The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bigger oven, mixer

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babybirdbreads's picture
babybirdbreads

bigger oven, mixer

I am currently baking about 20 loaves of bread per week.  there is a demand for more but i have an oven that only fits three loaves at a time and a mixer that maxes out at 14 pounds of dough.  20 loaves a week is my max because i only have 2 days in which to do the baking.  but i would love to be able to do more.  

I cannot sink 1000's of dollars into this endeavor but wondered if there were any suggestions for upgrading to a bigger oven and  bigger mixer.  without buying an extremely expensive, large scale option. 

 

 

Windischgirl's picture
Windischgirl

I'm wondering if there is any church or community organization (the VFW, a private school, etc) that would let you use their kitchen facilities, maybe for a small fee or donation.  I don't know if they'd have a mixer, but they would likely have a larger, commercial size oven, and that's likely where you are running into the backlog.

The other helpful thing with such kitchens is that they are inspected for safety; if you are making this much bread for selling, you can run into health department problems if you are baking out of your own kitchen and it hasn't undergone an inspection.  Run afoul of the law and one of us TFL-ers would have to bake you a cake with a file in it :-)

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

Forgive me, but I need to convert to metric to wrap my head around this issue. Your mixer handles 14 lbs of dough, which is about 6.5Kg. Generally, maximum dough weight is roughly 1/2 of quart capacity, so a 20qt mixer will handle about 10kg, a 30qt about 15kg, etc. Even if your loaves are 1kg (2.2lbs) each, three shots of your current mixer will do the trick. Just mix the dough and place it all in one tub for the bulk rise.

Oven use is usually not a big deal. Again, 20 loaves, three per load, say seven loads, or 3-4 hours total baking time. Obviously, if you can get access to a commercial grade oven, you could drop that down to 45-90 minutes or so.

The bigger issue is working space. Laying out 20 loaves for (I assume) room-temp proofing requires more space than a home kitchen can provide. For that matter, pre-forming and forming 20 loaves is also too much for the home.

When I first started out, I cut a deal with a local restaurant. They gave me access to their kitchen between 3am and 10am.  I made bread and pizza dough for them then got on to my stuff.

A student of mine cut a similar deal with a seniors' home. They stop service at 4:00 pm, so she gets the kitchen from 5:00 pm to 6am, or whenever she wants to leave.

If we are going to help you more, I think we need to know what you are making,approx. portion weights, and the time between order and required delivery.

Cheers

babybirdbreads's picture
babybirdbreads

anybody have thoughts on baking on both the top and bottom rack of the oven at the same time?  to maximize the number of loaves i can do at once?

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

Half way through the bake, rotate your loaves up to down and 180 degrees around.

Watch the loaves to establish your new cooking time, it may change and rather significantly depending on your oven

Cheers

jackieosjunebug's picture
jackieosjunebug

I fill up my ovens, but take care to note that your oven will require time to recoup the heat loss by the additon of cooler thermal masses: the extra loaves. I have been working to find the right balance of loaf to recoup-time for my ovens. As has been noted, be sure to rotate everything partway through. Good luck.

polo's picture
polo

I currently bake 24 - 2lb loaves per week and I mix mine by hand in 24 lb batches. It is a bit of a work out, but with stretch and fold it really isn't that bad. Unfortunately I can't make any oven suggestions. Mine is baked in a wood fired oven, 12 loaves at a time. If I was going to do much more I would probably be looking for a large mixer though.

babybirdbreads's picture
babybirdbreads

polo--

i am planning to build a wood fired oven.  i would LOVE 12 loaf capacity or more.  what plans did you use? 

and you literally mix the whole dough with just the stretch/fold method?  like in bulk fermentation?