I mix all the bread and pastry by hand, or, occasionally, with the dubious help of a home stand mixer. I’m good at mixing. My hands are paddles at the ends of my arms. My fingers squeeze. My back stays straight, my wrists rigid. I can mix hundreds of kilos without injury, week after week. I know the touch of every dough and batter intimately, all the way to my elbows.
I like hand mixing the wheat doughs, judging their strength and hydration as I fold and squeeze. I don’t mind mixing the ryes, though they’re so sticky I have to scrape them off my arms and from between my fingers with a plastic rib and then scrub with the rough side of the dish sponge. Only the chocolate chip cookie dough truly makes me wish for a mechanical mixer. It’s thick and inelastic and I jam my fingers on chocolate disks. The thing is, I have a mechanical mixer. Soon I’ll have two! I just need to build a bakery to put them in. There’s an old workhorse of a Kemper spiral mixer that I picked up from a closing bakery packed away in E’s barn because it’s too big for the restaurant kitchen where I bake. And even now a Hobart planetary mixer, fully refurbished and painted a brilliant blue, is getting packed on a pallet to be shipped west. Where I’ll put it I don’t yet know.
I’ve been watching the Fountain District, my favorite of the commercial districts and the only one in central Bellingham without a bakery, for three years, hoping to find a space. So far nothing, or at least nothing that could be built out on any kind of sane budget, has opened up. So I’ll look towards Sunnyland, towards the CBD, towards Sehome or Roosevelt, towards the industrial parks at the edges of town. Retail bakery, wholesale bakery, commissary kitchen? I’ve written the story of a neighborhood bakery/cafe in the Fountain District so many times I know it by heart; it’s time to revise the plot, or perhaps rewrite it entirely. If nothing else, I need a place to put these large and lovely machines.
Owner | Baker