend of Toni and came all the way from palma just to visit the bakery – he isn’t even a vegan. I tell you, it’s moments like this that make me want to cry. It overwhelms me with joy and love to see such lovely people come and support what we are trying to do in the bakery and further, be so sweet and friendly. It’s really really touching for me. ❤️ did I mention just before they came I changed in to the craziest shirt I had and looked like a truck ran me over.. hehe

Now it’s the night shift and at some point my harina (flour) will be delivered. In case you are curious, yesterday I used about 15 kilos of flour and today more or less the same. For the most part this converts to about 25kilos of dough, maybe a bit more. And if you are still curious, that converts to a lot of baguettes, bolles, rolls, and more. I can count them in my brain if you find it necessary. 😂

Tomorrow will be slow for sure so I will use the afternoon as my chance to sneak out and go food shopping for the bakery to build up supplies.

I tell you my story because so many of you have been so loving and supportive and I see many of you enjoyed day 1. I do not know how many more days I will write these entries but I suspect I will turn this into a blog and continue when I have 30 minutes to sit like right now … ❤️

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Day 1

 

So many of you have been so loving and sweet, I decided to take a few minutes and give you an overly detailed account of the day. Thank you all again endlessly for being so sweet and so supportive, it makes me emotional to think of how many loving and kind humans there really are in the world ❤️

I got to sleep at 1:30 am and was up at 5. Then at the bakery at or about 5:30, it is a 3-4 minute walk from my home.

I started baking baguettes, I made 400g, 250g, and 125g ones and about 20 of them… halfway through the bake I realized I forgot to slice them. Uff… luckily the large ones exploded in just the right spots .. the small and medium ones not so lucky .. made a second batch …

Going in to today I expected maybe 2-3 people but was so pleasantly surprised to see people coming in. My friend Abel came in which was such a nice surprise. He is a true gentleman and just a super nice guy. Then a few friends of Sandra came in and then Roberto and family came in.. and more .. it was really special for us to have so much support and really it means a lot to me and sandy

Around 11:30-12 things started to get crazy, two groups of four came in and another few more people came. We were not so well prepared and it reminded me a lot of my days working in restaurants. Fun for sure … I think we serviced 15-20 people from 9-2 or so.

Things we needed to change
The prices for a few things were not correct. For instance, we had a bowl of hummus and a baguette listed as 1.75 €. Way too low for sure. The ingredients cost me more. Also, we need more plates and glasses and things .. and I need to do more prep for those who want avocado or tomato on toast, which sold very well, but again, a bit under priced. And for sure we need a better dishwasher!!!!

Now we rest for 90 minutes and then go back to open den 5-9… I think the night will be easier than the morning for sure ..

Today, was absolutely beautiful… and Sandra was absolutely amazing … absolutely amazing

Thank you all again for such loving words and support – I really hope to see all of you one day in the bakery to enjoy a nice piece of bread or some focaccia with me