Archive for February, 2009

Connie

 

connie_on_vespa

 ©pamela weekes

Connie is one of the owners here at the bakery. She gives us all great direction and fine tunes all of our skills when it comes to baking. Besides being lots of fun having around, she is always available to offer advice to what are the best methods and techniques to use to make our baking more productive. She also loves to pump up the iPod and get us all going on a busy Saturday!!

 

 

Name:  Connie        

 

What’s your sign?   Sagittarius

 

Where did you grow up?   Upstate New York, Latham

 

How long have you lived in New York City?   Since 1983-26 years! Ouch!

 

How long have you been working at Levain Bakery?   14 Years!

 

What’s your favorite color?    Right now, orange.

 

What’s your favorite thing at the bakery?    Charlie and the espresso machine

 

Cat or Dog?   Cat!

 

If you could be a cookie package, where would you want to be shipped?  Anywhere in Italy

 

What smells the best when it’s in the oven? Scones, Ciabatta

 

Chocolate Chip Walnut or Chocolate Chocolate Chip?   CCC

 

What’s your favorite song played at the bakery?  Lay Low – My Morning Jacket

 

What’s your least favorite song played at the bakery?   Anything by Graham Parker

 

If you could be one thing in the bakery, what would you be and why?    Charlie’s Bed

 

Make a statement that best defines you:   You can teach a person almost anything, but you can’t teach someone how to be nice.

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts

 carciofi

©pamela weekes

Our short trip to Rome was wonderful.  We love the Italian culture, language, art, history and, of course, especially the food, wine and coffee.  We had some amazing meals, thanks especially to some recommendations of Cesare Casella of Salumeria Rossi, around the corner from the bakery, which we adore.

 

canoli_bite

 

©pamela weekes

We did not stop for one minute, criss crossing the city, trying to see and to taste as much as possible in our four short days.  One thing our explorations reaffirmed is that what we do here at Levain Bakery is still exceptional.  There are very few places in the world (literally) that bake everything they sell freshly each day, and on the premises.  Although almost everything we bake has a longer shelf life than one day we believe that if you are coming to our bakery you should get the freshest product possible.  It also allows us to donate to organizations in need and give something back to the community and our world.

 

verduri_e_frutti

©pamela weekes

 

We hope that our customers appreciate that the reason we sometimes run out and perhaps do not have a huge selection is because we try to make everything we make the best and the freshest possible.

 

melanzana1©pamela weekes

   pomodori©pamela weekes

peperone©pamela weekes

frutti©pamela weekes

salumi©pamela weekes

Sarah

sarah

 

Sarah works as a part of our retail staff. She adds a special “something” to our bakery staff with her fun and witty personality. She is always ready to share a funny story or dance around to keep us all smiling. An aspiring actress, she loves to share her thoughts on the newest movies and always keeps us all guessing on what’s to come next in her life.

 

 

 

Name:  Sarah                   

 

What’s your sign?   Taurus

 

Where did you grow up?   Springfield, MA

 

How long have you lived in New York City?   2 ½ years

 

How long have you been working at Levain Bakery?   1 year

 

What’s your favorite color?    Maroon

 

What’s your favorite thing at the bakery?    Onion Pizza!

 

Cat or Dog?   Cat

 

If you could be a cookie package, where would you want to be shipped?   Covent Garden, London

 

What smells the best when it’s in the oven?  Umm…the onion pizza is one of the few things I can smell.

 

Chocolate Chip Walnut or Chocolate Chocolate Chip?   Walnut

 

What’s your favorite song played at the bakery?  “Brothers on a hotel bed” by Death cab for Cutie

 

What’s your least favorite song played at the bakery?   ANYTHING by Sarah MacLauchlan

 

If you could be one thing in the bakery, what would you be and why?    The espresso machine-it’s the only way I could have more caffeine in my system.

 

Make a statement that best defines you:   “Nothing promotes speculation more than the sight of a woman enjoying herself.”

 

Rome

 

colosseum1

 

 

colosseum21

 

It seems, here at Levain Bakery, that a few of us are in love with Italy as well as baking.  Some of us even attempt to study Italian in our free time and fantasize about living there.  So it should not be surprising that two of us are in Rome now, for four short days, and will report back on the sites, the food and the wine next week! 

 st-peters

 

And, of course, we will also have the results of our traditional, unofficial, Oscar pool!

 

Classes

oatmeal_raisin_scones

For our Spring classes (www.itsallaboutbakery.com) we will be offering the following two curriculums

 

Italian Breads

 

Focaccia

Ciabatta

Pizza

 

And/or

 

Breakfast with Levain Bakery

Scones

Bomboloncini

Plain Brioche

 

Dates and more information will follow next week so check back!

Craig

craig11As promised today starts the first of many in a series of “meet my staff”! They were all given a questionnaire to answer and here is the first one….enjoy!!!

 

 

Craig is primarily responsible for the bread baking in the bakery and is usually the earliest one in every morning. Along with helping me with other facets of production, he is great to have around. Besides being so nice, he is tall and strong- a great asset here when our very large and heavy shipments arrive.

 

 

Name:  Craig

 

What’s your sign?   Gemini

 

Where did you grow up?   Upstate New York

 

How long have you lived in New York City?   4 Years

 

How long have you been working at Levain Bakery?   11 months

 

What’s your favorite color?    Purple

 

What’s your favorite thing at the bakery?    Baguettes

 

Cat or Dog?   Dog!!!!

 

If you could be a cookie package, where would you want to be shipped?   Mars

 

What smells the best when it’s in the oven?  Ciabatta or Bomboloncini

 

Chocolate Chip Walnut or Chocolate Chocolate Chip?   CCC!!!!!

 

What’s your favorite song played at the bakery?  “Different names for the same thing” by Death Cab for Cutie

 

What’s your least favorite song played at the bakery   “Gee baby ain’t I good to you”

 

If you could be one thing in the bakery, what would you be and why?     I’d be me. There’s nothing better than playing with mountains of cookie dough all day!

 

Make a statement that best defines you:   Either extreme is preferable to the median

 

 

Fresh Yeast

Recently, I have had two conversations, with two different bakers, about yeast.  Dry, fast acting yeast.  yeast2

 

Both bakers were voicing their dissatisfaction with the results they were attaining.  One with foccacia and the other with a pain de mie.  I asked them what type of yeast they were using and both replied, dry fast-acting.  Well, I said, that is probably the source of your problem, and began to extol the virtues of fresh yeast.  Yes, it is hard to find, but not impossible.  I suggest finding a restaurant supply company, or wholesaler, close to where you live.  Or far, depending on how devoted you are.  These wholesalers almost always have fresh yeast and almost always welcome a person walking in to purchase with cash.

 

This yeast is generally sold in one or two pound blocks, which for a commercial bakery is perfect; not necessarily the case for a home baker.  I suggest weighing one ounce portions, wrapping them in plastic wrap, putting that in a freezer bag and then in the freezer.  Then, you have your one, two or three etc., ounce portion ready when you are.  Just combine with the warm water at the beginning of your mixing process.

 

Generally, one to two ounces is sufficient for most recipes.  

 

This yeast is also not the fast acting type.  It will take some time for your dough to rise.  But I am a firm believer that the most important ingredient in bread is time.  

 

So, go fresh and be patient! 

 

(In New York City a great place to find fresh yeast is at the few remaining restaurant supply wholesalers in the meat packing district.  One-Stop Restaurant Supply and Woolco.)


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