We all know and love celebrity chefs, but there is another breed of food hero. Very often unseen as they work during the hours of darkness, these skilled craftsmen & women are hard at work mixing, kneading and shaping raw ingredients into traditional baked goods fresh every day.
So who are these food heroes? Bakers of course!
We often take bread for granted; after all it's been enjoyed since the ancient Egyptians, around 8000 BC. But what does it take to get bread to your table? Well we've asked our bread bakery manager to give us an in sight to his working day (night).
I suppose my working day is no different to others in the fact that's it's routine, however as most of you are relaxing at home, going out or just getting to sleep, my day is about to start. Actually I suppose I do work 9-5 but its 9pm till 5am.
My day starts like any other with the alarm sounding and me wishing for an extra 5 minutes in bed. As I get ready for work this is my chance to see the family. I have just enough time to have a coffee and a quick chat to my wife. I work six nights a week and so we normally only ever see each other as I'm leaving for work or in the morning when I get home as she's leaving (that's the secret to our long and happy marriage).
Travelling to work late at night has its rewards, as I never encounter any traffic jams, however going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark often make me wonder what it would be like to work during daylight hours. The 20 minute drive gives me time to think about the night ahead. Normally find something on the radio where they are talking as it's a bit of company. Most of the people I see on the way to work are having a night out and socialising with friends and family, something we as bakers don't get to do much.
I'm the first to arrive at the bakehouse. The rhythmic sound of the thermostats clicking on and off on the ovens is a familiar and comforting sound. First job of the day is to check the fax for any extra orders and of course switch on the coffee machine. Gary's in next and it's time for the first coffee of the night. Gary gets started by weighing down all the flour, yeast etc for the bread and I remove the buns and Danish pastries from the prover and load them into the ovens.
The silence is broken now as we start up the mixers. We only have a few bits of equipment to help us in the bakery as we still produce many of the products by hand. You won't find automated machines and conveyor belts of products here. We work on a large wooden table in the middle of the bakery weighing ingredients into the mixing bowls and moulding dough into the loaves and rolls you see in our shops. Tony's in next and joins us at the table. Tony's quite the story teller and so it's not long before we're laughing at one of his many tales.
We're about half way through the shift when the first of the bread is ready to go into the ovens. It's a very heavy and hot job, especially during the summer, but it's all worth while when you finally see the finished product. We make a variety of breads and rolls but white is still the biggest seller because it is produced in so many different shapes (bloomer, farmhouse, tin, cob etc) but one of our customer's favourites is the Multiseed loaf.
The end is in sight! The confectionery bakers are now in to finish the buns, Danish pastry and fry the doughnuts we produced earlier and craft all those other tempting treats you see.
The last of the bread is now being removed from the oven and left to cool. It all looks so good. The sun is on its way up and my night is almost over. The last hour is spent cleaning down and preparing for tonight. Finally Mick our delivery driver is in. He packs the bread and sets off to deliver to all our shops.
Roles are now reversed; I'm on my way home when most of you are just thinking about getting up and going to work. All the products that I have made are now on their way to the shops fresh for the customers. Once home I sit down to a coffee and a thick fresh slice of bread and butter and make the biggest decision of the day, bed or golf?
How long have you been with the company? I started in July 1974, so 40 years as a full time baker, but I was working for Warings as a Saturday boy before that as well.
What do you like most about the job? Job satisfaction and not having to sit in traffic to get to work. Also having the days to play golf, go fishing etc.
What do you dislike most about the job? Can be long hours, gets very hot during the summer and you have very little social life.
Think you've got what it takes to make our traditional family recipes, or maybe have the passion and enthusiasm to sell our freshly baked products?
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Thank you for your interest in working for Warings Bakery. We're currently not recruiting at this time, but please check back regularly for updates.