The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Does Accepting Money Wreck it for You?

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Glass-Weaver's picture
Glass-Weaver

Does Accepting Money Wreck it for You?

I've been baking for about 6 months, and can now turn out a predictably pretty Sourdough Boule', I'm thrilled and excited to bake, and like to do it nearly every day.  Naturally, this has resulted in an over-production for our empty-nester household.  The solution is to occasionally surprise someone with a loaf.  Pure pleasure.  But, now that the word is out, I have people asking to buy bread.  Here's the problem: My personal history with crafts/arts tells me that when I cross the line from hobby to business the fun drains out fast.  So, I've refused to take orders.  I'm wondering if I made a big mistake the other day by telling a little group that I had considered accepting donations for my flour fund.  You should have the seen the speed with which money came whipping out of wallets!  I am reassuring myself that a flour donation doesn't constitute pressure, that I can just continue to gift people with bread as I please, but I am worried.  So, do any of you with a similar frame of mind have any experience here?  I keep looking at that money hanging on my fridge and wondering if I wouldn't be better off just returning it.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I think you can have your cake and eat it too!


Every time I've agreed to take special orders for what I produce from a beloved hobby for pay, it sucks the fun right out of the thing.  Suddenly, it's no longer your creative whim, but their demands, and their time frame, which puts pressure on the situation.  Blech!


But here's my thought on how to keep all that out of it.  Bake as much as YOU want.  Take the surplus and let people "donate" to your flour fund in exchange.  Refuse to take orders.  Just bake when and how you want.  As sporadic or frequent as you wish.  Whatever you bring will be scarfed up with great joy.  You WILL find an audience, and if not, the local homeless kitchen will surely appreciate the fruits of your labor. 


In one office where I once worked, when a co-worker needed extra money his wife would make hundreds of delicious tamales and he would sell them at work.  They never took orders, and you never knew when to expect them, but it was always a treat when we could buy the delicious fresh tamales.  That would be my model for selling my bread. 

sojourner's picture
sojourner

I make bread because I enjoy the results (usually). If I felt I had to do it because someone was going to pay me, then it would be a job and having retired within the last 6 months, I'm not in any hurry to put myself back into shackles.


I may be wrong, but to me, the fact you've asked the question seems to suggest you feel already that it would change the equation if you did it for payment.


Go with what feels most comfortable for you.


Sojourner


 

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I sell my breads to a very close circle of people whom I know from work and school.  These are not really customers, but people who truly enjoy my baking and are willing to pay for my creations.  I love it and have no guilt whatsoever taking their money.  I sell my bread for $5 a medium sourdough loaf and I don't take orders per se.  I bake for my family weekly anyway so I email them before the week is over when I decide what kind of bread to make for the new week.  If the type of bread suits their taste they email me back and tell me if they want any.  There's  no pressure, just pleasure.  I can completely justify the small money people give me because that allows me continue to bake as a hobbie.  I have enough money to buy new flour and gadgets and come up with new things and people love it.  so I would say go for it!



PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I do, from time to time, get orders for my bread, but what a great idea simply to suggest flour money!  It makes a whole lot more sense (pun unintended) than just selling it.  Thanks!

Jw's picture
Jw

allthough the flour fund is a good idea as well. Cheers, Jw.

Glass-Weaver's picture
Glass-Weaver

Thanks for all your comments.  I like how spread the opinions are, and the support to stay in control and keep it fun.  I decided that the people who've contributed to the bread fund are all people who love me, and if I have to quit they'll understand perfectly.  So, I'm just going to put my blinders on and keep shovelling bread out at my desired pace.  I'm also going to put a "flour fund" can out, and try very hard to keep donations anonymous and totally optional.  It seems that people feel better accepting the bread when they help pay for the flour.


However, I'm wondering if this is a moot point.  I got up early today to finish up a 4 loaf batch, so I could send bread with out-of-state visitors.  The WORST bread I've made in months!  There I go, bragging out my "predicably pretty sourdough boules".  Apparently I can't mix up bread properly late at night while yacking and enjoying a glass of wine.  I have to laugh at myself, thinking about my friends slicing open those loaves to find a huge void under the waxing-looking upper crust.  There I go thinking I know what I'm doing...again!  Oh well.


 


 

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Your post couldn't have come at a better time for me.  As I type I am waiting on four 50% WW SD boules to proof that are for two friends who have insisted on paying me.  I managed to talk them out of paying for these first loaves as a kind of "try before you buy" type of thing.  However, in the future they would like to pay $5.00 for a medium sized boule (like althetrainer's friends) or two baguettes.  Like some of the other contributers to this post, I want to make what I want to make when I want to make it, so I too have been considering the email notification method.  I think that though someday in my wildest dreams I would love to own a bakery, right now I have a day job and really would consider baking to order on a certain time frame pure drudgery.  Thank you so much for starting this thread!


Summer

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

It must be Karma!  If you want to feel better about your "worst bread" just check these "pancakes" out:



No sooner did I email my friends about the lovely bread I'd be delivering later when I produced these frisbees!  I'll put it down to a learning experience but I'll tell ya, there has to be something to not counting your chickens.....


Summer

tomee638's picture
tomee638

I'm relatively new to bread, just about 3 months, and I frequently seem to get flat bread.  Or atleast bread that expands out instead of up.  I've had this happen to hot dog/hamburger buns, baguettes, and other breads.  I'm using relatively cheap ingredients (AP Flour, margarine or butter, and instant yeast) so I usually chalk it up to that and my inexperience.  Any obvious things I could check to try for a more round baguette for example instead of a flat one?


Thanks!  I love the site!


Josh

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Boy, it could be anything in your case.  If you're using commercial yeast though, I would think that it might be easy to solve.  One, get a good cookbook like The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart and follow the proportions in the recipes exactly.  Also, just to get started you could try some simple yeasted breads on this site (search around for the tutorial on how to make your first loaf) or on the King Aruthr Flour website.


If your loaves are spreading, maybe you're using too much water.  You can probably tell this by how sticky your dough is.  If it is really hard to handle and sticks to everything even after you've kneaded for awhile, you've probably added too much water.  The second possibility would be that you're over proofing.  You'll know this if your dough actually deflates in the oven instead of springing up.  If this has been happening, next time watch your shaped loves/buns and make sure that they only double in size.  Also, if you poke it with your finger and it doesn't spring back, it is over proofed.  Go for a shorter rise time the on the next batch.


Good luck!


Summer

Glass-Weaver's picture
Glass-Weaver

Ah, misery loves company!