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Silly Mistakes

July 16, 2006

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Ahhh, talk about being super stupid!

I started (yet another) new job baking pastries for the Honolulu Coffee Company yesterday. The central bakery/kitchen which supplies all the baked goods to the Coffee Company’s various shops and kiosks is located underground behind the shop’s Ala Moana location. I’m still working at the governor’s place on the weekdays, but at this job, where I bake in the wee hours of the morning – man, it’s lots of fun! The environment, while demanding is calm and very supportive. Maybe it’s the smell of croissants and scones that bring about such a cherry mood, but whatever it is, it sure makes me happy. There are about three or four bakers working at a time, with the earliest shift beginning at 2:30 am. Crazy isn’t it? So next time you have a haupia brioche with your morning latte, whisper a thanks to the individual who woke up at a rather insane hour just to make it for you :)

Now going back to the subject of my extreme stupidity…
On my first day of work, I baked 18 banana walnut loaves, mixed and shaped nearly 70 oatcakes and prepped the next batch of oatcake batter. People here eat a lot of oatcakes. I was a bit slow on the first day, learning my way around the kitchen, and silly but imporant bits such as figuring out that the buttermilk and whole milk have the same labels but are stored in different parts of the fridge and when to use whipping cream in place of heavy cream. I also saw entire fresh poha berry for the first time – a beautiful, tangy cherry like fruit. A nice perk is the free coffee we get while working, though I fear a daily mocha will have some detrimental impact on my future health. I left satisfied with my work but somewhat displeased with my work pace. I was sure everyone else in the kitchen could accomplish what I did in a fourth of the time. So I promised myself to pick up the pace.

And pick up the pace I did!
Today I mixed the batter for an enormous quantity of blueberry cream cheese scones, mixed, shaped and baked more oatcakes (why so many oatcakes people?!) but the recipe I was looking most forward working on was the CROISSANT BREAD PUDDING. I saw it on my baking list this morning and gesh, was sooo excited. Until I screwed it up. The scones came out fantastic, a moist fluffy and creamy creation dotted with sweet berries and the oatcakes were perfectly shaped dense rounds of pecans, dates cranberries and all the oats you could ever desire.
As for the Bread Pudding. I cut up ten pounds of golden buttery and flaky croissants. My that’s a lot of croissants. It’s a good thing they didn’t leave me alone in the kitchen otherwise that ten pounds would have been quickly reduced to five. hehe. In a separate container I cracked over two dozen eggs, poured in quarts of heavy whipping cream and whole milk along with a good dose of vanilla and plenty of cinnamon spice. Mmmm, man, it’s hard to describe just how excited I was. I blended the liquid mixture and soaked in the cut croissants for just under an hour. Instead of baking in a single hotel pan we spooned it into individual portions lined in a classic high rimmed gold and brown liners. Fantastic!
I sent it into the warmed oven with great gusto and high anticipation. Abby took it out an hour later and there could not have been a more pleasing sight. Each individual steamy custard round was perfectly brown, bits of crusty croissant stood out here and there while the majority of the pieces were buried in warm soft pockets of cinnamony custard. Together, we removed each serving from the pan and placed it on a separate tray to cool. Abby scooped up some of the baked custard that had spilled on the pan for a taste…
“Sugar? Kathy, did you add sugar?”
“What, of course I did – right…” I tasted some for myself. Holy crap. There was no taste. Oh no oh no, I thought! “Um…” I ran to the recipe book. I was SURE I didn’t miss anything. Oh shit. Caught between the lines of 10 pounds of croissants and the eggs was the sugar. Oh shit Oh shit Oh shit. I craped this one up like none other. “Uhhh, I forgot. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” Oh great. Now I sound like a really stupid screw up. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I failed the whole world. Or this kitchen at least.

I’m lucky that Abby is so forgiving. She said that she could freeze the pudding, cut it up and rebake it again. But that doesn’t exactly repair my mistake. My extremely stupid mistake. Forget the SUGAR? Who the hell forgets SUGAR in a BAKED GOOD!!! I guess I did.

And that was the second day of the work. The girl who loves bread pudding forgot the sugar. FORGOT THE SUGAR.

I’m going to sleep.



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