Monday, October 20, 2003


All that talk of food has made me cook-crazy, so when I found a farmstand by the roadside with really good, really cheap plums, I bought a bunch and made a batch of plum butter.

Americans aren't too big on plum butter and I have no idea why. It's delicious, thick, dark, mysteriously sweet. I flavor mine with tarragon and a hint of clove. It goes great between thin sandwich cookies, or spread on shortbread. It's wonderful on toast or with eggs and biscuits. Stirred into oatmeal, it makes it taste all lively. And you just haven't eaten cinnamon bread until you've spread a little plum butter on it.

Only special customers will get to sample my plum butter after we open the bakery because it will be several years before we expand into the jelly side of the business.

The next foray into the the country brought a windfall of nectarines and the sunniest looking nectarine butter flavored with chamomile and thyme. Biting into toast with nectarine butter is like biting into a slice of summer.

Manager and I discussed our basic menu and minimal hiring requirements for opening the bakery.

I still think the opening menu is a little too ambitious, but maybe she's right that we need to have such variety to attract the base of customers we'll need.

Fourteen types of daily bread is a bit much, but I see her point that four of them are special diet breads, and another six are "expected breads", leaving four as signature breads. Two of those four are sourdoughs.

The rolls are more manageable, only five of those in addition to hamburger and hotdog buns. We'll be setting up in an area where people eat a lot of hamburgers and hotdogs.

The Sweets section could be expanded, I feel, and perhaps variations will make it look fuller. After all, Danish comes in multiple fruits and cheese, right?

The rest seem rather balanced, the soups, the dipping sauces for the breads, and the beverages.

During our busiest times, we'd need 3-4 coffee monkeys, and at least 2 bakers, but most of the time, 1-2 coffee monkeys and 1 baker will be all that's needed. That makes me feel more confident that we'll be able to afford to open the bakery.

That sort of confidence, and the detailed planning we are doing should impress the banker.

Plus, we're toying with a Media Opening - inviting all the local media to the bakery the day before it officially opens and letting them nosh to their heart's content on all the goodies we'll offer (at least until we run out - and we'll do the frequent fresh cookie bakes to keep the bakery fragrant and let them know this is how the bakery will be run). It's not exactly free publicity, but this way it should certainly be positive publicity. And it will certainly be more effective than just sending out press releases.

I'm ready to bake another batch of my famous cinnamon pecan yeast cakes - ugly but soooo yummy. It's an old German family recipe, my grandmother used to bake this all the time, and hte village baker got the recipe from her.

I'll probably have to update my mass baking skills, I haven't worked in a bakery in almost 40 years...

And MAnager still has to finish her classes on management and running a bakery.

But it's getting closer, and looks more real.

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