Teller’s Bakery in Mahane Yehuda
Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 9, 2009
Who doesn’t like fresh baked bread? I visited Teller’s Bakery in the Mahane Yehuda market, Jerusalem, this morning with two co-workers, one of whom is a neighbour of the owner, Avishai Teller. The bakery is not an old family business — Avishai took a course and then opened his bakery a few years ago on Agrippas street. His sourdough and baguettes are wonderful.
A conveyor belt with adjustable height, to accommodate the different oven compartments, moves the raw baguettes into the oven. I assume that they are removed with a peel. Interestingly, baguettes were not proofed after being shaped. Avishai shaped the loaves, slashed them, and put them into the oven. (If you click on the photo and view the large version or original, you can see that he’s holding the lame (bread-slashing tool) in his teeth.)
In the main room of the bakery, workers cut a huge mass of dough into pieces, weigh them, and shape them very quickly into round loaves. This particular batch is “Health Bread.” Working with bread while listening to the Beatles doesn’t seem like a bad way to make a living.
At one point I photographed the mashgiach (kashrut supervisor, who makes sure that the baked goods are kosher). He came over to us and asked, “Are you Jews? Do you observe the Sabbath?” Then he turned to me and said, “Would you like to perform the mitzvah of separating challah? It’s an important mitzvah for women.” So I dipped my hand in flour and grabbed a handful of sticky dough out of the mixer. I almost never perform this mitzvah at home because my oven is too small to hold the minimum quantity of dough required, so the rabbi helped me with the blessing. He told me that many women come to the bakery solely to perform this mitzvah.
Chart indicating when challah was taken and by whom:
In a smaller room, devoted to making the danishes and other pastries, a man was mixing chopped apples, sugar, a little lemon, and cinnamon. He opened the refrigerator and took out a large slab of folded puff pastry, informing us that this dough was 50% butter. Wow. He cut the dough in half and then rolled it back and forth through an electric rolling machine, which works like a pasta machine. Shelves at either end caught the ends of the dough, as the strip became longer and thinner. The finished sheet was about half a centimeter in thickness.
The pastry maker cut rolled about half the dough around a huge rolling pin and transferred it to the work surface. He picked up a gadget that looked like an expanding trivets. It was an adjustable dough cutter, which he used to cut the dough into squares.
The filling was squirted into the squares from a plastic bag used like a pastry bag.
He folded the pastry squares into plump envelopes at lightning speed.
The finished product:
Update: Sept. 25, 2009.
Teller’s kashrut certification is Jerusalem Rabbinate Mehadrin. Yehiel Spiro has posted a copy of the hechsher (kashrut certificate) on his site, Jerusalem Kosher News. I presume that Rabbi Lublin was the man in the photo above.