We had two new pastry cooks come on in February and our Assistant Manager Jacob and I have been hard at working training them. The longer I've owned the Bakery (it's been about three-and-a-half years), the more I've come to value training. It's said that the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden would teach his players on the first day of camp the best way to tie their shoes so they would never go untied in the middle of a game. And that is precisely the point, that a successful Bakery, like most businesses, concentrates on the details and the thousands of micro-adjustments that add up to a perfect loaf.
Another great example is one from master baker Jeffrey Hamelman. He recounts a tale of mixing Irish Soda Bread in Dublin in a converted pig trough. At dawn the buttermilk would splash in and he would then be "up to his elbows" mixing the dough with the owner perched over his shoulder telling him to mix it more gently, with a light hand, so that the pastry would be soft and flaky instead of dense and hard. Many days, I am like that owner, on the floor, showing our employees the best way to clean an 80 quart mixing bowl or to organize the walkin or how to properly cream butter. It is highly repetitive work, but also rewarding. When I can move on to another task and trust that recipes will be executed to (near) perfection, it is enormously satisfying and the Bakery is stronger for it.