Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sweet Tree Bakery, London, England

I spent a big part of Saturday, July 24 making my way from Charlton (way down south) to Wood Green (way the crap up north). Why? Sweet Tree Bakery, baby! Possibly the only spitcakery in the British Isles, it makes both baumkuchen and šakotis! How could I miss this?

Sweet Tree Bakery is hardcore. They cultivate natural yeast for about half of their breads, utilizing all sorts of tasty fruits and grains to make every loaf special. Two Bavarian ladies are in charge of the breads and jams, and a Japanese man bakes the pastries, including the spitcakes. None of them are native Anglophones; they all speak with incredibly thick accents, and they were unable to understand my dialect (American plus difficulty with liquids). This led to a great game of telephone: I would ask a question in my dialect, then another customer (a gentleman in a Mr. Bungle t-shirt, I will refer to him as Mr. Bungle) would repeat the question in one of the London dialects, then one of the bakers would answer and I would have to spend about twenty seconds analyzing their speech for comprehension. But I digress. How were the spitcakes?

Well, I only had baumkuchen. It's true that STB bakes both varieties, but only one kind per day. I happened to arrive on a baumkuchen day. If I had gone there on Friday, or if I came back again on Sunday, I could have gotten šakotis.

Was it good? Oh yes. Oh. Yes. The cake itself was just a little sweet, the icing mellow, the texture out of this world. I thought it got better with every bite. That baker puts all his effort into making the best product possible, and it shows, man.

After some more fumbling with words and having Mr. Bungle act as interpreter, they agreed to let me into the kitchen and see the cake machine as long as I didn't touch anything. Oh, joy unbounded!

There it is, in all its glory. The Cake Machine. An angelic chorus is singing. This machine was manufactured by Schlee GmbH. It's electric, as you can see, and relies on three-phase power, presumably for the large motor.

Do you see that huge fan behind the oven? It's not the only one. There was an array of fans, I think five, along that wall, spinning their little hearts out. And it was still so damn hot in that room! Definitely over 40°C (100°F).

So now I'm a little worried about a cake machine in a van. For one thing, three-phase is out of the question. And unless I've got all the doors thrown open, I might cook myself in there, alongside the cake. Vamos a ver.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My heating element will be electric.

Heating elements: electric.

Photos of my cake adventure in England will follow. For now, check out this diagram I made.