In the Heat of the Night

Baguettes bake in stone-lined ovens. Panera Bread provides bakers with specific guidelines — including photographs showing the colors of underbaked, overbaked, and ideally baked crusts — for uniform quality.


Like the shoemaker’s elves, bakers at Panera Bread work while you sleep. So even if you walk into the café and store when the doors first open each day, you’ll find an array of fresh breads, muffins, bagels, pastries, and cookies. When you’re switching on Conan O’Brien or crawling into bed, bakers are just beginning a night of stretching, scoring, shaping, filling, folding, and baking dough.

Long wooden panels slide baguettes into stone-lined ovens. Tall racks with a variety of scones, mini bundt cakes, sweet rolls, and other goodies rotate in a convection oven. Between the beeping of the timers, bakers move continuously from one loaf or artisan pastry to another — deftly rolling, cutting, and braiding dough; scooping fruit and cheese fillings into a pastry ring; or icing a bear claw. The ovens bake nonstop. By morning, the shelves and cases that were empty at 10 p.m. (all products not sold by day are given to food banks) are filled.

Panera stakes its reputation on freshness and purity (baguettes have four ingredients, none of which is a preservative) and well-trained employees. Bakers undergo seven weeks of training, followed by “demonstration bakes” and a written test. Once a month, training specialists visit each café to ensure Panera standards are being met.

The formula has been so successful that the chain posted a 33 percent growth in profits in the first half of 2009. In the desert, the Palm Springs and La Quinta cafés will be joined by a Palm Desert location midyear.

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do not use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Good Libations

Loads of atmosphere, specialty drinks, and a niche vibe define the desert’s best bars.

Valley Winners

Local restaurants and bars bring in a wide range of awards and praise.

Delicious Events

2015 Foodie News & Happenings around the Coachella Valley.

Babe's Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse Earns National Ranking

Babe's Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse in Rancho Mirage serves one of the top-10 ranked Belgium pale ales in the country, according to

10 Places to Dine on New Year's Eve in Greater Palm Springs

If you are still looking for a place to usher in 2015, whether it's simply a nice meal out or a complete package of food, drinks and entertainment, check out these options in the Greater Palm Springs area.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.