Sunday, June 24, 2012

Las Cruces has welcomed us with open arms!

Our first official press release has appeared in an offshoot publication of our local paper. Every weekend has been filled with meeting new customers and learning the names of all our repeat customers. We are so grateful for the enthusiasm of Las Cruces for the BakeHouse!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blogging and Baking!

As I started to create this update today I realized how quickly time has gone by! It's was much easier blogging about Tom's work on the oven compared to me baking and getting to the market. Today is one of my official days off, so I thought I'd share with you all that's been going on.

The oven if firing like a charm. All the construction tweaks that Tom had made are proving to be good choices. We finally installed all 6 thermocouples and I'm now able to track just how much heat is being stored. Tom also decided to order a Ceramic Fiber Blanket to cover the cladding over the baking chamber. This will arrive tomorrow. Once this is placed over the cladding, we'll fill up the rest of the space with masonry vermiculite, and then the oven will be considered completely done!

We're still working out how much bread to bring to the market. We've sold out at every market within 3 hours. It's safe to say that Las Cruces has embraced us. It's been very, very encouraging. We're up to 120 loaves a week and growing. Our ultimate goal is 300/400 loaves a week. I really appreciate the moderate speed at which we're growing since we basically hit the ground running. I found that my body remembered the physical workout of putting out the bread, BUT, it's taken a bit to get back in shape from the 2 1/2 years that I was not baking.

Meet the biggest challenge of my bread making day:

You got it. The high temperatures and the very, very low humidity. Fortunately my Commercial Kitchen has a Swamp Cooler and the BakeHouse also has a Swamp Cooler. This actually helps to keep the temperature pretty consistent throughout the process. Both of these areas I'm able to keep at 75° and the Swamp Coolers add moisture into the air.

The market has been a wonderful experience. It is a year round market and there are several hundred vendors that attend each Saturday. Wednesday's market is much quieter, but we're finding that folks are starting to take advantage of being able to buy bread twice a week.

What has really been a blessing to us is our Block Captain. He's really tried to keep us in the same basic location each Saturday and this has been a real benefit for us and our new customers.

Our Block Captain, Dodds.
Here are some other views of the market:

Mom getting the table set up.

Our bread display. The vintage table cloth with the Cherries
comes from my Aunt Elsie!

The Special of the Day nestled in another vintage tablecloth.
Thanks Aunt Elsie!

One of the many entryways into the market.

We're ready for customers.

We are gearing up for another busy week. Kalamata Olive will be the Special for Saturday. We're not sure how Las Crucens will respond. This was one of our most popular breads in the East, so I'm curious to see how it sells here in New Mexico.

Thanks again for checking in and I'll look forward to sharing more with you as we get settled in baking bread in Las Cruces. Thoughtfully Kath