It’s 3:03 Saturday morning, dark and cold outside and pretty chilly inside the bakery too. I, with my first cup of coffee still steaming, come in and sleepily turn on the lights and the ovens.
The sourdough loaves have been slowly proofing all night in the cool air and as the ovens heat up, the room warms and the loaves finish rising and are ready to be baked by the time the thermostat reaches 450degrees. The first batch gets tipped out of their baskets, slashed with a sharp razor and loaded into a steamy hot oven, 42 loaves to a batch. They quickly “spring” into perfect boules and baguettes; their slashes opening elegantly and in a few minutes begin to turn golden. 30 minutes later, I finish my coffee and it’s time for the bread to come out.
The loaves are now a dark golden brown and smell like toasted wheat; little blisters on the surface indicate perfect fermentation and I know the bread will taste great. As they cool on the rack they make a little crackling noise as the crust contracts slightly, it is a little chorus that says “breakfast”!
Now the best part of the morning, the reward for yesterday’s mixing and shaping and patience, a baker’s privilege and of course, quality control. I get a fresh cup of coffee and tear off a chunk of warm baguette, the crust at it’s crispiest, the crumb steaming and pungent, I butter my yummy slice and take a bite – perfect!
By now the bakery is warm and cozy and smells heavenly. The sun is rising as I load another batch into the oven and I am happy to know I will soon be sharing my delicious breakfast with lots of farmers market customers, smiles all around.