I thought I’d have a go at photo recording a whole bake session – publishing mainly uncropped photos to try to show the reality of (very) small scale baking for sale in a domestic situation with basic equipment. Even though I’m now only an occasional baker and not baking a lot of loaves it’s still quite complex even if I know my routines after more than ten years.
This session I baked 43 items: 10 large + 1 small Pain de Campagne; 2 large + 1 small Wholemeal Wheat; 7 large Five Seed with Spelt; 5 large Onion & Mustard; 5 Fougasse Provençale (500g); 12 Baguettes (200g). Large means 800g (940g dough weight); small means 400g (480g dough weight).
I thought this photo was the start but of course this is about 4.00 p.m. of a day that has basically been prepping, emptying the kitchen and cleaning.
About 9.00 a.m. Wednesday I refreshed my starter to bring it up to about 5 Kilos. The 5 Seed, Onion & Mustard and Fougasse all needed advance prepping. The 5 Seed was simple enough, just needing a soaker of the seed mixture and boiling water. The Onion & Mustard needed about a kilo and a half of onions to be sliced and deep fried gently in the oven with rosemary. For the Fougasse I had to cook more onions and garlic, soak sundried tomatoes, weigh out and soak black olives. Estimating what weight of onions you will be left with after cooking and what weight of sundried after soaking is always good sport. After lunch (always try and make it leisurely) everything extraneous has to come out of the kitchen (people wonder why the Kenwood lives on the floor in the living room) and the work surface cleaned down. Flour bins have to be restocked and other ingredients plus baking equipment assembled.
So, 4.00 p.m. A domestic kitchen (and baker) that have seen better days. Note the hi-tech equipment. Be a bit poncey to describe it as my mise en place.
Start with the small hand mixes, Wholemeal 2.5K, Onion bit under 5K, Fougasse nearly 3K. Basic method: hand mix dough 1 in a bowl, scrape out onto the work surface, knead ten times; hand mix dough 2, knead ten times; knead dough 1 ten times; ditto dough 3.
As each dough has been kneaded 3×10 times it goes in an appropriately sized, oiled dough box.
And away upstairs to the fridge overnight.
For the last two doughs, Campagne+ Baguette, 12K+, and the 5 Seed, 6.8K, the mixer is finally unveiled.
You can just see my little cooling tower tucked away by the side of the mixer. The kitchen is so small that the tower can’t be put up until the mixing is over.
Into the boxes with them and up the stairs to the fridge. These boxes will take about 7K without overflowing by morning. My fridge capacity is about 45K.
Finally everything gets washed up and cleaned down again and I force myself to refresh my starter even though, by now, this seems a major task.
Tuna in Spring Water, sandwich for me, spring water for the Legs the cat – she can hear a tin opener at 100 yards.
Thursday morning 6.00 a.m. Clean down the work surface yet again. First dough out of the fridge, Campagne.
Scale at 940g and preshape.
Ten is my oven capacity so ten is the number I scale.
The first load gets properly shaped, put in baskets for 3.5 hours prove. These are stacked on the little, now reassembled, cooling tower and covered to keep them snug.
The process gets repeated with the second and subsequent loads, timed to be ready when the previous load comes out of the oven (50-60 minutes):
The second load starts with the two large, one small Wholemeals:
Looking pretty fluffy after a night’s cold fermentation:
To which is added the remaining small Campagne, then out comes the 5 Seed:
These all get shaped, put in baskets and stacked at the left hand end of the work surface. Along the way we have added a small 5 Seed, spare dough resulting from extra water in the mix the previous evening.
10.30 a.m. The Campagnes are ready to go in the oven. Six in the big oven:
Four in the domestic oven:
Next out was the Onion & Mustard. No photos but exactly the same process. These ended up in baskets on the living room table – I really try to avoid carting stuff up and down the stairs these days.
Then came the Fougasse. Nice soft oily dough full of olives, sundried tomatoes, onions, garlic.
These are scaled at 570g, gently rounded and then pressed out part way on pizza tins which are stacked in my incredibly useful pizza stand.
So by now the kitchen is quite crowded. Below, the cooling tower (straight ahead) is empty which means the first load of Campagnes are in the ovens (domestic oven foreground right, Turbofan straight ahead on the high shelf), second load nearest left, Fougasses in the blue-covered tower, third load still on the living room table.
Somewhere along the line space magically appears enough for the baguette dough to be scaled (200g), preshaped and laid out to relax.
Soon enough they are rolled out and placed in a couche of floured tea towels.
In the midst of this chaos the long-suffering Sue tries to begin prepping lunch – we start getting a bit territorial about space.
When the Fougasse have had about an hour they get pressed out a little further, have cuts made with a plastic scraper which are gently stretched open to form holes. Then they go back on the tower for a continued prove.
Here they are ready for the oven. Somehow, not only is oven space available, my three loads are baked and I can turn off the Hotpoint. The living room table has been liberated!
We’re sort of into lunch by this stage, with some jumping up and down to the oven, the Fougasse are out and the baguettes slashed and ready to go in.
Five very fine Onion & Mustard:
Managed to keep one for myself.
Five Fougasse Provençale:
I screwed up the order and DIDN’T get one for us!
The little Baguettes:
A riot of 5 Seeds and Wholemeal:
And, while I finally get in the bath, Sue is wrapping and sorting out the order ready for customers.
Two hours of customers from 5.00-7.00 p.m.
The final order waiting for the last customer. And the most important piece of equipment – the cashbox.
Of course, that’s not really true about the cash box. If I calculated (and I avoid doing this) my outgoings and my time, it would probably be cheaper to go down the cash machine and draw the money out. Bread and baking’s just a way of life for me.
But, what’s this? An interloper!
Somewhere in the day I found time to knock up a beetroot dough to make Red Herrings for the village’s river festival. Full story here.
Finally, after all this exertion – didn’t mention the cleaning and putting the kitchen back together – maybe you would like to make a little contribution to the site – paypal.me/partisanbaker.