Saturday October 23, 2004
weblog of sorts.....
Well those "useless" managers are being let go from our companies staff,
rumor has it that there will be new menu items forthcoming, and our new employee
meal plan has been introduced. There is no charity giving of our left over food
as it goes to the employees using the food coupons. If nothing else it
decreases our liability and the occasional return of food from that program by
ungrateful cheaters who wanted fresh replacements at our expense. The continuing
pressure to have a
JIT inventory puts a constant reality of shortage of
ingredients on every department. I would hope that upper management will soon
allow some back log of stock items that must be here to always have the
products on the shelves for our customers. Cash flow is King. QUALITY &
them in the door and TASTE brings them back.
Well it's back to five days a week work schedule. I was ask where I wanted to
go with Eatzis. I responded that I wanted to learn everything I could about the
complete bakery operations and would also want compensation if I was given
anymore work load and or responsibility.
My work schedule was adjusted to only 4 days a week for the next week and
possibly more weeks will follow. I ask my supervisor about the reasoning behind
this and he said everyone in the bakery will have this happening on a rotational
basis, which is not a reason for the change but the deflection of the question.
I personally believe it's to show a better production cost review for our
manager rather than him using just plain old production adjustments based on
sales and waste records. I have therefore stepped up my efforts to find
employment elsewhere. I will be using these days off to apply, interview, and/or
search for a new job.
I am just sick and tired of EatZ'is using the employees to squeeze out
profits instead of increasing revenues by introducing updated products, livelier
advertisements, and a thorough gleaning of useless managers from their
overcrowded management group.
I was surprised that most in the main kitchen, the catering kitchen, salad
bar, sandwich area, and the market in general feel that the bakery is not an
important or significant part of the EatZ'is experience. If that is true then my
making a change of employment is even more of a necessity. I am going to send my
resume to Panera Bread, Central Market, and Whole Foods.
I might first send an adjusted letter stating similar items as this one to
the main office in Dallas. Identifying that our bakery group is in need of an
overhaul from the Head Baker to packaging. I have shown most of our managers
what other bakeries are using to increase sales successfully but nothing is ever
done to thwart our decreasing sales. The fact that all of the decisions
involving any change now seem to come from corporate sources and those
directives are based only on accumulated data from the management teams of each
location. When our new partner was presented to the employees in January we were
ask to submit anything that would improve the company. We were promised our
broken down equipment would be fixed and raises would be given where due or had
been skipped during the last reviews. Other parts of the market have had
equipment fixed and or replaced but not the bakery. Our wholesale bread sales
were suspended, staff cut, and now hours reduced all pointing towards the
general direction mentioned above that the bakery is felt to be of non
importance to the EatZi's experience.
Saturday, October 23, 2004 09:03:01 PM -0500
Just got a call from the head baker asking if I knew the whereabouts of a
replacement loader belt. This belt has been shredding itself for months. Fellow
worker had told me we had a replacement but none can be found. My boss said he
will call manufacturer to airfreight one from France or hopefully an American
Bread Making Terms of Art
- Professional bakers use this to mean "rising." Originally it meant to
prove the effectiveness of the yeast by starting it to grow with a little
"food" such as flour or sugar. If the mixture did not bubble up, it was
discarded and little time and ingredients were lost (please read
- There are many styles of kneading. Obviously if various machines like
food processors, mixers, bread machines can do it in different ways, so can
humans. Basically, you want to pull the dough to develop the gluten. If the
dough is very soft and sticky (some sweet breads or french breads) you may
start out just flinging it against a lightly floured surface. Usually you
push the heel of your hand into the dough, pushing away from you. At first
the dough will be sticky and you will instinctively release pressure to keep
from getting stuck. As you repeat this motion, turning the the ball of dough
after each push, it will become more resilient and lose its stickiness. How
long will it take? For one small loaf (about 3 cups of flour) 10 minutes
should do it. The usual two loaf recipe will take about 20 minutes. If you
are a novice, you might want to start with a white bread because it develops
its elasticity much more readily.
- Based on my daughter's experiment, I don't believe overkneading by hand
is possible. She deliberately tried to overknead and gave up after more than
one hour. So don't worry about it. If you need the exercise or meditative
state this repetitive activity can create, keep going; it won't hurt the
- Smooth and elastic
- This is the condition that seems to occur magically after adequate
kneading. The dough feels like a baby's bare bottom, plump and resilient.
You may stop kneading at this point.
- Double (double in bulk)
- This does not mean you need to measure the volume of the dough. Yes, it
is roughly double, but more importantly, the dough has risen to the optimal
stage where gluten is stretched to capacity without the strands breaking;
the yeast is still alive but needs to be redistributed, so it can continue
growing. The best test for this state is to poke a finger or two about
one-half inch into the dough. If the depression remains, the dough is ready;
if it quickly fills in, it needs more rising time; if it starts to collapse,
it has gone too far (proceed to the next step in your recipe, but watch it
more carefully next time.)
- Punch Down (deflate)
- Deflate the dough in order to more easily redistribute the yeast or to
shape the dough. Bread dough doesn't really require violence but, hey, if
that's what you personally need at the moment, go for it. Some authorities
say that you should be ever so gentle and just ease the dough from the bowl.
In my experience, it doesn't much matter how you do it; just don't tear up
- Redistributing the yeast
- A second or third kneading to get more rising power out the yeast and
create a finer textured bread. Yeast is a microscopic organism. It does not
wander about like an animal; it stays put like a plant. It doesn't grow much
in the sense of enlarging its size, but it multiplies like crazy under
proper conditions. Fresh food (the starches and sugars in your dough) is
brought in contact with the yeast when you deflate the dough and briefly
- Sounds hollow when tapped
- The test for doneness after baking. This is another condition, like
"smooth and elastic," that may worry you the first time, but once you hear
that hollow sound you will recognize and remember it. It's a bit like trying
to find a stud in a wall--you keep tapping and wondering if you are even
going to know when you do hear it. Relax, you'll know. What if you are deaf?
Insert a thermometer and look for an internal temperature of 200 degrees.
- Hearth Breads
- Breads that are baked without pans directly on the floor of the wood
fired oven. In our kitchens that usually means putting the loaf on preheated
tiles on an oven rack in the lowest third of the oven. Pizza stones are
another option. I've never tried then because my reading has led me to
believe their expense is not worth it. I use tiles. Another option is a
cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, preheated with the oven. Using two pans
nestled together gives further insurance from a burnt bottom. Corn meal is
often used to keep the dough from sticking. Only a small amount is needed. I
often prefer to use semolina or rice flour instead of cornmeal
This is my new sales pitch for organic identity retained
wheat from Kansas, USA.
- Bread from the hearth.