The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Stay Sweet's picture
Stay Sweet


I am looking for tips @ all levels and stages of large volume home bread production.


Thank you!

DerekL's picture

Define "large volume".

Stay Sweet's picture
Stay Sweet

60 baguettes per day

JoeV's picture

I had a marathon baking day for two events the same day, where I made 30 loaves of Italian bread in my 30# oven. I sat down and created a spreadsheet (anal engineer) and literally worked backwards to come up with a plan for my start time, which was 0500. It took almost 10 hours because my bottleneck was only having 3 sheet pans that held 4 loaves of bread each. Today I own 6 sheet pans, 4 cooling racks and I just installed an electric stove in the basement, so the next time I see much better production.  Make a plan and follow it through. Oh, and have at least 3 stand-alone wind up timers on hand so you know when your bread is proofed and ready for the oven. It really helps having a timeline to work from, and a lot of space for proofing.

KansasGirlStuckInMaryland's picture

that looks wonderful.  Who were the lucky recipients?

JoeV's picture

were the attendees of our church's annual Men's Renewal (10 loaves for their Italian dinner), and 20 loaves to our church's quarterly bake sale to support our missionary in El Salvador. There were also 4 loaves of Honey Whole Wheat that were special ordered by parishoners who have had it before. They donate $10 per loaf for special orders, so I don't mind baking it for people who are so generous with their donations. After all, it IS a fundraiser and not an open air market. LOL

dghdctr's picture

And very wise advice about the method for planning timing in production.

--Dan DiMuzio

dghdctr's picture

Oven interior dimensions, capacity, gas or electric, convection or radiant?

Mixer type, brand, capacity?

How many baguettes can you shape in 20 minutes?

Any place to hold boards with couche or sheetpans with other stuff?  You should cover them with something to prevent a skin forming.

All these things matter a lot.  There will be a "bottleneck" somewhere in your production that acts as a limiting factor.  That bottleneck will determine what's possible for you and what's not -- essentially determining your optimal rate of production.  

It could be your mixer or oven.  Or your capacity to hold loaves as they await baking. Might be your own shaping and loading speed.  They (and other limiting factors I can't forsee here) will all contribute to your limitations, but there's probably one that does so more than the rest.  First you have to figure out where it is.

Then you arrange the remainder of your production schedule around that limitation.  If you can only fit 4 baguettes in your oven at one time, and they take 22 minutes to bake, you still need to allow maybe 5 minutes to load and unload, so that's 27 minutes turnaround time for one batch of four baguettes.  60 baguettes would then take around 7.5 hours with no break.

That's just the baking end of things.  Some dough production and shaping has to occur either (a) before and during baking (to bake the same day), or (b) after the baking is done (to hold for the next day).  How will you fit that in without extending the time necessary for the bake?

It can be complicated at first, but with repetition you may find a rhythm where all that stuff works well enough that it could be possible.  If you factor in the value of your own labor and utilities costs though, I'm skeptical that baking large amounts of bread at home would be profitable.  At least it won't be unless you have an oven and or mixer large enough to do things faster than I've described.

--Dan DiMuzio

Stay Sweet's picture
Stay Sweet


turosdolci's picture

I'm assuming that you want to sell your bread. When we started our business , we calculated cost of every ingredient by weight, tested every recipe and timed each step many times. Also figured in all of the overhead, labor and wear on elements etc. Then of course comes packaging, licenses, permits and anything else you can think of plus those you can't think of. We first did this on a spread sheet and later created a software program. Determined what profit we wanted to make and eliminated any recipe that didn't fit into that profit goal. We have it down to a science. You also have to figure out how to store or pre-make things in order to keep up with the production. I agree with Dan that it can be complicated and takes time at first, but once you know what your doing it gets a little easier.  

Even with a home business you have to consider everything as your home has costs. albeit less then paying rent for a kitchen, but you have to cover the use of your equipment, energy etc. One other important thing, be sure to include insurance. Begin to look at it as a business.

Kroha's picture

I have learned a lot from this post, thank you.

dwcoleman's picture

Creating a spreadsheet and working backwards is an excellent way to plan your time and increase your production.

My bake schedule for today looks like this, keep in mind it's limited by the number of sheet pans, cooking racks, and my mixer.

I'll be making 9 focaccias + 72 cheese buns.  If I bought 9 more loaf pans, I could do a second bake of focaccias, rather than waiting to reuse the pans.

4:15pm Prep pans for Focaccia

4:20pm Scale 9 portions @ 300g each

4:30pm Begin 2h proof, set timer.

5:00pm Mix straight dough for cheese buns.  Ferment 2h

6:00pm Begin preheating oven @ 400

6:30pm Cook 9 loaves of Focaccia

7:00pm Cool focaccia

7:00pm Scale cheese buns @ 100g each, proof 1.5h.

7:30pm Shred 500g old cheddar per 48 buns.

8:00pm Bag focaccia

8:30pm First bake of cheese buns, 3 pans, 12 per pan

8:45pm Second bake of cheese buns, 3 pans, 12 per pan

10:00pm Bag cheese buns.

jembola's picture

I'm curious why you are baking at night.  I might have expected the 4:15 to be a.m. rather than p.m.

dwcoleman's picture

My main source of income is in IT and I work daily M-F 7a-3:30p.

I make the focaccia/baguette dough Wednesday night, bake Thursday night, and delivery Friday morning.

Ideally the bread would be eaten the same day, although it does keep find since the breads I bake are not lean(save for the baguettes).

I'll usually make around $50-60 on a friday, which is not that much since it's not high volume.

About a month ago I baked 18 focaccias, 22 baguettes, and 108 cheese buns.  I sold about 95% of the product making about $150.  I gave away the remainders to family/friends.

I'm using this very minimal source of income to purchase more tools/equipment.  My latest purchase was a used 20qt mixer for $425CDN.