One year ago I had no professional baking experience. All of that changed when I came across a job posting for a baker at Flour Bakery + Cafe. I went out on a limb, applied, interviewed, trailed, and got the position. I worked part time for seven months and then full time for six more. After today, I leave the bakery and go back to my editing job full time again.
I'm so sorry to disappoint all of you. I know how excited you were when you found out I took the leap into the baking world, partially leaving the routine and security of a desk job and finally doing something I really loved -- something that didn't feel like work at all.
I know it's the safe choice, but I don't think I'll regret it. I got to spend a whole year baking and learning about working in a bakery. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do in the future, but I hope I can incorporate some of what I learned. I still cling to my dreams of getting boatloads of freelance cookbook copyediting work someday. (I have so much time for freelance work now!) In the meantime, I plan to continue to hone and sharpen my editing skills professionally, work on my baking as a hobby, and put so much more effort into this blog.
But before I leave the bakery behind, I thought I'd share all the things I'll miss and those I won't.
I won't miss walking to work in the early morning hours alone, but I will miss how still and calm everything seems at the time.
I won't miss taking the T on a regular basis and listening to drunken bums' loud monologues in the early morning hours. I also won't miss standing on the T on the way home after I've just been on my feet for 10 hours.
I will miss seeing the sun come up over the channel as I'm walking the last couple of blocks to work. I have seen some gorgeous sunrises.
And I'll miss seeing the bridge all lit up on dark or rainy mornings.
I will miss smelling the bread baking as I round the corner to the bakery.
I won't miss wearing a goofy chef's coat -- not because they're goofy by nature but because they're all way too big on me, as well as the apron that hangs shapelessly from my neck. And I definitely won't miss wearing a hat. I'm so not a hat person! Bandannas always slip right off my head, so a hat was my only option. I'm not showing you a picture of how ridiculous I look. Okay, maybe just one.
I will miss looking at the clock around 9 a.m. and realizing that I've already put in 3 hours of hard work.
I'll miss torching the creme brulees.
I'll miss the propane torch -- although I did ask for one for my birthday (hint, hint), but I also asked to have dinner at Craigie on Main or attend one of the Apple Street Farm dinners L'Espalier does, so we'll see what happens there. The dinners are really expensive, so I'd be happy with the torch!
I'll miss glazing the individual triple chocolate mousse cakes.
I'll miss finishing and decorating the individual lemon raspberry cakes.
I'll miss making fruit tarts, and when I make fruit tarts at home now, I'll never, ever glaze them with jam. They look gorgeous without it.
I'll miss making all of the tartlets. You know how I love mini things.
I'll miss finishing the Boston cream pie. It takes a lot of practice to get these perfect dribbles down the sides. The ganache has to be just the right temperature, and you have to pour just the right amount. Some days it worked out perfectly; other days it would be completely coated with chocolate -- not necessarily a bad thing.
I'll miss decorating and writing on all of our cakes. I was finally getting pretty decent at writing. And I make the best paper cones now. I keep thinking about making a video on how to craft these paper writing bags because I think written instructions and pictures make it seem so much more difficult than it is.
I will miss making hundreds and hundreds of sticky buns. I don't know why, but sticky buns make people happy. And I like that.
I'll miss making rounds and rounds of tarts and tartlets. I could probably spend an entire day doing that and not get bored. Some of my favorite shifts have been what we dub "sheeter shifts," where I just do sheeter project after sheeter project.
I'll definitely miss the sheeter. I wish I had one at home. It would make quick work of most projects I reserve for my rolling pin.
And who doesn't want one of these at home?
I'll miss the killer arm muscles I've gotten that I'm sure will soon atrophy when I'm no longer carrying trays of coffee cakes and banana bread, sometimes hoisting them over my head to get them into the top oven. No longer mixing large quantities of muffin batters by hand or whisking pots of pastry cream or stirring lemon curd will also cause my tris and bis to just fade away. (Or perhaps I'll just head to the gym now that I'll have time.)
I'll miss making interesting desserts for Myers + Chang, like these five-spice meringues or marshmallows and fortune cookies.
I'll miss the snack tray -- where broken pastries wait to be snatched up by hungry, sugar-craving Flour employees. Speaking of the sugar cravings, I've already realized that when I'm sitting at the office, I suddenly need a piece of chocolate or a brownie or a cookie at random times throughout the day. This could be a problem.
I'll really miss Sundays. For 3 hours of my 10-hour shift, the bakery is closed. It's really nice to just bond with the rest of bakers and work steadily in the back without some of the daily hustle-bustle out front. There are also doughnuts on Sundays, and whenever we have a new flavor and an oddly shaped doughnut, we split it and weigh in on what we think of it. The milk chocolate hazelnut doughnuts, garnished with candied hazelnuts, were my favorite. To those who know know what I'm talking about, I will always remember that Sunday IS funday.
Most of all, I will miss everyone I worked with. I had the opportunity to work at all three Flour locations, and I learned so much from the chefs, pastry chefs, head bakers, bakers, and pastry cooks at each location, not to mention from Joanne, herself. And I know I made some lifelong friends. Thank you all for everything you taught me, for making me part of the Flour family, and for keeping me smiling every day!
I'm going to miss having a job that doesn't feel like work and that was valuable, fun, and challenging. I'm so happy that I took the past year to explore baking! And I'm staying optimistic about what the future holds...
What do you dream of doing? What have you already accomplished?
I'm heading to the Cape tonight to recharge and regroup. I'll tell you all about it when I get back. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!