Baking isn't for sissies.
I haven't talked much here about my "real," i.e. non-blogging , job. You know, the one that pays some of the bills around Chez Sweets. I haven't talked about it partly because it hasn't been terribly interesting and partly because I like having some separation between work and play. This isn't play exactly, because it takes a good amount of time, thought, and energy, but I certainly wouldn't classify it as "work." Back in the day when ballet was my full-time job, I never called it work. I always said, "I'm going to ballet" or "I'm going to the studio." When I started referring to it as work? Well, that was one of the indications that it was time to retire.
Anyway, for the past few months, I've been working in the "front" of a bakery. By that, I mean I deal with customers and merchandise and whatnot, you know, basic retail. I wasn't working in the "back" where cookies are baked and cakes are decorated. But an opportunity to work in the back presented itself, and I jumped at it. I applied, put together a collection of photos, and interviewed with our boss. I was excited to get the job (yay!), and Friday I finally started learning my way around.
I've got lots of the necessary skills - I can follow a recipe, roll out dough, judge whether butter and sugar have creamed themselves - but I've never used them on this kind of scale, even when I was running an Etsy store. For example, I put together various recipes that included amounts such as: 48 eggs, 8 pounds of sugar, 1 gallon of lemon juice, 6 pounds of coconut. Our equipment is a larger size than home versions as well. We have an oven Hansel and Gretel should be glad the witch didn't have (four of me could fit inside) and a freezer like you might see in horror movies or CSI, only ours has an escape latch on the inside. Our largest mixer, like a stand mixer you might have in your kitchen, stands on the floor and is taller than me. The large bowl could easily hold a few Christmas turkeys.
By Friday afternoon I'd learned a few things:
- I still have a lot to learn. I took notes and asked questions. Two days later, I was beginning to worry my brain would explode.
- Working in the back, even with exceptional amounts of whining and really loud Mexican music very early in the morning, is preferable to working in the front.
- I need to get strong. fast. Like go lift weights kind of strong. Giant mixing bowls filled with batter are heavy, and rolling out batter for 200 biscuits is hard.
As one of my coworkers put it, "We might work in a bakery, but it's not a piece of cake."
Anyway, I'll try and post some updates periodically if you all think this is interesting. If you think it is, you have to let me know either in the comments or on Facebook. If I don't hear anything, I'll pretty much assume you have no interest in this and I'll move on. Deal?