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Sinclair's Bakery update (sort of)

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mcs's picture
mcs

Sinclair's Bakery update (sort of)

TFL'ers,
Hi there everyone.  Last time I wrote to you I had just finished my last bake at The Back Home Bakery.  I was hoping to be able to post pictures of the newly opened bakery at this point, but alas delays have occured.  Rather than wait until I'm open I figured I would give you an update to show you the progress so far.  Anyway, soon after, I packed up all of my stuff and the bakery equipment and headed south to Bozeman, MT via Nampa, Idaho.  Why Nampa, Idaho you ask?  Well, that's where Sinclair's Bakery is originating.  After searching high and low, I finally found a place that would be able to help me with my project.

Let me explain.

As those of you who have been following me for the past few years know, The Back Home Bakery was located in the lower level of my home.  Most of my baking business came from a very busy summer season selling at the farmers' market, plus it was supplemented through wholesale work throughout the year.  Of course I realized this would be impossible to duplicate in a brand new area/market without a home to start with, so this is the plan.  The folks at Double R trailers in Nampa will be taking my idea and equipment and building me a concession trailer.

This is an example of a similar concession trailer, but NOT mine:

Below is the floorplan for the trailer they are building for me:


Much of the bakery equipment will be in a concession trailer.  It will be supplemented by a 20KW diesel generator which will be on the tongue of the trailer.  The overall size of the trailer wil be 8'6" x 24' and will be towed by my 3/4 ton truck.  If you are familiar with the '5 minutes at the Back Home Bakery' video then you will recognize that some of the equipment missing from the trailer are the 60qt mixer, the sheeter, and the large work bench.  This equipment among other things like the bakers racks and large 3 compartment sink will be housed in a warehouse where I am living. 

This will allow me to bake on site not just at the farmers' markets, but also at other event locations.  Fresh baguettes and croissants for everyone!  For wholesale and on off days, I can plug the trailer in and use as a small bakery, much in the way I used to at the Back Home.   Below is my design for the outside graphics of the trailer which I will paint upon arrival here in Belgrade, MT (just outside of Bozeman).

Here are some pictures of the warehouse/studio where the trailer will be housed and where I live:

The studio can be seen at the top of the stairs to the right, the rest of the bakery equipment is in the rear.

 


This is looking down from the top of the stairs of the studio.

 


Some of the rest of the bakery equipment.

 


The living quarters upstairs.

If you'd like to see more pictures of the area I now call home and you are the Facebook type, feel free to check out my page here.
If you would rather check out the pictures of the area I live now on Flickr, then click here.

The initial projected completion date was mid-January, but it has been pushed back to mid-February.  In the meantime, I will keep myself busy by growing more white hairs and substitute teaching at the local schools to earn a few bucks. 

There you go for now, and happy baking to all of you in the meantime.

-Mark

 Edit:  mid-February update here

Comments

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Mark,

Nice to hear from you...I had been wondering how you were doing.  Good luck with the project, it looks great.

Jeff

mcs's picture
mcs

Jeff,
Yeah, I was hoping I would have more to report by this time, but I guess that's the way it goes.  Anyway, hopefully in a month or so you'll have some pictures of the finished concession trailer ready for business.

-Mark

M2's picture
M2

Simple and elegant.  Thanks for sharing the photos.  It is great to see those familiar tools and work bench :)  

And a mobile bakery!  I wish you all the best and have a great 2013.

Michelle

p.s. jus wondering, is there any heat in the warehouse?

 

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks and I hope all is well with you too.  Don't worry, the warehouse has radiant heat in the floor.

-Mark

LindyD's picture
LindyD

That rig sure opens up a lot of possibilities, Mark.    I think your new signage is very elegant and the fact it's on wheels is terrific advertising.

Can't wait to see the finished project - don't do FB, so I hope you allow photos for public viewing.

BTW, where are you going to stash your interns?  ;-)

Best, Lindy

 

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks, I'm glad you like the signage.  As you can tell, the trailer will be dark green, so I think it will look classy and a little bit old fashioned.  I was going for something a bit like this, and I like the color combinations.

Hmm.  About the interns.  You mean while we're baking or for housing?  The trailer is big enough for two working and as for housing, the back of my pickup is quite roomy and offers spectacular views of 'Big Sky Country'.

-Mark

mcs's picture
mcs

I just put some pictures of the area on Flickr for those of you who don't do FB.

-Mark

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the best place for a bakery was in a bar where besides selling brewskies and bourbon,  they also did bread and pastries, cakes, pies and cookies, BBQ, candy and ice cream too.  Nothing like one stop shopping, sort of like a mini mall food and drink court.

Now I'm thinking that a mobile one would even be better :-)

Looks like everything is working out even if a little slower than anticipated.

Get back to baking soon Mark!  The Summer season is just around the corner.

mcs's picture
mcs

Dabrownman, it sounds like some kind of eutopia you've got planned there.  All that is missing is the part about being fanned while laying in bed and having grapes dropped into your mouth.

Yes, the delays are killing me, but soon hopefully they'll be over.  As you said, the summer season is nearby and that means I'll have lots of baking to do and photos to post here of the show in action.

-Mark

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Quite innovative Mark!   I have a trailer that size and I can't see standard ovens and proofers leaving you much room to work.  Are you using smaller ovens and such?  Sorry the Builder/Designer in me has to ask.  I'm sure you took measurements of your oven with the proper rear clearance with the doors open to see if you will have room to get hot sheet pans in and out.  8' of width gets chewed up fast.  Also don't forget the interior wheel wells...always in the way.

Good to see you on your way.

Faith

mcs's picture
mcs

Yes, as you can see, on the side where the things will be pulled out of the oven there are narrow shelves whereas normally in a concession trailer people have workspaces on both sides of the aisle.  There's not much space, that's for sure.   Plus, I do get a few extra inches out of the trailer because unlike my drawing, my trailer will actually be 8'6" wide instead of 8'.  

I hope you're doing well and happy baking to you.

-Mark

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

I figured you had that worked out...just had to ask.  Even at 8'6" your interior is just over 8'.  It would be cool if they could build you one with a camper style push out section that you could set your ovens on.  It would cost more but it would really open it up for getting things in and out of the oven.  Are you going with hydraulic levelers or are you just going to roll up on boards?

Things are fine Mark still building but wishing I was baking. 

Faith

mcs's picture
mcs

No doubt it will be cozy, but no push out sections on this trailer.  Believe me, just like with anything 'commercial', the costs add up VERY quickly when building something like this.  I put the left ovens and the entrance door across from each other to create some space and from the right oven, bread will be able to come straight out and onto the cooling racks behind. 
No hydraulic levelers.

-Mark

EvaB's picture
EvaB

as for room, my brother actually lived in an 8 foot wide, 30 foot long trailer with his wife and three small children. It was built in Chicago and was a fabulous trailer, everything was built in with pocket doors and very nice wood cupboards etc. Its not the best size ever, but hey you work with what you've got, and as long as you're happy with it, can't complain. Neat solution to a problem of renting the space and maybe having someone sell the building and the new owner's deciding to not rent to you or needing to up the rent. And besides fresh baked beats baked the day before all hollow!

mcs's picture
mcs

Yes, when I'm actually standing in the trailer, I will most definitely work with what I have and will make the necessary little modifications to make it perfect.  Most of the production in the trailer will be baking and selling (as opposed to dishwashing and prep), so it will work well.  Most importantly, like you said, nothing beats fresh baked.

-Mark

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A 20 KW generator sounds loud.  I ran a 2 KW kerosene generator for two years ( I wasn't running a bakery, just lights,a washing machine and iron and water pump, not all at the same time) and ended up building a open top generator house for it to quiet it down.  I did fiddle with the spark plug for optimum running.  The neighbors liked it 'cause the vibrations kept the poisonous snakes away.  Which makes me ask...   Got some kind of fold up contraption you could stand around it to deflect the noise up ⇑ away from the area around the concession?    

Thanks for sharing,   Mini

mcs's picture
mcs

The generator will be housed in an insulated exterior container to channel the noise away from the back of the trailer. 

Hopefully it will not only keep away the poisonous snakes, but also anyone else of thinking of selling bread in the near vicinity. 

-Mark

grind's picture
grind

Movie sets run huge generators and they are almost quite.  It's a combination of insulation and open top ventilation/housing.  Regardless, your entire outfit looks awesome.  Good luck, not that you need it.

mcs's picture
mcs

Yeah, I can't wait to get going on it.  And I may not need the luck, but I'll take it anyway.

-Mark

calliekoch's picture
calliekoch

I knew it.

Callie

mcs's picture
mcs

...with that smug look on her face.

-Mark

proth5's picture
proth5

I was giving serious thought to bying a food truck outfitted for bread baking earlier this year.  I decided the timing really wasn't right (I would have bought it and then not used it much for a couple years) and was getting stymied by those odd Colorado food laws.

And here you go with a concession trailer.

So - commercial kitchen in the warehouse to do mix/sheet/shape? and final bake in the trailer?  Are you considering an oven upgrade to any kind of deck oven?

Let me know when you need semi skilled labor (my pastry skill are definitely ramping up)!  I'm talking you up to "the one who I won't name on this board" every chance I get (which is more than one might think!) You know why!

Good to hear from you.

(RB) Pat

mcs's picture
mcs

Well then, I guess you'll just have to keep tabs on me to see how the concession trailer thing goes, huh?  The only official 'commercial kitchen' will be in the trailer.  That way I don't have to get two separate licenses.  Originally I was looking to find a place that I could rent to duplicate something like the Back Home, but it would have involved too much renovating for a temporary location. 

This warehouse is set up with lots of electrical outlets (3 are 220V) and a place where I could hook up my big 3 compartment sink for dishwashing.  In that sense it's ideal for a temporary spot.  As far as the actual production goes, especially the pastries, yes it will go as you imagine.  I was originally planning a deck oven to replace the two gas convection ovens (so I would bake the pastries in the convection, the breads in the deck), but the $ didn't allow for that.  Possibly in the future. 

Hey, keep talking me up.  I most definitely appreciate that.  I really need to work on my français...

Take care.

-Mark

proth5's picture
proth5

Always good to hear of your progress.

How can you do mix/shape in a non commercial kitchen?  Does Montana law allow that?  In CO, if you work from a food truck, any prep not done on the truck required a commercial kitchen.

I'll have some quality flying time in the near future to contemplate how to render your new logo in live dough - or maybe I should do pate morte - it would keep longer...

Pat

mcs's picture
mcs

For baked goods, farmers' markets fall under the cottage laws in Montana.  Certain farmers' markets require commercial kitchens for the entire process, but the state law does not.  When I move out of this place and into a permanent residence, I'll have two completely different licences, one for the mobile truck and one for the home like I did before.   Initially since my volume will be quite low I'll be able to do my production in the trailer.  Timing will require me to do it before I arrive on site, so the actual 'show' at the market will be mostly baking.  For this 'pre-production' work, I have extra fridge and freezer space for retardation. 
I'm looking at possibly doing a multi-day show later in the summer where all of the pastries would be done beforehand, but proofed and baked on game day, and  the bread in this case would be done day by day, all of the work taking place on site in the trailer.
I'd like to see this rendition of yours when you get it figured out.  I'm still a bit clueless on the decorative stuff.

-Mark

calliekoch's picture
calliekoch

I think it's a great idea.

Is the living space in the warehouse permanent or just a temporary fix?

Are you planning on baking more or less the same line of products or will you be changing it? And will this type of set up change your capacity in terms of how much you can make?

mcs's picture
mcs

I just hope when you opened your Christmas presents you didn't used to say, "I KNEW IT!"  You didn't did you?

This whole living arrangement is basically a one-year plan.  Of course the trailer isn't, but the warehouse/loft is.  Ideally I would like to get out in the sticks like before, but I needed a quick place to set up, plus I needed an accessible place for my Sysco type deliveries and that sort of thing. 

Good question about the products.  Well as you can imagine, if I'm planning for a one-man show, especially when I'm baking on site, there will need to be changes as far as selling/waiting on customers/and actually baking.  One change will be that the products will be priced in dollar increments, so loose change will be eliminated.  Also, I'm looking at standardizing the sizes of the breads based on price.  For instance, the baguettes are $3, so I'll be making smaller loaves of bread that will sell for $3.  Pastries that sold for $2.25 will be sized slightly smaller so I can sell them for $2.  Basically I'll be reworking things a little bit so I don't have to think as much.

For certain events, I'll sell less variety to also simplify the process and target my audience more.  Like if I'm selling at night, I won't be selling items that would be considered breakfast pastries.

Another option I have is, since I have refrigeration on the trailer, I can do as the Europeans do and sell 'fixed price menu' items.  So for $5 you can get one baguette, one drink, and some butter.  Or for $7 you can get one baguette, two drinks and some brie.  You get the idea.  Like getting a value meal at McD's. 

As far as the capacity goes, I anticipate that this first year of course will be quite low as I'll be getting new customers and working on streamlining the system.  As it gets busier, I anticipate that some of the products will be baked before I leave (larger loaves, PSB rolls that need to cool before they are bagged...) and just the ones that have to be baked onsite will be (baguettes, pastries...)

-Mark

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I am just seeing all of this and had to look back at the November link to see the whole story. I am sorry about the personal trials but it seems you have progressed to a wonderful new beginning. I never got to see At Home Bakery . Personal stuff in my life also made it impossible. I send my wishes for your success and look forward to seeing more of your pics and progress. Thank you for the support you offer to all the bakers here . I have learned much from you. c

mcs's picture
mcs

Believe it or not, I was recently wondering how you were doing.  You were on the short list of people that I had accepted as an intern, but was not able to make it.  When I closed the bakery, I thought what a shame it was that I didn't get to work with you and a couple others.  I hope you are doing well.
Yes, I'm trying to make a go at a new bakery and life down here in southern Montana.  Hopefully by the time the summer rolls around I'll be as busy as ever.  Glad to hear from you.

-Mark

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Mark,

Great idea and impressive progress on phase two. People tend to spend more for fresh baked and farmers markets seem to stoke their hunger. Are you thinking of selling croisant sandwiches etc. for an increased turnover?

Strangley enough I've been working on a plan that shares some of the same aspects. Hope you don't mind me taking pointers over your shoulder.

Are you thinking about a website? 

Best regards, Wild-Yeast

 

mcs's picture
mcs

I won't be doing croissant sandwiches or that type of thing, but I may be doing some filled buns for certain events (Portuguese Sweet Bread rolls filled with pulled pork, like bao).  I really feel that a good croissant should stand on its own and is too delicate to be made into a sandwich anyway.  I'm curious to hear about your plan too.

A website will eventually get there when I have some info and pictures to add to it and of course when it debuts, I will let everyone here know.

-Mark

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Life has a way of throwing us curves....I just keep swinging. In 2011 I was able to ride with a friend from Key West to Bar Harbor ME. It was great !! Last year I attempted to ride from Victoria BC up the island and then across all of Canada. We made it through part of Saskatchewan and life caught up with me. My son had a major health problem and my husband and daughter had to fly out to CA on a moment's notice. I had to fly back from CN  to keep the home fires going. It was Oct. before my husband was able to come home. All has worked out now but at the time we were hard pressed to think that it would. 

It is funny but when things seem to be going terribly awry my husband's favorite expression is, " let's move to Montana ! ". So you just never know. I told him just now what is going on with you and he says he really is sorry that we didn't make it. He so wanted to play piano for/with you and cook for all of us. Something else will be out there for us to do together...I feel sure. I will keep in touch one way or another. So good to hear from you...Caroline

mcs's picture
mcs

...Yes, I was really looking forward to hearing him play the piano and the cabin there is a perfect place for him to practice.  I used to have a 4-track and my instruments set up there so I could go up and 'play' whenever I felt like it...I'm glad to hear that your family's health issues are worked out (or are working out).  This is also a nice area of Montana, although a little more spread out than NW Montana.  Hopefully in the not too distant future I'll be out of town and back in the woods where I belong.  :)  Then would be a nice time for you to visit.

Good hearing from you too Caroline and say hi to your husband for me.

-Mark

bobkay1022's picture
bobkay1022

Hi Mark

Was wondering my self also how and what you were doing.  Looks like you have most under control. Lot of comments that could be repeated but will only wish you luck.  Will look at the trailer desin later maybe I can add or delete some thing as far as functionality that would work better. Take care

Bob & Katherine 

mcs's picture
mcs

Nice to hear from you.  I hope you both are doing well.  Hopefully soon this project will be well on its way.   I've already been accepted to the Bozeman Winter Farmers' Market, but can't bake anything until I get all of my equipment back.  For that market, I'll just be baking everything here, then transporting it indoors like a regular market (i.e. not baking on site).  Meanwhile I'm just scouting out the competition and figuring out the changes I'll be making to fit my new format.  Take care.

-Mark

bobkay1022's picture
bobkay1022

Hi Mark

Did have a chance to look at the specs on the gen set. 20 K should be enough . Not sure how many 50 amp circuits you will be running at the same time but from my little experience at BHB should be plenty.  I built a couple coaches back years ago from the ground up except for the unit them selves that were over the road units till they were retired. lol. Not like doing a commercial unit like you are doing but some things have to be incorporated when your portable that folks do not think of till it is already built.  You having many things on your mind might for get or  not even know that item or unit is available.

 Back to the Gen Set I for got to mention that the larger the unit the quieter it gets. Also I did not notice but I expect it is water cooled. I had a 18 K in my Bluebird Wanderlodge from a company in Florida. Water cooled at it was super quiet. The one here in the coach is water cooled also but short on reserve at 10 KW.  You might have to figure ????? air conditioning unit or units . I expect one will be plenty and Heat . If AC they as you know take more amps. lol 

 Main thing to think about is fuel. 20 K will burn considerable amount running full time so extra tank I expect you will??? have in your tow vehicle or in the trailer mounted somewhere. Just a couple thoughts.  You have so much back ground and knowledge about so many things I am sure Mine is nothing compared to what you think of. lol

  Any way we wish you luck as I mentioned before.  If I can be of any assistance other than knowing any thing about baking which I do not and forgot what little I saw when we visited then let me know.

Take care and hello to Sharon  if you talk with her. I did get a email but have heard nothing back so I expect she is also trying to get on with her life also.

If you have a email address that might be a little more private send it out to mine Mark I think you still have it .

B & K

 

 

 

    

   

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks for the ideas Bob.  Hopefully in another few weeks I'll have some pictures of the trailer so you can see what it looks like.  I've already got it ordered, so anything at this point will be a modification.  I believe it has the capacity for 30 gallons of fuel and they tell me it uses about 1 gallon per hour.  It'll be a learning experience for sure, but I'm looking forward to it and ready to introduce the area to my baked goods.  I remember how much you liked the baguettes when we pulled them out of the oven, and just think, customers will be able to experience the same thing for themselves.  Take it easy and just in case you need my new email address it is SinclairsBakeryatGmaildotcom.
Say hi to your better half.

-Mark

JoshuaFinancial's picture
JoshuaFinancial

Congrats, Mark, 

 I love your passion and your [entrepreneurial] drive - no pun intended.

We have a very similar business model and mobile rig. 8.5 x 24, etc.  Our trailer should be inspected by the first county HD next week.  Our dough-prep kitchen will be inspected tomorrow AM by State Ag Dept.   So we are just about at the same place.

The only difference maybe is that our company runs a WFO on the trailer instead of a gas oven.  

I'd love to be in touch with you and share experiences.   A whole new set of challenges come up with a mobile operation - perhaps we can help each other?

Our website under construction is www.fireeaters.mobi

Regards and lots of success to you!

Joshua

 

mcs's picture
mcs

Good to hear about your project too.  Looks like you've got enough to keep you busy for a while.  Make sure you post some pictures and update the folks here at TFL as the venture gets going. 

-Mark

CJtheDeuce's picture
CJtheDeuce

nothing much to say, just wanted you to know I'm watching  quietly from a distance.

Charlie

mcs's picture
mcs

Missed your message here Charlie.  Thanks for keeping an eye on me.

-Mark

Bigtop's picture
Bigtop

Mark, knowing you from Kila School, and a few hours of helping you on your little cabin and then the big, you will succeed.  Best of luck from an old friend.

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks for the well wishes.  You'd be happy to know that the house and cabin look better than ever and both were enjoyed by many of the bakers/interns who post here on this forum.  Hopefully next slow (baking) season I'll be doing some more building down here near Bozeman.  Take care.

-Mark