Friday, December 28, 2012

The Secret to Making Crisp Hard Rolls (Recipe Included)

What is the one question I get asked all the time?

"Klecko, why is the bread so much better in Europe?"

Well.....first off, maybe because you are in Europe.

Funny how geographical framing can influence the palate.

But another factor that contributes to this (in America at least) is the demise of the neighborhood, or retail bakery.

All to often people will ask me to make their concept a real crunchy bread, a rustic baguette, a real gum bleeder.

But in wholesale concepts, this form of bread making is financial suicide.

French breads, lean doughs or crusty bread has to be made in a bakery and placed into the hands of the consumer (who in turn is required to place the purchased product on a plate, and then into their mouth within hours), otherwise the bread will break down and become leather like.

I had this cat from King Arthur Flour come out to the bakery several years back, and he did a workshop on making the perfect French baguette and/or crispy hard roll.

Bakers from across the midwest attended and the guy running the class started off by making us watch a slide show of different hard roll concepts applied in different Euro bake shops.

Usually, I HATE slide shows or power point presentations, but this guy was solid.

Afterwords the guy mixed some doughs and talked about equipment, scoring, heat source(s), direct VS indirect heat and then we got to baking.

To cut to the quick, the product this guy made was Christ like.

All of us fell to our knees and worshipped the complex flavor that this genius could pull out of so few ingredients.

Then everybody smiled, left, I cleaned up...and then I vultured some of the left overs and brought them home to Sue McGleno.

"Father-Son & Polish Christ" I declared.....

"Where is my Jewish bride?" I called out.

And when Sue McGleno entered the room, I handed her a baguette as if it were the scepter to Camelot.

But as I extended my arm...........

The baguette couldn't hold its own weight and began to droop slowly to the floor.

Sue McGleno tore a chunk off (i.e. rat holed it) and proceeded to critique it.

"Ewwwwww" she remarked "When did you make this?"

Her implication denoted that the bread was old and possibly on the verge of molding, when in was pulled out of the oven 4 or 5 hours prior.

You can tell me your take on this topic, and you can feel free to disagree, but the Last American Baker really thinks the Hard-Crispy Rolls is best made at home just prior to serving.

Heres your recipe.......................








Mix your dough to until it picks up and is developed. (80 degrees F)

Place it in a lightly greased container and let it sit tell it doubles - punch it

And when it doubles again...scale it into rolls.

I like 1 1/2 ounce rolls, but it's not my dream, its your dream.

After panning them up, place in a preheated oven between (400-425 F)

I know a lot of you guys do your little dipsy-do Jimmy-rigged steaming, what is it...pan full of water or mist bottles....I can't help you there (Klecko snickers since he doesn't have to jerk with that since he has steam injection) but in all seriousness.....if you do have a preferred method, please leave it in this Blog post (not the Facebook application) so everybody else can benefit from your expertise.

We are coming close to New Years Eve ya'll.........

Lets make sure to take time to evaluate our heart-soul and whats in the oven.

Gangsta Love


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Les Miserables French Onion Soup

OK L.A.B. Rats, we are the day after Christmas, and other than New Years Eve, the only thing we have left to do for the next 10 weeks is read books, make soup and drink expensive booze....right?

Today I am going to give you guys a French Onion Soup recipe that is to die for, but first....let's take a few seconds to relive the Klecko Christmas.

As per usual, parts of the Klecko clan went to the cinema for Christmas.

One thing that was a little different is this year there wasn't a "must see" movie for the Last American Baker.

I'm the member of the fam that usually leads the movie caravan, but since I had nothing in particular I wanted to see, I left it up to the mob.

They chose Les Miserables.

They chose a movie about French people.

They chose a musical.

Now typically I would have just gone with the flow, but who wants to spend Christmas with the French?????

Even if it is just on the big screen.

So tickets are purchased, and there we are standing in the concession line.

I should mention, we are at the Grandview Theatre, and this particular venue is privatlely owned, and sometimes can draw a pretentious on Christmas.

Like when "Les Mis" is debuting.

So now just ahead of us in the concession line is a big guy, as big as me, and he is standing there with a woman.

Both of these people are wearing cynical expressions, almost as if they were 1/2 academic and 1/2 goth.

So now the big guy (who is wearing sun glasses over his stocking cap, eventhough its 18 degrees and overcast outside) says to his female companion......

"I have to wonder if Russell Crow is going to be able to execute this role without embaressing himself.....and wasting my time."

The female companion ponders.......

Klecko starts fuming........

Doesn't this gut know that Men have rules?

And in the guy club, there is a select sub culture of "Big Men".

It is forbidden (by club standards) for a Big Man to rat out, or talk trash about another Big Man.

Sue McGleno witnesses the hampster wheel turning in Klecko's mind. She know what is inevitble and flashes a "Here we go again look" at Baby Tydus.

"Your kidding me right?" Klecko blurts out at the pretentious fop......

"Your'e a guy, and a big one at that, and you're telling me you are not going into this supporting the Gladiator?"

Everybody in the line looks because they can't really tell if I was joking or pissed, now that I think back, I'm guessing maybe both.

Then the guy not knowing what to do, and I'm guessing wanting to save face in front of his date, now he remains silent and rolls his eyes backwards as if to denote I'm not worth dealing with.....

Klecko responded...............

"Dude, you don't want to roll your eyes at me, it won't turn out good for anybody. All  I'm saying is if you are going to think you are cool by critisizing others, keep it to yourself."

And when I said this......I meant it in the spirit of Christmas.

I meant it in a Jesus flipping over maney changer tables kinda way.....I wasn't simply looking to just be a thug.

Dude gets his Milk Duds and slinks away into the show, and when I got to the counter, the young woman attendant was laughing and smiling.

"You overheard that huh?"

She nodded yes.

"Well sorry about that" I said "But when a guy talks crap about Russell Crowe, you know theres going to be a Christmas Beat Down!"

The counter woman crinkled her nose and softly clapped her hands.

Merry Christmas.

BTW.......the movie was wonderful.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 red onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine, or about 1/2 bottle
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 sourdough boule (round)
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere


Melt the stick of butter in a soup pot over medium heat.
Add the onions, garlic,  thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are caramelized,

Next add the wine, basically the nice thing about this recipe is you get to pour 1/2 and drink 1/2.

 Remember the saying that the French coined in terms of what wines to cook with...."If you are going to cook with it, you should be able to drink it as well."

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer.

Now pluck out the  thyme sprigs.

Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir.

 Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler.

Now grab your sourdough round, cut an oval slice and place it in the bottom of your soup bowls. and ladel soup over.

Finally, sprinkle Gruyere on top of the soup and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

The End

With that, I will say that often time I give my French friends a hard time, but it is only because I love most of them.

What a culture.

What art.

What food.................

Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa's Irish Pudding Recipe

Yeterday, my TV was blaring away like it pretty much does everyday....around the clock.

Sue McGleno hates this, because she prefers "quiet moments."

However, continous television isn't the worst of it for her, what she really hates is my ability to watch the same movies over and over, and over and over...........

AMC is such a great cable station because they are custom fit for lab mice such as myself.

I haven't kept count, but I'll bet that 10 of the last 12 nights they've played back to back showings of Miracle on 34th Street.

First they run the black and white version, and when that's over they rotate to the colorized.

Sue McGleno has been more than annoyed by this, but with that said......

Klecko prides himself on being a problem solver and has found a partial solution to this.

One of Sue McGleno's favorite moment's in Hollywood's Cinematic history is when Natalie Wood (Little Susan Walker) goes down to talk with Santa Claus.

She is skeptical because her mother has preached the virtues of practicality. There simply is no way such a wonderful person can exisist in the world that her mother has painted for her.....

So now her mom sees her and pulls her away from Santa's throne and begins to yell at her love interest for taking her over there, and while this confrontation takes place....little Susan Walker peeks out the door and spys on Santa once more.

"Sue McGleno, hurry favorite moment is about to happen."

CLOMP-CLOMP-CLOMP.....Sue McGleno slams her little feet to let me know that shes participating, but under protest.

The only thing a woman hates is when they know that a man has discovered their kryptonite.

And with my Sue McGleno, her 2 weaknesses are chocolate cake and the following scene........

So like I said, Natalie Wood is spying out on Santa, and a woman and young girl  who have been waiting in the Macy's line for hours finally get their turn to approach Santa.

The mom syas something like........

"Good morning Santa this is my daughter from Rotterdam Holland. I have just adopted her, and I told her that you wouldn't be able to understand her request since you don't speak Dutch."

Then Santa stops......smiles and starts talking Dutch to the little girl whose eyes light up and shoot beams of joy over in Sue McGleno's direction.

Although I know what will proceed, I am always kinda surprised knowing that my wife is tough and holds her emotions closer to herself than a Friday night poker hand.

But then it happens........

Santa and the Dutch Girl move from discussion, to laughter.....and then finally into song.

Are those tears welling up in Sue McGleno's eyes?

And when Santa and the little Dutch girl start singing, he embraces her, pulling her close to him in such an innocent yet intimate way.....Sue McGleno falls apart.

Sometimes I think if the world could just experience the safety and understanding that - that little Dutch girl got to experience for those few short minutes, we'd be a much better palanet.

"Sue McGleno" I asked "What is it about that scene that moves you so?"

She stops for a second, and I can hear little hampster wheels roaring in her mind as she responds.

"I've always pictured Santa as American, not that he is. I think he originated in Germany right? But thats not even relevent. I have him pegged as American, so when he steps out of his mold and then is able to cure somebody that has no hope. In Dutch..... Can you get any better than that?"

Anyways, that lengthy digression, basically is the build up to the recipe portion of this Blog post.

I have this friend Billy D.

Billy D is lives in my neighborhood, and I see him often on Saturday mornings at my coffee house of choice.

Everbodyy want's to be friends with Billy D because he has a commercial kitchen set up in his house.

And in that kitchen he has been known to pour cocktail and make sausages.

When I say sausages, I mean every style, flavor and version that exsists in God's Kingdom.

For years I have been enjoying the spoils of his work.

That's why I found it odd when he asked me recently if I ever made Irish Christmas Pudding.

I know just yesterday I posted about the dental chick and Irish cream, but you have to remember.....

Capitol City is a city full of Micks (I being one of them.)

So anyways, I have yet to try this, but if Billy D says it's good, I trust him.

BTW....before I go, one last factoid on Miracle on 34th Street.

Did you know that Robert Shaw, the dude who played the captain in Jaws was the Taxi Driver in this film, and they didn't even list him on the credits? it is in 3-2-1 and action.......

Yo, is that recipe I talked about... from the Beginish Restaurant in Dingle Ireland.
  • 8 ounces dates, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups packed)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter parchment. Place chopped dates in small bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over dates and let cool, about 1 hour.
Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl to blend. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of flour and beat to blend. Add remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Add remaining flour and beat until blended. Combine instant coffee and baking soda in small bowl. Pour into date mixture, stirring to dissolve coffee granules. Add date mixture to batter and beat to blend. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cool pudding until just warm. Unmold; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream and Caramel Sauce.

Carmel Sauce:

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    Bring cream, brown sugar and butter to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer sauce until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Before using, rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.)
  • Thursday, December 20, 2012

    My Dentist's Irish Cream Recipe

    Bailey's Irish Cream, certain to be a culinary staple of any Mick or Pastry Chef.....right?

    Well, wouldn't you know that just prior to Thanksgiving (the day before in fact), I was talking to my dental hygienst out in their buisness office where she asked me.....

    "Hey Klecko, what kind of pie will your family be eating tomorrow."

    I responded.....

    "Funny you should ask, Sue McGleno took it upon herself to put herself in charge of pies this year and she got Pumpkin, Chocolate Cream.....and get this, Triple Berry! I asked where is the Apple? And she just rolled her eyes, like I said a swear word in church."

    Desi (my dental hygienist) stood there for a second, smirked and then with a full throttle smile decided to support my wife....

    Apple, what's wrong with you Danny? Nobody has Apple at Thanksgiving. I'm having Pumpkin and Triple Berry too."

    I swear to the Polish Christ......I thought I was dreaming, and God had placed me in the script of some bad sitcom from the 80's.

    As I stood there motionless, one of the 10 women from behing the buisness counter asked....

    "Danny, why don't you make that Irish Car Bomb Bundt that you demoed at the State Fair?"

    This brought back fond memories and I smiled.

    Another woman somewhat befuddled by what an Irish Car Bomb was asked for a description.

    I was more than happy to comply....

    "Irish Car Bombs are a flavor concept that incorperates Guinness Beer, Jameson Whiskey and Bailey's Irish Cream. It's one of the top flavor hits on the internet, and some are bold enough to announce it as this years Red Velvet."

    Now the woman (Mari) who asked if i was going to make the Bundt continued questioning me.....

    "Do you make your own Irish Cream, or do you just use Bailey's?"

    What kind of silliness was this? Bailey's is the ONLY Irish Cream....isn't it?

    So now I ask her (Mari), and she also rolls hers eyes as if to say that Bailey's is crap, and only savages use it, but I can't say that because I am at work here in the dental office.

    "Wow" I said "I never knew anybody made their own."

    Now all the woman behind the counter flashed this look of disdain, as if to say......

    "Some kind of baker you are, Thanksgiving at your house must be ghetto."

    Mari just shook her head and demanded my e-mail address, the following recipe is sent with compliments from Mari, and all the kids at Metro Dental......

    Hi Dan
    Mari from Metro Dental and I told you I have an Irish Cream recipe. It rocks and is soooooooooooo good!
    Bailey's Irish Cream
    1 3/4 c irish whiskey
    1 can sweetend condensed milk
    1 c whipping cream
    4 eggs ( I use egg beaters)
    1 tblsp chocolate syrup
    2 tsp instant coffee
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp almond extract
    1 tsp coconut extract
    As I said, put this all in a bowl and use my stick blender to mix this, or you can put it in a blender to mix
    Shake before serving
    Refrig-keeps for up to 1 month (if it lasts that long)
    Let me know what you think. This makes the stuff in the bottle taste bad. You'll never drink it again.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Episode #400 - Pam McClanahan / Influence of the Year

    Welcome L.A.B. Rats to the 400th episode of the Last American Baker.

    Whenever I hit one of the hundreds, I kinda like to do something a little bit special or different, oh....but before I do that, I want to thank Great Britain for the surge in viewership hits lately.

    I don't know if the spiked numbers were prompted by my Charles Dickens recipes (LOL), but whenever I get a chance to talk smack with the Queens subjects, I always consider that an honor.

    Anyways, the year is ending, and I've known for the last couple of days that I would have to post a #400 Blog posting, and I determined that this time I would talk about the one person in my community that influenced me the most this year.

    I tried to be prudent, and give the entire population a fair chance, but to be honest, I figured out who I wanted to be in 2013 within minutes.

    My personal hero of this year is the Director of the Minnesota Historical Press / Pam McClanahan.

    I've known Pam for several years.

    Although our paths don't cross as much as I like, we live in the same neighborhood.

    A couple years back, she got me an in to write my cookbook.....

    K-9 Nation "Baking for my best Friend."

    This was about the time that Pam had been advanced to the top of the MHS totem pole, so I am certain it was an exciting time in her life and career.

    One of the main reasons I admired her back then was because throughout our buisness relationship, there was a coupled instances where I imitated myself a little too closely (in other words I was kinda a diva-smart a**) and Pam was professional enough....kind enough to man up and put me in my place.

    I really respect people who are loving enough to be forward and call me on things things that will ultimately embarress me.

    It's so easy to look the other way.

    Pam is kind.

    Pam is gracious.

    But Pam simply won't take crap from anybody, not even a Pollack Baker.

    Pam's position has yeilded so much joy and information for the state of Minnesota.

    The press that she works for strives at length to preserve the history, recipes and poems of the people that live across the Land of 10 000 Lakes.

    MHS is more than a gift, they are a blessing.

    A lot can happen in one year.

    A lot of memories can pile up.

    Mnay and most get shuffled into my mental warehouse where I will place them into shoe boxes that will never be opened again.

    However, after asking myself.......What was the one moment of 2012 that makes you smile?

    The answer wasn't an epic occurrence, but actually more of a fleeting moment.

    I think it took place in July or August.

    I remember it was really hot outside, and I was coming from the gym, clad in work out gear, and for some reason I was buzzing down Selby Avenue to get (I think an Ezra Pound book) at the Sub Text book store.

    It was kinda like a Springsteen song.....

    I was walking in, an Pam was walking out.

    Our eyes caught, we smiled, and within seconds I felt really fortunate to have her as a part of my life.

    I'm not always good at realizing peoples worth, and the tremendous influence they have on me, but everytime I see McClanahan, I just feel better.

    Anyways, I was sweaty, sweaty enough where I didn't want to hug her......

    But she insisted.

    Then realizing that we both had appointments to attend in about an hours time, Pam looked across the street at the infamous W.A. Frost (for those of you outside Capitol City, it's pretty much one of the more swank bar/restaurants) and mentioned......

    I'll bet we have time for one.

    I didn't really want to stumble into such a lush enviroment, flashing my gargantuan muscles and body ink....

    But I did.

    And although it was just one drink, and maybe 21 minutes on the watch dial, it was the one 1/2 hour period this year that I recall.

    The one 1/2 hour that I wish I could return to, and I think a lot of the reason is because I really respect Pam McClanahan.

    I love her too, and in the upcoming year......I'm guessing I'm gonna try to steal some of her "Secret Moves."
    and raise my street cred to an alltime high.

    Thanks L.A.B. Rat's for putting up with KleckoNation for 400 rants.

    I love most of you.......


    Friday, December 14, 2012

    Hollywood Soup Prep - Vote for Sheen or Lohan

    Over the years, I've experienced a lot of weekday - days off.

    For many people, this would constitute murder, because it breaks into the Eb and Flo of weekends at the cottage, Sunday morning church service, or even a specified block of family time.

    Let me tell you L.A.B. Rat's, I have yet to find a person that can take Klecko for 48 hours w/o wanting out for life.

    Klecko is wonderful in small doses, like a cartoon before a movie, or Celtic music.......

    But if you commit to walking the extended saw dust trail with him...........

    So as some of you know, I have been on vacation this week, and on one of those days, I made soup for Sue McGleno.

    Actually, I made it for myself, and a few other peeps (more on that at a different date) as well, but whenever I cook at home, I don't make what I want....I make what Sue McGleno likes.

    She finds this so unusual, and throughout the years she has alluded that perhaps my willingness to roll over and feed her-her preferences was due to ulterior motives.....

    But as the years have passed, she seems to finally be coming around, and realizing that when a person loves cooking, they prefer to cook for others more than themselves.

    Can you imagine if you painted Mona Lisa or American Gothic and simply left it in your hallway at home?

    What a waste.

    So it's a couple of days ago, midweek, midday, and Klecko is in his home kitchen with a mountain of vegetables... 

    "She's not going to eat the soup if I don't cut this into microscopic pieces."

    Klecko prefers "stew sized" veggies however, maybe because of the texture, or maybe because he's feeling lazy and doesn't want these carrots, beets and onions to be reduced to mush.

    CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT goes Klecko, while a radio, that Sue McGleno left on from when she was getting ready for work that morning is blaring away.........

    "And on an interesting note, reports are in the Charlie Sheen sent Lindsay Lohan $100 000 to help her alleviate her tax debt. However, although Lohan's camp took the money, nobody sent Charlie a thank you. He said that he was kind of put off that she couldn't even send him a text."

    I set down my Wusthof and thought about this for a second.

    "Maybe Charlie shouldn't give money if he's needing a thank you." I thought.

    But then I thought some more.

    If you know Klecko, and let's say Klecko covers your $142 bar tab.........

    He'll want a thank you, maybe even on a billboard LOL.

    But perception is a funny word isn't it?

    Lindsay could have so easily have sent a simple thanks, and the whole issue would be over, but she didn't.

    Who knows, maybe she's thinking...............

    "I didn't ask for this, and after all...Charlie just did this to maintain his visibility otherwise.... why does the media even know about this?"

    But then Charlies probably thinking......

    "Whatever......if she felt slighted......she didn't have to cash the check, did she?"

    I have my opinion as to who is right, and who is the D-Bag here, but I will reserve comment.

    Afterall, just like making soup....................

    I would rather hear your thoughts on the topic.....



    The vote starts in 3-2-1

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    48 Hours in a Time Machine

    I'm not sure what the running count is, but I think Klecko has around 212 vacation hours stockpiled.

    Hold that thought............

    During the last few weeks, a young Polish kid, a young Pollack baker I know, has kinda moved up the ladder at a small retail bakery that specializes in Eastern European fare.

    6 days a week this guy heads into work at 2:30 a.m. and bakes rye bread, kolaches, pumpernickel andVienna's.

    Some of this product goes into the display case, and another portion goes into a thriving deli like restaurant that feeds the entire NorthEast population of Minneapolis.

    Awhile back I offered my services to cross the ocean sometime in December and work with the guy prior to the holiday rush.

    Well....this was the week.

    Yesterday (Monday) was my first slated shift. I was on the roster for 2:30 a.m.

    In my mind, when I agreed to do this, it seemed romantic, to turn back to my youth and return to a the nocturnal lifestyle that has turned the Last American Baker into who he is today.

    But Sunday was interesting.

    The Twin Cities got it's first snow fall of the year.

    Actually, it was more of a minor blizzard.

    I never heard the final totals (if you're a local and a brother a solid and post it at the end of this post) but when I pulled away from my house at 1:30 Monday morning, I felt isolated, as if I were navigating Siberia alone....on a night where there was little or no moon in the sky. 

    "You certainly are a dumb a**."

    Klecko muttered to his self as he inched along on this voyage of peril.

    As I passed through downtown Minneapolis, dump trucks blocked 7th street. I couldn't get through for 12 minutes because small Bob Cat's were loading mountains of snow, located in the middle of the street, into the backs of  dump trucks.

    Saints of Warsaw....hear our prayers!

    When I finally arrived to work I sat in the parking lot, I was a few minutes early, so I just sat there and soaked everything in.

    "You know you can't go home?"

     Klecko was reported to say to himself...

    "Every-time you do, you always seem to get disappointed."

    LOL....the price one pays for being sensitive I guess.

    But truth be told...Klecko might have received salvation from the Lord, but it was me that saved myself, from himself....and the rest of you crazy wrecks when he spent those 2 decades as a baking vampire.

    When a person works alone in the middle of the night, it doesn't matter if they are religious or not, every thought that goes through their mind, none of them passes their lips.

    Those quiet thoughts leave behind no audible finger prints, instead.....they just flow free, in a lucid fashion, and at such a different pace than people who live amongst the daylight, they actually become part of a long running prayer.

    The kid shows up, the parking lot is ice, the wind is freezing and silently the 2 of us slide down the alley and enter the back door.

    After crossing the thresh hold, my host darts forward and click-click-click, I hear him flipping light switches from every corner of the iconic destination spot.

    Now with the lights on, I can see through the saloon doors into the dining room.

    I can see the very tables I sat at as a young-young man.

    But now I'm here during "off hours" like a fly on the wall.

    I am thrilled.

    The kid is focused, but I can see he is still in the process of waking up. He doesn't have the same inspiration that a first timer like me has to keep him amped.

    The space is cold.

    It is the first "frozen" day of our Minnesota winter, I couldn't have picked a better time to start.

    The first day I did 10 1/2 hours. Much of this time was spent shadowing the kid.

    Much of the time I spent answering well thought out questions.

    The guy didn't mention a single solitary thing about his personal life.

    All he wanted, was to talk about baking.

    And finally, and most importantly, much of the time was spent building trust in one another.

    You might think that sounds weird, or creepy, but it's just fact, if you've ever worked night shift, or even day shift, but your tasks had you secluded from others with the exception of one other, before you can decide to invest in this person....

    Usually you just want to become certain that this dude isn't a habitual liar, somebody who is going to bullsh** you throughout your entire shift.

    On other occasions, I have been saddled with lazy people, or high maintenance employees that insisted on me coddling and praising everything they did, that they didn't mess up.

    I've been chained to drug addicts, I've been chained to strippers.

    I've been chained to coke heads, I've been chained to theives.

    But this kid....he was simply a baker, a baker who wanted to talk about bread.

    When I tell you that a "feeling out" process is mandatory, I say so with a "Matter of Fact" tone.

    If you don't share an element of comfort with your baking partner, let's just say it leads to bad baking sessions.

    The building was in good shape, but like all old buildings.....the building was old.

    In between doughs, I stood in silence, and tried to picture the conversations and experiences that were shared between the Pollacks, Slavs, Bohemians and what not.

    The "Kid" impressed me. I had been told by ownership that he had worked in other aspects of the operation, but he "took a shine" to baking.

    "Ya think?"

    This kid knew every bit as much as I did at his age, and he didn't go to baking school like I did.

    Throughout our shift, older women from Paraguay, Ukraine, Russia and who knows what other parts of the world, came filing in.

    None of them talked to me at first, I just got the look.

    One thing that probably will never change in restaurant/bakeries is that on your first day, most employees will just give you an inquisitive look.

    Conversation is seldom merited.

    If I were Barack Obama, it wouldn't have been different. It's just a universal law.

    The New Guy buys his time.

    Next ingredient reps came came to pimp their wares, some of these cats knew me, but none of them asked what I was doing, or why I was there, but I'll bet there's rumors buzzing around Capitol City as we speak.

    On day #2, me and the kid were like long tenured work mates.

    All the pleasantries and formalities had been dispensed with....and all we talked about was baking.

    As the little hand on the clock kept ticking, I knew my 2 day stint was quickly coming to an end.

    After my baking companion shook my hand and thanked me, I went into the deli with the concepts owner.

    He thanked me several times while he pulled a thick wad out of his windbreaker, but I have to tell you the truth in front of Polish Jesus.

    For 2 straight days, while you and yours slept, Danny Klecko had an opportunity to travel back into time and bake with kid who really reminded him of himself.

    And Klecko likes himself, so he shoved the cash back at the owner, grabbed a couple pounds of Polish Sausage out of the deli case and steered the bread truck towards home.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012

    Understanding Chocolate

    As a baker, I know that possibly the "bait" ingredient that most people covet is chocolate.

    However, just because this sinful flavor is so beloved, that doesn't mean that everybody understands the different chocolate camps.

    I bring this us today, because many home enthusiasts will do the entire years worth of baking within the next 2 weeks. and after that....their pantry will remain bare until next holiday season.

    So here go you.....Mr / Ms Recreational Baker.......

    Take a gander at this, and have your best bake ever.

    Merry Christmas L.A.B. Rats

    Bittersweet Chocolate – Bittersweet chocolate can usually be substituted for semisweet chocolate; however it is made with less 
    sugar, therefore is less sweet than semisweet chocolate

    Cocoa – This is the unsweetened brown powder produced after cocoa beans are ground and the cocoa butter has been removed.

    Dark Chocolate - Dark chocolate is made with chocolate liquor, extra cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla flavoring.

    Dutch Cocoa – This is cocoa that has been processed with an alkalizing agent. Dutch processed cocoa has a smoother flavor and darker color than regular cocoa, and is usually the preferred cocoa for baking.

    Chocolate Liquor – When cocoa beans are ground in the manufacturing process, a sticky liquid is produced called chocolate liquor. 

    Chocolate Syrup – A sweet liquid made from cocoa and corn syrup.

    German Sweet Chocolate – German Sweet Chocolate is sweeter than semi-sweet chocolate.

    Milk Chocolate - Milk Chocolate is made with whole milk, cream, condensed milk, or dried milk which is added to chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla flavoring.

    Semisweet Chocolate – Semi-sweet chocolate is made with chocolate liquor, extra cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla flavoring.

    Unsweetened Chocolate – Also called baking chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is chocolate liquor in a solid form and contains no sugar.

             White Chocolate - 

    White chocolate contains chocolate liquor, therefore is not a true chocolate. It consists of cocoa butter, milk solids, milk fat, and sweeteners such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.

    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    Soup, Borscht and Kim Ode steals my quote

    Dan “Klecko” McGleno and the St. Paul Bread Club

    A community of bakers gathers to share recipes and break bread.
    Brad Stauffer Photography
    Outside, temperatures dipped to 15 degrees below zero. Inside, the atmosphere was anything but frosty. Some 60 people had gathered in the cavernous production area of a commercial bakery for the winter meeting of the St. Paul Bread Club in St. Paul, Minn.
    Each participant was asked to contribute a favorite soup or a loaf of bread, and tongues wagged as a jumble of pots and loaves began to line the oversized tables. Eventually, the clamor subsided, and bakers were asked to describe their offerings.
    "My experiment for the week was sushi rolls," proclaimed one member as she described a white dough doused with sake and rolled around sesame seeds and nori.
    "I made butternut squash buns using the same soup I brought today," explained another.
    "I tried a multi-colored levain-type bread," said yet another.
    People who consider baking a science find their view irrevocably challenged. Clearly, to club members it's an art-with dough a palette on which to lavish endless creativity.
    The Bread Club is the brainchild of Dan "Klecko" McGleno, a professional baker who guessed that if you mixed people with flour, you'd give rise to a yeasty community of home bakers. Today's meeting is proof that his hunch was right. The assembled group includes teenagers and professionals and retirees. Men are as plentiful as women. Kitchen newbies mingle with long-time veterans of the oven wars.
    "Part of what I love about baking is being alone with my thoughts," says member Kim Ode. "But the club certainly draws out the inner extrovert. "People have always come together over the breaking of bread," she chuckles. "We come together over the baking of bread."
    Story by Jo Marshall, a food writer in Deephaven, Minnesota

    L.A.B. Rats -

    It's getting to be soup stew and chili weather.

    Above, was a story about my Soupalooza.

    I swear it was 100 below zero, but the little LAB Rats came out of the woodwork, and all of us had a blast.

    Next week I will be going on vacation.

    During this time, I will start off the week working night shift at a Polish bakery, with a young Pollack kid that is hungry to learn.

    A couple of my friends have suggested it was a weird way to spend my time off, but I am actually kinda stoked.

    When those shifts pass, I am thinking I would love to do some Soup R&D.

    One thing I noticed recently is that there are soup societies - chili leagues, but I simply haven't found any Borscht Societies, 

    Maybe this could be that last leg of Klecko's culinary dynasty.

    We are a Lab Rat Nation -

    We are a Lab Rat Family -

    If any of you have ideas as to launching a "Borscht Concept".........

    Klecko will have time to listen.

    He'll be going on vacation starting Saturday. 

    P.S. Notice how Kim Ode Steals my quote space ...............sigh

    Dogs in the Bakery

    From my experience.....

    I have found that very few things are sacred in bake shops and kitchens.

    Many bakers will take a co workers tragedy, wrap it up in a flaming bundle, and then throw it back at them.

    If you are going to survive a bake shop.....

    If you are going to advance in a bake shop.....

    In simplest terms, you better be bullet proof.

    With that said, there are several unwritten codes of protocol that exist,

    The following poem will describe one of them.

    Enjoy -

    A Dead Dog

    In a bakery
    When your wife files for divorce
    The dough mixer will tell you
    He never liked the bitch

    In a bakery
    When your dad dies
    The oven man grows hostile
    Itemizing his fathers drunken exploits

    In a bakery
    When your dog dies
    The crew will mourn in silence
    Knowing certain forms of suffering
    Are sacred, and require revrence

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Who Reads L.A.B.?????

    Wow, the difference a year makes.

    This time last year, Germany was a strong #2 to the United States, but now my friends from Russia have practically  gone viral.

    Also the Ukraine has cracked the top 10 and Canada has recently surpassed 1000 hits.

    Even though they are not on the top 10.....

    Israel has been pushing hard as of late.

    With that said, I am grateful to my family of L.A.B. Rats, and if you think about it throughout the holidays, send your favorite L.A.B. post to a friend.


    This kitchen doesn't belong to me......

    It belongs to US!

    United States
    United Kingdom

    Nestle Cocoa for Christmas Baking?

    Often times I'll start these posts off with "Guy Rules."

    Today, I will broaden my demographic and hit you with a "Life Rule", that way these words can inspire all genders.

    Something funny happens as humans get older.............................

    Christmas comes around far more often.

    When I was a kid, I am pretty certain we had to wait 10 000 days between opening gifts underneath the tree.

    The sands in the hour glass simply don't fall with haste for children.

    But now that I have inched up to the abyss of becoming old, it seems to me that 1/2 of my life remains in the Holiday season.

    Wasn't it just 3 weeks ago that I was preaching "World Peace & Egg Nog"?

    Man Alive how time flys for the aged.

    Some people would let that worry them, or maybe on a lesser note.....define them.

    But the Last American Baker refuses to let life dicate to him how and what he needs to do when he reaches certain milestones in life.

    I've always felt the best way to do this is....keep moving, and always-always-always reinvent yourself.

    Klecko has always cringed in the presence of hippies and do gooders, but truth be told, maybe he's starting to get soft.

    Is it possible that the Old Pollack is becoming a "Citizen of the World?" LOL

    Anyways, my plan for Christmas this year is to bury my "Peace On Earth" dream.

    I know this may crush many of your hearts, because so many of you look to the village baker as a source of optimism, but let's face it.........

    People are flawed -

    People are selfish -

    People will never allow peace, because they have swallowed the lie.

    They don't believe Peace is in their best interest.

    This year Klecko is simply going to worry about what Peace he can offer to this spinning globe, and the rest of y'all are free to do what you like.

    With that said, Christmas baking is upon us now, and many of our loved ones will demand our tasty stylings to help continue their family traditions.

    Klecko uses a lot of cocoa through the holidays, so I'm guessing that maybe a fair portion of you kids do as well.

    So for my first official Good Christmas Deed of the year......let me show you something that was written in a little rag called the LA TIMES.

    Nestle promises action on Ivory Coast child-labor violations

    June 29, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
    • Nestle said it will work to eradicate child labor in its cocoa supply chain in the Ivory Coast.
    Nestle said it will work to eradicate child labor in its cocoa supply chain… (Nestle )

    Nestle, the world’s largest food company, said it would do more to eradicate child labor and other worker violations in its Ivory Coast cocoa supply chain after an outside report pointed out a range of problems.
    The West African country provides 10% of Nestle's cocoa, which is used to make chocolate products such as Kit Kat candies, according to an investigation by the Fair Labor Assn. But the company's worker code is often flouted there, causing children to work under dangerous farm conditions instead of going to school, according to a Friday report from the association.


    OK, welcome back.

    Does Klecko think big buisness is good?


    Does Klecko have anything against Nestle?

    I guess after reading this, he might.

    I have a granddaughter who won't be subjected to this insanity, for no other reason than God shook a Yahtzee cup and little M-Rose fell into the world via Omaha Nebraska.

    But these beautiful children in Africa, these kids who (according to odds-statistics and probibility) I will never meet.

    They know no other way.

    Like many of you, I sometimes feel powerless against fighting giants.

    And sometimes I simply tire and or "Racing Towards the Roar."

    But it's Christmas time, and whether I like it or not, I simply cant shake the image of Little Manger Babies sloshing around in 3rd world conditions, trying to elude tractors running them over......just so some fat cats can have theirs.

    Am I bugging you?

    I don't mean to bug you.....go ahead Edge, play the blues.

    (At this point Klecko takes one foot off the soap box, to indacate to the audience that he is about to conclude his rant.....but then, at the last moment, he leans into the microphone to announce one final thought.)

    I do love most of you guys, and hope you are able to bake for your loved ones with smiles on your faces.

    However, would it be to much to ask, that you don't use Nestle for this years holiday bake?


    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    один день в Новосибирске

    Dateline 2006/NovosibirskЕсли вы взяли линейку, транспортир, или любого устройства нужно найти самого центра и то, и поместили его в Россию .... вы бы в конечном итоге поразительно большое ** собора в центре города под названием Новосибирске.Это не география факт, что я поставил бы свою жизнь на, однако ... Церковь имеет бронзовых маркеров прилипли к ее стенке, что указывает на это.Даже после распада Советского Союза расстался с Украиной, Грузией и другими странами, она до сих пор бахвальство человека за то, что страна с наибольшим количеством суши.Был момент, когда Родине было 16 часовых поясов, но по неизвестным мне причинам, они вырезал это число до 9.Так Klecko только что закончил месячного пребывания в Kaaskad CO-OP в Айхал (город в азиатской Арктике) и строго денежно-кредитной причин, Федерация хочет, чтобы я посадку в Новосибирске за 28 часов до возвращения в Москву.Новосибирск на самом деле в некоторых государственных программ, где это "Города-побратимы" с городом я в настоящее время живем .. Saint Paul.На данный момент в моем путешествии, я носил, но я, конечно, не хотите, чтобы лежать вокруг в отеле, моя кровать была предназначена для кого-то не выше 5 1/2 футов.Лифт, который поднимает мою Шрек, как рама на 4 историй размером с небольшой гроб, и когда я войти в него, я чувствую напряжение на кабель.Ночью мой телефон звонит в нехристианской часов, и хотя я не говорю на родном языке, я почти уверен, что это специальные девушки, которые нанимают из дружбы.Утром, если вы смотрите в окно, с моей точки зрения ... Я вижу десятки бабушка в подметать улицы с метлами сырая, которые построены из ветвей деревьев.Новосибирск является не чем иным опьяняет.Я люблю каждый аспект об этом.Таким образом, во время моей один день свободного времени, мои люди из московского офиса выстроились парня, чтобы показать мне, служить моим проводником, и, надеюсь, поможет мне нравится мое путешествие дня без драмы или инцидента.Я забыл парни имя, но это, возможно, был Юргис, так это то, что мы пойдем с.Русские любят гулять, возможно, именно поэтому большинство своего народа так нужным. Юргис говорит мне, чтобы убедиться, что у меня есть обувь для размещения походы, и, прежде чем вы это знаете, мы ушли.Это была весна, солнце, и так как мы были расположены в центре города, наше путешествие началось на стыке и направились к городской черте.Юргис должно было быть 23 или 25, и он свободно говорит на английском и японском языках, а также его родном языке. Его целью было служить состояние дипломатов в бизнесе с интерпретацией за рубежом."Даниэль .... производить камеру, пожалуйста. Слева от вас, да что там, что высотное здание. Это должно было быть важным центром болтанку. Все 18 историй должны были иметь офисы торговли не только для нашего города, но большая часть Сибирский регион, однако ... Вы видите, как оно прогибается? Он был построен с такой фонд, который бы не провести его, и теперь он попадает под землей ".Здание выглядело как промышленная версия Пизанской башни."Что они будут делать со зданием сейчас, что это бесполезно?" Спросил я."Она останется гнить" ответил мой проводник ", но печальная часть истории это .... смотреть на все эти здания, окружающие его."Были торговых центров, автозаправочных станций, сувениров и магазины одежды."Они все построены эти предприятия с обещанием, что они были бы построены в клиенты из этого огромного здания, он должен был иметь самые квадратные метры любого здания в Новосибирске, но, когда главное здание никогда не получал от земли, вспомогательных предприятий упала также. Это то, как вы говорите, так что город-призрак? "2 из нас усмехнулся.В течение всего дня я был выставлен на многие сайты. Наш тур длился более 6 часов, так по крайней мере 3 раза мы остановились в кафе для дозаправки с пивом.Но если есть один образ, который торчит в моей голове в отношении России, это должно было бы быть, как каждый город, независимо от того, насколько большой или маленький, были красивые парки, которые всегда были ухоженными тщательно.Каждый парк, кажется, есть десятки статуи, а также. Не крошечные границы маркера статуи, или скромные размеры статуи, но Huge-Bold-заявление статуи.Как вы пройдетесь этих фантастических произведений искусства, вы не можете помочь, но чувствую прилив патриотизма.Данный парк, который Юргис взял меня было прохладно, поскольку она также была фактически джипы, танки, ракетные установки и даже истребители включены в пейзаж.Как объяснил Юргис каждой единицы оборудования со мной ... в длинных деталей, он улыбнулся и сказал ....."Я никогда не был в Америке, но и в вашей стране, чтобы иметь возможность победить в холодной войне впечатляет. Мы верим, что наше оружие технологии, чтобы быть первоклассным, но все же преобладали США".Я вроде ухмыльнулся в том, что я даже не в том, как перейти Sling Shot, и спрашивает вслух, если возможно, США запугивает Ruskie это после того, как мы выгнали их ** в наиболее важных олимпийская хоккейная игра."Да, это правда" Юргис ответил: "Я интересно, если бы вы об этом событии, но на серьезной ноте, если можно вернуться к теме холодной войны, большинство россиян уверены, что единственная причина, мы проиграли потому, что из глупого человека Горбачева ".В этот момент я сказал мой хозяин, как я имел уникальную возможность испечь для него, когда он посетил городов-побратимов.Юргис не похоже тип парня, который просто ляпнул идей, так что я был смущен, потому что я думал, что распад Советского Союза не могло быть места на плечи одного человека, поэтому я спросил его, может ли он объяснить свое предположение с большей ясностью .....Хотя Юргис более чем десять лет моложе меня, когда он ответил ...., это было, как если бы он был объясняя элементарные понятия для молодежи."Моя страна старого Даниила. Империй рост, падение ... а потом воскреснуть, но Америка это новый мир. Вас нет длинной линии времени все же. Однажды, когда вы это сделаете, вы увидите, что иногда неумелости только одного человека достаточно, чтобы потерпеть крах страны. Я прошу вас, чтобы попытаться запомнить эти слова в 5 лет. Прямо сейчас ... ваши Джордж это глупый человек, так же, как Михаил Горбачев. Через 5 лет я готов держать пари, что Америка окажется такая же позиция ".Это было 6 лет назад, и я не забыл моих друзей проблемой.Юргис был практически пророка.* Не забудьте проверить новейшие Блог сайта Klecko (о Blogger)Поэты LAME (и другие вещи Майк Финли научил меня)

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Последняя американская Baker

    Понедельником, 3 Декабрь 2012

    Маркетинг и внимание средств массовой информации

    За эти годы я достаточно повезло, когда я узнал, как получить возможности в средствах массовой информации. Некоторые люди могут подумать, что я делаю это, чтобы просто привлечь внимание, хорошо .... Я предполагаю, что они частично правы. Klecko действительно становится одинокие о так легко. Но, по правде говоря, Klecko деловой человек всегда осознали значение чернил. Чернила гораздо больше ценного, чем поглаживание эго.     Ink обеспечивает возможность. Для более десяти лет Klecko установили, что его возможности могут быть развернуто, ровно столько, сколько он может появиться в местных средствах массовой информации каждые 6 недель. Итак, как же рабочий Питание Обслуживание остаются актуальными и заслуживают внимания средств массовой информации ежемесячно в течение более десяти лет? Ну, это не легко, и я не всегда . ударил марки, но всех и все, я был очень близок следующие будут перечислены в не определенном порядке, я просто хочу мозгового штурма некоторые из моих тайн Klecko здесь, как я иду. № 1 - Вы должны иметь рассказать № 2 - Когда во время интервью, не ждите, для человека, средства массовой информации, чтобы бросить вопросы, вы знаете больше о вашей специальности, так что просто выбросить некоторые грязи на стене и сказать им, что вы хотите видеть в печати. # 3 - Репетиция, что вы собираетесь сказать, я имею в виду сказать это вслух, снова и снова, в то время как вы ведете свой ​​хлеб грузовике через весь город, вы получаете только один шанс, чтобы произвести впечатление. Но когда вы, наконец, сказать, что это, быть прохладным, пытаются встретить, как экспромтом. № 4 - Media люди, вопреки распространенному мнению .... тоже люди. Задайте им вопросы об их жизни. № 5 - Узнайте, как писать. Klecko была загружена из 3 различных вузов и никогда не процветала на английском языке. Но он сделал практике письменной форме, а затем вызвался написать колонны .... бесплатно. # 6 - Многие писатели писатель личностей, и они обращаются со своими историями, как если бы они были детьми. Я действительно не безразлично, как мои произведения редактируются тех пор, как меня зовут чернилами. № 7 - остаются актуальными, как пекарь попасть на радио, телевидении, в газетах, если он / она просто проповедует Евангелие хлеба, или торт? Всегда добавить поворот. Klecko разбил ....................... Хлеб Закваски Резьба собачье печенье в польском Рождество Выпечка с / для ирландских монахинь State Fair татуировки обслуживания пищи людей, которых я запеченное для поэзии Saint Paul молодежи бейсбол специфических ингредиентов (например, мед, алкогольные напитки, супы) История связям с населением (выпечка с бандой сосиски) Cookbook проектов Ингредиент Товары для знаменитостей Munchkins выпечки за рубежом (Европа и Азия) Как сделать деньги!! ! Я просто царапать поверхность парней ....... № 8 - Обычно интервью задаются заранее. Узнать больше о формате, и человек средствах массовой информации вы будете с. № 9 - Холодная Чтение - иногда, я буду называть работой номер абонента, средств массовой информации я собираюсь заниматься с, но я называю их работы число на 2 или в 3 часа ночи. Тогда я слушаю свои сообщения голосовой почты. Является ли данное лицо смешно? Являются ли они немного встревоженный. Каждый корабль, который собирается направить вас есть различные инструменты, чтобы вы в направлении вы хотели бы пойти. Не на что на лодке слепых. # 10 - цитаты - цитаты в том, что часть истории, что они тянут из истории и повторить в большую коробку. Я часто пытаются кормить этих выглядывает только цитаты. # 11 - Все, что вы говорите должны быть честными, искренними и приятными # 12 -. всегда-всегда-всегда убедитесь, что, когда ваша история гласит, что вы следуете с спасибо # 13 - Закон, как вы делали это раньше. Не хлынут на колени и спросить: "Когда история бежать?" Человек, который берет интервью у вас хочет освежающий опыт .... они хотят, чтобы думать, что вы здорово. # 14 - Когда ваш кусок действительно бежит, используют социальные медиа, чтобы плескаться эту историю. Если Джонни X покрывает ваши мальки рыб, и эта история получает 10 000 просмотров .... поверьте мне, начальство будет знать, и воздать ему должное. # 15 Я не хочу, чтобы каждый человек средствах массовой информации, чтобы взять у меня интервью. Я хочу, чтобы каждый человек средствах массовой информации, чтобы взять у меня интервью в десятки раз. № 16 Строить отношения между вашей концепции, и средства массовой информации. Эти люди были достаточно любезны, чтобы сутенер вы ...... так почему бы не сделать брату твердую и вернуться пользу? № 17 ALWAYS-ALW AYS-всегда говорю, спасибо, эти СМИ имеют сотни людей, тысячи людей поражая их каждый день. Когда вы выбрали там просто не должно быть никаких прав участвующих (если ваш Bob Dylan). № 18 быть пуленепробиваемым, вы пройдете через холодов, как мяч игроку на тарелку. Даже Род Карью при 0 на 5 иногда, но не принимайте это личное, просто пойти и открыть себя заново и создать историю, что СМИ будут бороться за. Этого должно быть достаточно, чтобы заставить вас думать, но, действительно, есть так- это гораздо больше, но я только что научил тебя ходить, поэтому, как только вы начнете получать от А до B, вернуться и кричать на меня, и я дам тебе главу следующего ....... " Когда я смотрю на воскресную газету, я хотела меня видеть, глядя на меня " Klecko и Counting Crows чувак : Мой Миннесота: Бейкер обнаружил свое призвание в младших классах

    Marketing and Media Attention

    Over the years I've been fortunate enough where I've learned how to obtain opportunities in the media.

    Some people might think that I do this to simply get attention, well....I guess they are partially right.

    Klecko does get lonely oh-so easily.

    But truth be told, Klecko the business man has always realized the value of ink.

    Ink is so much more valuable than stroking ego.    

    Ink provides opportunity.

    For well over a decade Klecko has determined that his opportunities could be maximized, just as long as he is able to appear in the local media every 6 weeks.

    So how does a Food Service Worker remain relevant, and merit media attention monthly for over a decade?

    Well it's not easy, and I haven't always hit my mark, but all and all, I've been pretty close.

    The following will be listed in no certain order, I'm just gonna brainstorm some of my Klecko secrets here, as I go.

    #1 - You have to have a story to tell

    #2 - When being interviewed, don't wait for the media person to throw questions, you know more about your specialty, so just throw some mud up on the wall and tell them what you want to see in print.

    #3 - Rehearse what you are going to say, I mean say it out loud, over and over while you drive your bread truck across town, You only get one chance to impress. But when you finally say it, be cool, try to come across as off the cuff.

    #4 - Media people, contrary to popular belief....are people too. Ask them questions about their lives.

    #5 - Learn how to write. Klecko was booted from 3 different high schools and never flourished in English. But he did practice writing, and then volunteered to write columns....for free.

    #6 - Many writers have writer personalities, and they treat their stories as if they were children. I really don't care how my pieces are edited as long as my name is in ink.

    #7 - Remain Relevant, how can a baker get on radio, TV, and in newspapers if he/she just preaches the gospel of bread, or cake? always add a twist. Klecko has pitched.......................

    Sourdough Carving
    Dog Biscuit's
    Polish Christmas
    Baking with/for the Irish Nuns
    The State Fair
    Food Service Tattoo's
    The people I have baked for
    Saint Paul youth Baseball
    Specific Ingredients (like honey, booze, soups)
    Community Outreach (baking with gang bangers)
    Cookbook projects
    Ingredient Shopping for celebs
    Baking Abroad (Europe and Asia)
    How to make money!!!!!!!!!

    I'm just scratching the surface guys.......

    #8 - Usually interviews are set up in advance. Learn as much about the format, and the media person you'll be with.

    #9 - Cold Reading - sometimes, I will call the work number of the media person I am about to engage with, but I call their work number at 2 or 3 in the morning. Then I listen to their voice mail message. Is this person funny? Are they a little uptight. Each ship that is about to steer you has different tools to get you in the direction you'd like to go. Don't on on that boat blind.

    #10 - Pull Quotes - Pull Quotes are that part of the story, that they pull out of the story and repeat in a large box. I oftentimes try to feed these peeps nothing but pull quotes.

    #11 - Everything you say should be honest-sincere and pleasant

    #12 - ALWAYS-ALWAYS-A-L-W-A-Y-S make sure that when your story runs that you follow up with a thank you.

    #13 - Act like you've done this before. Don't gush at the knees and ask "When will the story run?" The person who is interviewing you wants a refreshing experience....they want to think you are cool.

    #14 - When your piece does run, use social media to SPLASH that story. If Johnny X covers your fish fry, and that story gets 10 000 me, his superiors will know, and commend him.

    #15 I don't want every media person to interview me. I want every media person to interview me dozens of times.

    #16 Build relationships between your concept, and the media outlets. These people are being kind enough to pimp why not do a brother a solid and return the favor?

    #17 ALWAYS-ALWAYS-A-L-W-A-Y-S say thank you, these media outlets have hundreds of people, thousands of people hitting them everyday. When you are selected there simply shouldn't be any entitlement involved (unless your Bob Dylan).

    #18 Be Bulletproof, you will go through cold spells, just like a ball player at the plate. Even Rod Carew when 0 for 5 occasionally, but don't take it personal, just go and reinvent yourself and create a story that media sources will fight over.

    This should be enough to get you thinking, but there really is so-so-so much more to this, but I've just taught you how to walk, so once you start getting from A to B, come back and shout at me and I'll get you to chapter next.......


    Klecko and the Counting Crows dude

    My Minnesota: Baker discovered his calling in junior high
    • Article by: CURT BROWN , Star Tribune
    • Updated: December 1, 2012 - 4:00 PM
    Meet a tattooed baker, poet, Little League coach and grandfather.

    Farrah Fawcett posters were the rage. Patty Hearst was convicted of bank robbery. Wild Cherry was urging everyone to "Play That Funky Music."

    It was 1976 and a new policy was unveiled at Carl Sandburg Junior High School in Golden Valley. Instead of girls taking home economics and boys learning industrial arts, the school opened the electives to both genders.

    "In sixth period, I made some apple crisp with three girls in Mrs. Wilson's class," Danny Klecko recalled. "It was a whole lot better than repairing lawn mower engines."

    A baker was born that day. Thirty-six years later, Klecko is the CEO, master baker and problem solver of the St. Agnes Bakery, which cranks out an array of loaves for 300 commercial customers from its ovens in St. Paul.

    A big guy at 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds -- with more than 40 tattoos gracing his arms and back -- Klecko is also a Little League coach, grandfather and poet who co-edits an online poetry magazine called Lief (

    Here's a sample, his poem "Sourdough Vampire":

    "The bakery's old, hallway's cold, condensation's causing mold.
    On the baseboard, on the wall, clock strikes midnight, ovens call.
    I'm going to rise tonight, close your eyes tight, knead the world while you sleep, pray to God your soul to keep.
    Bones are cold, eyes are old, seeing stories never told.
    Turn the dead bolt, darkness crawls, clock strikes midnight, ovens call."
    He's also written a cookbook and his recipe for honey red wine jelly can be found on a blog via this link:

    Klecko isn't his real name. It's McGleno (more on that in a minute). He spent his early childhood in California before his mother, whom he describes as a hippie, returned home when Danny was 8. He's lived in Minneapolis for 20 years and St. Paul for another 20. The difference: "Minneapolis is a major city with nightclubs; in St. Paul, you're known by who used to own your house."

    His professional baking career began as a bag boy at the Supervalu in Golden Valley, helping out the bakers. When he moved on to Supermoms Bakery, his Polish co-workers didn't feel fond about the young Irish kid, so they put a "Klecko" nametag on his uniform and it stuck.

    He has since baked for President Reagan (whose likeness is tattooed on his arm) and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during his 1990 visit to St. Paul. Klecko and his wife, oncology nurse Sue McGleno, have two grown kids and a 3-year-old granddaughter. His first tattoo?

    A "5-23" on the back of his neck. Why?
    That's the day my son, Ty, hit his first home run when he was 10 off one of Joe Mauer's cousins," Klecko said. "He crushed it."


    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Restaurant Bathrooms

    As Sue McGleno and I walked out of the bookstore, she asked...............

    "Mexican, Pizza or go home for Soup?"

    In all actuality, this might appear as an innocent question to you, but it really wasn't.

    When a woman has been married to a man for 100 years, most of the times they know the answer to a question they ask their husband.....even before they ask it.

    At the Klecko Castle, I am in charge of all things soup-stew and chili, but there is one small exception.

    Sue McGleno makes an awesome Chicken & Rice soup that I can't touch, her secret is in her stock, and truth be told......Capitol City has been under the cover of cloud and flu for a week.....

    So I wanted the soup.

    She knew this.

    "Mexican, Pizza or Soup?"

    At this point, I locked my eyes on hers, held my tongue for 3-2-1 at which point she responded...

    "Good, Pizza it is!"

    I really don't want to start a gender war here, and most of you know I almost always side with women, but all I want to do is post one simple pizza observation.

    When a guy goes out for pizza, typically he goes to a neighborhood place where the concept and people there are laid back.

    Places that might have names likes....Lyle's, Checker Board or Slice of New York.

    But whenever I go out for pizza with girls, the places they take me to, these places have restaurant name's that are hard to pronounce, and their employees all look like they went to Princeton but for one reason or another they just got tired of being studious and now they've chosen pizza as their life muse.

    That's exactly the type of place Sue McGleno brought me.

    So we go in, and then we are forced to "wait to be seated".

    Wow.....since when does anybody have to be "seated" for pizza?

    Dude was nice, and he was affable, but then he tosses another curious question.....

    "Would you prefer a table or a booth?"


    Has anybody ever selected the table?

    There a certain-certains in the Food Show.

    There are certain questions staff should never ask, because if they do....that world will call them out as posers.


    Go to any legit breakfast diner, and if Esther or Helen come to take the order of a middle aged man, they'll never pose the question..............

    "Would you like bacon or sausage with that?"

    Because they know 100% of guys are going to select the bacon.

    Not 91%

    Not 96%

    But 100%


    If I sound like I'm on fire, maybe it's because I kinda am..................

    Indulge just a few seconds longer.

    Now they sit Me and Sue McGleno in a booth.

    At Lyles, or Checkerboard Pizza...that booth table would be long enough to take a nap on, but at this uppity-up pizza establishment.....the table was shoe box sized, and-and-and.....AND GET THIS,

    In the middle of that table was a small jelly jar with 6 fresh flowers, and next to that was a glass receptacle like thing with a flame in it.

    Some people might call that thing a candle, but in the Klecko book of love, candles are made out of wax.

    They melt.

    They drip wax.

    They are made by some interesting person that hangs out with the Butcher and the Baker, but this was one of those little metallic bulb dealios that has some kind of lighter fluid in it.

    OK, I get it, this swank pizza place that is about to charge me $14 for a 10" pizza, figures if they broaden the esthetic....well maybe that will warrant increasing the price point.......sigh.

    What they are forgetting is that Sue McGleno and I want to spread out and use smart phones, read the City Pages and eat appetizers, to do this one is almost forced to conduct a Fengshui seminar.

    Ultimately, we had to shove this excess baggage up against the wall, and after doing so.....Klecko placed his head on a swivel and noticed that every other eating participant did the same.

    Father-Son-Holy Ghost.....I was starting to get stressed, and while that tension began to mount, I simply defused it by locking eyes once again with my wife and announcing......

    "I have to pee."

    So Vroom................Klecko zips out of the dining area, and circles the perimeter to find a place of sanctuary.

    Like most restaurant's this size, the Men's Room came equipped with  1 urinal - 1 toilet and 1 sink.

    Boom - I push the door open, and I'm kinda frustrated with myself because now I'm feeling like I was 4 because I really gotta go.

    The pressure was unfathomable.

    I can't remember if there was a partition, but as I unzipped-and spun around a corner......

    There's some stocky soul locked down to my choice of porcelain, and since guy rules dictate it isn't cool to explore what kind of ministry another dude is working in the restroom, I wasn't sure how long this guy was gonna be.

    So now I turn, and throw my scarf behind my back, but while I do this....I tune into audio mode.

    From the sound of things......this guy was flowing at hydrant status, so I ended up doing the thing that most guys hate......

    I had to go #1 in the #2 stall.

    When I did this, of course the seat was down.

    Of course the seat was covered with innumerable drops of pee.

    When this happens, a guy kinda has a conundrum.

    If you are not a savage, you don't want to contribute to this monstrosity, but to claim civilized status, that means you'll be required to engage in flipping up the seat.

    Sweet Jesus from Warsaw City........

    A guy might consider this if there's some plank like board, or extended foundry tongs, but you guessed it....

    Nadda-Nadda Enchilada.

    (At this point I will leave out any narration describing my P.V.E. (Personal Voiding Experience)......

    However-while I was standing...looking down at the ground, there were puddles surrounding the bowl.

    Not just a sparse few, but the ratio was akin to the Native Fighters that surrounded Custer during his exit.

    LOL.....I swear to Caesar, I had passed appalled and now I was entering onto Fear Avenue, so being the self-surviving Pollack, I switched my focus, ran my eyes up the flagpole to eye level and placed my glance to a tiled wall behind the commode and yes.......

    You might want to turn away yourself.

    It gets worse from here...........

    Right in front of me, about 4 feet away,

    A carefully placed booger smear.

    Right when my gag reflex began to kick in, the hydrant guy next to me completed his chore, and to his credit.....

    He restored sanity to this situation by using the sink.

    While the water splashed his hands, I wasn't sure if he was protesting the bathroom's condition to me....or to some invisible bathroom deity.

    But when he was finished, and had left the bathroom, I followed suit by washing my hands.

    When it was time to dry my hands, I scanned the premises to weigh my hand drying options.

    There was only one.

    Paper towels.

    Now typically I am a fan of the paper towel over the blowing machine, but today something occurred that could possibly persuade me to flip my opinion.

    This paper towel dispenser was that paper towel dispenser that comes equipped with the "red laser / motion detector thing."

    So now I wave my hand in front of the glowing light.

    It wouldn't engage at first.

    So now I'm getting more than annoyed and begin waving my arm sarcastically like a convulsive Pentecostal.

    ZOOM........................praise be the Saints, several sheets of single ply paper come whooshing out of the unit, but the catch was.......

    The restaurant had the garbage container under it.

    Directly underneath, and the excess refuse had piled so high, that the clean paper towels fell onto the top of the soiled / disguarded  ones.

    You just can't make this up.

    Now I am the first to cut a place slack, but it was obvious that - that garbage can hadn't been emptied all weekend.

    And I know that some people are slovenly.

    Some people don't practice hygiene.

    But I'm just not gonna believe that one or two people ripped this room into that condition, it had to be the aftermath of some kind of swine orgy.

    Is it just me?

    Have you guys ever entered a situation similar to this, and if so......was your next thought the same as mine?

    If the bathroom is allowed to look like this, what takes place in the kitchen?

    Alright..........I feel better now.

    But in closing, I'd like to remind you of a saying Pastor Aaron's used to say to me......

    "You can tell a lot about a person by inspecting how they maintain their car and their shoes."

    I'll respectfully add "Bathrooms" onto his mantra.

    Stay clean L.A.B. Rats