anybody else burned out from holiday baking yet?
Posted: 16 December 2007 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I just finished up a 60 hour week at work, and I am soooo exhausted! And I’ve still got another week to go before I can finally take a breath. I haven’t even gotten to my own personal Christmas baking yet ! :(.

This year, we’re featuring our own version of pannettone along with our own unique holiday bread that nobody else does (think stollen, but filled with chopped apple filling and cinnamon-sugar before being folded, and the dough itself is brioche-like). Baking the pannettone adds another 40 minutes to my bake (not to mention it takes nearly 5 hours to proof in my climate controlled proof box—not sure I like this dough at all), and it HAS to be baked at 340 degrees, which means I can’t bake anything else with it as nothing else is baked at 340—can we all say “lost productivity!”.

This has truly been the worst Christmas season that I have worked in nearly six years with my company. Besides all the massive amounts of product that I need to bake everyday (nothing new there!), we are so short staffed, that I’m baking dollar amounts that require two bakers to complete (hence the 60 hour work week).

Next week will be even worse. I’m expecting to have to bake the Christmas Eve bake by myself, which will probably take me 14 hours to complete, and I’m going to have to go in at 6pm the night before to start it.

So, if my head starts spinning around in circles, somebody please slap me! smile

The last time I worked this much for Christmas was nearly 10 years ago when I worked for a little Scandanavian bakery. However, instead of working 60 hours in 5 days, I worked nearly 72 hours in 3 days smile. Basically, from Dec 21 thru December 24, I didn’t go home. I made danish, croissant, puff pastry, and rugalah dough until my muscles were physically stiff. I rolled and iced yule logs until it felt like my eyes were bleeding out. When I got so tired that I couldn’t see straight, I went into the back room and crashed on the flour sacks for a few hours, and then I got up and did it all again until we sold out of everything on Christmas Eve.

The owner of that bakery gifted me that year very generously with a 250 dollar gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma, where I promptly bought my first standing mixer. smile

Hmmm…compared to what I went through 10 years ago, what I’m working now sounds easy. Wish I could convince my aching body of that smile.

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Posted: 16 December 2007 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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iI feel for you, Roxanne, I hope you’re a lot younger than I am cos’ I certainly couldn’t cope with a workload like that!  I hope you will be sufficiently rewarded to make it worthwhile.  I worked for my father for years and put in a lot of hours, more than the paid staff, and at the time felt hard done by but on reflection I was well rewarded in other ways which made up for the long hours and hard work. Anyway, I hope you and your family enjoy Christmas and have a nice rest after all the mayhem! grin

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Posted: 16 December 2007 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This is why I’m not in the “Business”.  I love to bake…but if it became this kind of chore…I don’t think I’d be happy.  So my holiday baking at this point is consisting of One Maple Walnut cake, One Flourless Chocolate torte, One Large Chocolate layer cake…and 2 dozen cupcakes…not so bad.

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Posted: 16 December 2007 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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That’s why I gave up my catering business about 15 years ago.  The joy of the holiday season was becoming ruined for me by the hustle, bustle, and downright rudeness of the party-givers I was dealing with.  Now I cook and bake for fun, and remember why I love this time of year as much as I do smile

Roxanne - you certainly have my sympathy.  Were it me, someone would be taking a bath in the buttercream by now wink

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“There is no such thing as reconstituted lemon juice, only reconstituted taste buds.” - Bert Greene

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Posted: 16 December 2007 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And here I was grumbling because I’d baked three batches of cookies this afternoon, and my feet ache.

Happy Holidays to you; just try to find some time to put your feet up and enjoy a quiet holiday moment when you can.

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Posted: 16 December 2007 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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roxanne….. I can sympathize, a wee bit… I don’t work in a bakery, but restaurant work this time of year.. is days on end, where it’s this party, and oh btw, they’ve added 20 people to that party, but the other one, lost five,  and can we seat that room again, that night, etc… and my tendonitis in my right (dominant hand) arm, has flared up badly, to the point that I"m in a sling… on meds, and having to work days, with the “boys” so they can help me… I wish you a hot tubbie, with a glass of wine, a few days off, and sweet restful sleep,  knowing full well, that you won’t get that til after the holidaze.. for now… you can PM me and vent, knowing that I have ‘baker’s shoulders to lean on..

I tried to roll out my lebkuchen cookies with my left hand today…. they taste fine, and look like crap.. I"m giving the rest of the dough to my friend, tomorrow.. she’ll bake them up, if she has time.. since it’s a honey based dough, I really didn’t want to freeze it all. there’s lots..

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Posted: 18 December 2007 01:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Oh, I feel for you folks who work in bakeries and restaurants! That sounds like very, very hard work.

I think all of us who work in retail suffer from “holiday burnout.” This just isn’t a fun time of year when you are working more hours than usual, and customers get frantic about having to get just the right gift. But in mail order, at least I get to sit down, and I only go from working 20 or 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week! You folks have it really rough!

Hang in there, it will be over soon. And at least you don’t have to deal with “returns season” like we do!

I have more or less given up on any sort of big Christmas / solstice celebration in my household. I think we should all invent our own private holiday in the middle of January. (NOT President’s Day!) And don’t tell too many people about it!

I actually haven’t even gotten around to holiday baking yet. I’ll be baking in January and February instead!

Ah, well, the holiday season pays the bills (and the property taxes, which come due the end of January where I live.)

Very best wishes to all of you!

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Posted: 19 December 2007 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’m totally burned out at the fact that I haven’t even started yet!

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Posted: 20 December 2007 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Patrincia - you sound like my boss ... I brought a tray of cookies in to the salon yesterday for my co-workers and their families, and she said, “Thank God!  I haven’t even started yet and Bill (her husband) has been driving me crazy with his whining ... this should shut him up!”, LOL.

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Posted: 20 December 2007 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Just wanted to share this I shared with fellow blogger Matthew.  I think I will burn.

I am in emergency mode, I realize I am baking my heart away again for Monday, and I do need to work at my ‘real’ job until noon on Monday!  It is supposed to be a make ahead 6 pm family dinner and a make ahead 9 pm all-people panettone dessert party.

I’ve just finished a creation-fixed-mistake: white genoise sans water, crumbled with light whipped chocolate ganache, molded on a silicone xmas tree mold, and decorated with French real-gold hazelnut bits and a top layer of more ganache.  It is frozen, and after I unmold it I will plate it with pieces of French chocolate confectionery.  The French came with my friend Kathy, who went to France instead of travelling to Italy with me!

Need to do a flan, and that I should do tonight, since flan’s caramel is better when done near 1 week ahead.  It will be ‘a gift’ for my friend Carlos from Colombia who is coming at 9 pm.  I found the perfect gifts for everyone on Monday, including for Carlos.

On the subject of this year panettone experiments (converting basic sourdough bread into panettone):  this morning, I’ve started feeding my starter, hoping by the time I get home it will get the second feeding, and before I go to bed I can add the other panettone ingredients and let it rise refrigerated on the panettone pan (and angel food pan) until tomorrow afternoon when I take it out to reach room temperature, rise a little more, sizzor slash and bake.  It will be best, not to deal with panettone baking on Monday, as I enjoy experiments best when I am home alone!

Sometime now, I need to roll some pasta sheets, Luca’s mom will fix lasagna for Monday, and I like to do the sheets ahead so she doesn’t have to work so much.  ‘Fresh’ egg pasta stores well in the refrigerator after I air dry them for a few hours until almost brittle.  ‘We’ make the BEST lasagna, it never uses ricotta, but bechamel and parmigiano.  Who said lasagna is inexpensive?

Luca is making canestrelli cookies (Italian sugar cookies) in Hilo and should bring them when they come this Saturday (a day that we will spend all day around Oahu’s best scenery attractions, so no baking).

Plus, I really want to make a second batch of Rose’s Traditional Xmas Rolled Cookies, it should ‘not-be’ that tedious with my Marcanto cookie gun!

& U?

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Posted: 20 December 2007 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Oh Hector - if only we could all be there… sounds absolutely fabulous!  PS - I love lasagna with bechamel.

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Posted: 21 December 2007 09:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Let’s see. Last week I baked 30 pounds of cookies as gifts.  This week, another 10 pounds of cookies, 2 batches of muffins, 1 batch of brownies, 1 batch of scones, 2 apple pies, 1 pumpkin pie, 1 chocolate cream pie, 1 banana cream pie.  Sunday a 10” cheesecake, Monday, lemon meringue pie, chocolate cream pie and 2 cranberry nut breads.  And another 10 pounds of cookies for next Sunday.  And none of this is for ME!!!!

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Posted: 22 December 2007 12:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I too am tired of butter and flour.  Today I made a double batch of Lemon Amaretto Pound Cake.  I used 2 new loaf pans; buttered and floured very nicely.  The pound cakes would not budge from my new pans. I had to pry them out. Totally ruined. But…I can use the pieces of poundcake for a Tiramisu. HA!  I can eat the small crumbs myself.  Lorraine

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Posted: 22 December 2007 02:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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MrsM - I’m tired just reading about all your baking!  Hope you got lots of photos of your goodies!

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