The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Workflow questions for large scale production

TinGull's picture

Workflow questions for large scale production

Hey all!

So, my business is growing fairly quickly and I'm needing to do more than I am doing now.  I'm trying to find some good workflow solutions for the task of weighing out my ingredients.  Specifically, what kind of bulk storage containers to use and scales.  This is how I'd like to do things:


Have overhead bins for ingredients, like those you'd see at health food stores (gravity fed bulk bins) only a little larger.  What I envision is having a roller platform with the scale on it, and the bowl sitting on top of the scale.  I'd like to have the bins all in a row so I could just open the gate, have the ingredients pour out from the respective bins into the mixer bowl that's sitting on the scale, and tare the scale after each, move to the next, dump.  Tare, move, dump.  And then just fit the bowl to the mixer. 

Now, one concern would be the size of the mixer.  Trying to figure out if I want to use an enormous mixer, as in a 220q or so, or do multiple rounds with an 80q (because Univex doesn't make anything bigger... grrrr I love my Univex). 

Is this unreasonable to do, and, where would one buy the kinds of things I'm going after?

Thanks for the help!


stevel's picture

 we use plastic garbage cans that are on casters and have covers to store our flour in. these are stored under the work table and are wheeled out to the 50 lb scale that sits on a milk crate next to the mixer. if the formula requires say 172 lbs of flour, that is 3-50 lb sacks that can be directly cut into the mixing bowl using a box cutter and then just add 22 lbs from the "garbage can" bin!  you can use rubbermaid or equalivalant type bins of all types for flour storage and bulk fermentation. hope this helps, good luck!

terrapin22's picture

Be extra careful with the overhead units. Remember, you have to fill them and lifting a 50# bag of anything over you head is tough especially when you trying to get it into a cylinder. I use the old school bulk bins. They wheel anywhere I need them too and there easy to fill and clean.

More so than eas in scaling think about the total flow of the product. I have my shop set up so the ingredients start at the door and flow toward the ovens. Afterall thats where the product ends. My scale is on a bench with the bulk ing. under them. My over head is for smaller dry like levening and spices. From the scale I take two steps to the mixer. From the mixer I pull the dough to the bench which is just turning around from the mixer. From there I work the dough, bench proof and all that good stuff. From there it's three steps to the proofer which is right next to the ovens. Very few steps between processes. Stand there for a few minutes and watch your staff. Do a quick time movement study. This can save a lot of waisted time and bulk up production.

TinGull's picture

Thanks for the insight!  I don't have a staff to watch, unfortunately, as it's just me right now.  Just know that I need to straighten up the line a bit.  Thanks again :)