The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New bakery in town

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rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

New bakery in town

I'm on the final stage of studies to build my small bakery (sell pastries, coffee, "gourmet" sandwiches/ tartines/ bruschetas, wine, beers).

I've been creating the financial and business plan for the past few months. Read a few books, visited as many boulangeries on cities nearby (my city with a population of 1 million doesn't have one single good bakery/boulangerie).

Been training some breads, pastries, etc. Sold then during 4 saturday mornings on a farmers market. Sold around 50 to 80 products each day (a mix of apple pie, banana pies, cookies, ciabatta, walnut/raisins bread, frangipane tart, muffins, etc), the sales were small but created a lof of confidence. It also showed me how much trouble I should expect... but the customers coming back for more and making cumpliments were priceless. Never felt like this on my professional carreer.

Everything was finalized and baked on thursdays (cookies, pie crusts, bread dough) and fridays nights (baking and packaging) with the help of my girlfriend and sometimes a friend, a sister, etc. During the day I work as an engineer and she works as an english and portuguese teacher here in Brazil. So we had to began the planning of each saturday sales on a monday... tuesday we'd buy the ingredients for the work on wed, thur and fri.

Now we stopped the sales at the farmers market so we have time to go back to our business and financial plan.

I've got a few questions in my head. I'll post them on the next posts, maybe someone can help me a little.

rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

 

 

 

 

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Good luck on your venture. I really hope that it works out for you. I would love to be able to do something like this, to try and sell and get feedback on bread baking and cakes would be great fun.

Looking forward to your questions and to see if I can provide any help

Andy

rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

So let's start with the first question...

I'm trying to figure out how to retard shaped loaves with a cheap setup.

I'm planning to begin with 4 or 5 varieties of bread (ciabatta, walnut/raisins, "tartine", "mix of rye/WW tartine", and a few others that would cycle with the basics like sesame, multigrain, parmesan/pepper, etc). I'm expecting on selling 50 to 100 loaves a day, ranging from 300g to 500g each.

I can buy an expensive proofing cabinet for 5.000 USD (size of a big home fridge), it have a temperature and time controller, with different program for each day of the week. It can go from 40F to 85F. It probably does control humidity. But only one proofing cabinet wouldn't be enough for a batch of big loaves (one hundred "big" loaves). I would need 2 or 3 of these wich I can't afford, they are charging too much for this.

I was thinking on a cheap setup, which I'm willing to try and seens to have a good cost-benefict. I can buy a few used comercial fridges for 600 USD (almost the same size of the proofing cabinet). New they would cost 1000USD each. Though, they don't have a heating feature, nor a humidity control.

So I was thinking on how to put shaped loaves to proof overnight on these comercial fridges without getting a dry skin. Using couche? Using bannetons? Do I need big plastic boxes to use as a cover? Plastic bags? I was thinking: a fridge full of loaves, wouldn't they keep a high moisture environment automatically? Suppose that I use a hydration ranging from 70 to 85% on my loaves.

Can anyone with experience on refrigerating big batches help on this one?

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Retarding shaped loaves takes a lot of unique specialized space and is a bit difficult to do without proper equipment.  Certainly not impossible but definitely somewhat difficult.  My suggestion is that you change the way you make the bread and do a bulk retard instead of the shaped loaves.  This solves many problems and simplifies the whole process.

Jeff

rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

Hi Andy! If you get the chance, go to a farmers market... or try selling for neighbors and friends (giving then a few loaves on the begining). It really shows you the truth about bigger productions. Anything between 1 and 10 loaves is piece of cake. Going above 10 or 20 loaves is a different story. Combine that with a total of 10 different products, you need to plan your schedule very well.  But the satisfaction when you sell those products...

For the farmers market we used one small electric oven with a stone (2 or 3 loaves/batch) for the breads, one gas oven for the other products. One bread machine capable to handle 2kg of dough (yes... no kitchenaid, hobart or any fancy mixer...lol), one old stand mixer, three egg timers to control all the synchronized baking with the two ovens.

rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

Yeah, retarding in bulk or even pre-shape is much easier... lot's of bins and it's solved.

Although it doesn't solve the early schedule problem. I'd need one or more early employees doing this job which I'd like to avoid.

I think I'll have to do some experimentation baking from the fridge and using different kind of covers.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Lots of good wishes to you on your new endeavor.

Jeff

rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

Hello everyone.... updates....

Two weeks ago I took a one week class on natural levain... we learned a few breads, learned on how to feed it properly for a bakery production. The best part was being able to put my hands on a real dough mixer and a hearth oven.

Last week I had the opportunity to talk for a few hours with a consultant, he gave some tips on our kitchen layout and some comercial stuff. He told me it would be very helpful if I experience the bakery work for some weeks in a real kitchen.

So I sent my resumé for a few places and got a return from Le Pain Quotidien! Although, I was honest to then, told that I'm planning on building my own bakery in the future. They said that I can have the job but they ask for at least one year in the job, if my intention is to be there for less than one year (just a few months) it's better that I don't even start.

rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

I got the opportunity to work on an artisanal bakery during 2 weeks! Was able to enhance my techiniques on shaping, learned some recipes, saw how they manage a bigger production (more than 1ton of varied flours/month), they use ancient grains, learned a bit of vienosserie. It was really enlightening, and the people there is awesome!

Let's see what's the next step.... now I need a few days to think about my project.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I find that if you set yourself in the direction of your goal and continue to put one foot in front of another, it all works.  Glad to hear that you are gaining the experience that you need.

Continued good fortune to you,

Jeff