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Convenient and Economical: 11 Unexpected Services You Can Get at a Supermarket Bakery

Most of us know that you can get a special order cake from a supermarket bakery, but this offer is not limited to this establishment. They provide other amazing services that you probably don't know about. Edition Lifehacker told what you can get in the bakery.

Photo: IStock

Slice your bread the way you like

Many large stores, such as Whole Foods, bake their own bread. This is very convenient, but large loaves are difficult to cut quickly and evenly. This is where a bread slicing machine comes in handy. Choose a loaf and ask the bakery staff if they can run it through a slicer to get perfectly even cuts.

They can also make cuts by hand if the request is simple enough. Cut the brioche loaf into five thick slices, and cut the multigrain batard in half.

Substitute fresh fruit

The patisserie is a dazzling array of pies, tartlets and pastries. Often, desserts with boiled or fresh fruit are the highest-trafficking items, but they spoil the fastest.

If you notice that some of the berries that decorate the top of the strawberry biscuit are wrinkled or dry, you can politely ask to replace them with new berries. This is often a quick task that does not require the experience of a cake decorator, and a staff member helping you will replace the fruit within minutes. What you can't ask for is a replacement for all the fresh berries in the cake or the fruit topping the cake.

Get Cake Decorating Materials

Are you into baking? Sometimes you like to bring a fresh strawberry pie to a picnic in the park, and sometimes you are a friend who is asked to bake a small wedding cake. Not only is it flattering, it's a way to try something new.

The problem is, how do you properly maintain and transport those precious, fragile little decor items and other essentials if you don't actually do it all the time? Cake shops aren't always local, and ordering one item usually means you'll need space to store the other 149 cake boxes you have to buy.

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If you need disposable jewelry, please contact the bakery. There you can be given a cardboard cake circle, a suitable cake box, or even a couple of disposable plastic pastry bags to make glazed flowers. But don't ask for any icing advice, as these are not disposable tools and are usually personal to cake decorators.

Buy blanks for the cake, tartlets, icing and more

If you want to make your own dessert but don't want to bake the cake and make the frosting, you can ask your local bakery for help. Some supermarket bakeries will sell you any individual ingredients they use to make their desserts. Many stores do not make everything themselves. They have larger outlets where cakes, fillings and icings are made from scratch. These items are packaged and sent to them frozen or chilled, arriving at the store ready to use. This makes it easy for the bakery to take the cake or pie crust out of the freezer and sell it to you. Buy cakes, a liter of frosting, undecorated cupcakes, or a few tempered chocolate decors to bring home and start making cake.

Buy "good" goods

Most grocery store bakeries that decorate custom-made cakes have more than one frosting. Whole Foods usually has fluffy and delicate Swiss meringue buttercream, chocolate ganache, vegan icing, and something like "baby" icing.

All of them were made locally, but with completely different ingredients, preparations and consistency. If you want to bring home a gallon of frosting to use on your cake, be specific and ask for "good" products, not cheap ones. If you want a soft and fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream, order it by name or point to the one you like in the bakery window.

Decorate with what you bought in the store

The bakery is responsible for all or most of the cakes sold in the store. If you come to the window with culinary items and have one of their regular cakes topped with "Happy XNUMX Month Anniversary! Will you marry me?” they will gladly do so.

But you can also bring just about anything you bought from the store to the bakery and have it written to you as a free favor for your purchase. As long as you pay for it and show them the receipt, you can even write on chocolate chip cookies or pizza. Just remember that it will probably be written in icing or chocolate.

Make cakes with your own decorations

Flowers and balloons are great, but if you want a more personal touch, not every bakery has an Elsa stencil. You can usually bring in a sugar-printed image from a specialty store and let the professionals take care of the rest without incurring any additional decoration costs. The same goes for toys, special sugar decorations, or edible flowers you bought elsewhere.

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If you would like a specific pattern applied to the cake, you can bring a stencil or tool and ask the decorator to use it to achieve the specific result you envision for your special order.

Place special orders for items that are usually sold out

Let's say your bakery only makes cinnamon raisin bagels on Saturdays, but you can't buy them on Sunday because they always sell out. You have the opportunity to specially order these bagels and pick them up on the day you need. Place an order at the counter and get the super-popular Thursday Friday Cookie.

Order catering dishes "off the menu"

Depending on the store and department manager, you may even request an off-menu dish with your own design. The order can be at cost per unit or discounted if enough pieces are ordered.

Buy fresh goods

It may seem elementary, but the bakery staff will be available to answer questions about when a product has been baked or when the next batch will be ready. If you think the last giant chocolate chip cookie looks suspiciously like the leftovers from yesterday, feel free to ask about the expected arrival time of the next batch. If you get the bakery staff at your local grocery store to remember you, they might even check the fridge for cookie dough and bake you a couple of fresh brownies.

Bake at home

What could be better than pulling freshly baked croissants out of your own home oven? Croissants that you didn't have to cut and shape yourself. Most bakeries make certain things on site and the rest is made or partly made in-store offsite. These items are usually frozen prior to shipment to simplify packaging and ensure the product is not damaged in transit. It arrives in perfect condition to either stay frozen or baked. That is, the cookie dough is pre-portioned and ready to bake, the croissants are waiting to be thawed, the pies are stuffed - everything is assembled raw and ready to bake.

Some bakeries will let you buy these raw frozen foods to take home and bake yourself. The cost will most likely reflect the cost of the baked and finished product, so don't expect to save money, but this can be ideal if you want to shop for Thanksgiving three days early and still have a freshly baked pie. For the best home baking experience, be sure to ask the bakery staff for any defrosting and baking tips, and even get them in writing.

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