The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Arts and Crafts Market.

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Mebake's picture
Mebake

Arts and Crafts Market.

 Some years ago, I remember seeing tables lined up in a shopping Mall here in Dubai, where locally homemade Artisan crafts are displayed for sale. For months now, I have been planning on taking my home baking a step further, and the idea of selling bread to public was brewing slowly in my mind. So, I looked up for information on the Crafts Market, and found that “ARTE” or Arts and Crafts Market run a once in a month exhibition, were only locally handmade art work and craft items are featured by local Artisans.  A few months ago, I had e-mailed the Management of ARTE to ask whether food or specifically Homemade Artisan breads can be displayed during the event. The reply was swift; they welcomed the idea!

Last week, I decided to take the step. I felt that it was the right time for me to move forward and take this hobby to a new level. I decided to register myself at ARTE, and reserve a table for the next event. To my surprise, the reply came a few days later, inviting me to the upcoming market after 3 DAYS! Although I had registered for February market, I just couldn’t turn the opportunity down. I removed the starters from my fridge, and gave them a quick refresh.

For bread, I could not bake more than two varieties due to time constrains; a basic white sourdough, and whole wheat sourdough will be a good contrast in my baskets, I thought. The white sourdough was exactly David’s SJSD, and the whole wheat oats was a new recipe I had been working on earlier. The whole wheat- oats bread’s recipe is as follows:

Needless to say, It was a hectic 2 days, with two different recipes and a total of 6 Kg worth of dough.  After the breads were baked, I shopped for baskets and other necessities to make a proper presentation, and started planning on pricing and labeling. I didn’t have an idea about the general price range of food displayed in the market, so I decided to price bread based on my experience with store bought artisan breads. For instance a 520gm “White country bread” was priced @ 9 Dhs ($ 2.5).

On the Market day, I drove to the mall, parked my car, and unloaded the breads and equipments. The mall was already bustling with participants. I haven’t noticed much food being displayed; it was mostly handmade ornaments, jewelries, paintings, and healthy soaps/body fragrances.  I picked up my table no. through random draw, and headed for it straight away. As I walked around, I noticed that food tables were quite few, and none had bread. I located my table, and began preparing it for presentation. I cut slices of two misshapen loaves, and brought out butter and some disposable knives.

As time drew near to 12:00 p.m, there was a considerable increase in the number of mall visitors. They were from different nationalities, and many were from Europe (east and west) and some from the US. Gradually, i began to notice an increased interest in the bread, with a first client in about ½ an hour. She bought one loaf of each, after tasting the bread with butter. Before I knew it, I was sold out in 2 hours, and left with no breads after I had 8 of them; it was really exciting! The remainder of the time was spent on networking with visitors, and inviting them to taste the remaining slices. There was a considerable interest in Artisan bread among the market visitors, as sourdough aroma was wafting about my table. Despite the regret of not having baked enough bread, I was happy to witness the appeal that handmade sourdough breads had among people here. Some visitors noticed I had no bread left, and even demanded that I bake for them!

The Market day ended, and I packed my belongings and left home. It was surely a day to remember.

 

-Khalid

 

 

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

Wow Khalid!  I'm so happy for you.  What an exciting experience it must have been for you and it's no surprise that you easily sold your magnificent bread.

I'm sure this is only the beginning of good things to come for you.

I love the look of your WW Oat bread and it must have tasted great.

Regards,
Ian

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I owe this site and members like you so much. I'm having much relief being active -that means walking- , than lying down. I held pretty well during the market day. 

Thanks alot for your precious advise, and encouraging words.

 

 

 

Franko's picture
Franko

Wonderful news Khalid!

I'm predicting great things to come for you from this first step into commercial baking and wish you all the success in the world with it. Your dedication to craft and using the best ingredients available, just as our friend Andy does will serve you well. I'm betting that in a short period of time word of mouth will get out about your breads and pastries, creating a buzz around the market the other vendors will envy. Keeping up with the demand will be a challenge and lots of hard work but I've no doubt you're up for meeting it. If I can offer any advice it would be to stay true to your principles and take time to enjoy the ride, I think it will be a good one for you.

All the best my friend,

Franko

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Many Thanks, Franko!

I don't think anyone would want to envy me; i sold too few loaves (8) to be able to make the whole thing financially feasible. I will do the best i can to bake at least a week ahead of the next market and freeze the bread. Would this work? 

Thanks for your priceless advise, Franko! 

all the best to you too, my friend.

khalid

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

BIG SMILE on my face reading your news.  Following in Varda's footsteps I see?  How exciting and I am so glad to hear of your success.  NIce to read that people are tasting and liking sourdough breads too. 

Next we will be reading about you purchasing another oven, more baskets……and maybe a whole van someday like Mark Sinclair!

One never knows where this will take you.

Take Care,

Janet

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

:) Thank you Janet!

Yes, i'm inspired by Varda's efforts. 

People here, those who have recognized sourdough, were already hooked up on Artisan breads. They often buy them from "Bread and spice", "Paul", Pain Quotedient"...etc. I was glad that David's SD bread was to their liking.

I sure hope so, Janet! I would love to bake more SD for more people to have. A van will be less likely here in Dubai.. a bakery someday, maybe? 

khalid

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

living in Dubai and missing their loaf of sourdough bread, your efforts will be rewarded - if you can bake enough bread!  Once the word gets out, you will have a hard time keeping up with the quantities required.  I'm happy for you Khalid!  Good luck with your new venture.  Your bread looks so fantastic it has to sell itself with the good looks and smell.  Well done and

Happy baking

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, DA!I'm trying to find a solution the quantity of bread that may be required. Mind you, i still haven't been contacted by any of the few one whom i gave my e-mail to.  

I'll enjoy the ride, and take it easy, as Franko said.

Thanks for the lovely words, DA!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I'm so happy for you and the well deserved welcoming for you at the market place.  I can just imagine what a hit your lovely baked loaves must have and will be at the market.

It's also good news to hear you are up and about and feeling better. 

Congratulations!

Sylvia

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, for the warm words, Sylvia!

Much appreciated, as always.

all the best to you,

khalid

 

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Hi Khalid,

It is always a thrill to have that kind of reception at your first venue.  Congratulations, your breads look great and, since you sold out in just two hours, they obviously taste great too.  Best of luck, and I hope you can scale up your production without too many headaches.

-Brad

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thank you, Brad! 

I appreciate your encouraging words. 

all the best,

khalid

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Khalid,

The very best of luck in continuing this; a good choice of loaves to take to the first market.   But you will need to upscale a good bit for sure.   Otherwise you will only be at the market for 5 minutes and you will have sold out!

Fine bread indeed

All good wishes

Andy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yes, Andy, i need to upscale! Shall i bake weeks prior to the market day and freeze the bread? will they be as good as fresh on the market day? 

Thanks for the kind words, Andy!

So, how are farmer's market these days?

khalid

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Khalid,

I think you can freeze the bread, so long as you are honest with the customers about that.   No, they won't be quite as good as fresh, and obviously you cannot advise your customers that they will be able to freeze any bread they purchase.

BUT, what other choice do you have?   What is the maximum number of loaves you can reasonably bake in one day?   If you do not freeze any bread, then that is the sum capacity of what you are able to take along to sell.   If you only have enough bread to last for an hour, and the market runs for 4 or 5 hours, then your market manager is unlikely to be impressed, even though you will obviously be delighted to have sold out.   It is not good form to sell out too soon, even though it is obviously best for everyone that you do sell out.   But you want to be selling out at the end of the market, not just after trading has begun.

It is complicated, and a difficult decision to make.   I take along some bread I have frozen because I can only reasonably produce 40 loaves in a day on my brick oven, and I will sell at least double that number at any of the farmers' markets I attend.   Your call my friend!

Very best wishes

Andy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks for the input, Andy. 

Well, i think that different breads freeze and thaw differently, don't they? I've frozen the Whole wheat oat sourdough for more than a day, and the flavor was good once thawed. Do whole grain breads stay fresher when thawed, than white sourdoughs? 

Khalid

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Khalid,
I can only imagine the buzz your beautiful breads created at the market - wonderful, hand-crafted, sourdough loaves - very special and I'm not surprised you had people demanding you bake for them!
I am glad your first market experience was rewarding, with such a wonderful response from customers and tasters!
:^) breadsong

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Many Thanks, Breadsong! 

 It was very rewarding, i was totally relieved from the labor i had to endure for two days.

khalid

 

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

I had to comment when I saw your post...

I'm absolutely ecstatic for you! Looks like you're on your way to opening your bakery. Likewise, I will be on the same path.

Best wishes to your endeavors!

Zita

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Zita! 

I'll be waiting for news from you. Pls. Keep us posted.

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Bravo Khalid!  Nothing like the positive reinforcement of a quick sell-out to convince you that you're doing the right thing.  Those breads would certainly sell themselves (I've bookmarked that 60%WW).   How flat the world has become: I grin to imagine your American and European customers wondering How did this local guy learn to make bread like THIS??? WOW!  With Varda's pattern as a guide, I'll bet you'll be shopping for a bigger oven in no time, if not already.  Heck, if there ever was a place where a solar oven would work, you're there.

Good luck with it!

Tom

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hehe.. :) i love your choice of words, Tom! 

Well, the answer is, was, and will always be: here. I learned it all here. The journey began right here on those forums. Indeed, the world has become flat! and i'm grateful for that, Tom. Passion, craftsmanship, dedication, talent, and above all generosity of heart are all so abundant on this site and from different parts of the world, that it would be difficult not to be encouraged and inspired. 

If i were another khalid, i would be saying: " what the heck! What is a  grain mill doing in my house?! Why are there sacks of flour, IN THE FRIDGE??! stones beside my oven..." The answer is TFL. Thanks to God, and thank you guys, from the depth of my heart.