Meet James McMurray – Burnham Bakery’s Head Baker, bread-extraordinaire, and all-around awesome human being. At the tender age of 15, it was James’ weekend job at the local bakery that sparked his passion for all things dough. Over a decade later, his knack for baking and love of the trade is obvious in every Burnham Bakery loaf.
“I’ve always been passionate about producing good bread, using the absolute best ingredients. I’ve been with the Vue Group for four years now, baking in the Burnham Bakery, and I’m immensely proud of what comes out of the oven every day.”
It's no secret that being a baker requires a whole lot of dedication, knowledge and skill. This month, James gave us some insight into a day in the life as Head Baker of Burnham Bakery. So sit back, relax, and read on - the best is yet to crumb.
12 PM – My alarm goes off and the day begins. I start the morning (well, afternoon) with a coffee, and catch up on any emails and feedback from the previous night’s orders.
1 PM – Before getting ready for work, I love to get outside and take my dog, Ralph, for a walk around the block.
3 PM – I arrive at the Bakery and start going through the day’s orders. First on the list is to get mixing the sourdoughs for tomorrow. You always have to be one step ahead when working with dough!
4 PM – After compiling all of the orders, I create production sheets so the team knows exactly what to make. I double check the viennoiserie numbers and tray up the freshly made croissants and danishes to start proofing.
6 PM – The rest of the team join me in the bakery and start dividing the various doughs I prepped for our famous Milk, Banh Mi, and Burger Buns. The music gets cranking (we always play Blue Monday by New Order to get warmed up – it’s become a bit of a ritual!) whilst Baptiste shapes the dough and Johnny starts loading the ovens.
8 PM – The sun’s only just setting but the bakery is in full swing, with lots of bread getting mixed, moulded, baked and packed. We’re in the midst of Hot Cross Bun season, so the bakery is alive with the smell of warm spices and our decadent Valrhona Chocolate Buns.
10 PM – Baguettes are being moulded left, right and center, and I start to forecast what sourdough we’ll need for the next couple of days.
12 AM – As the last of the products start to come out of the oven, we prep and shape sourdough ready to be baked for the following evening. We’re all about slow dough – the result is a combination of great crumb, lightness and incredible flavour.
1 AM – Final checks are rolled out for all the orders. We start to pack down the kitchen and load up the delivery truck ready to distribute all over Melbourne and surrounds. This is always the most satisfying part of the day – seeing the benches full of freshly baked goods ready to go!
3 AM – I arrive home after a day’s work and reflect on the evening’s production over dinner - which is always accompanied by a still-warm baguette and a glass of wine – arguably the best way to recharge after a day at the bakery before doing it all again tomorrow!
Catch James' Hot Cross Buns available online until April 20th.