Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We woke up at 2 AM today

Meandered our way out of cozy beds into the cool night air.
The moon was bright and almost full.
Drove ¾ of an hour to a shining building.

Knocked on the door, we’re early. Grumbling

thinking what did we come all this way for?

A smiling man came to the door, brought us in and gave us blue plastic slippers to put over our shoes. We left our jackets in the lounge/dining room and went through a set of doors into a hub of activity.

Das Backhaus, die Biobäcker

(Organic Bakery)

Mechanical arms were gently twisting large amounts of dough. Delicious smells and warm wafted from the large ovens. Six men wearing white shirts and checkered pants moved around quickly with ease and confidence. My bone weary body could not relate.

We went on a tour of the facilities, starting in the back room where the flour is milled. My hazy mind began to clear – they mill their own flour here! Backhaus buys all the grain from about 5 farmers from the region and each morning, they use their small stone mill to grind it into flour.

Next, we went into the storage room. They purchase as many ingredients as possible locally, but many things still have to be shipped from far away. I was standing next to a box of dried apricots from Pakistan.

One hour passed in a mix of weariness and amazement. Then, the man giving us the tour (his name has slipped from my memory) offered us a selection of the bakery’s products: hearty sourdough rye, yeasted sesame rye bread, a white bread with some lovely spices, a cheese and spice twist to die for, and cinnamon buns that tried to further convince me that I was still dreaming.

Afterwards, we watched two bakers pour the slow-moving dough from its large bowl into a machine that splits it and spits it out on a conveyer belt. They took these pieces of dough, stretched them out and deftly twirled them into donut-shaped loaves. They were olive bread, I watched one olive escaped its dough encasing and fell onto the floor.

I was astounded by the amount of bread being made. I can’t recall the exact number of loaves made each day but I remember that they produce over 1,000 buns per day and buns are not Backhaus’ main product. Needless to say, a vast quantity of beautiful, local grain, onsite milled, properly fermented (the dough is allowed 20 hours to rise) and delicious bread is made 6 days a week in Gliechen, Germany.

All this bread is baked and packaged by 6:30 when the truck comes to bring the bread to 35 (ish?) local shops. We left before the bread did though, at about 5 AM. We took off the blue slippers, trundled back into the van, drove home, and fell asleep until the late morning hours.

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