The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The New Bread and Roses Bakery

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ananda's picture
ananda

The New Bread and Roses Bakery

I know, I know!   I haven't posted for over 8 months.   I could say I've been very busy, which is true, but isn't everybody?   So, I have little in the way of excuses.   As you are about to read, however, I have recently moved into a proper unit and set up a bakery, so, any posts would really be about out-and-out commercial production, and that is really beyond what this great website seeks to offer.

A quick catch-up.   In September we attended the Alnwick Food Festival again http://www.alnwickfoodfestival.co.uk/whats-on-in-2013/saturday-22nd-september , where my colleague Ann Cudworth http://www.doughworks.co.uk/ and I demonstrated plaiting of a six-strand plait as an opener to the cookery demonstrations at the Food Festival.   Some of you may remember that Codruta came over to work with me for the Powburn Show event in August 2012  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/29875/baking-powburn-show-2012-my-account-codrutas-visit   For this event I had another visitor from Romania with similar aspirations to open a bakery.   I am not sure whether Adrian Serban is still posting on TFL, but he was a very welcome guest and apprentice for a week in September.

After the hard graft of the food festival, I attended a couple of days at a Cheese Festival held at the National Trust's Cragside House in October.   It is a lovely venue although there was a bit of a lack of cheese vendors there on the days I attended, so trade was pretty quiet.

I have continued to attend Farmers' Markets at Hexham twice a month with Nigel, and at Alnwick every month, plus slightly more sporadic attendance at Newcastle Farmers' Market.   You can see the schedule upcoming on my website here: http://www.breadandroses.co.uk/calendar/   Hexham continues to improve for me, whilst the Alnwick Farmers' Market continues to under-perform and many of us traders have either ceased attending, or seriously lowered our expectations.   Disappointment is a word I try to avoid using, but in this case, it is hard to think of a better word to describe my feelings about this.   Christmas markets at Newcastle, and particularly Hexham, were packed events with great sales achieved.

In the new year I did a few bits of teaching, attended an exciting event in Morpeth to promote the business at "Meet the Maker, Meet the Buyer" event sponsored by the County Council.   After that Alison took me to the Lake District for a lovely birthday retreat for a couple of nights during February half term.   After that, everything changed!

Our longer term plan to site a bakery at Hedgeley Services in our village of Powburn fell through when the business owner had to face up to a bill of £30,000 in order to upgrade the electricity to accommodate my electric deck oven...more on this in a bit!   So, just after that bombshell, news came through that the country house where all my baking equipment was in store had been sold and we had to move the kit fast!   So, rather than spend money moving it and storing it, we decided to go into production immediately...well, once Alison and I returned from our holiday to Crete at Easter.   So we rented an industrial unit in Alnwick from late in March.   You can see a few pictures here of how we began to kit it out.

 

 

 

 

I have been carefully sourcing equipment for some time now, with the seriously limited financial resources available.   I managed to buy a 2-deck electric oven, Tom Chandley's ever-reliable Compacta, along with a good steel table and a large double sink unit complete with hand-wash basin, from a colleague I used to teach in Leeds, who is now a bakery manager for a very successful company who have just expanded north from Yorkshire to Durham.   The oven is fantastic, and is producing far superior bread to that I could make on the wood-fired oven at home which was so under-capacity for the typical quantity of bread I was always hoping to bake.   More thoughts on this to follow.   This is the oven:

 

 

To the side of the oven. the white painted door hides a proofing area.   There is no steam facility with the oven, although I could no doubt fit this if I had some money!   I am using a steam-cleaning machine a bit like this: http://equip2clean.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/s/k/skyvap-max.jpg

I bought a rack and 16 baking sheets, some more steel tables and most recently, a manual pastry brake made by John Hunt some time ago now.   The Hobart 20 quart sits on one side of the weighing station, and a very neat spiral mixer from Fimar is on the other side, next to the oven:

 

I believe this is the 32L model, designed to mix up to 25kg of dough at a time.   At this point I will just take a bit of time out to try to address a question raised by Janet Cook and Varda in a post on TFL not too long ago: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/38328/my-new-favorite-bread-and-other-matters#comments   Janet's question is the 16th comment in the thread.

Ok, so I bought this mixer for £250 cash.   It has been used, but it is immaculate, and the full price machine is well over £800 plus the dreaded VAT, and any costs incurred in shipping.   So, I got a bargain.   My personal preference for spiral mixers are those with dual speed, and with a bowl rotation facility allowing you to switch from clockwise to anti-clockwise.   An "inch" button which allows you to move the bowl round very slowly to enable cleaning is also useful to say the least.   For really small dough sizes, allowing the spiral to work without the bowl rotating is extra useful.   Usually this is on the same switch which enables rotating direction to flip one way or the other.   Of course, a detachable bowl is fabulous, but uncommon in the UK, except on machines which mix capacities in excess of 100kg of dough at a time.   I don't think it is quite so rare in continental Europe to find small models with this facility.   So, my machine has NONE of these features, alas!   It rotates at 90rpm in a clockwise direction.   You cannot move the bowl or the spiral hook round in any other way; manually or with power!   BUT, it is a big but; it is built in Italy to high specifications.   So it's not going to breakdown in a hurry, touch wood.   Also, most of the doughs I am mixing are quite suited to long and gentle development, especially the Gilchesters flours which are wholly unsuited to second speed intensive mixing on the spiral.   The machine mixes the soft white dough, the weak Gilchesters' Farmhouse, and the somewhat more difficult Five Grain and Seeded Sourdough batches.   A good scraping down early on is all that is required.   I have even managed to use it to mix my 100% rye paste....which is just great, because the 12-15kg batch size I make these days is just too much to fit in the 20 quart Hobart with the paddle.   So, I am just getting by with the best that I could afford at the time.   It's very noisy, but only because it is standing on a "job-stand" rather than a proper table, and it tends to vibrate as a result.   Ok, that should cover the ground, I hope.

I also bought a 2-door Foster Retarder, which is fabulous.   It has capacity for 40 trays of product.   I tend to use half for raw product, and the other side is filled with containers of dough, retarded overnight so I can work it off as soon as I arrive for work!   These cost around £2500 re-conditioned here in the UK; we paid a lot less than that, even allowing for expensive transportation from Northampton to Northumberland.

 

Alison and I were joined in Crete this year by her son Daniel and his girlfriend Grace.   We spent a few days in the heat in Chania, where I seemed capable of doing little except sleep, on account of having worked so hard before going away on holiday.   We went on to Anatolika, where we stayed last Easter, and in 2010 when I made this post: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19167/anotolika-beach-house   Once back in the UK it has been a non-stop business rollercoaster, of course.   I just don't have time to post about this sort of thing, I am very sorry.   I know some of you will be very interested in this, and you are welcome to keep in contact with messaging on TFL, or on my website or through Twitter.   And, anyway, all my baking now goes beyond the scope of what Floyd set the website up for.   I have often felt my posts here strayed away from the purpose of the site, but am grateful for Floyd for generously allowing me to post, and to all of you who have commented so positively over the years.

I will still be about, but am unlikely to be able to post on any regular basis.   But, it's not hard to keep up with what I am doing here in the North of England.   The downside to the new bakery: I have a 20 minute car journey at some horrible hour to get to work, and I have to pay out a lot of money in rent every month for the premises.   Everything else is a positive.   We have regained our kitchen!   I cannot believe how big it is now I have taken all the bakery kit out!   I don't have to go outside in the rain and suffer abuse from my neighbour for chopping wood and firing the oven!   I don't have to bake on an oven of massive under-capacity.   I really like the deck oven; product quality has improved massively.   Some may be surprised to read this; others may even think the deck oven does not produce really authentic traditional bread.   Well, the heat is retained in the ceramic bottom of the oven and there is a degree of radiated heat from all round, especially given there is a separate setting for top heat.   The breads bake directly on the heat source, and I set each one carefully with the peel.   So, there it is; no more hard work deal with logs and getting dirty firing the oven.   No down-time firing and settling the oven before you can start baking.   One hour to get the oven hot, and that's it...away you go.   One important point here, however.   Deck ovens operate at 32 amps per deck; they are expensive to run, where wood can be much cheaper if you have a good source, and your oven burns efficiently.

To close, here's a few photographs of the bakery as it is now; not quite finished, but approved by the Food Hygiene people, and we are up and operating, and have been for around a month now.

 

 

 

 

Very best wishes to you all, and, Happy Baking!

Andy

Comments

proth5's picture
proth5

for your continuing success.

Your insights on a deck oven are appreciated and well, from my humble point of view not unexpected...

Your other insights are also much appreciated.

Again, all the best.

Pat

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Pat,

second attempt!   Humble of course, but your wisdom is always evident, and much valued by me.

Take good care

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Hi Andy,  

So good to hear what has been happening with you.   Congratulations on setting up your bakery and thanks so much for the information on your equipment.  

I went ahead and ordered a new Thunderbird 20 qt planetary mixer.   It will probably still take a few weeks to get here, although I need it right now.  Hope it will do the job I need it to do.   I saw some beautiful Italian spiral mixers that didn't cost SO much more than the Thunderbird, but they take months to get here from Italy and then who will fix them once they get here.   So I passed but with regrets. 

I would like to ask you what your square footage is, but I suppose I best say square meterage.   (Not sure if that last is a word.)   It will probably be some time before I follow you to renting space, but I can certainly relate to your relief at getting out of your home kitchen. 

Your contributions to TFL  have been nothing but an enhancement.   How would I have learned to make Borodinsky without you?   Or even have known to make it.   And of course much more. 

-Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

The unit is 77 square metres, or, 833 square feet.   It is a good 11m long and a bit less than 8m wide if that helps.   So, there is plenty of space!

I wish you the very best of success in your baking ventures, and am happy to have helped you a little along the way.   I am still around of course.

Best of wishes

Andy

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

It is great to hear that you are moving your business forwards.  I am sure that Northumberland will enjoy your increased baking capacity, even if you and Alison don't appreciate the very early mornings that are required.  I have been busy with work for a couple of months (our financial year end and helping to select a contractor for a major capital project) but was planning to telephone you in the next week or two, now that things have quietened down following the Board approval of the accounts and Annual Report at the end of last month - I know not to now :) .

Good Luck with everything, your breads are great and I really do hope that you get the success you deserve.  Message me with the best times to try to speak with you (afternoons?).

Richard

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Richard, Maybe phone me tomorrow around 16:00?   I have a bread course here in Powburn.   The rest of the week I will be at the bakery through the day and a bit hard to get hold of.

I really appreciate all your support and encouragement, and look forward to talking to you very soon.

All good wishes

Andy

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Odd sometimes how things come together in the end.  Sounds like your bakery came together in a very thrifty way - always a plus, except for the rent which is always a drag.  All I can say is well done and hope the best for you and yours - and you don't have to smell like smoke and upset the neighbor either.  

Happy Baking.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi DAB,

Well setting up a bakery is very costly of course.   Given a real lack of resources I have no other choice.   Just hope we make it through!

Thank you for your good wishes

Andy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Great news, Andy. You are slowly but surely realizing your dream. your temporary bakery setup looks nice and cozy. Those are Sturdy machinery you have there. Double Deck oven, Mixer, retarder are all just perfect for the commercial space.

I wish you all the best, and happy baking to you too.

Khalid

 

ananda's picture
ananda

I am getting there Khalid,

I wish I could speed things up.

Regarding your own aspirations, I hope you find the baker you are looking for.   Employing someone is not cheap, and you will have to train them to produce product exactly to your specifications.   A real challenge, and I wish you the very best

Andy

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Super interesting, Andy, and very good to hear from you.

Given the amount of work it takes to pull all that together, your absence here is quite understandable!

Best,

-Floyd

ananda's picture
ananda

3rd time I have to re-post Floyd,

I hope you solve this one day.

I am still about on TFL, just that I don't have time to post so frequently these days.

My very best wishes to you

Andy

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Andy,

So good to get caught up with what has been happening in your life and that is has all be mostly positive.  Your space looks wonderful.  I find myself dreaming of a room for baking equipment only but at this stage in my life it will remain a dream only…

Thank you for the information on the spiral mixer.  I did get a Haussler and love it.  What a difference it makes.  It does have the two speeds.  Bowl rotates in one direction only but that has not been an issue for me.  Its bowl is removable so cleaning is a breeze.  Nice that you have a Hobart too so you can cover a wider variety of baked items.

Interesting reading your comments on a deck oven. ( I too appreciate the simplicity of flipping a switch.  I burn wood during the winter to heat our home.  I do love the heat it provides but there is work involved.  Some days it is nice to simply turn on the heat with a flip of a switch.)  I have read that deck ovens are great for lean, free standing loaves but not as good for panned loaves.  Not sure why that would be.  Do you find any difference?

Like Varda stated above - I have learned a lot from you.  You were one of my primary baker's math teachers.  The way you presented it made it all click into place and i have been loving it ever since my brain finally 'got it'.  I share Varda's thoughts about the Borodinsky rye bread and your Moscow rye.  I never would have attempted either if it weren't for you.  Ryes had always intimidated me but your method took all of that away.  There are many other ways you have broadened my baking knowledge but time prevents me from mentioning them all here.

I am just so happy to hear that all is falling into place for you.  It has been a long haul and you have worked very hard to get where you are now.  I am proud of you and your tenacity. *^)

Thanks again for posting.

Take Care,

Janet

P.S.  Do you attach the steam machine to a vent on the oven?  I tried that once but didn't find it worked very well - was more of a hassle than it was worth so I now just use the standard cast iron pan filled with lava rocks into which I pour boiling water when I load my loaves.  I am curious if you have a more successful way to use your machine.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Janet,

the deck oven is fantastic.   It makes beautiful panned bread too; you need higher bottom heat settings.   The only advantage to be found in a smelly rack oven is the power of the steam facility.   So if you want shiny tops on your tinned bread, then these are the ovens to choose.   But, always remember there is a world of difference between home baking and commercial baking.

So apply that to the ps. you pose.   When I have loaded a deck full of bread there is in excess of 30kg of dough getting baked...which must have a water content around 12 to 13kg!   That is a lot of steam; and the power of the oven means that steam is generated fairly quickly.   So, you only need steam added right at the start of the baking cycle.   I blast it in with the lance from the steam cleaner for around 15 - 20 seconds.   Comparing a commercial deck oven to a home oven is impossible.   But, if it helps; on the rare occasions I bake in my electric oven at home, I use the method you describe.

You write some very kind words; they are much appreciated.

Take good care

Andy

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thanks for the reply.  Makes sense about all the water in the loaves that are baking.  I forget about that because it isn't as evident when baking smaller quantities of bread.  As you say - no comparison really between home ovens and commercial ones..

Take Care,

Janet

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for taking the time to share your progress in such detail.

I have enjoyed and benefitted from your contributions to TFL. I hope you have the time and energy to keep in touch with this community, even if it be less frequently.

There are a number of members here who have recently gone from home baking to selling at farmers markets (or the like) and probably are wondering about next moves. You have been an important role model and teacher, I think. I am sure that an occasionally update on the challenges you face and the victories you achieve would be valued.

Very best wishes for success in your bakery!

Warmest regards,

David

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi David,

I am not going away, and will of course keep in touch.   It will just be hard for me to post regularly in the future.   For those venturing down a commercial track, I am easy to find should they want any help or advice which they think I can offer.

Meantime your own baking is evidently getting even better if that is possible.   You are the role model here surely.

Retirement must be working out well for you; although I suspect you remain very busy and fulfilled

All good wishes

Andy

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

It looks like all your wishes came true, maybe except for the commute.

I wish you and Alison great success. 

Juergen

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Juergen,

How are things with you?   Are you baking more bread with gluten in now?

It's going to be a long and hard slog to make it; I'm sure you know that.

Very good to hear from you.

Best of wishes

Andy

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Andy, 

I am at a point where I can feel the restrictions of a home kitchen rather painfully sometimes.

My rice bread is in demand, I could sell 8Kg every week easily.

Plus I have been making 3Kg of Challah every week, the Bakery Challah from ITJB, our favourite.

Plus some other things (Levains, Detmolders ...) for our own consumption.

Lots of Gluten...

With my current full time work and my family obligations this is the limit at the moment. 

But there is growth in other places (got back into practicing trombone), and I start feeling the effects of synergy.

I will be in touch.

Best Wishes,

Juergen

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi there Andy

We have missed your posting but we also knew you were getting increasingly busy too.

I too wish you great success with this new venture, and look forward to another visit to the old country and sharing a good ale or two and a good dusting of flour in your VERY OWN BAKERY.

The pictures show a very well set out area, is the roof lined?

When i went to work in a small  Bakery set up in a shopping centre we used a gas ring with a 25litre bucket of water on it in the prover enclosure that was beside the oven and that worked very well, providing heat and moisture..  

Many thanks for sharing your great expertise, your journey and of course your friendship, i have enjoyed all of those and i shall visit your website  to keep an eye on your success and progress.  

Many many thanks and kindest regards Derek

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Derek,

I have a convector heater in the prover.   I have bought a roll of rack covers too, so the rack is covered in plastic sheeting to keep everything moist.

No, the roof is not lined, so it will not be so warm in the winter.   There is a gas heater, although it will be costly to run, of course.

It will be a pleasure to enjoy a pint or two of ale with you in Alnwick anytime, of course

Please do keep in touch

All good wishes

Andy

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Your work ethic and standards of excellence will serve you - and your customers - well.

Wishing you only the best!

Lindy

ananda's picture
ananda

Lindy,

your kind words are very much appreciated

Very best wishes

Andy

isand66's picture
isand66

Congratulations Andy.  Please don't think your contributions have not been appreciated.  It is always great to hear from an expert like yourself to motivate us amateurs to give us something to attain for.

I wish you nothing but success in your bakery and I'm sure your customers will be very pleased.

Regards,
Ian

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Ian,

It is a pleasure to be a part of this community and to know my contributions are treated so positively.

Thank you so much for your kind words

Andy

Salilah's picture
Salilah

Thanks so much for the update - and it's really good to hear that you are doing well

So pleased to hear about the bakery - fantastic!  Very inspiring to see your new setup.  

Sali

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Sali, so good to hear from you; I hope everything is good with you.

Very best wishes

Andy

Paul Coster's picture
Paul Coster

There is much talk of our daily bread but we also need some regular inspiration. Your growing venture provides my inspiration for today. Good luck for the future of Bread & Roses.

Paul