How to hack the SU co-op bakery, by a baker

Everyone needs to know the peak time to get cookies


Ever gone to the Co-op to find that the bakery is all out of doughnuts? That the croissants are cold? That the cookie selection is mediocre at best? Most students have, and the reactions I’ve seen as a baker often border on despair. But before you blame the bakers, there is a method to getting the freshest, most sugary carb-loaded goodies from the campus bakery.

Bakery basics

The bakery is usually staffed by just one baker. On a rare occasion, you may find two people in the back faffing over the ovens and cookie bags, but usually, bakery is a one-man department. So no pressure on the baker.

Bakers are also often up at the crack of dawn: The first bakery shift begins at 6am sharp (an hour before store opening) and the last ends at 8pm on weekdays. This means that the ovens are usually shut down by 6:30pm so we can clean them without burning ourselves, which is the cause of the cold evening pastry. Sorry, not sorry.

Another thing to note: most stock (bread, pastries, sausage rolls, bags of doughnuts) can only be sold on the day it is baked. Good news for the freshness of your cheese twist, bad news for waste if we bake too much too late in the day. Cookies are troopers and last for a few days after baking.

Pastries

bakery

Pastries are first on the agenda in the morning, and are usually baked between around 6am and 7:30am. This is because the oldies who come in to get a paper at 8am usually pick up a croissant or two as well. the most popular pastries are typically baked first: croissants, pain au chocolat, chocolate twists and cheese twists.

Pastries are meant to be topped up throughout the day, but in the afternoon when we are busy baking other things, as well as fumbling in the freezer to organise the delivery, pastry variety could be hit and miss and *gasp* croissants most likely cold.

Bread

Man can’t live on bread alone, but a fresh roll never went amiss. Bread is second on the bakery agenda, but you’ll find peak amounts of bread at around 11am, as we tend to bake lots for the lunch rush. There is no dinner time rush for bread, and we hate throwing away hundreds of rolls, so you probably won’t find your perfect slice at 10pm. Soz.

Doughnuts

These coveted bags of 2-for-£1 sugary goodness fly off the shelves. Doughnuts are typically baked twice a day, once in the morning before about 11am and then again in the afternoon at about 2pm, with one more evening top up if customers are particularly keen.

Doughnuts have to be sugared according to standard, so asking for non-sugared doughnuts is like asking to pet a unicorn- it ain’t happening.

bakery4

Cookies

Cookies are last on the agenda for the day. They’re usually baked from about 3pm until the ovens are put to sleep for the night. Protip: get cookies either early in the day (although they will be left over from the night before) or early in the evening. The best range of cookies will probably be hanging around at about 6:30pm, but so will some of the biggest queues of the day, so proceed with caution.

A last cookie-based note: stop asking for cookies 30 seconds after they come out of the oven. If we try and stack them that quickly, they will congeal into one huge gooey mess. Have pity.