The Work We Do: Elizabeth Basile, Blue Duck Bakery

Hi, my name is Elizabeth Basile. I work at the Blue Duck Bakery as an assistant baker. I’ve been here for eight years. 

My day starts with me coming in and starting our mixes, and then we put them in the fridge to ferment. They take about an hour and half to two and a half hours, depending on each dough.

After that we put it through our machines or we hand-cut most of our doughs for our artisan breads.

Then after that it goes right into the refrigerator or right into the oven, depending on the proofing and who’s going to bake it, whether it’s day crew or night crew that comes in and does most of the baking overnight to be shipped out the next morning.

The doughs we work on by hand are all worked on during the day shift and breads that go through machines are baked at night.

Today I’m working on some hand-cut stuff to get through the morning and then we’ll probably start on production on bulkier doughs that use the machines.

I did not go to culinary school. I was driving by and there was a “help wanted” sign and I started as an up-front girl and probably within six months I was moved into the back and started on bread production.

I was just a helper and through my eight years I moved through the ranks and tried to make my way up to the mixing. Our crew is always interchanging, but for the most part I have the same bulk of the crew. It’s good; we all get along. We’re all happy and we support each other.

I think it’s pretty neat how you can go from one flour mixed with water and use a completely different flour and have a completely different ending dough.

The science in the baking aspect alone is — especially when it comes to the bread and the fermenting, the bread, the starters, and everything that goes into it — I think is the most interesting part.
It’s the most difficult as well.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @thesuffolktimes and watch the video on facebook.com/thesuffolktimes.