09 February 2010

500 Pound Baker

As a baker, the comments I hear most from my admirers are 'I can't believe you don't weigh 500 pounds,' or 'how do you stay so thin,' or 'if I worked here I would gain so much'.  Really, if I had a dollar for every time I heard a variation of this, I'd be rolling in the dough.  The truth is, after I had my babies, I couldn't wait to get back to work so I could shed some pounds.

Baking isn't an easy job.  Working in any capacity in a kitchen, isn't an easy job.  For starters, I bake all the bread at 500 degrees.  The oven is the center of the bakery and I am loading bread in and out all day.  I don't care how cold it gets outside, 500 degrees makes you sweat.  They don't make air conditioners with enough capacity to efficiently cool a space using bread ovens...500 degree ovens + 95 degree weather = more sweat.  I remember one day at Amy's Bread, the ambient temperature rose above 110 degrees.

Aside from the ovens, there's the dough.  My dough tubs are about 20 pounds a piece and I have about 10 of them a day.  This is a very small quantity compared to many bakeries.  I move my 10 tubs around the room several times.  During the winter, I'm moving them from hot spot to hot spot and rotating them to make sure they are evenly heated.  I have to fold all the dough at least once during it's rise.  I stack, unstack, re-stack...lots of lifting and bending.  Each time I need a 50 pound bag of flour, which is about twice a day, I have to run down two flights of stairs and carry it back up to the kitchen.  The flour sacks are just the start of this two flight trip.  I have to go down to storage for all the dry goods...nuts, dried fruits, seeds, salt, yeast....

Energy exertion aside, being surrounded by baked goods day in and day out, doesn't mean they are beckoning.  Yes, I eat a lot of bread but probably no more than average.  The bread I eat is probably a little on the healthier side of average as well.  I don't eat a lot of sweets on the days I am working.  Mark and I were just conversing about this natural diet plan.  On the days I'm working, I am surrounded by sweetness and all I really want is a bacon, egg and cheese.  On the two days I am off, I crave the sweet stuff but the last thing I want to do is make it myself and I'm not going to get crappy store brand sweetness when there's better out there...just two days away.  Sometimes I remember to grab a couple cookies for the road on Sunday before our weekend begins.  Sometimes, I venture into another bakery to get something sweet.  Rarely, I bake a pan of brownies at home.  Mostly, I wait until Wednesday when I can have anything I want and I don't really want it anymore.

That's my story...why I don't weigh 500 pounds.  If you happen to see a 500 pound baker, it must be the boss and he/she can't possibly be doing much of the baking anymore.  

1 comment:

  1. hahahaha this is so touching...for so many questions i encountered in days living as baker..