I had an interesting bake on Tuesday. Due to a disastrous combination of mistakes, misjudgments, and environmental factors wholly out of my control the day dragged on endlessly. Or at least, every time I thought the end was almost within my grasp, it slipped away again. I had a WSDA spot inspection in the morning, and, while talking to my inspector, forgot to add levain to the Hard Red Wheat bread, an oversight I didn't notice until 4 pm, when I opened the oven to find shelf after shelf of lovely brown discuses (disci?). An unfortunate setback, but not so terrible. I started again.
Then we lost water pressure. For hours. I was carrying 5 gallon buckets of water over from the bar next door and watching in fascinated horror as dishes from four businesses slowly piled higher by the useless sink (we use an astounding number of dishes).
By 11 pm the Hard Red was rebaked, and I pulled the final bread out of the oven. Fifty beautiful, golden loaves of blueberry cornbread, each with a crack running down the middle showing its deep blue interior. As I watched they slowly sank into themselves, the blue cracks disappearing.
It was too much. I was too tired. I had a small breakdown. I decided I needed to toss the whole batch and remake it (I'd already remade one bread, why not a second?). Luckily I called my roommate to confess my failures. She showed up with snacks and talked me out of my state of exhausted melodrama. Thank god for friends. When she left, a little after midnight, I turned to stamping, stickering, cutting and packaging.
By the time the Moss Mountain bakers arrived and solved the water mystery (a single pipe unthinkingly closed by the mop sink), and I finished tying off the last bag of granola and turned to the dishes, I was asleep on my feet. Every dish or two I would open my eyes to find myself still standing at the sink with the sprayer in my hand. I could never remember closing my eyes. It was 6 am when I biked home, 23 hours after stepping into the kitchen with bright expectations of a straightforward, 12 hour day.
From this unexpected extravagance of kitchen hours I have learned that I (unsurprisingly) am not well suited to all-nighters, and that I will never be the kind of baker who likes to work in 24 hour shifts (they exist, I've met them). Also, that midnight snack breaks make a small world of difference in outlook.
Anyways, I made some tweaks to the cornbread recipe and am bringing the new and improved version to market tomorrow. It's well on it's way to becoming a seriously kick ass cornbread, if I do say so myself. I've also got some truly lovely garden flatbreads, courtesy of the front yard.