Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bench comes June!

We are hesitantly stepping into summer here with an uncertainty not characteristic to our nature as an organization (or so I like to delude myself, anyway!). Sharon and I (Kate is still home with babays!) have changed up production schedules, paired back summer hours, tried to keep hiring to a minimum. Now all we can do is wait and work and hope the people come! We were light on orders this week, so it gave us a little time to go over processes and make sure everyone is on the same page. This can sometimes be painful... if there is no agreement on what the ultimate outcome should be, then it's tough to work out a consistent method (fotunately, this doesn't happen too often). With that, we're continually messing with the Mayo formula (should it be thick or thin, garlicky or not-so? it's endless...), though I think we're almost there with the help of some new reading material. We also came together on the white cake recipe...Sharon was using only egg whites and finishing it by hand, while I was using whole eggs and using the mixer for the entire process. The whole egg yolk formula (the cake on the left) defintely won out for overall texture and flavor while the all egg white cake was drier with a finer crumb.

I have to say, too that these cakes, as are all of our pastries, are made with Morebread Unbleached White Flour from Pendleton Mills in Oregon. I have, at times, subbed in part pastry flour or used all cake flour and neither produces as moist of a cake as the Morebread. This has also helped us keep flour costs in check ,during the big hike in prices we started buying Flour by the pallet, so keeping things simple was the only way we could afford to do it!

One good thing is, I think I have met the mulitgrain challenge...our most popular bread by far, producing an 80# batch each afternoon seems to be enough! My other challenge was getting my Cinnamon Raisin Swirl to...well SWIRL! Looks like I finally got it...

Up Coming Events:
The Dirty Rags(Irene, Ben and Haven) had their first performance of the summer opening for Camp Awsome (Atz Kilcher and Jane Ferman's new band) last night at the Down East Saloon. This was just a warm-up for what we hope to be a fun summer full of music.

Also Greg Brown plays at the Mariner Theater Sat May 30 at 8pm (whoa, that's tonight!)
one more thing to put on the weekend schedule:
The Kachemak Bay Kitefest is this weekend check it out

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Watermelon Love...

One of our very favorite parts of summer...juicy, crisp, sweet, it's one of the reasons we cannot be called true localvores because Homer is definitely not Watermelon country! Sure, you can grow them in a green house, or maybe someone has managed it under row covers in an extraodinarily sunny spot, but with temps in the high 50's and low 60's for the past few summers we've been lucky to get flowers to bloom and cold crops to thrive! Still, the bakery does get quite warm and on those summer days when it feels like you'll never cool off, we like to get a watermelon and cut it up for the wakes up the senses and cools the hot little mind! Last weekend my friend Celeste showed me another way to cool off with my favorite summer fruit...Marguaritas! So brilliant! Just add a healthy handfull of chopped seedless (or seed-ed!) watermelon chunks to your favorite Marguarita's a summer treat you'll crave again and again!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Now Showing...

Brianna Bryngelson started working for us a year ago this month. From the very beginning she talked about painting and how she wanted to set up her studio and get a show together for the bakery. I would always respond with a positive 'You go girl!' never sure exactly what her style was or what we were getting ourselves into, really. Then, after traveling Europe for 8 weeks, she came back and made good on her promises...and then some! Her paintings are beautiful, ethereal snapshots of life on the northern familiar, yet not at all 'Alaskan', therefore, no kitsch. You can get lost in the sea and stars and water and suddenly, there's a bird! Thank you, Brianna, for bringing our walls to life!( And for being so wonderful to work with!)

Natalia Taeschner started working at the bakery last fall about the time that Brianna left for Europe. Her quiet creativity has influenced all of our holiday decorating and her crocheted hats have been a hit in the retail store, but it wasn't until Brianna started talking about hanging a show for real, that Natalia revealed her true talents. Bri did not have enough paintings to fill all the available wall space, so she approached Natalia about bringing in some of hers as well. Turns out there styles are very different, but compliment each other very well! (just like at work, isn't that interesting?) Natalia's paintings reflect a dainty attention to detail with a healthy dose of whimsy...

We think this would make a great label for the Ring of Fire Meadery's Apple Ciser

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Tidy Package...

May 1st caught us a little unawares as summer starts to roar like a freight train at our heels. Normally, we like to have our summer schedule wrapped up by now in our efforts to prepare for the onslaught. The month of July will bring in as much business as October, November and December combined! For the next 4 months bakery staff will double in size and our output will easily triple. It makes for some very anxious moments as we sift through applicants and returning employees, do we have enough people to stay open late on Shorebird weekend? Sadly, not at this Memorial Day, we hope! We do have Irene and Ben already back with us as Ryan had to head back to Spitfire Grill for the summer. This a very exciting turn of events as Ben made his way from New York and 'Rene from Portland. We also have Haven (I do anticipate a reunion of the Dirty Rags...oh YEAH!) and Emily and Jenny AND Miss Red will be here to help us keep it all together. Maggie Wyatt, daughter of Barb, will be here next week to join us as well. Looks like there'll be room for a couple more, which is always something to look forward to! The female staff would like a few more guys to round out the, um, odds.( I do love seeing how it all comes together!) Sharon has been working hard to wrap up those schedules and get our retail supplies in order...thanks to her, we actually have new T-shirts for this weekend, the very start of our tourist season...way to go girl! Me, I'm trying to get my new bread schedule down and in particular trying to keep this town stocked in loaves of Multigrain! While your waiting for your bread, would you care to have a sandwich?!

Coming Events: Brianna and Natalia have hung their paintings at the bakery and they are amazing! Look forward to Photos...!
Also, Louden Wainright coming to stay with us on Thurday, Hot Tuna on Friday(!) and then Mason Jennings on Saturday (!!!) It's going to be a FUN weekend!