February 28, 2009
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!!
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.
February 27, 2009
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.
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.
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.
February 21, 2009
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.
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.”
February 19, 2009
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!
And, of course, we will also have the results of our traditional, unofficial, Oscar pool!
February 17, 2009
For our Spring classes (www.itsallaboutbakery.com) we will be offering the following two curriculums
Breakfast with Levain Bakery
Dates and more information will follow next week so check back!
February 14, 2009
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.
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
February 12, 2009
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.)
February 10, 2009
You may not have noticed but is has been a few weeks since I have been around. The past two weekends I was busy taking an intense, fabulous digital photography course, the results of which you will hopefully notice! Our teacher was great. If you like photography check out her website www.kateizor.com. Hopefully some day I will have a site of my work which will certainly include lots of bakery photographs.
Last week we finally got our long awaited new stools and new lights at the NYC location! We are very excited, they look great. The design company of www.jamesgreenberg.com has been working with us on updating and replacing some of things that need replacing finally after 13 years of use and abuse! It has been a long process but the girls at JamesGreenberg are all wonderful. Heidi and Jackie are also two women entrepreneurs, like us. In the next few weeks we will be installing new stair treads, some additional new lighting, as well as an update to our façade eventually. Little things but perhaps they will help customers to be able to find us a bit more easily and not to think that we are such a “hole in the wall” as we have been told.
Last but not least, we are almost done with our class schedule and curriculum for the next few months. If you are interested keep checking our website, www.levainbakery.com/classes for details and, if you have already expressed interest you will be getting an email with all of the information. Also remember to email your friends and families the webcam photos from your bakery visits!
February 7, 2009
Blogs are a great thing. With a few sentences and maybe a picture or two, you can really let someone into your world. That has been our intention with the Levain blog. To share ideas, thoughts and experiences that will make our customers feel they are a part of what happens here. Whether it’s learning a new technical skill or just chatting about our weekend, we want everyone to know what is going on…… Now that I’ve written a few entries and you have gotten to know a little bit about me, I’d like to introduce my great staff. I’ve decided that for the next few weeks, I want to introduce each one of them to you through this blog (if you want to know more about them, you can come visit!). Each staff member will be featured individually and will share a little bit about themselves. You will get to know our production staff, our retail staff and maybe even Pam and Connie! Every single person who works here makes Levain Bakery run smoothly. From the 4 am bakers to the retail person who sells at our last cookie every night-every member of our team counts 100% and now you will get to put a face to the cookie!