The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Scheduling issues and software

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davidjm's picture
davidjm

Scheduling issues and software

I've been stepping up production from our 27"x31" clay oven.  My last major bake was 50lbs, which is more than I've ever imagined doing!  I'm considering selling at farmer's markets, and I'd have to step it up to about 75lbs.  I'm seeing the crucial importance of timing when you have a small clay, wood-fired oven.  I find that oven time is easy enough to schedule.  (Certain things bake at certain temps.)  However, timing the mixing, shaping, proofing, etc. becomes very complicated.  It takes a lot of time to schedule, and I still can't get it right.  (I end up scheduling myself in two places at once or not allowing enough time for a task.)


My question for the forum:


Is there a better way to schedule?  I'm using a MS Word graph right now, but it's not very easy to use or read.


Is there some scheduling software? Do you have a name or names of different types and how much they run? 


I know about Open-Workbench, which is the free version of MS Project.  It is a scheduling software, but more for major projects like construction.  I've looked the web over, and can't pin-point anything that fits this need.


Thanks for your help!


-David

bakersteve's picture
bakersteve

David... I feel your pain, as I've wrestled with Excel for scheduling conventional oven bakes. Although I've never tried it for this purpose, something like MS Project should be able to be used for simple scheduling tasks as well as complex ones, although you might have to fight it to get it to handle tasks with durations of minutes rather than hours or days. I have MS Project here, but it is a very old version.


I'd suggest you get Open Workbench, if it's free, and just mess with it. Project management software has a pretty steep learning curve, but with luck you can end up with a Gantt chart (timeline with codependencies) that will help you schedule your bakes.


If you try this, let us know how you get on.


Steve [baker and IT person]

davidg618's picture
davidg618

 

David,

here is a link you may find useful. It's only a starting point for further research, but there are a lot of softwares named and compared

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_project_management_software

David G

 

proth5's picture
proth5

I've been a broken reed on this ("I left my bookmark on my other computer" - yeah, right) but as someone who really knows her scheduling software, project management and production scheduling software are quite different. You can force project management software into being used for production scheduling, but it will always be awkward and difficult to use.


There really are folks who make bakery scheduling software - and I haven't forgotten about you...


There was even a post on these pages from someone who really loved the bakery software they had just purchased.


Also, try this link.  I haven't taken the time to evalute the software, but the download is free...


http://download.cnet.com/ArtisanBakery/3000-2078_4-10496344.html


Hope this helps.

Lorenzo's picture
Lorenzo

As a retired professional baker timing bakes is critical, the solution is relatively direct.


1. Use rerigeration for retarding dough bulk. Pull out dough as you need it 1-3 hours in advance of bake time. Mix breads in batches = to match your oven capacity.


2. Mix batches 1-2 hours apart in conjunction with refrigeration.


3. Learn to use more or less yeast or ferment to slow down bulk fermentation.


4. Bake a lot the learning curve will always point you in the right direction for scheduling.


How many bakes do you get from each firing?


What kind of bread are you baking?


Lorenzo


 

davidjm's picture
davidjm

Thanks for the advice!


I get about 4-5 hours of temp between 700F and 350F.  I baked successfully 50lbs of dough in that time frame.


We are baking: Pizza, focaccia, pita, 2 types of baguettes, 3-4 types of whole-grain loaves.


-David