Photography by Louisa Nicolaou
There is something happening at The Drake around the clock – literally. Just as last call winds down at 2am in the Underground, our bakery team is kicking off their days up the street at Drake Commissary, getting started baking up every burger bun, bread basket and butter croissant available at each of our properties. We wanted to give you a glimpse of the magic that happens at 3am every day on Sterling Road, so we checked in with our head baker Jonathan Biro and his team to learn more. Trust us, after this one you’re going to want to set your alarm early this weekend to get on down to the Commissary before the loaves sell out to get one for yourself.
Here’s one of our bakers shaping the ciabatta bread. The ciabatta dough, because it is so moist, needs to be handled quite delicately and with the use of lots of flour to ensure they preserve all of the large air pockets.
Ciabatta also doesn’t need much shaping because of the wetness.
Now she’s flouring the linen that the baguettes will proof on. Proofing is the final stage of prepping dough for baking, where it ferments and rises after shaping. This process takes about 1-2 hours, which is much shorter than the proofing for other loaves like sourdough, since the bulk of the fermenting for the baguette dough before it gets portioned.
The final product baguettes in all their glory (can we eat one now!?).
These are the pain au lait, or milk bun that our famous Drake burgers are served on. The dough gets weighed out to the total weight of 36 pieces, and results in the piece of dough on the left. Next, it goes into a machine that makes them into portioned sections and then rolled into rounds, resulting in the dough on the right. Ready to be perfect little burger buns.
If you’ve ever eaten a Drake burger you KNOW how good these are.
Here the baker is rolling a spent grain loaf in rye flakes. The loaf has already been shaped and then rolled on a damp towel before being rolled in the flakes.
Next it will be inverted so the seam of the bread is on the bottom, placed in the basket and proofed.
The baker is here portioning and pre-shaping the sourdough loaves. The loaves are available across Toronto and beyond, including Earlybird Cafe, Cheese Boutique, Otto’s Bierhalle and Jules Patisserie.
Here’s the team working together to shape the sourdough loaves, where the bakers fold specifically to maintain the flavourful gasses produced during fermentation. The series of stitches help retain that classic batard shape.
Some flour action while making the sourdough loaves.
Folding, folding, folding to shape.
*Insert chef’s kiss here*