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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Advertising, Is It a Waste of Time?

Hey Peeps,

My newest Food Service News food column has hit the streets, but if you haven't picked up a hard copy....just sit back and see if Klecko distributes any wisdom this month.

About a year ago, yours truly was tipping the scale heavier than ever.

Sure, I was aware of it, but a person can find a million justifications to delude their reality.

At work, my colleagues would give me grief by mocking my increased mass, but these guys were bakers so most of them were fat too.

Somehow I found it hard to take their insults seriously.
But when I went home, a whole new reality hit me. It started when my wife poked my stomach like I was the Pillsbury dough boy.

After ignoring these taunts of warning, the stakes were raised when she informed me….

“Hey Big Papi, you’re getting fat, not husky or thick…FAT, so if you want mama to give you some sugar…you better do something about that.”

To be honest, I don’t know what part was more embarrassing.
Letting myself go, or having to be informed by somebody else.

Let’s face it, nobody likes to be called names, but I gotta tell you. I knew she was right, so I manned up and joined a gym.

Since that time, I am proud to report that you can find Klecko lifting heavy objects 5-6 nights a week.
I might not be able to fit into my high school Levi’s quite yet, but I’m willing to bet that my modified arms and chest might qualify for a cameo on Jersey Shore.

The same analogy can be made in business. Sometimes success can make us a little soft. When this occurs, I don’t think a minor face lift is out of order.

I’ve been with the same concept for over twenty years now. We’ve had three different sets of ownership and a thousand different opinions steer us to where we are today.

I think if you had to put a finger on what component has made us successful, some might say it was our customer service, while others might say it was our product selection.

New Flash….there are a ton of people out there that can make the same claim, but with thirty years in “The Show” I think I can tell you, what not only makes people money, but what makes them relevant….

ADVERTISING!

I know those eleven letters are already making some of you roll your eyes. That’s fine, but if you don’t listen up, you’re just going to let coins fall between your fingers.

Advertising will increase your sales quicker than any other principal you can apply to your concept, but the key is, you have to understand its power.
You have to learn how to harness it.

If you went out and bought a fishing pole today, that in itself wouldn’t put a walleye on your plate tonight.

First you would have to tow some boat that’s worth more than your house to a lake and ask the locals where the fish were biting.

The locals (are you catching that they are a metaphor describing your competitors?) probably wouldn’t be too anxious to assist you in your quest.
Under these circumstances, many people will just let fate determine their success. They’ll simply set that boat into the water and caste off into whatever direction the wind takes them.

This strategy isn’t just a waste of your resources, but of your time as well.

I can’t tell you how often people have approached me and said………
“You know Klecko, I’ve been running an ad for close to a year now and it hasn’t impacted my concept.”

I’ll usually ask them how they came to that determination, and the following is a pretty typical answer.

“Well, in all the time we’ve run our ad, nobody has come into the restaurant and mentioned it.”

Funny, I’ve purchase around 4000 antiperspirant sticks in my life, but I’ve never deemed it necessary to contact Old Spice and thank them.
Advertising isn’t some kind of Genies lamp that will magically force people to give you their money.

Advertising is more of an assistant to the things that your company already does well.

Once you determine what your strong area’s are, the next step is logical, plug that message into your audience.

I guess the best way for me to describe this is to explain to you what I have done myself.

Around a dozen years ago, I realized that if I was every going to make more
than the average food workers wage, I was going to have to grow the business where I worked.

Nobody told me to do this; I basically took the initiative without prompting.

This was back in the days when I touted myself as the Lord of the Sourdoughs.

For awhile, I’ll bet I did close to 100 demo’s a year.
During this process, one of the first observations I made was that almost everybody I spoke with had a favorite bakery, but yet none of these people could name a single baker.

How odd is that? If you asked these people to name chefs, they’d easily blurt off a dozen.

But who knows?

Maybe there’s a social retardation that accompanies the baking industry. I guess it almost makes sense being that so many of its “Star Players “are at their best while the world sleeps.

Finding the proper medium to advertise in is essential. Since I was running a wholesale bakery that primarily services the Twin Cities….Food Service News seemed like the logical choice.

Realizing that the Twin Cities baking platform was void of specific baking character, I surrounded an entire year’s ad campaign around “Klecko – the man who feeds a city every day.”

At the same time, I also sent press releases to local media indicating that from this moment on, I was to be their contact any time a baking story needed a reference.

In addition to promising them an exhaustive amount of pull quotes, I also sent along clippings of my ad in Food Service News.
Journalists love to work with people who support their guild, and truth be told, if you don’t support their scene, see how long they’ll support yours.
Ad campaigns really need to change on an annual basis, the mob is Rome, and Rome is fickle my friends.

If you don’t have something new to throw to your audience base, you’ll become white noise and fade into the recess of their memory.
After I established the “Klecko Brand”, the following year I switched our campaign to give off a team vibe. Our next ten ads would have made you believe that this zany bread guy was supported by a full army.

About half way through this second campaign, our accounts grew exponentially.

Anything worth doing has a maturation process, and if you skip its puberty period, the body of your concept will become freakish.

Bottom line, there are no short cuts. You have to court your desired demographic, and that takes time.
If marketing is something that doesn’t come natural to you, hire somebody to assist you. Oftentimes publications selling as space will send an expert to your facility.

Remember, they don’t make money, if you don’t make money.
If you have the eyes to see how valuable advertising is, you’ll never stop.
Today, yours truly isn’t a kid anymore. In fact, many of the people I sell to are half my age.

The company I work for is no longer a novelty, and because we’ve established ourselves in the Twin Towns, our next hurdle is to make sure we don’t appear antiquated or stale.

That’s why we’ve actually expanded our advertising and our currently taking out quarter and half page ads in City Pages.

Different demographics are influenced through different mediums, and currently, I am focusing on “Generation Next.”

Our ads are youthful, metropolitan and filled with diversity.
The Apostle Paul said that all of us need to work out our own salvation.
The same can be said with advertising.

All of us are attached to business concepts that have identities as unique as snow flake patterns.

Figure out which one of them best represents your message and get it in print.

In closing, I just want to send a friendly reminder to my esteemed peers that have enjoyed some success. When things are stable, it’s easy to get comfortable, but that’s no excuse to ignore a world around us.

It’s changing every single day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pickle Bread Recipe

As the Polish Christ once said....towards the end of the crucifixtion.....

"It is Finished."

However, the thing that I (and Hennessy) have completed will not bring eternal salvation.....but it may warm your soul.

Hennessy and Klecko have mastered PICKLE BREAD.

We haven't merely produced it....we have MASTERED it!!!!

Some people may enjoy the sense of accomplishment when they formulate a masterpiece by themselves, but Klecko always likes crossing the finish line with an intresting companion.

Hennessy and I spent the better part of a week gathering ingredients, running sample batches, and critiquing our wares with editorial eyes and discerning palates.

Very few things worthy praise come out perfect the first time, and even though the both of us knew that.....we rode an emotional roller coaster for over a week.

I'm not going to give you Klecko's "Master" Bread Formula,but I will help you with the most difficult part...the pickle brine (which Hennessy lovingly reffered to as the Witches Brew)

1 Gallon Plain Vinegar
15 Cups Sugar
3 Cups Salt
4 Oz dill Seed
4 Oz Brown Mustard Seed
3 TBSP Whole Pepper Corn
2 Pinch Crushed Red Pepper
2 TBSP Crushed Ginger
2 TBSP Mace

All this get placed into your witches cauldron (or sauce pan) and placed over high heat.

I like to stir fairly often.

Our objective is it to boil this down, to reduce as much of the liquid possible.

This recipe is either double, or quadruple of what most home enthusiasts might want to attempt, so feel free to break this recipe down to a size of your liking.

The process will take at least an hour, maybe longer depending on your heat source, but once the liquid level has dropped, and the viscosity has thickened, let the "Brew" cool down, then put it in a Tupperware and plop it in your fridge.

I would let this Pickle Brine set for at least 24 hours.

A day later, when you remove it.......Yikes, it is going to smell rank, and that is putting it kindly.

You can use this Pickle Sludge is any hearty bread recipe.

I would just use the Pickle Brine for 20% of the liquid that your recipe calls for, and then I'd use water for the other 80%.

You will want to TRIPLE (yep...triple) your yeast levels.

This Pickle Brine will give a standard portion of yeast a heart attack.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I guess a guy could use some Vital Wheat Gluten if they want as well.

This Brine should produce enough flavor to sell the "Pickle" concept....however, Hennessy and I add fresh dill and dried onions into the remix.

I almost always like to add fresh onion into my bread, but truth be told....this is a sensitive medium. I don't want to increase my chances for disaster by adding any more wetness or acidic content.

Good luck with this L.A.B. Rats, and I'm just thinking out loud here....but wouldn't this make a killer Hamburger bun?

End Of Tranmission

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Seating Protocal On Romantic Dates

Is racial diversity a good thing?

I'm guessing most of you would answer "Yes!"

But I've always felt that diversity is at its best when there is no majority, or minority.

Concepts,events and situations where demographics are split down the middle are the best.

For instance, my son Tydas went to an elementry shcool were the student body was very equal.

It was composed of African Americans, Caucasians, Asians and Hispanic kids and each group pretty much represented 25% of the student body.

This set up was great because when you are within a system of equality, it really doesn't seem nessesary to define things that are irrelevant.

Tydus never saw a need to tell me if he was hanging with a white kid, or a black kid....kids were simply kids.

This is a beautiful concept in theory, but there just are not that many scenarios that I have run into where all groups of the globe come to meet in equal numbers.

Well.....maybe I'll take that back......

There is the Perkins on University Avenue.

At my house, we have a rule that on your birthday, the whole family will join you at a restaurant of your own choosing.

KiKi always picks Bucca, Sue McGleno is Cantina La Cucaracha, Me (and my son in law J.R.) are Glockenspiel, and the family baby Tydus is Perkins, the Perkins on University Avenue, home of his coveted "Tangler" burger.

If we sat in the parking lot of this particular Perkins, and I put a gun to your head and asked......

"When we enter that restaurant, what group of people will have the most people dining tonight?"

You'd be hard pressed to answer.

The place is like a Happy Bible Post Card, you know...the the one's where Jesus is in that next Earth Age, kicking it in Eden.

In that picture he's always surrounded by a black,white, yellow and red kid, 1/2 are boys and the other 1/2 are girls and more often than not....the Saviour is holding a happy lamb.

As a matter of fact, now days, often times...they'll even add the a kid in a wheel chair in that post card.i think I saw it at the State Fair.

Everybody is welcome in the Jesus-Eden postcard, just as everybody is welcome at the Perkins on University Avenue.

So there I am, Sue McGleno and me. We are about to go futon shopping, but she thought it would be best to start the "date" at Perkins.

Men can be such idiot's. To many guys, they would have framed this moment as....

"The day I had to miss the first three quarters of the AFC playoff finals, just to find some futon for my wifes sewing room."

Klecko knows better, he knows that if he is going to be a good husband, he really needs to go to this...and act as if he even cares.

Many times wives honestly could care less if their husband cares, but they sure are hopeful that he will at least fake it...I so get it.

That's why anytime I go out to do chores that most might consider droll....if I am with Sue McGleno...it is a DATE!

When you enter a restaurant with a woman, they often times are wired to believe that sitting across from their love interest is the most romantic seating arrangement....not even close.

Side by Side is the way to go.

Side by Side is what will eventually drive girls "perfume commercial" mad.

You see, throughout the course of the day, we sit across from all sorts of people....clients, work mates, teachers, and sometimes just plain jerks!

But "Side by Side" denotes choice, it requires intamacy,but most of all it requires comprimise.

When you sit next to a woman and share items off the same plate, you'll have to cordinate a system.

Dining is something that most people do within their own invisible box, but the moment somebody enters that space....it's amazing how unnerving it can be, or the tension that this innocent formality can cause.

That's correct...tension, and tension my friends can be wonderful or disastrous, it all depends on how the tension will be released.

From my experiance...tension usually ends in a 2 day fight, or butterfly kisses LOL.

"But Klecko....does it matter who sits where in the "Side by Side? Does the woman sit on the inside or the outside of the booth?"

Amazingly enough.....when I've polled woman on this question, most say that it is more romantic when they (the woman) sit on the inside, while their date sits on the outside.

I hate to tell the majority of a gender that they are wrong but....LOL, sorry.

In the long run, the woman will find the guy sexier (if not less creepy) if he forfiets the outside and takes the inside.

C'mon...we're family now right? How many of you woman, as girls had that poster? You know exactly which one I'm talikng about.......

"If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you it's yours. If it doesn't....it never was."

Or something like that.

Why would a woman want some lout pinning them into the corner. A woman should always-always-always be seated next to a "Red Carpet" of retreat.

A woman shouldn't have it in her mind, even if it's just a 1/2% that her exit may have to be negotiated.

Klecko doesn't know much about much.....

but if it's baking, dogs, scriptures or romance....you owe it to yourself to at least ponder his musings.

Did I ever tell you about the girl who held my hands for 7 seconds at the Bulldog NorthEast?

Maybe next time.

Klecko - Out

Oh Yeah...as always....comments and opinions are welcome.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Belgium Pee Boy Statues & Making Pickle Bread

Almost every city has at least one place that sells statues.

The statues at these venues are not grand enough to be present in museums, but yet they certainly are bigger and classier than the mere Buddha lawn ornament that people love to plop in their garden.

I'll bet right now you're smiling, thinking of that exact place, the one in your neck of the woods.

Most of the times these concepts take place in unique settings.

I've seen them in haunted house looking places, toppled barns just outside of the city limits (but not actually in the country), in cinder block storage units under the city.....

But wherever their destination resides.....Klecko finds them to be cool.

Mike Finley has one such place over by his house.....I think it's actually connected to an off the beaten path - antique hub which townies refer to as "The Mall of Saint Paul."

The statue store there, to my knowledge, doesn't even have a name. It's just a (and I say this affectionately) a rickety old store front with a large glass picture window that frames concrete images of monkeys holding water basins, the large lions...but I know they are called something else, the Japanese ones that guard important people or valuable treasures.

This nameless place has a sign constructed of cardboard and magic marker which was crudely slapped together (like 20 years ago) to tell onlookers that they are only open for business Fridays and Saturdays.

Well I decided to go in, after all Valentines Day isn't to far off, and keeping with my covenant of honoring all "Romantic Holidays" I figured I'd browse around.

Now this isn't the first time I've been here,over the years I've entered this quaint store empty handed.....only to leave loading something into the bread mobile with a hydrolic lift LOL.

So the guy who runs this joint, he's mid 50's, he's an interesting cat. He'll follow you around the shop (in an entertaining way) while telling you about statue construction, his sons hot rod, or the time he almost died trying to drive to Colorado during the famous Christmas snow storm.

You know.....standard Statue Guy stuff.

At first it was just me and him, but then some young woman enters the store,she has to be 26-28, Statue Guy welcomed her, and told her if she needed anything to just holler.

To be honest, no shouting would be needed, this shop was about the size of the main dining room at McDonald's,but not with the side room attached....just the the main room right?

So all of a sudden.....Klecko informs.......

"I Spy - a Pee Boy statue, and I think I'm gonna scream. Pee Boy freaks me out!"

If you aren't familiar with Pee Boy, I'd respectfully submit that you've seen him at one time or another.

He's that kid, the one holding his "Junk" that pee's into fountains in villages and town square fountains across the planet.

Statue Guy laughs, and Klecko decides to share some further thoughts on the topic.

"To be honest, not all Pee Boy's scare me. From my experiences, I think there are two versions right? I know there is that one with the Hillbilly kid with overalls around his ankles, but then there is this one, the creepy one. It's so alien and androgynous looking. Like one of those kids from a bad 1960's British movie, one of those movies where the kid bully's the town with physic powers."

Statue Guys laughs, he too has seen such movies and they creep him out as well, but he assured me that the kid peeing, the statue kid was actually quite tame.

According to Statue Guy, the Pee Boy originated in Belgium. He was the kid of some king or duke or whatever, but one day (Just like the movie Home Alone) somebody randomly realized that Pee Boy wasn't anywhere to be found.

Everybody stopped what they where doing and searched the entire castle...to no avail. The child had vanished.

So then they must of sent out the King's Guard, or at least some neighbors and uncles to scour the surrounding areas.

The story has a happy ending, by days end......somebody discovered the missing Pee Boy, when they found him he was...well, as you can guess, he was standing in the middle of the city or villages main street...,,,and he was taking a whiz.

The King (or whoever) was so thrilled, they had a statue to commemorate the blessing, and their joy and celebration can be found to this day, at a bird bath near you LOL.

So now Statue Guy told me that he didn't speak Belgian, but he swore that he knew the Pee Boy's original name at one point, but before this declaration was finished passing his lips.....

That young woman, the one shopping in the statue store blurted out......

"It's Mannekin Pis, and the actual statue which still resides in Brussels is only 24 inches tall. That's smaller then your model."

First off, I don't mind people jumping into conversations, but I do however want their information to be organic.

This chick fumbled with the pronunciation of "Mannekin Pis"...why?

Because she was getting her info off her I=Phone.

Sweet Jesus, Martha and Saint Faustina, when will people learn?

When I'm in a room of peeps and somebody asks what the standard weight capacity of an elevator is, or what was Lou Reed's third album....

I do want the answer, but maybe I'm old fashioned, I want to be courted first.

I want to hear the stories behind the stories that will get me to my answer.

Knowledge is good, it's like money, if you have it, you can do a lot of things.

But money "earned" is even better. It is appreciated more. It will be invested with prudence and pride.

The same can be said for information.

Last Friday I had a 20 minute pow-wow with Hennessy about how we are going to infuse a kick a** Pickle flavor into sourdough loaves.

Our conversation traveled to so many different destinations, but how did we obtain most of our opinion??????

A silly little thing called cookbooks and conversation.

So here I go sounding like an old man, but how big of a fossil am I.

Will tomorrows cooks and bakers simply just turn to Google to give them all of their knowledge?

I know it gets you across the finish line....but it's void of soul.

As usual....feel free to disagree (or commend me for being handsome and stoic)

END OF TRANSMISSION

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Beef Stroganoff Debate (Place Vote Here)

Don't even know how we got on the topic, but I was steering a breadmobile over a long stretch of icy roadway when all of a sudden Kim Ode made mention that Beef Stroganoff could only be made with egg noodles.

What?......like Stroganoff would be made with semolina noodles....?

I wasn't following her train of thought.

I mentioned that she must have joined the Sue McGleno Stroganoff bowling team, that team of misfits that won't aknowledge that God, Klecko and all the Saints of Warsaw realize that Stroganoff can only be served over potatoes.

Now when Klecko says potato, he is basically assuming that the entire world knows that the only "true" potato is the little red - the baby red, and it has to be boiled and cut into the shape of small coins.

Mike Finley on the other hand might tend to agree with me, but he has always been a fan of the "Yukon Gold" potato, and he likes to bake them instead of boiling.

I'm willing to give Mike's reasoning more laditude than people who support the egg noodle, but the thing about the "Yukon" that troubles me is...it's so big, and it is hard to heat evenly in an oven.

When baking them, often times the walls get crunchy, and the core can be underbaked and hard.

You cannot mess up the little red / potato coin if boiling.....FACT.

So now I'm weaving down Robert Street. The cars are moving 1/2 the speed that they should be, and Klecko is starting to get annoyed.

"These cars are lined up all over the road, like an anaconda with scoliosis...hey, tell me this Kim, what do you like better, Stroganoff over real potatoes, or topped over those shoe string ones?"

"What" says Ode...."I'm not sure what you're talking about."

The shoe string potatoes. You've seen them, they come in the can, you know....it's about 1/2 the size of a Pringles can."

Kim responded while thinking.....

"Of course I know what shoe string potatoes are, and how they are packaged....I'm just saying that I've never seen, or heard of them being served on shoe strings....."

Klecko sunk deep into his truck seat....had his Toyota slid through some universal portal that spit him into some paralell word?

"Ode....what are you thinking? Remember back when Swanson Hungry Man dinners toured America? Remember when you forced your sister with that crappy frozen beef pot pie so you could enjoy the chicken version?

This was the era that the shoe string stroganoff ruled the world."

She didn't have a clue.

Do you?

If you have a strong opinion on stroganoff....food of the angels, now's the chance to make your voice heard.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Worst Day of the Week to Buy Baked Goods Is ???

It is said that you should never eat buffet meals in Vegas because the contents being served are usually left overs from the last couple of days.

It is said that you should never buy a hot dog during the first couple of innings of a baseball game because chances are that those were the dogs that didn't sell in the final innings the previous night.

I can't prove those statements, but Klecko is always happy to report urban legends.

Buying bakery items can be tricky too, our systems most certainly have chinks in the armor.

A - The chocolate filled croissant you get at your local coffee shop

B - The Apple Fritter you get at your gas station

C - Any outsourced bake goods you'll run across in a restaurant or hotel

These are just a few items that will be much better on certain days of the week than others.

A - Many coffee shops pick up their pasrty daily from local retail / Ma Pa shops. Most of these smaller bakeries are closed for production on Sundays, I don't think there is a specific reason why Sundays off has been the industry norm, but it just has.

The part that is ironic is that many people like to frequent coffee houses exclusively on Sundays,read their newspaper and stuff like that, but since their Croissant was made on Saturday....it's usually 24-26 hours old before it is consumed.

Croissants that exceed a day are kinda like man hole covers.

B - Gas station baked goods are a whole other monster. They often times won't send product for their cases on Tuesdays.

I think the reasoning here is because the hope is that their traffic will be big during the weekend. They have to stock fresh Saturday and Sunday, So Monday a standing order will be shipped out to cover everything that was sold during the previous 2 days, the busiest 2 days of the week.

But Mondays are weird in most hospitality concepts. They can get real busy (like 20% of the time) or they can just crawl by and leave you sitting in isolation like a monk.

So long story short.....if you are hitting the Maple Long Johns on a Tuesday afternoon....careful, it may have fossilized.

C - Wholesale is weird. Once again, I can't give you a specific reason, but most commercial bakeries run production Sun - Friday and are closed on Saturday. That means a large-large majority of the restaurants, casino's, hotels and catering peeps are plating you products that are 48 hours old if you dine with them on a Sunday.

Well Klecko.....can an additional 24 hours really add that much impact on the integrity of baked goods?

Yeah....it really can.

I'm not suggesting that you stop frequenting these concepts, all I'm saying guys is don't think just because some baked item is in a showcase that it is fresh.

You are entitled to ask when the shipment was made.

If that muffin in your hand is over 48 hours, I'd consider asking for a discount....truth be told, most peeps simply won't volunteer this information, or reduce their price(s) unless forced to.

Stay sharp out ther L.A.B. RATS!

Danny Klecko......g-o-n-e

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Welcome To Hell

If you have an empire, and that empire is made out of selling wholesale bread. You might think that the majority of time is spent on business expansion.

Who else can I sell to? How far can I stretch my borders?

These are musings of an empire in it's infancy.

Most concepts that experience growth reach a point of leveling off. If they pass this point....well, then you have to ramp up with more staff, more automation, the list goes on.

Klecko is attached to 300 some accounts in the Twin Cities. Sure, not all of them order at once.

Some of these accounts are seasonal as well, but if you follow odds-statistics and probibilities, it shouldn't be too difficult to understand that when Big Papi hits the plant.....no matter how early, there will always be a flashing light on the Emergeny "Bat-Phone".

So much of my job is putting out fires and conducting conflict resoloution.

Sometimes the problems are our fault, sometimes it's theirs, but the bottom line always remains the same....Fix it, or face the possibility of losing the account.

Another way,in fact the most common way we lose accounts is when these restaurants, casino's, stadiums, catering concepts,coffee houses or schools replace their chef/cook.

Almost every-every-every time this happens, the new chef/cook will want to mark their territory by peeing on a different fire hydrant than their predeccesor.

This was the case yesterday.

I was going to a meeting in a neighborhood that contained a former account that was not only profitable, but actually a fun place to be.

The cooks were really above average and often times I'd practically office out of their dining area.

So yesterday, I brought a "promo" which is basically bread totes filled with standard items and an invoice so they can check the pricing.

When you deliver a promo, you never enter the front door, you wouldn't think of asking for a host/hostess to see if the chef was available.

The best way to approach this is look for the garbage dumpster, 99 out of 100 times they will be located next to the door that will take you straight to the kitchen.

There are very few downtown buildings that I haven't navigated multiple times. Like a rat, Klecko forges his way through tunnels and hallways, the underbelly of the Twin Cities..LOL, but I digress.

So yesterday, I pop into said restaurant, slide in through the back door, turn the corner and carefully navigate my bread totes down a stairwell that will lead me into the kitchen.

As I was decending, I noticed that on the wall, over your head, the wall you looked up at as your moved downward, they added a sign that said....

"WELCOME TO HELL".

Alright, I get it. That whole "Look at us, we are manual laborers, we are pirates, we are the unwanted dolls on toybox island.

Yeah....I get it.

Now what I'm about to say could easily come off as a rant in written form, but you're just going to have to trust me....it isn't.

I thought about that sign for a long time last night, and I'm just going to give my brief impressions, and then I'll let you get back to your busy day.

Whoever posted that sign may very well have meant it in fun, but to see those words everyday, every time you start and complete a work shift....eventually it's going to take it's toll.

And if for whatever reason, who knows...maybe your spirit is as strong as bear trap, when a person frames themselves or their daily tasks with self pity, or self loathing, they simply will not be able to harness their potential.

Yeah...a potential that every laborer is entitled to, but is all starts with a persons additude.

Back when I raised children, I always taught them that the worst enemy you can possibly have in life is yourself.

If you quit on yourself,feel sorry for yourself, or refuse to believe in your skill set....dude, you are so dead.

I don't know when the Food Service Worker found it vogue to become so cynical.

Was it after Anthony Bourdain wrote Kitchen Confidential?

Was it after the inception of the Food Network?

I don't know.

In closing, I can already hear the posts blasting me, saying my view may be hyper sensitive, but I'm here to tell you....Klecko if nothing else, is observant and will state for the record....

"Why would a person chose to be negitive about any part of the role they are about to embark on for 40, 50 hours a week. Walking down that staircase and having the oppurtunity to cook for people is a privlege. If you get good at it....your options in life will grow exponentially."

In closing, Klecko doesn't like to rag on something and not offer a soloution.....

If it were my joint, I'd tear down the "WELCOME TO HELL" sign today, and simply duck tape part of a Nike shoe box to the wall.

The part that says......

"Just Do It".

I'm Danny Klecko, wishing you all a good day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lotto Tickets & the Recipe for Real Coffee Cake

After I began having issues with some of the stuff that was taking place in the Catholic Church, I became perplexed as what I should do about tithing.

Bible people say you should give a 1/10th of your money back to instatutions that support God....in my case....I'd just cut a check to Vatican City.

I don't want to start your day off getting religous on you, but I will share a secret that liberated the Last American Baker.

One day I just came to terms that I owned nothing.

So over the course of time I started giving my contribution to projects that Nuns worked on, programs for delinquent youth....and of course, birthday cakes.

Now the Church (not just the Catholics) might tell you that my contributions are not reaping me maximum rewards because I am not sticking my shekels directly into the coin slot of the "Jesus Piggy Bank", but who's kidding who?

My Jesus, the Polish Jesus can fend for himself, he isn't short of cash, and he certainly has more than I, but I am still accountable for intent.

I do want to promote joy in this world.

Every morning before heading into the bakery, I stop at the Marathon gas station to pick up 5-Hour Energy Shots, Diet Pepsi and Beef Sticks.

On many days I buy Powerball tickets.

Klecko doesn't have issues with gambling, but he just gets bored with it, so instead of hoarding that magical "Winning Ticket", after the cashier(s) ring me up.....I throw the Powerballs back at them and say.....

"By the Grace of Saint Faustina...you are about to become rich!"

These ladies love me, they actually find it hard to believe that somebody would hand a fortune over to another person.

Let me let you in on a secret....I'm not, I'm simply handing them 5 bucks worth of paper...LOL.

On several occasions they have asked what cut I would take if they...when they win.

Klecko just smiles and says.....

"I lead a contemplitive life style, the riches would destroy my karma, you better hold onto the cash."

I think these types of gestures are what people really yearn for, and if churchs (and I'm sure some do) would display that kind of attention on other creature comforts....their dividends would increase as well.

A couple weeks ago after partaking of this ritual, one of the cashiers wanted to return kindness with kindness.

She explained that she knew that I was a baker, and she didn't want to offend me, but she would like to share some of her coffee cake with me.

Coffee cake which she had purchased at the gas station.

As you can imagine, you get what you pay for, so being that it was of gas station quality....it really was low end, but the gesture was grand, so I made certain to inhale it in front of her, even though I am not crazy about blueberry.

But as the day went on, and after talking to some of my peeps, my baking peeps, I asked them where they bought their coffee cakes, or better yet...when was the last time they made coffee cake?

I thought about blogging about it then, but I couldnt find my stupid formula!

I still haven't found it, but I did discover a really good one in the ADVANCED BREAD AND PASTRY book by Michel Suas (and yes, that is the correct spelling of his name).

The book is splendid, in fact Gilson once asked if I die before her, could she have it?

COFFEE CAKE

STREUSEL FORMULA

BUTTER-COLD 11 1/4 OZ
SUGAR 8 OZ
ALMOND MEAL 8 OZ
PASTRY FLOUR 8 OZ
SALT 1/8 OZ
CINNAMON PINCH

Place these into your Kitchen Aid and mix on medium until it becone crumbly and Pea sized, don't get crazy and overmix this stuff though....EZ does it.

When done, place it in an air tight Tupperware and toss it in your fride untill needed, and FYI....this stuff freezes like the bomb.

COFFEE CAKE BATTER

BUTTER 1# 4 1/8 OZ
CREAM CHEESE 1# 9 1/8 OZ
SUGAR 1# 9 1/8 OZ
EGGS 1# 1 1/2 OZ
VANILLA EXTRACT 7/8 OZ
BREAD FLOUR 2# 12 3/4 OZ
B-POWDER 3/4 OZ
B-SODA 1 OZ
SALT 3/4 OZ
WHOLE MILK 14 OZ

First you'll need to cream your butter, cream cheese and sugar, do this until it becomes light and "airy".

Slowly blend in the eggs and vanilla.

Then toss in the rest of the dry ingredients...but remember!!!!Don't overmix.

Finish off by adding your milk and mixing until smooth.


COFFEE CAKE ASSENBLY FORMULA

BATTER 9# 5 7/8 OZ
RASPERIES 1# 5 OZ
RASPERY JAM 7 OZ


Spray a 9 inch (23 cm) cake pan with some sort of "Pan Release" and then drop 14 oz (400 g) of batter into each pan and flatten it.

Then pipe around an ounce (40 g) of jam onto the batter and then top that with 4 OZ (120 g) of berries over the jam.

Then-then-then top that with and additional pound of batter (450 g) and over that.....7 OZ (200 g) of streusel.

The book says to bake at 335 F for 50 to 55 minutes in a convection oven, but I know alot of you L.A.B. Rats don't have convections so lets......

Well lets just say 350 F and the time should be close to the same, but if you have an oven light, peek at 35 minutes, but open the door around 40-45 minutes and give it a little look-see.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What Every Girl Wants To Know

"Klecko, I have recently got addicted to your blog and am proud to be a LAB RAT (providing you'll have me). I enjoy reading your posts in increments of 4 or 5 at a time. I was just curious if you track your readers, and dare I ask if you are, are your numbers going up or down? It doesn't appear to me that you go out of your way to increase traffic to your site. I think you should. It's become one of my favorite reads." C-T-J Boston MA

C-T-J.....wow, that mat be the most words anybody has sent me, thanks.

To be honest I track which countries follow more than anything else, but as much as I love attention, high "hit counts" are not necessarily the driving force behind what I write each day.

I prefer to have the Spirit move me.

9 out of 10 times, their should be a thread about baking...but today may be one of those rare exceptions.

After you sent this question, I'll admit, I did get a little curious and researched which post got this Blog site over the hump......after minutes of skimming I figured that it probably was the 4/24/11 post entitled "Easter Edition - Birthday Cakes and Czech Halls.

That was the story where I was sick with the flu, drinking NyQuil bombs, and catering the 60th birthday party of my writing mentor Mike Finley.

Right before I went home I stopped to use the bathroom and found myself alone with a trans gender person.

The post is touching now that I look back, but it also addresses bathroom etiquette, or protocol....

Go figure that many of the comments, and personal notes came from women, they honest to goodness were intrigued with men, and their primitive customs that they embark in while they relieve themselves.

Some women commented on how their husbands (or boyfriends) treated their bathrooms at home, but that's a whole different monster kid.....people void differently when they are alone.

While amongst the tribe....I am sorry to report that this act can be quite savage.

Recently Mike Finley and I were at the Dublinger Bar where he was being commissioned to give an editorial eye to one of my new projects I'm working on.

The place is in a seedy part of town. The upholstery on the bar stools is torn, the walls have poster after poster of JFK and over a make shift stage limps several flags of Ireland, and the orange bar(s) on them are severely faded.

The place looked like a film set for a depressing IFC movie....we oddly both felt more comfortable than we should admit.

When we stepped in, the place was empty, save the barmaid behind the bar, and after pouring us each a Harp, our seating options spread across a floor the size of a soccer pitch.....and sure enough Finley selected the table the middle.

I don't think we were even 1/2 way done with our first beer before he nonchalantly
drew long lines threw my poem, while inserting better words with such little effort.

Dude....I struggled with that piece for over a month,I wrestled with it as Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God, and there goes Finley raising the contents greatness by 80% without even breaking a sweat.

I loved him for this, I hated him this, and just when I was about to ask him how he taps the muse, this thoughtful silence was interrupted by my mentors profound question.

"Have ya ever wondered why they put ice in the urinals of fancy restaurants?"

I wasn't sure that I wanted to tap into that convo, because I knew we could discuss this topic to they point where we would both drink illegal amounts of beer.

Anyways C-T-J of Boston Mass, Mike Finley and the rest of you LAB RATS......

If giving you the information, the secrets that your hearts desire is what's required to having a powerful blog site.....I'll do it just this once, but next time it's back to baking...deal?

Submitted for your approval........

Urinal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about urinals in restrooms. For urinal bottles used in health care, see Urinal (health care). For other uses, see Urinal (disambiguation).
Urinal with urinal cake.

A urinal is a specialized toilet for urinating into. It has the form of a container or simply a wall, with drainage and automatic or manual flushing.

Whilst generally intended for use by males, it is also possible for females to use urinals. The different types of male urinal, for single or multiple users in trough style designs, are intended to be utilized from a standing position. Female urinal design have adopted various approaches - some intending the user to "hover" over the unit, facing away from it, others intending the user to face the urinal, with or without a female urination device. Whilst uncommon due to restroom designations, it is possible for females to use male urinals[1] (and vice versa).

Public urinals often contain a deodorizing urinal deodorizer block contained within a plastic mesh guard container or a plastic mesh guard without a urinal cake. The plastic mesh guard is designed to prevent solid objects (such as cigarette butts, feces, chewing gum, or paper) from being flushed and possibly causing a plumbing stoppage. In some restaurants, bars, and clubs, excess ice may be put in the urinals, and serves some of the same purposes as the deodorizing block. This is especially common in South Africa.

The term may also apply to a small building or other structure, in which such toilets are contained. It can also refer to a small container where urine can be collected for medical purposes, or for use where access to toilet facilities is not possible, such as in small aircraft or for the bedridden.
Contents
[hide]


* 1 Purposes


* 2 Flushing
o 2.1 Manual handles
o 2.2 Timed flush
o 2.3 Automatic flush
o 2.4 Door-regulated flush
o 2.5 Waterless urinals

* 3 Arrangement of urinals
o 3.1 Street urinals and vespasiennes

* 4 Makeshift urinals

* 5 Urinals for women

* 6 Special urinals

* 7 Cultural references

* 8 Manufacturers

* 9 See also

* 10 References

* 11 Further reading

* 12 External links

In busy men's washrooms, urinals are installed for efficiency: compared with urination in a general toilet, usage is faster because within the room there are no additional doors, no locks, and no seat to turn up; also a urinal takes less space, is simpler, and consumes less water per flush than a toilet. Urinals also come in different heights, which helps for those who might be very tall. Oftentimes, there are barriers dividing the urinals, which adds to privacy.


Flushing


Most public urinals incorporate a flushing system to rinse urine from the bowl of the device to prevent foul odors. The flush can be triggered by one of several methods:


Manual handles

Urinal with pedal flush

This type of flush might be regarded as standard in the United States. Each urinal is equipped with a button or short lever to activate the flush, with users expected to operate it as they leave. Such a directly controlled system is the most efficient provided that patrons remember to use it. This is far from certain, however, often because of fear of touching the handle, which is located too high to kick.[2] Urinals with foot-activated flushing systems are sometimes found in high-traffic areas; these systems have a button set into the floor or a pedal on the wall at ankle height. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that flush valves be mounted no higher than 44 in. AFF (above the finished floor). Additionally, the urinal shall be mounted no higher than 17 in. AFF, which has a rim that is tapered and elongated and protrudes at least 14 in. from the wall. This enables users in wheelchairs to straddle the lip of the urinal and urinate without having to "arc" the flow of urine.
[edit] Timed flush
A multi-person wall-tile urinal operated using timed-flush mechanism.

In Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Hong Kong and some parts of Sweden and Finland, manual flush handles are unusual. Instead, the traditional system is a timed flush that operates automatically at regular intervals. Groups of up to ten or so urinals will be connected to a single overhead cistern, which contains the timing mechanism. A constant drip-feed of water slowly fills the cistern, until a tipping point is reached, the valve opens (or a siphon begins to drain the cistern), and all the urinals in the group are flushed. Electronic controllers performing the same function are also used.

This system does not require any action from its users, but it is wasteful of water where the toilets are used irregularly. However, in these countries men are so used to the automatic system, attempts to install manual flushes to save water are generally unsuccessful. Users ignore them not through deliberate laziness or fear of infection, but because activating the flush is not habitual.[citation needed]

To help reduce water usage when restrooms are closed, some restrooms with timed flushing use an electric water valve connected to the restroom light switch. When the building is in active use during the day and the lights are on, the timed flush operates normally. At night when the building is closed, the lights are turned off and the flushing action stops.

A flushing system connected to the opening of the washroom door can count the number of users and operate when the count reaches a certain value. At night, the door never opens, so flushing never occurs.
[edit] Automatic flush
Toto battery-powered hands-free automatic sensor operated flush system.

Electronic automatic flushes solve the problems of both previous approaches, and are common in new installations. Active or (more usually) passive infrared sensors identify when the urinal has been used (or when someone has stood in front of it and moved away), and activate the flush. Thus the urinal is cleaned, where with a manual flush it might not have been, but water is not wasted when the toilet is not used.

Automatic flush facilities can be retrofitted to existing systems. The handle-operated valves of a manual system can be replaced with a suitably designed self-contained electronic valve, often battery-powered to avoid the need to add cables. Timed-flush installations may add a device that regulates the water flow to the cistern according to the overall activity detected in the room. This does not provide true per-fixture automatic flushing, but is simple and cheap to add because only one device is required for the whole system.

To prevent false-triggering of the automatic flush, most infrared detectors require that a presence be detected for at least five seconds, such as when a person is standing in front of it. This prevents a whole line of automatic flush units from triggering in series if someone just walks past them.

The automatic flush mechanism also typically waits for the presence to go out of sensor range before flushing. This reduces water usage, compared to a sensor that would trigger a continuous flushing action the whole time that a presence is detected.


Door-regulated flush


This is an older method of water-saving automatic flushing, which only operates when the room is being used. A push-button switch is mounted in the door frame of the restroom, and triggers the flush valve for all restroom urinals every time the door is opened. While it can't detect the use of individual urinals, it provides reasonable flushing action without wasting excessive amounts of water when the restroom is not being used. This method requires a spring-operated automatic door closer, since the flush mechanism only operates when the restroom door opens.
[edit] Waterless urinals
A waterfree urinal

A more recent innovation are urinals, first invented by a Canadian named Klaus Reichardt, that use no water at all.[1] The innovation is secured with several patents. Models later introduced by Waterless Company in 1991[3] and others in 2001 by Falcon Waterfree Technologies and Sloan Valve Company, as well as Duravit, use a trap insert filled with a sealant liquid instead of water. The lighter-than-water sealant floats on top of the urine collected in the U-bend, preventing odors from being released into the air. Although the cartridge and sealant must be periodically replaced, boosters claim the system saves anywhere between 15,000 and 45,000 gallons (approx. 55,000 and 170,000 liters) of water per urinal per year. However, compared to a 1.6 GPF urinal, these numbers assume a flush urinal would be used between 40 and 120 times per business day.[4]

Other companies do not use a cartridge; instead they have developed an outlet system that traps the odor, preventing the smell often present in toilet blocks. Another method to eliminate odor was introduced by Caroma, which installed a deodorizing block in their waterless urinal that was activated during use. Mechanical traps are not allowed by US building codes.[citation needed]

Waterless urinals can be installed in high-traffic facilities and in situations where providing a water supply may be difficult or where water conservation is desired. Due to high-level water restrictions, Brisbane, Australia, has mandated conversion to waterless urinals — and flush urinals are rarely seen.

Plumbers unions initially opposed waterless urinals, citing concerns about health and safety, which have been debunked by scientists who have studied the devices. Attempts to have the devices allowed in plumbing codes were opposed. Manufacturers devised a compromise, where the Uniform Plumbing Code was modified to allow waterless urinals to be installed- provided unnecessary water lines were run to the back of the urinals.[5] In March 2006, the Associated Press reported that the plumbers union in Philadelphia had become upset because the developer of the city's newest skyscraper, Liberty Property Trust, has decided to use waterless urinals in the Comcast Center. Many in the union believed that this would lead to less work for them. The developer cited saving the city 1.6 million gallons (approx 6 million liters) of water per year as its deciding factor.[6]

Most waterless urinals, however, do not remove odor staining on the surface of the urinals, if not normally cleaned. Even when maintained according to recommendations, flushless urinals emit a fish-like odor that most people find unpleasant. In February 2010, the headquarters of the California EPA removed waterless urinals that were installed in 2003 due to "hundreds of complaints," including odors and splashed urine on the floors.[7] Officials blamed the failure of the project on incompatibility with the building's existing plumbing systems.[8]
[edit] Arrangement of urinals
A typical arrangement of urinals, in a linear array, without partitions: a row of sensor operated fixtures provides for optimal traffic flow and throughput.

Urinals in high capacity men's washrooms are usually arranged in one or more rows. In men's bathrooms, the urinals are usually placed directly opposite the door, so that men have their back to those who enter or stand outside. Those in the street may come in sets arranged in a circle, with all men facing the center, with screens high enough that men cannot wet each other, and usually high enough that they cannot see over it. In a street urinal with an outside screen or wall, the men may stand back to back.

Trough urinals may be used by several men simultaneously. Their use has been made famous by venues such as Wrigley Field and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They do not allow for much privacy. Also care must be taken not to confuse a trough urinal with a sink.

Urinals used for high throughput capacity are part of an efficiently designed washroom architecture. Large numbers of them are usually installed along a common supply pipe and drain. There may be partitions for privacy.
A stainless steel trough-style urinal

Often, one or two of the urinals, typically at one end of a long row of urinals, will be mounted lower than the others; they are meant for young boys and other males who cannot reach the regular urinals. In facilities where males of various heights are present, such as schools, urinals that extend down to floor level may be used to allow anyone of any height to use any urinal.

Once used exclusively in commercial or institutional washrooms, urinals for private home installation are now available. They offer the advantage of substantial savings of water in homes with multiple male occupants.


Street urinals and vespasienne


In some localities, urinals may be located on public sidewalks or in public areas such as parks. These urinals are usually equipped with partitions for the sake of privacy. They may or may not be equipped with flush mechanisms.
The last surviving vespasienne, on the boulevard Arago in Paris
A public urinal in the Netherlands.

A city famous for its street urinals is Paris, France[citation needed]. Until the 1990s, street urinals were a common sight in the city, and in the 1930s more than 1200 were in service. Parisians referred to them as vespasiennes, the name being derived from that of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, who, according to an anecdote, imposed a tax on urine. Beginning in the 1990s, the vespasiennes (renowned for their smell and lack of hygiene) were gradually replaced by Sanisettes. Today only one vespasienne remains in the city (on the boulevard Arago), and it is still regularly used. They still exist in other French cities, and in other countries. The Netherlands has a number of strategically placed street pissoirs in various cities.

In the Philippines, Marikina city was the first city to install street urinals in the late 1990s. When the Marikina mayor Bayani Fernando was appointed chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, he installed street urinals in the rest of the capital as well.[citation needed]

See also Public toilets.


Makeshift urinals

During the Korean War, Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm etc., "piss tubes" were used as makeshift urinals.[citation needed] To make one, soldiers would affix an inverted water bottle on one end of a rigid tube, burying the other end. Removing the base of the bottle made a funnel which would be left at the proper height. Deposited urine simply soaked into the ground. When the area became saturated, the device was relocated.
[edit] Urinals for women

In the western world, women are generally taught to sit or squat whilst urinating. Many therefore do not know how - or even that it is possible for a woman - to aim their urine as would be required to use a male urinal.[1] Thus several different types of urinal have been designed for women which do not require the user to aim her urine stream.

From 1950 to 1974, the American Standard company offered the mass-produced "Ladies' Home Urinal". It did not provide significant advantages over conventional toilets, because it used just as much floor space and flushing water. Its main selling point was that it was specifically designed for women to use without touching.

Several other designs have been tried since then, but they either required the user to hover awkwardly or to bring her genitals into close contact with the fixture. Most have not caught on. Current clothes fashion such as panty hose and slacks inhibit women from using them because they do not want their garments to touch the urinal or the floor. Often, women have little experience with them and do not know whether to approach them forward or backward.[citation needed]

More recently, models that use specialized funnels (female urination device) have been introduced, with some success, at outdoor festivals such as Glastonbury (to reduce cycle times and alleviate long lines).
[edit] Special urinals
Kisses! urinal

"Kisses!" is a controversial urinal designed by the female Dutch designer Meike van Schijndel. It is shaped like an open pair of red lips.[9] In early March 2004 the National Organization for Women (NOW) took offence to the new urinals that Virgin Atlantic Airways decided to install in the Virgin Atlantic clubhouse at JFK Airport in New York, New York.[10] After receiving many angry phone calls from female customers Virgin Atlantic Vice President John Riordan called NOW to apologize.[11] Protestors surmised a connection to oral sex and/or urolagnia, and based complaints on the urinals being sexist.

A McDonald's restaurant in the Netherlands removed them after a customer complained to the U.S. head office.
Gothic-inspired urinal

Interactive urinals have been developed in a number of countries, allowing users to entertain themselves during urination. One example is the Toylet, a video game system produced by the Japanese company Sega, that allows users to play video games using their urine to control the on-screen action.[12]
[edit] Cultural references
Marcel Duchamp's Fountain

* Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (1917) is one of the most influential pieces of modern art.[13]
* Nassau County, New York Police adopted Talking Urinals in a unique Anti-Drunk Driving initiative. Using Wizmark, a talking urinal screen, police can provide bars with free pre-programmed urinal screens urging patrons not to drink and drive.[14][15]
* The bullet-damaged brick wall from the St. Valentines Day Massacre was disassembled where it had been originally constructed at 2122 N. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois,[16] and reassembled in the men's restroom of a bar called Banjo Palace in Vancouver, British Columbia, where it served as a urinal wall.
* Ernest Hemingway converted a urinal from Sloppy Joe's bar into a water fountain for his cats. The fountain remains a prominent feature at his former home in Key West, Florida, which remains a popular tourist destination in the town.[17]
* Some urinals for men incorporate fly targets: images of flies that are either printed on labels stuck to the inside of the urinal or embossed directly into the porcelain. Men often feel a compulsion to aim their urine stream at the fly, and thus the fly target helps prevent men from urinating outside the basin or bowl of the urinal. Maintenance crews at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam reported in 2005 that adding a fly target to urinals reduced bathroom cleaning costs by giving men something to aim at. The urinals at terminal 4 of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City have a fly target in the urinals. These are replaced every month because they slide off.
* Pissoir, retitled Urinal in some countries, was the first feature film directed by John Greyson. It was released in 1980 and takes place in a toilet.[citation needed]
* Gabriel Chevallier's 1934 satirical novel Clochemerle deals with the ramifications over plans to install a new urinal in a French village.
* The aircraft manufacturer Airbus will be offering its customers the option of installing urinals in its A380 aircraft.[18]


Manufacturers


Some manufacturers of urinals are:

* American Standard Brands
* Armitage Shanks
* Gustavsberg
* Ideal Standard
* Kohler Company
* Siam Cement
* Sloan Valve Company
* TOTO Ltd.
* Villeroy & Boch

Friday, January 13, 2012

Baking for Red Bull

Jan-Friday the 13th

As we speak, the 8th wonder of the world has just been set up in the center of my city (Saint Paul).

The people from Red Bull are sponsering this deal where they are going to have some kind of "EXTREME SKATING" race.

They set a gigantic-gigantic course up on the the highest point of Capitol City....the back yard of our Cathedral.

I mean you walk out the back door of the church and WOOSH....it's like theres a 5 story drop.

This is where they have built a course that in many ways resembles more of a ski jump that you see those adrenaline junkies fly off of during the Olympics.

There is going to be so much traffic there this weekend that Sunday mass is cancelled (I wonder how much that cost Red Bull)?

I don't know much more than that, but on the TV commercials it looks like they send guys down in heats of 4, and they get to push each other around to jockey for position.

Dude....this might be crazier than Ben Hur's chariot race at the Roman Circus.

So what does this have to do with baking?

There is an estimated 60 000 spectators that are projected to attend this event.

We have been commissioned by a vendor to make 750 dozen hamburger buns, and 750 dozen hot dog buns.

In the past, many "stadium" type events have just used low end hamburger buns for these occasions, but now days...the public is demanding higher quality....yes, even with hamburger buns.

Funny huh?

Well if you look back a few years, there was a cat name Ray Kroc. He was the founder of McDonald's. He was once quoted with saying..........

"It takes a certain kind of mind to see the beauty in a hamburger bun."

I so get what he means.

Americans might eat like 41 croissants each year, and they will rant and rave about the ingredients and methods in which it is made, but the average American will eat hundreds, I said hundreds of hamburger buns annually, but yet they'll take this culinary medium for granted.....sigh.

So Klecko, what does one have to consider when designing a primo hamburger bun?

FLAVOR -

The bun has to taste great, have good mouth feel, but in no way should it upstage the meat or whatever the focal point is in this sandwich.

SIZE -

The size should be based around the volume of the meat. Most hamburger and hotdogs that you buy comercially are sold to restaurants with some kind of meassuring system.

For example.....hot dogs will be 4 to 1 all the way down to 8 to 1 in America.

This means 4 dogs per pound of meat or 8 dogs per pound of meat...etc.

You also have to keep in mind "Jaw Span". As you get older, your jaw span shrinks. Older people have difficulty eating "Oil Based" buns and usually enjoy the comfort that a "shortening" bun will offer. it will be dense and easier to get their mouth around.

Also marketing affects size.

3 years ago, every thing was "JUMBO" and value. Super sized items were par for the course, but then American didn't want to be fat so they played with "small plate" menus and replaced 1/2 pound burger with sliders (a.k.a. dollar rolls).

I've talked to numorous chefs-cooks-food service workers and they just laugh....bottom line is people eat what they are going to eat.

Basically the peeps who used to eat the Jumbo's simply down 6-8 sliders instead.

CONSTRUCTION -

Condiments are getting to be quite the rage now days. Nobody seems to want to serve a standard burger anymore, everybody has this innate need to express themselves through condiments......sigh.

Ketchup,mustard, cole slaw, BBQ sauce, white onion, red onion, yellow onion, pickles, relish, the list goes on and on and on.

I think just last year bacon became the #1 burger condiment, but if you are going to meet all these desires...you kinda have to be an engineer.

Soggy stuff breaks down buns, and broken buns pisses people off.

That's why now days the whole grain, pretzel and kaiser bun are more popular than ever in the traditional hamburger bun shape.

FACT: Most people think the kaiser is the kaiser because of that funny stamp dealio on top of the bun.

Nadda-Nadda enchiliada. kaiser is kaiser because of the dough. An authentic kaiser roll's dough is thicker, much like a bagel dough.

Alrighty then, that's all I've got today, errands to run......monies to pay.

My name is Danny Klecko....Good Day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baking for the Republican Convention

I usually don't like to talk politics on this Blog site.

The older I get, the more I am convinced that people are incapable of governing one another.

Throughout my life, I have voted Republican across the board.

That might not be of interest to those of you who live in "RED" states, but Minnesota has been a "BLUE" state during Presidential elections longer than any state in the union.

They do like their donkeys here.

After voting for "W" and watching how his administration ran my country, I did get upset, but you know who pissed me off worse that him and his peeps?

My G.O.P. friends who decided to back the Right Wing regardless.

Sometimes a guy had to admit that he shoved his ballot in the wrong box.

In 2010 I officially resigned from the G.O.P.

I have not pledged my vote or allegience to any other party or candidate, but if I were to vote today, I would support my current President.

I don't agree with some of his takes, but c'mon.....dude inherited a time bomb, and I actually am impressed how he has kept composure while untangling the threads.

During the last Presidential elections in 2008, The Twin Cities was awarded the honor of hosting the Republican Convention.....

This was really the definition of ironic, because Minnesota (and even more so, Twin Citian's) HATE Republicans.

But when there is a dollar to be made........

So months - month's before this took place I recieved a call from the X-Cel Center which was going to house this gig, and they had me and all their vendors show up to a pow-wow.

When we got there, we were surrounded by suits-suits and more suits.

These guys took turns at the podium issuing us promises of oppurtunity that seemed staggering.

Klecko has been to the rodeo before, but this was the Republican Convention.

I've seen it on TV, I know how stuff like this works, the preverbial "Cash Cow" was preparing to dump his keester on our cash registers......or so we thought.

After charging restaurants and bars (What was it?) $300 each to get the liquor lisences sanctioned to extend closing hours from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m., and nudging every concept within bombing distance to amp up their service help by 25%......

You can imagine how excited everybody in the service/vending community became.

Oh yeah, then there was the plea for all of us who serviced the host venue to pitch in and donate what turned out to be hundreds of dollars each with items that would be given to the less fortunate.

Basically it was a clever way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

When Europe conducts the E8 sessions it is customary for the host city to round up the homeless, bums and indignent population, put them on trucks and dump them 200 miles out of the city.

How they get back is their own buisness, but it often times takes longer than a week.

In Saint Paul, we paid for their haircuts, bought them clothes, sent them to dentists and doctors.....

It was obvious that my cities leaders were merely trying to remedy broken bones with Band Aids.

I was thrilled with the prospects however...I landed the Fox News account and got to hang in the V.I.P. tent each day with their beautiful anchor peeps.

But other than that........not only did I not make a fortune......but on the week of the convention, it was the L-O-W-E-S-T grossing week in close to a decade.

3 a.m. bar closings?

Hah, 95% of the bars were vacant by 9 p.m.

You see, all the locals were led to believe that the town would be flowing over the brim, so they just decided to hibernate until our city was returned to us .

And what the "City Fathers" did not tell us was that they were going to shut all passages south of the arena.

West 7th, which is the main artery in that area, and houses 95% of the downtown Saint Paul bars and restaurants were seperated from the X-Cel Center by a huge chain link fence.

It was like the Berlin Wall.

When the politicians and dignitaries came to do their convention stuff, a bus with security clearance would usher them in, and they would enter the north end of the building.

What was supposed to become a financial windfall became a curse of epidemic proportions.

Like I said, I'm not that big into politics these days, and I have no idea who is hosting what, but if you have friends working in the cities that have receaved the Convention bid(s)for this upcoming election....do them a favor and pass this post on.

It may save them some heartache, and cash.

BTW....in closing, I should mention that the year I did the G.O.P.,Denver won the D.F.L. nod, when the whole Hoot En Nanny what finished, I shouted out to the Rocky Mountain state, and my peeps out their told me that they had taken the same fleecing.

Polititions.....they might even be worse than lawyers huh?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy Birthday 50th Birthday H-E-N-N-E-S-S-Y

I've told you that she's a clothing vulture, and to be honest...I find that a little hard to believe.

But it is true,I really think the woman vultures the majority of her wardrobe from her "Walton's" sized family and the city morgue LOL.

Hennessy used to work in the fashion industry, in fact....she used to get to travel all across America and determine what you and yours would be shoving in your closet next season.

But enough of that, I digress......

So let's flash back to last Thursday, Klecko was being contemplitive,praying for his city, and your souls until.......

TRUDGE-CLOMP-CRASH..........

"Hi Ya" shouts out my demure pastry chef, when I looked up, like Paul on the road to Damascus....I was momentarily blinded.

Was that a sweater, or somekind of Southwestern Easter egg wrapped across her torso.

The red's-yellows and hues of orange were like a sunset on LSD.

I quickly shifted my sightline from this loudness, I snapped my head to the floor, but only to witness orange shoes.

Now you can get away with orange footware if you are running in a marathon, but in day to day..........

Hennessy notes how her dramatic enterance has toppled me momentarily off balance, and one is led to believe, nothing could have made her happier.

"I'll be doing the first stage of the Monkey Crowns (which are really Savarins for an upcoming Retail sale)and then painting them with the Apricot Glaze this afternoon.

After that, what do you think....do we freeze or refridgerate?

Tomorrow I will fill the Pastry Cream and Compote, so you know that you are going to have to place those in the cooler from Friday night untill Saturday opening."

Staling is inevitable.

It is the Grim Reaper of all yeast raised products.

Hennessy has worked with bread before. she understands how to handle it typically, but being that we had so many stages on these Savarins, her questions were warrented.

As we discussed which applications we would employee, I mentioned to her that many-many-many people in the civilized world still didn't understand how to store their bread.

In fact, I'm married to one of them.

Sue McGleno is wife to a Master Bread baker, but yet when Big Papi strolls in from work, it isn't uncommon to find 2/3rds of a loaf of Sourdough or Rye in our fridge.

Yikes.

Heres the skinny peeps, the biggest thing one has to control with bread is it's starch. their molecules will crystalize when they are introduced to moisture, and that will dry the crumb wall and interior out very quickly.

I think the scientic term is Retrogradation, or something like that, Google it if you are a total nerd.

It doesn't matter if you wrap that loaf in plastic,paper or Tupperware. If you put it in the fridge.......It's like putting bullets into a body.

But when you freeze bread, this will actually halt the staling, it becomes to cold for the starch to crystalize.

The bottom line is....you don't have to understand it, just trust uncle Klecko.

It is awlays better to freeze than to refridgerate.

It is always better to leave your bread at room temperture than refridgerate.

The other "Situation" that Hennessy and I ran into a litle bit later that day was that I found out she approved of "Rat Holing."

"Rat Holing" is a phrase that means you (like a rat) are prepared to rip chunks off a loaf (or any food form for that matter) and then pass that item on to somebody else.

Case in point......

On Friday I had some Red Curry - Yellow Mustard loaves come out of the oven.

Praise Polish Christ, they sure smelt wonderful, I perfect soup bread if you don't mind me bragging.

The Red Curry was a special blend of 6 or 7 spices, but I do remember that Paprika and Saffron were 2 of them.

But anyway......I pulled them out of the oven, and then proceeded to place then in a jet stream so they would cool off.

Hennessy had a lot on her mind, and so did I, so I pulled one of the loaves off the pan and loosely wrapped it in parchment paper so the loaf would still be able to breath while cooling.

Hennessy has a brother who is a chef, and her plan...or so she said LOL was to bring this loaf to him later in the evening.

I was happy to oblige, that is until I saw what was about to happen.

Hennessy places the loaf close to her nostrils, inhales a large WHIFF and then informs me that her brother certainly wouldn't mind if........

And then she tore off the end of the loaf and sampled it......

"Oh this is really goo"..........

I interupted......

"O-M-G.....you so Rat Holed that loaf, and now you are going to give it to your brother?"

I was in disbelief, but my anal stance only added to Hennessy's delight.

For the next hour I walked across the bakery shaking my head in disbelief.

Finally, when the Cardamom Plum breads came out of the oven, and cooled off a bit, I wrapped one of those in a parchment as well and gave stern instructions to leave this loaf intact.

Hennessy was puch drunk giddy.......

"You are worse than my brothers Klecko!"

I explained that 2 universal laws had been broken on this day......

#1 -

It is never-ever-ever acceptable under ANY circumstances to Rat Hole Bread.

Never-Ever.

#2 -

If you are going to be a rebel, if you are going to sin against God and the human race, try to do it when the bread has cooled to room temperture.

When sampling bread, ecspecially something with a distinct flavor profile, something like Red Curry - Yellow Mustard......you lose power from the palate if you sample it hot.

The secondary, and 3rd waves of flavor don't have a chance to become recognized.

But I swear to Caesar that Hennessy must have joined a bowling league with Sue McGleno and Gilson, because she refuted this bit of advise with the simplest of answers.......

"I don't think so."

I am nothing short of blessed that Hennessy has come aboard here at the bakery. It is fun to poke fun at her a bit, but today, on her 50th birthday, what can I say other than not only do I and so many people love her, but we really enjoy what she bakes for us and are thankful for everything that comes out of her ovens.

If you have a second, please join me in wishing Hennessy a special 50th birthday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baking Injuries / Deaths

"Mr. Klecko, I have been reading some of your earlier blog posts and read a couple of stories where you talk about injuries, and even deaths. Are you serious. Did you ever get hurt?"

T.S. / United Kingdom

T.S.,the only thing I like better than people reading my current musings is when I find out that people are digging through the L.A.B. archives.

It makes my former suffering seem validated LOL.

But yeah, I have seen some terrible things in my life, however I have been fortunate enough to have escape injury while on the job.

However, there was that summer when I ran the ovens with a broken foot.

I went 12 days before getting a cast on it.

When I went in and out of the swampy proof box, I had to duck tape a Hefty Lawn bag over my foot and up past my knee.

Needless to say, my foot didn't heal right, And I ended up having extreme foot pain for 1 1/2 years.

Oh yeah.....I think I blogged about my hernia too. Did you know that bakers have a higher percentage of hernias than construction workers?

That's a lead pipe fact kid.

But the one incident that stands out in my mind took place some 25 years ago.

I was working as a 3rd shift oven man. I did noting-nothing-nothing other than load and unload entire jumbo ovens with 4 straps of 2# pan loaves.

4 slots per pan is 8#'s of bread, plus the pan is around 6#'s

So each "unit" is 14#'s, and you have 10 units per shelf (140#'s) and 5 shelves per oven load (700#s)

So basically each oven load is 1400#'s. 700 in, and 700 out.

You'd have about 2 loads per hour, and work 10-12 hour shifts, so at 10 hours, that would be 14 000#'s.......or 7 tons of lifting.

Do I need to mention we were lifting hot-hot items and were always in a hurry?

So I must have been 23ish and one day I looked down at my thumb and I noticed I had a big wart on my left thumb.

If my hand was palm down, and you looked from overhead, that wart was on the right side of my thumb, or the outside of my hand.

The wart was gross, so I went and bought a little jar of that Compound W.

The only thing grosser than a wart, is a wart with Compound W on it because it would burn the wart's exterior and actually kinda smoke.

It started to freak me out.

I wore a glove on my hand, it was made of leather and this made my hand wet, white and mush like.

But I swear to Caesar...that wart was like a cockroach.

It simply wouldn't die.

But every single time I jerked my wrists, to snap those 4 loaves out of each pan, the inside loaf would press against the glove, which pressed against the wart.

Sweet Mother of Warsaw it hurt.

On several occasions it burst open and blood squirted out.

It freaked me out, but it freaked Sue McGleno out even more.

I worked all the time in those days, but during my limited leisure time, I found myself playing with the wart unintentionally.

This is when Sue McGleno put her foot down.

I was ordered to go to a doctor, but I really didn't want to do this because I had no insurance or money.

But sometimes you just have to "Cowboy Up".

So Klecko goes to the Doc, and she put this metal tube on the wart and told me it was going to super freeze my wart.

It did, and within a few days, or a week the thing fell off.

For a couple weeks, but Holy Moses that wart was pissed. It came back with a vengeance, and I kid you not.....now that thing was bigger than a plump pea.

When I walked down the street, people turned their heads, they recoiled in fear, like I was John Merrick or something.

So now Sue McGleno informs me that I have to return to the doctor.

Klecko explained that we didn't have money, literally......our checking account was under $100's.

I'll never forget, Sue McGleno was eating Apple Jacks and staring at my deformity across the table.

"You really need to figure something out. I'm just not going to let you touch me until that get's fixed."

"What if I wear my oven glove?" I asked, but she informed me I was getting creepier by the moment.

So Klecko sits back in his chair and tells her flat out.....

"I'm off tomorrow, I am going to remove the wart myself."

Sue McGleno returned "That Look" and didn't even desire an explanation, so I didn't give one.

The following morning I got home around 10 or 11 a.m. and the first thing I did was grab a bottle of whiskey.

Nobody was home, so I simply sat at the table, smoked cigs and got 3 layers deeper than buzzed.

I stared at that stupid wart and I'm not kidding ya, it appeared to be growing by the minute.

So the first thing I tried was to drain the fluid, hoping that it would remove the pressure and eventually pain.

I took one of "SM's"sewing needles, placed it into the flame of a Bic liter to sterilize it, and started poking away........it hurt each time I pricked it, but no liquid ooze came out.

The well was dry.

Now I was scared.

It was at this point that I grabbed a toe nail clipper, and have you ever noticed how it has that hook thing that looks like a bottle opener...with a sharp point on the end of that.

Well after taking a couple more shots of liquid courage, I decided that - that thingy was a wart remover.

LOL,I sunk the point in, pulled back.....and ladies, I'll bet it was "having babies" painful.

I S-c-r-e-a-m-e-d out loud, and then I tugged back a little more.

Honest to Molly......I heard the roots snapping,OMG...it was the sickest sound.

But I had only pulled up about 1/4 of the whole deal.

I knew that I could endure much more of the pain, no kidding.

So then I took one more shot (I was now officially drunk) buried the hook about 1 1/2"'s deep, called out to my savior and thrust back in a single motion.

The next thing I knew........ I woke up. For the first time (the only time as a matter of fact) I passed out from pain, and that's coming from a guy that's broken over a dozen bones.

So as I came to.....I realized what had happened. I looked at my thumb and there was a crater like you wouldn't believe.

Then I noticed that the wart shot across the table.

I picked it up and looked at it like I was in science class.

It looked like an octopus.

The wart was hard but fleshy and had a series of long tentacle root things hanging from it.

When Sue McGleno came home and I showed her the scar....she wasn't impressed. In fact, I think I got the silent treatment for a couple of days.

But truth be told.......The crater filled back in, and the wart never came back, but if I had to do it again.....

I just don't know if I would still have the nerve.

Isn't it amazing T.S. that a minor blemish, the size of a pea, could keep a guy off balance for so long?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Velvet Underground - Dharma Bums and a Killer Savarin Recipe

Sometimes statistics, odds and probabilities dumbfound me.

How can it be that I have led a somewhat active existence for close to 1/2 a century, and yet I still run into concepts and ideas, many of which are based in my camps of interest......and yet these gems still have found a way to elude me?

Klecko is perplexed by this......but yet grateful for their eventual discovery.

Towards the end of last year I told you L.A.B. Rats about my quest for embracing silence.

As I have started participating in solitude, it's kinda like some cosmic key has turned over and opened some unknown passage ways.

Is Klecko going new age?

LOL.....not really, but the day we begin to observe changes in the patterns of the way we live, and don't address them, well thats regression city huh?

Like dead celebrities, blessings often times will come in 3's, so sit back, relax, and let me tell you what's been biting at the baker as of late.

#1 -

Like all good stories, this one starts with Sue McGleno, the 2 of us went to the gym together, and the both of us agreed to work out for an hour, maybe 75 minutes.

Well I followed the rules and at 80 minutes I approached my sweaty little goddess on the dreadmill and told her I was ready to roll.

"I got 20 minutes left" she informed me in a matter of fact fashion. When I explained to her that 81 minutes had now elapsed, I could tell she was getting irritated....

"You can't start the clock until you get out on the floor. It took me awhile to get dressed in the changing room."

Klecko has lived long enough to realize this was a war that couldn't be won, so instead of fighting....he simply went next door to Cheapo Discs to look at CD's.

Don't you just love that CLICK-CLICK-CLICKING of 21 people rifling through CD's at the same time.

My original intent was to find U2's Zooropa album, but Saint Paul is a city of Mick's and the U2 pile was vanquished.....so Klecko just moved to his left.

There wasn't much space between U2 and the Velvet Underground, when I saw one of the "VU's" discs with a banana painted by Andy Warhol on it's cover....I stopped.

Funny, I have almost worshiped Lou Reed since I can remember, with zero embellishment here....I'll guess that I've listened to his Transformer-New York and Songs for Drella albums 5000 times, but with that said......

I have never purchased or played a single minute of his flagship bands (the Velvet Underground) music for even a second.

I ended up buying 3 of their discs, and earlier this week when I drove Tydus back to Iowa.....I slipped The Velvet Underground & Nico into the disc chamber and BAM-BANG-BOOM........

I simply couldn't believe what I was hearing, I hadn't heard an album I liked from wire to wire, upon first hearing since The Joshua tree.

Looking For My Man

Heroine

Black Angel Song

These songs contained lyrics, riffs and concepts that Morrison and Dylan were trying to achieve.

Lou Reed is w/o a doubt an Icon that hasn't been realized to the depth he deserves.

#2 -

I've read some Kerouac, On the Road, that Burning Hippo's thing where he rotated writing chapters with Burroughs......but that's about it.

Then recently, somehow....and to be honest I can't say I quite remember how...but somehow I got my hands on The Dharma Bums.

The thing I love about Kerouac is his compulsive behavior. If he spent an hour watching television, he'd list every commercial that was on, how many cigarettes he smoked, who called him during the program.

He is neurotic with details.

When you mention the word detail, most people stop for a second, because this denotes that we should be silent, pay attention and be prepared to witness some level of truth......

Not always, some details are merely observations, and if you become friends with Kerouac LOL.....you get to hear them all.

Anyways, this book takes places in the Pacific Northwest. Kerouac mostly drinks wine and searches the "Buddha Trail" for enlightenment.

He introduces you to other acquaintances whose goals (or lack of) are aligned with his own.

That's it......the the book in a nut shell.

For 244 pages you basically get to read one big a** paragraph describing these things.

And for reasons unknown to me......I was 4 levels deeper than enthralled.

Kerouac would confess that he was an idiot (I say this in complete reverence)who doesn't know the truth, but maybe he's just hoping to stumble onto or into it, for awhile at least.

Wow......this book was written in 1958, 5 years before the birth of Klecko, and w/o becoming Kerouac redundant.....I just got to tell you, when he mentioned trying to understand silence.....the hook was set, and being that I just recently finished this book, I'm guessing it's going to influence the outcome of my life.

Jack Kerouac is the kid who sat next to you in study hall, the kid you hated....just not enough to punch him though. He was a jester, a fool, a mad man....and a genius.

If you erased all the obsessive werido's in the world.....I might be his biggest fan.

I have Dharma Bums in my hand, if you want my copy....let me know.

Oh yeah....one last thing I wanted to ask, inside the book, on the front page, there is a name and phone number listed.

I never understood people who placed marks of identification on their books, it isn't wrong, it just kinda creeps me out.

Have you ever asked to borrow a book from one of these people? and when you do...you can tell how nervous they are.

They usually will remind you in no uncertain terms of your responsibilities, like as if you were going to take their 9 week old baby down a bob sled course.

Anyways.....Libbey Hulser 612 655 3777, this name and these digits are the ones listed on the front page.

The prefix "612" is Minneapolis, so the 2 of us are practically neighbors.

I can't tell you how many times I have been tempted to call the number to find out if Libbey is still alive, did she like the book, did she lose the book....do I need to return it.

But mostly it just seems the the nexus for a great story.

Sometimes information is placed in your sight line to tempt fate,but Klecko's maturing and turning his back to impulse...finally, I've decided it might be best for all parties if Libby Hulser simply remains in my mind.

#3 Savarin's

30 years I've baked. 30 year's I've labored and daydreamed all at the same time.

3 decades can produce many chapter, all of them have had a purpose, but I must say that there are parts of "Chapter Now" that I really enjoy.

Since Hennessy has come aboard, an optimism has rekindled throughout the bakery.

She is so ambitious, and devoted to everything she does.

In fact, she's kinda happy to a fault....LOL.

If Hennessy tells you that she likes something about what you have done, or what you are wearing....it is certain to be complimentary, Klecko loves this as you can imagine.....but sometimes her grand gestures become deluded because you'll hear her telling some guy how wonderful he danced last night, only to realize that the dude has no legs.

An eternal optimist.

Hennessy chooses to be optimistic and open minded. You can't ask for anything more from a colleague....or a friend.

Anyways, last year I was talking about how I have spent most of my life in breads and one day I hoped I would dedicate time to mastering a signature dessert.

It was a little more than a passing comment, but it wasn't carved in stone.

Several hours passed and Hennessy storms into our office with a tattered up tattery cook book and points to a picture.....

"Savarins, that's it. There is your signature. It is a yeast based item which you are familiar with, all you would need to do is work on a glaze, pastry cream and compote.

Yeah, they are kind of timely, but I think that says - you."

Then her chocolate covered hands slap the book down in front of me, and woosh...she was gone.

Klecko was kinda touched.

Now if you are not hip to what a Savarin is, it's kinda like one of those Epiphany crowns you see.

You mix up a dough, kinda like a Brioche, but it's consistency is a little tackier, a little stickier. You form it into a ball, and then you stick your thumb into the middle and slowly-gently pull the dough away from the middle forming a halo looking thing.

Then you place it into an appropriate size Bundt pan, and when it bakes off,let it cool a bit, but not all the way. Then you transfer the Savarin to the serving plate and then paint a booze laced glazed over it. Most of the time some form of apricot it utilized.

Next you whip up a pastry cream. Some people go light, almost like a whipping cream, but I want mine to have some viscosity. Klecko chooses a thicker pastry cream because after piping said cream into the cavity inside the crown, next you will place either fresh fruit or a compote over that.

Savarin's come in single unit sizes or traditional 9" birthday cake sizes.

There really is no wrong way to go here, but I do think the 9" gives a more dramatic effect.

When you take that first slice off the cake, and people see that 3 berry compote onto of that alabaster colored pastry cream.....just look at their faces.

It will be as if they just saw Jesus and a monkey on unicycles.

Savarins are considered French, but in all actuality it was developed by us Pollacks.

That shouldn't be to surprising though, many a Euro kitchen has been filled with Poles over the years.

When I've mentioned that Pollacks had designed as many French pastries as the French, I've seen a person or 2 scoff, but think about it.

Who develops the majority of American recipes in most kitchens across the United States?

Answer.....the Mexicans.

Anyways.....Savarin's became the total rage not only in France but even in early America.

In some things I read, they were so commonplace that you'd often be served Savarin when riding cable cars in San Fransisco....

But like most things that hit epic levels...the Savarin went from white hot super nova to complete oblivion.

The world kinda blocked them from their mind like a violent crime.

But the thing that you will love so much with this concept is that you get to play with so many unique textures, the crumbwall of the crown. it's interior, the cream and the compote.

This recipe is really basic.....but it so jerks with the diners mouthfeel (in a good way of course) that I'd have to say it simply is a must on your to do list.

But-But-But......if you are not going to attempt this, just take a second to think.

This was the biggest pastry splash on the world at one time.

There has to be a reason why, so think of the separate component's of the recipe, and steal from it what you can and implement it into your baking arsenal.

OK, I've overstayed my welcome....Klecko - Out

I took the following from the Food Network.com site and shuffled it up a bit.

Ingredients

For the dough:

* 6 tablespoons milk
* 2 tablespoons warm water
* 1 heaping teaspoon sugar
* 1/4 ounce fresh yeast
* 5 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
* 1 3/4 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 eggs


For the syrup:

* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 tablespoons rum
* 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
* 2 cups water
*

To finish the dish:

* 1 pint strawberries
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1 cup creme fraiche

Directions

In a small saucepan, heat 6 tablespoons of milk and 2 tablespoons water until just slightly warm. Pour into a bowl with 1 heaping teaspoon of sugar, whisk to dissolve. Add 1/4 ounce of fresh yeast and whisk to break up and dissolve the yeast. Pour into a standing mixer bowl with the paddle attachment. Turn on low, add 5 tablespoons melted butter. Add the flour and salt and mix just until it comes together. Raise the speed to medium, add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until it becomes elastic and smooth. Turn dough into a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and let it rest and proof for 10 minutes. Punch down and allow to rise another 5 minutes. The dough should not proof too long, or the savarins will become crumbly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter each savarin ring. Using your finger, schmear baba dough in the ring to fill it up half way, using about 1 ounce of dough. It will stick to your fingers, but don't dip your fingers in flour to prevent this. Let the dough rise until it reaches the top of the ring, about 30 minutes. Bake the savarins for 15 minutes. Let the cool in their rings then turn them out.

To prepare the syrup, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Dip the savarins in the syrup then place them in a rectangular pan and drizzle more syrup over them. Cover and let them soak overnight. Add more syrup the next day if they'll absorb it.

To serve, cut up the strawberries and stir the honey into the creme fraiche. Serve the savarin on a plate with a spoonful of strawberries and a large dollop of honey-creme fraiche. You may put the leftover syrup in a decorative bottle and pour more of it over the dessert as you serve it at the table.