Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baked Day 9: Screw Up!

Pumpkin Pie vs. Cupcake via Cakespy

No points today. I perfected my baguettes and french rolls on Day 7 and  earned 2 points. Today however, I worked with a sourpuss crew. Music off, no conversation. The mood was considerably dour. Perhaps because it was Friday, one of the busier days of the week and we’re coming into the holiday season. The day shift crew shaped about 5,000 pieces of dough a day amongst the 8 of us.

“Drink water, go to bathroom. No coffee!” Carlos said.

I grinned. That meant we did not have the luxury of dalliance.

“Seeds! Garbled mumbled gresivoresfhshur ….seeds!” Carlos motioned to the plastic bin under the work table. I opened it and found two bags: one with poppy seeds and the other with sesame seeds. I knew he meant sesame but I reached for the poppy and spread a line across the twist dough.

“NO! Wrong one!”

I’d screwed up. The dough couldn’t be salvaged and was toss unceremoniously in the bin.

I got nervous after that point and nearly dropped a tray of dough I was packing. I've prided myself in not dropping the dough or being Miss Butterfingers and have for the most part, "blended" in well enough that if you were to glance into the picture window to observe us at work, you'd not even give me a second glance.

I’ve graduated from shaping to shaping and packing, where I prepped the dough after shaping to sit and proof. The dough is fitted into rectangular tins, some longer than others, covered with lids and others with plastic. The dough is also placed on wooden boards atop oiled parchment sheets, some without. They were then placed on rolling carts and wheeled either in the Walk-in (aka large freezer the size of a large room) or in the baking room to proof.

Packing was extremely challenging as it involved lifting, pulling, carrying and pushing a lot of weight. Expectations from the crew has also been raised. Learning by rote was de rigeur until now. I’ve mastered the major shaping techniques and now they have started teaching me more technical aspects. Why certain things are done, why certain things aren’t. They taught me to read the order sheets. Instinctually, I knew when to reach for more flour for the table, put wooden boards away, or scrape down the table.

But I goofed today and that's ok. Not everything has to be perfect all the time and I"m comfortable with that. I'm not super-human but I do believe in giving 110% in everything. No apologies.

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