300 loaves of challah in 3 hours
I've recently become head of baking at my college's chapter of Challah for Hunger (challahforhunger.org). We have an established routine, but this year there are changes both in student management (me) and in how the college runs its kitchens; therefore, I figured this might be a good time to implement changes.
Here's how things have worked previously:
- Every Thursday, we form about 300 loaves of challah
- There are two types of dough - regular and whole wheat
- I'm available for about 6 hours on Thursday afternoon, and will have volunteers helping me for about 3 hours.
- We have partial access to a dining hall kitchen. Basically, we get some counter space, use of some of the ovens (sorry, I don't know technical details except to say they're commercial ovens with double doors and about 5 racks each), and use of a big Hobart mixer (at least 50 lbs of dough at a time).
- About 100 loaves of challah need to be baked while we're in the kitchen; the others are refrigerated and baked in the morning.
- We have several challah fillings (chocolate chips, cinnamon sugar, and so forth)
Previously, one person has made the dough (throw everything in the mixer, knead for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, knead a bit, rest a bit), one person has cut the dough into 8 ounce chunks, and everybody else has worked on filling and shaping the loaves.
So, my question is, given the limited time and resources we have, what would be a better way to make so much bread? I would point out that this isn't intended to be artisan; most of our customers (students) buy challah loaded with chocolate, sugar, etc. because it's sweet and a bit gooey inside. Flavors of long fermentation, crisp crusts, etc. are perhaps impractical and definitely not required. That's not to say the Challah shouldn't be good - just that even if, when baking for myself, it takes me two days and lots of time to make a loaf of bread, those techniques aren't needed here.