THIS IS OUR STORY AND WE'RE STICKIN TO IT!
Opened for business in 1997, Black Hills Bagels has been a stopping place for morning coffee and breakfast for many residents. Below is our story to give our visitors a glimpse at what happens "behind the scenes" in our version of "A Day in the Life of a Bagel Baker." We hope you enjoy!
A new day has dawned at Black Hills Bagels which usually is 6:00AM. The doors open and the customers stream in and place their orders for bagels and coffee. But wait! It couldn't have all started at 6:00AM? You're right, it started a couple hours earlier. As in any production the customer generally only sees the finished product. They don't see the process nor the effort which occurred "behind the scenes" prior to the curtain call.
As most residents are still sleeping, the Bagel Baker arrives at Black Hills Bagels at 4:00AM. He's done this for the past 3,650 days, (not counting the four holidays each year we're closed). A tired, probably lonely soul, with shoulders drooping and head down fumbles in the darkness for the key to push the big steel door open.
He feels his way along the wall until he finds the light switch. He squints up at the clock that reads 3:59AM. He shuffles over to the double rack oven and pushes the big red lever. He listens. Finally, the pilot light ignites the jets on the big gas oven and lights go on inside the oven and the temperature begins to rise. Slowly he shuffles to the coffee pot and finds some luke warm coffee left over from yesterday, takes a big gulp, waits a moment, and thinks to himself, "just two hours 'til show time!"
He picks up the pace, knowing hundreds of bagels are waiting in the walk-in cooler to be baked for today's breakfast and lunch. He checks the oven. It's still slowly climbing. Another 20 minutes before the temperature reaches 450 degrees and the oven will be ready.
He takes another swig of coffee as he checks the orders that have come in from the day before. He wonders, "Do I have enough bagels racked? Do I have too many?" He checks the weather forecast. He checks the day one year ago to see how many were baked and how many sold. He checks the temperature again as he grabs his clipboard and dashes into the walk-in cooler for a quick bagel count. He puts a couple more dozen on today's baking rack and pushes the rack out of the cooler.
It's time to put the first rack in. He pulls on the heavy, elbow-length bakers clothes, pulls the big oven door open and watches the turret slowly descends and stop so the rack can be rolled on and lifted up when the door closes. The door is closed and the turret lifts the 30 dozen trays full of bagels and begins to rotate. He hits the steam button which sprays a light steam over the bagels. The huge five ounce bagels begin to lift and seem to wake up after their cool night in the cooler. He steams for three minutes and then hits the bake timer for 10 minutes.
Ten minutes, hmm, enough time to get coffee started and turn the espresso machine on. All too soon he hears a beep, beep, beep. The first batch of bagels are ready. As the Bagel Baker opens the door he steps back so the hot air doesn't hit him in the face. He carefully pulls the rack out of the oven and, with his gloves still on, tests the bagels to make sure they are baked properly. Ahh, a beautiful light golden brown color and sheen. Perfect. They look and feel just right. He pushes the rack to a huge fan for a quick cool down and puts another rack full of bagels in the oven. The process starts all over again.
When the bagels are barely cool enough, he wheels the rack to the front and quickly begins filling the 28 empty baskets full of fresh baked bagels. The bagels are out and the orders filled and with five minutes to spare!
Three, two, one, showtime! The lights come on, the doors fling open and the familiar neon sign showing a cowboy riding a bagel...lights up.
A new day has dawned and soon the rest of the world will know what he already knows...it's a beautiful day in Big Bagel Country!!!