Friday, November 4, 2011

Winds of Change

I'm usually much more prepared than this. Friday is my favorite work day, as is for many people, yes, but for me because I get to do the blog, update and monitor facebook, and send out my newsletter to my customers. I love reading up about what's happening in the industry, sharing interesting articles and facts and the creativity that is involved in making it work. By Friday, this is typically planned out, I know what I want to share and just have to put words to the page. But not today. Today, I am at a standstill and have a bit of writers block. It's my own fault really, as today is my last day as the Crumby News blogger. As the title implies, the winds of change have been calling me and I've finally decided to answer. You can only fight nature for so long you know.

So, in my last post I'm going to highlight my favorite item we sell, which honestly is easy to write about. My favorite writing to do is writing about experiences, especially ones that involve food. I know I've said I have "favorites" before, and I may be a bit too lose with the word in general, but of all the products we sell, every single one, I get the most excited to eat this one; Stollen.

There is just nothing better than Stollen, and it didn't take me long to convince my family of that shortly after I discovered it which wasn't until culinary schol. I mean bread with inclusions, right there I'm hooked whatever type of bread it is. But in this case the inclusions are rum soaked fruit and nuts. I usually soak a little extra because I know myself. The smell of the cranberries, raisins and candied fruits with almonds soaking in rum is too enticing for me to leave alone. I have enough will power to let it sit one night; I prefer the taste the second day. Oh the know what I'm talking about, right? How when the raisins and dried cranberries are fat with liquid and heavy on your tongue? The almonds have softened and while they are harder to bite through than the fruits, they break easily under your teeth and that sweet aroma floats up into your nose and it is nutty and sweet with hints of smoke and orange. Your taste buds are savoring the hints of caramelized sugar, spice and the lingering flavor of vanilla and citrus. Yes, soak extra. Now add a good deal of fat and sugar, and a log of marzipan down one side of the loaf and there's no way you can go wrong. Some people skip the marzipan but to me, that's a crime. If you were still on the fence, as if...after that loaf comes out of the oven, you dip it in melted, clarified butter and then granulated sugar, only to sit overnight to let it cool and all the goodness inside to solidify a bit, and then cover it with Sweet New Snow. Holy freaking cow. I just gained a pound writing this. And I don't even care. If there was ever a product worth getting fat over, it's Stollen. I hate cutting it, it's a messy job but I love eating it. Not the first piece though, because usually there isn't any marzipan in the first slice and I want all the fat I can get in my slice of Stollen. I like the middle of the loaf, where it's the thickest around. I love the texture differences...the powdery dry New Snow, followed by gritty, buttery sugar and then the soft crumb of the loaf, filled with an even softer burst of almond paste and sugar. I always eat the side without the marzipan first, so my last bites can be the best. I bite halfway through the marzipan when I do, so it is in two bites. It's smooth and sweet and soft and moist, and it's dry and crunchy and buttery. It's happiness. Powdered sugar all over your shirt happiness.

Anyway..I guess I got over that writers block. Go was the answer. When my schedule frees up a little in the next few weeks, I'll be baking Stollen as soon as I can. I like my Stollen to sit a little, let the flavors blend before I cut into it, which doesn't usually happen until the last few days of Christmas. Talk about torture! I've had two, absolutely delicious Stollen's in the third of this life I've lived. One was from one of my favorite Chef Professors from The Culinary Institute of America, Dieter Schorner. If you don't know him, or never heard of him, he is, in a nut shell, amazing. I will never, ever forget any of the time I spent with Chef Schorner at school. The other amazing loaf was guessed it, Abel & Schafer. Now, if you think about this, it makes good sense. They are a German company. If anyone is going to know how to put out a quality German bread, it's us, hands down. The Stollen Mix (22065) comes with 50 bags for packaging, and the Stollen Fruit Blend (25020) which we spoke about previously, or maybe I mentioned it on our facebook page...contains lemon peel, orange peel and cranberries. They figure you have raisins, why pay to ship them? Now, all you need is Sweet New Snow (03060), which, if you have a bakery, you already should have...I'm tapping my foot here...and the basic fixin's to mix it. We have an amazing brochure that gives directions on the proper mixing, shaping and baking procedures. It's fantastic, a PDF. E-mail me, or your A&S rep or the office even; and someone will get back to you with it.

I will miss you my friends! Enjoy each day, breathe deeply and as they say, don't sweat the small stuff! For any help in the future, call the office at (800)-443-1260 and ask for customer service, there won't be a lag in the help you need, products you want or attention you deserve!


Katie, your Sale's Gal!