When people learn that I’m a baker, they have a lot of questions. But the most frequent question? “What time do you wake up?”

Our staff of eight bakers fire up the oven and mill at 4:30am every day of the week.  Right away in the morning, one baker boils the day’s bagels; another begins the day’s dough mixes, starting with the rye. A third baker loads our seeded and table loaves into the oven. On the bench, the fourth baker divides the filone. We have a routine; it’s the same every day.

This daily routine may seem boring to some. But actually, the repetitiveness is part of the fun. The bakers are a well-oiled machine, moving around (on a good day, at least!) like a team playing a group sport. Just like a sports team, “practicing” each day is key to our success.

We end the day with the next day’s seeded and table loaves shaped and in the retarder overnight for a slow fermentation. The filone dough also retards -- to be shaped and baked the following morning. Our daily cinnamon rolls slowly rise in the proofer. We clean the benches, mixers, sinks, and floors (the glamorous side of baking). On our way out the door, we usually grab the day’s extra bread for our dinners. A very informal poll of the bakers found that we each eat about two loaves of bread a week!

- Baker Hannah