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Hand making large quantities of loaves?

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elcouisto's picture
elcouisto

Hand making large quantities of loaves?

So I was reading The Bread Baker's Apprentice (again) and Peter talks about Lionel Poilâne and his bakers making about 300 loaves of bread a day... By hand...


How do you even make this amount of bread, by hand? I'm guessing they're not using Kitchen Aids either!

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ
elcouisto's picture
elcouisto

Thanks for the video, it is interesting.


But I'm still puzzled as to how you'd make around 300 loaves a day, by hand...


 


For example: My ciabatta takes about 30 minutes hand mixing. Let's say I work 16 hours a day and only do ciabatta mixing (not very realistic, but let's do some math). At 2 loaves per batch of dough this give me 64 loaves.


This is far from possible and far from 300.


 


 

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

While not Poilane, this video posted by Jeremy might give you a better idea. 


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13688/peasant-bakers-france


Note there are a number of interesting video links  which you can check out in the black banner above.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

The Poilâne miche takes six hours from mixing through baking.  The levain, flour, water and salt are mechanically mixed (slowly) for about eight minutes.  The baker moves the dough into a wooden tub, where it ferments for about an hour (the Poilâne formula uses a large amount of levain).  That batch is cut, weighed, and shaped into boules, then placed into (50 or more) bannetons for the final two-hour fermentation.  That work is all done by hand. The baker then prepares the next batch.


Three hundred loaves can easily be baked; actually, it's reported that Poilâne has an output of 6,000 to 15,000 loaves per day - all baked in wood fired ovens.  The original bakery is the Cherche-Midi site.  I think there's another shop plus the big plant, which has 24 wood fired ovens.


Source:  James MacGuire, in his article titled Pain au levain

elcouisto's picture
elcouisto

Thanks LindyD and RobynNZ!