Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week 25

Week 25 was super-hot, but we made it through.

My family was in town, so we sold as the Berenbaum Family Singers, or something like that.

The Nutella babka came out pretty well. It was not quite as Nutella-y as I would have liked, but tasted good all the same. We sold out the 42 loaves I made by around 11:15AM.

The Bourbon Wheat sold well too, but with the heat, traffic was down and so we bartered several loaves and sold some as 2-for-1 at the tail-end of the market. Thanks to all the vendors that bartered with us -- Matahitu from Piedmont Biofarm, George from Lil' Farm, Hannah from the Pecan Stand (real name?), Don from Don's Italian Ice, Greg and Josh from the Lemonade Stand, and Mike and Becca from PiePushers. We even gave away a loaf to Noah at Fickle Creek because he was too busy to chat with us. Helga and Tim from Four Leaf Farm gave us some wonderful-looking red peppers for a loaf of our bread.

Thanks to all of our wonderful customers who braved the heat to be out there but especially Mike B., Marybeth, Shelly and Peter, Nate, Amanda, and Elizabeth, and Daniel, Katie, and Eli.

Thanks to our crew of Berenbaums, plus SZ, BS, and RML (who had to leave early to go on a weekend trip).

Here is the account of the day from my mom, DJB:

Working at Berenbaum's Bakery was the best! In spite of the 103 degree heat, we sold practically all the chocolate babka, Nutella babka, bourbon raisin bread and lots of granola and iced tea. Durham has some of the nicest people I've met anywhere. Love chatting with all of them. Looking forward to another visit soon!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pickled Okra Recipe

As per request of Danny Z.

1. Sanitize jars (e.g. dishwasher, boiling water bath, oven, etc.). Widemouth jars (if you can get them) are often handy for packing pickles.

2. Start a large pot of water boiling to process the pickle jars.

3. Drop 1-2 garlic cloves in the bottom of each sanitized pint jar. Depending on the heat level you like, drop in 1 or more dried chili peppers or a quarter or more of a fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper. If you have them, drop in some spice seeds, not to exceed 2-3 total (e.g. black peppercorn, coriander, etc.). Too many spice seeds result in the unfavorable domination of that taste in your pickle.

4. Clean and trim okra at the top and bottom (3 to 4-inch length is best, but if you want to go for big over-the-top okra that go bottom-to-top in your Bloody Mary, you can bump up to 5 to 6 inch length (if you can find them). You will need to double everything below if you go with the large size because you'll need to use quart jars instead of pint jars. If you want to make a quart of pickles instead of a pint, you will need to double everything here too.)

5. Pack okra into jars. You should be able to get about 8 to 10 of the small/medium ones in the pint jar. I recommend to hold the jar on its side and slide the okra in. About halfway through, you can easily pop smaller okra into the gaps at the bottom, then finish with the larger okra. If you pack all the large okra in first, it's impossible to squeeze the smaller ones through to the bottom gaps.

6. Make brine. Per pint jar okra, bring to a boil 0.5 cup water, 0.5 cup white vinegar, 1.5 teaspoon salt, 0.25 teaspoon spice or mixed spice (tumeric, chili pepper (if you like spicy), etc.). If you will need more brine, make more using those ratios. If after you try this recipe you find you like your pickles a little more sour or more salty, bump up the vinegar/water ratio or the amount of salt accordingly.

7. Using a mason jar funnel or an ordinary funnel, pour the hot brine over the packed okra, leaving 0.25 inch headspace. Tighten the jar lid. Give it a gratifying shake. I re-tighten my lids one more time before they go in the water bath for processing.

8. Process jars. Using a jar lifter (they're only about $10), place the jar in the boiling water such that it is covered by water. Cover with lid to save energy. Set your timer for 10 minutes once the water returns to a boil. Remove from pot. Allow jars to cool. Once cool, the popped top of the jar should remain the in the "down" position when pressed. Allow jars to rest in a cool non-bright place for about 2 weeks before opening. Once opened, refrigerate.

9. If you send me a picture of your pickled okra (double points if it's in your Bloody Mary), I will most certainly (and happily) post it to Facebook.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Toffee Caramels
Total Vitality Sauerkraut
Pecan Pie Brownie

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week 24

I was out of town this week, so SZ and RML held it down for me. Thanks, guys! Here's SZ's account of how the day went:

The heat came out in full force this week, reaching almost 100 degrees. Most shoppers seemed to want to get their shopping over quickly as a result. The iced coffee was a huge hit again, selling out at around 10:15 a.m. or so. Several people did mention however that they miss the Ceylon tea that we have had previously [Ed. - it will be back next Saturday]. A lot of the familiar faces were there this week. Don brought over a sample of his water ice, which is always a treat. We bartered with George from Lil' Farm for some tomatoes and potatoes. Pie Pushers also traded some of their pizza for some granola as well, along with the lemonade stand, which brought us some much-needed, refreshing lemonade. Big thanks to Rufus for saving our spot on the corner as usual, and for keeping everyone smiling.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 23

Everything sold well on Saturday. We sold or bartering everything but 1 bag of Mandel Bread. Patrick from Reliable Cheese bought 10 bags of Mandel Bread for his store. We bartered a bag of mandel bread and madeleines for a egg and cheese sandwich for LA (pictured below) from Drew at Farmhand, thanks buddy! I gave a small bag of Mandel Bread to Lonny (pictured below) who was playing guitar at Vega Metals -- loved his animatronic James Brown doll.

Big up to MG, who came through and bartered walnut cocoa cookies and gougeres for some specialty pickles. Several times, customers have told me, I started eating the ____, and I couldn't stop. Well after our day Sat, I broke into the bag of gougeres, and it was like that...thanks, man.

Thanks to the St. Nelson's for coming through, as well as tall Jerry and Horst.

Big up to the crew: RML, LA, SZ - thanks guys!



Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I'm reading a pretty good book on quality improvement in health care called "The Best Practice" by Charles Kenney (2008). He states some QI principles filtered down from an old Toyota QI guru, W. Edwards Deming. Here are some, abridged and revised:

  • Create a statement and sense of the purpose and aims of the company.
  • Build quality into the product through the production process.
  • Discount the value of price as the sole motivator; instead, enable long-term customer and vendor relationships based on loyalty and trust.
  • Work constantly to improve quality and productivity.
  • Value and reinforce on-the-job training.
  • Drive out fear; create trust.
  • Strive to reduce personnel conflicts.
  • Enable employees to claim pride of workmanship.
  • Include everyone in the company in every major transformation.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Delivery Model

I've just switched up the delivery model for the bake stand.

We currently have 15 subscribers, and I would like to be making 25 deliveries per weekend.

Customers can now receive a weekly electronic order form, order what they like, and I will bill them at the end of the month. Hopefully this will make it easier than having to commit to a monthlong subscription with a monthly renewal process.

We are still testing this out only in Old West and Watts-Hillandale. If you (or someone you know) would like to be on the weekly email list, please email me at berenbaums at gmail dot com. Thanks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Conversation From Yesterday

"Which beer tastes least like ratshit?"

- Budweiser?
- Miller Lite?
- Miller High Life?
- PBR?

You be the judge!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Week 22

We had a pleasant day on Saturday. RML was in an especially good mood, making everyone laugh and smile. We sold well; because bread is our highest-ticket product, margins, revenues, and net profits were higher.

Big up to our customers and friends who came by: Atrac and Suzy, Sara, Daniel, Katie, and Eli.

There was a new seller on the corner, Bramad (sp.?) from Raleigh, selling shawls. Not clear whether he was doing enough business to merit sticking around.

Also, there is a father and son duo selling lemonade now on the corner, Greg and Josh, respectively. Nice guys.

Big up to our awesome crew: RML, SZ, MPT, thanks guys!

News: Our Walnut Raisin Mandel Bread will be carried at Reliable Cheese as of next Saturday! I'm not sure how often we will be able to supply there or how fast it will sell out, but it sounds like a good thing. Patrick, the Reliable Cheese owner, is really doing some wonderful things. Highly recommended.

Hot Dogs

Enjoyed this article on Triangle hot dogs in the Indyweek. Maybe subconsciously inspired from the hot dog-eating contest on Coney Island on the 4th, I prepared a sublime dog last night. The superlative combination? Hebrew National dog charred well in skillet, served in toasted day-old baguette (from neighbor Billy), topped with whole grain mustard, full length pickle slice (house made), and house jalapeno salsa (pureed jalapeno, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic). yearrrrrrr.

Hot Dog ToDoList: Pimento Dog (Dog, pimento cheese cream, full-length pickle, chili paste).

Monday, July 4, 2011


The food at a given establishment is only so good as the palate of the most senior food-producer at said establishment.

Delivery Update

We are entering the fourth month of our deliveries to Old West and Watts-Hillandale. Despite more canvassing, I've found it difficult to maintain a steady number of subscribers for the delivery service. We have been as high as 18 and as low as 13, with the average purchase amount per week holding at about $4.25. I am thinking that to make the service more attractive, and to cast a wider net, we will change things up so that anyone can purchase (or not) in any given week and I will simply bill the customers on a monthly basis given what they order (similar to Bella Bean's business model). This would be akin to moving away from a monthly subscriber model and towards a per item per week purchase model. Anyone have have thoughts on this?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Week 21

Despite the sweltering heat, we sold very well on Saturday. Our madeleines were a big hit, with Marybeth purchasing a full two dozen of them -- thank you! The candied peach preserves went over well, and the mandel bread sold out as per usual.

Big up to our amazing customers: William and Friedrich, Mike, Maria, Blake, Greg, Josh, Greg & Danielle, Marybeth+1, EC, LDG, Midge and Sydney.

Many thanks also to our volunteer crew: RML, GP, BS -- GP, you went above and beyond the call of duty -- putting in the full four hours-plus for our cause -- hopefully, the next time you work, it will be a little cooler!