Its the best ever feeling when your lovingly prepared loaves are soft, puffy and perfectly risen, and you carefully load them onto a peel so as not to disturb their delicate aerated structure and then slide them to the depths of the wood fired oven for their final leg.
Tom (head baker) gave me full reign on loading and unloading today and it was really nerveracking but extremely exciting at the same time. The thought of messing up and flicking the loaf in the wrong place means your loaf is stuck and you risk losing space to load the other precious loaves waiting to be baked. There is no time to mess about, once the loaves are proven they are ready to go and so you need to get them in as quick as possible with a gentle flow that ensures each loaf is placed in the right position.
Thankfully, all went well this morning. But you can see the concentration on my face as I started loading the first Ciabatta at 2.30am and rotated unloading and loading until the last Croissants went in at 7am. By 8am the bakery was full of the warm, heady aromas of freshly baked breads and pastries. The dairy delivery man popped in at 6.30am and said he could smell the current buns wafting as he came up the street!