The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An intro and Hello!

Emelye's picture
Emelye

An intro and Hello!

Hi everyone!


It's about time I spoke up, I guess.  I've been lurking for awhile now and joined up a couple weeks ago but haven't written anything until today.


By way of introduction, I live in SW New York State with my spouse and cat, and have over the course of the past two years become more and more enamored of baking breads and rolls as part of my economizing necessitated by long term unemployment.  I've gotten pretty good at it, from what people tell me.


I'm currently looking at the feasability of baking for profit from my home's kitchen (something that may quickly befcome a nightmare if it proves successful).  If that works out, I might consider expanding since it seems no one wants to hire a 50ish female mechanical engineer anymore.  I hope I'll be able to contribute a bit in return for all the knowledge this site has provided me already.  Happy baking!


hugs & smiles!


Emelye

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Emalye.


Welcome to TFL.


What kinds of breads and rolls have you been baking? 


David

ssor's picture
ssor

I have been baking for family and friends for almost fifty years. I have sold bread at church for fund raising quite successfully.But no one has ever asked me to do any custom baking. On the other hand I have never suggested that I would do it. There was a local woman making and selling muffins to a group of office workers to have with their morning coffee. The local health department got after her for not having an inspected kitchen and the volunteer fire company offered her their kitchen. I hear of someone that does cooking and cake making to order now and again and I suppose that they make it pay some.

Emelye's picture
Emelye

One idea that I've been playing with is a "bread subscription" service where I take orders via email or website and then deliver them on Saturday or Sunday mornings for a set fee.  Right now I have an opportunity to sell at a local consignment store that is moving into a pager space and needs product.  With little capital to draw from I'll have to start out very small.

Emelye's picture
Emelye

I started out with a garage sale bread machine and developed a whole wheat honey oatmeal bread formula that is a family favorite.  Lately, I've been getting bread books from the local library (BBA via interlibrary loan) and have make a number of different varieties.  I'm still in the experimentation stage and haven;t really settled into a few tried and true favorites.


Here's a picture here of my latest attempt, the Deli Rye formula from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice :


 


Deli Rye from the Bread Baker's Apprentice

Emelye's picture
Emelye

Here's another one that came out looking as good as it tasted, Pane Siciliano:


Pane Siciliano

ssor's picture
ssor

The most difficult part of starting a small enterprize is getting the word out. The old saw of build a better mouse trap is a sad myth. The world doesn't even know that you exist.


If you can supply some charity event with your loaves(they are beautiful by the way) and make it known that you are available for special events and orders It may give you the opening that you need.


I believe in your introduction that you indicated an engineering background so consider the production capacity that you have without prematurely killing your oven(s).


When the economy was very good I would price my home repair service so that I got about 60 to 70 percent of the jobs I bid. Now with the economy in the dump I buy the work that comes in my direction. Half a loaf is better than no loaf.

Emelye's picture
Emelye

I have considered that the oven is most likely going to be the bottleneck of my production process.  It's a fairly new oven, electric with convection, so I think it will hold up, at least at the expectied initial quantities.  It's a small one, I had to buy it small to fit into an existing space, but it can reasonably do six 9×4 loaves in two strapped pans at a time, especially with the convection feature.  If it eventually proves to be inadequate, I'll look for additional capacity, maybe renting sppace in a local professional bakery if I can fit into their schedule.

ssor's picture
ssor

You kitchen privleges if you bake for their functions. They will have large commercial ovens and stoves and perhaps mixers.

mimifix's picture
mimifix

Greetings Emelye,


Welcome to The Fresh Loaf. And you are in luck! NYS allows home-based food businesses. Also, the NY Small Scale Food Processor Association has resources to help. I'm on the board of directors and we're actively working on several key issues discussed at our annual membership meeting last week (low-cost group liability insurance, mentoring program, marketing resources, etc).


Only non-hazardous baked goods are allowed - that is, foods that do not need refrigeration. Bread is a labor intensive product that uses much oven space; I always recommend to my students that they add another product or two (muffins, cookies, brownies) to round out a product line.


If you need more help, contact the Small Scale Food Processors Association or email me. Mimi at BakingFix dot com


Mimi  www.BakingFix.com


 


 

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Mimi,


I'm jealous NYS allows home-based food businesses. Here in MN, they have very strict regulations. Though you are allowed to bake breads in your home kitchen, you may only sell them at a Farmers Market - and then only until you hit $5,000 in Sales per year. Even though that would most likely be a good number of breads, it's the SALES, not the profit number. If I'm planning to bake on a larger scale, I would have to "pace myself" to make it through the season:)


Here's hoping MN will ease some of these restrictions soon.


Stephan

mimifix's picture
mimifix

Hello Stephan,


Welcome to you, too. Pacing yourself is a good start for learning to manage a baking business. There's a lot more involved than the skill and love of baking. The business side can be quite annoying. I hope you'll keep us posted about your experiences, especially about your WFO.


Mimi

ssor's picture
ssor

Why I don't open a bakery. My answer is always the same. In order to make a living I would have to make more than 150 loaves each day and sell them. My oven couldn't stand that much use so I would need a comercial oven. To pay for the oven I would have to make more bread and sell it. To sell that much bread I would need a counter person. To pay the counter person I would have to make more bread. In order to make that much bread I would have to hire a helper and make more bread to be able to pay my helper-------------------- sans end.

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Ssor,


my situation is a little different. I'd bake just to have something to do and make a few bucks on the side. I absolutely hear you about "going commercial". Here in MN, I'd have to have a completely separate facility for baking, most likely costing $100,000 or even more. Plus, then it'd be a 5-or-6-days a week process... bleh:)


Nah, I'm looking to build a large WFO, then fire it up once or maybe twice a week to bake a bunch of breads for the local Farmers Market. After all, according to MN State Law, after I sell $5,000 worth of breads, my season would be over.


I wonder how I would "report" the income from selling those breads, since pretty much all of the sales would be cash?


I guess, once I know what I'm doing with the oven, I could also teach some workshops for the locals.


Anyway, as soon as this would turn into "work", I'd have to seriously re-evaluate...


 


Stephan

ssor's picture
ssor

Stephen, The season for the farmers markets is six months more or less. Between muffins and loaf bread a 1000 dollars per month is a lot of bread. I was making bread to sell at church for fund raising. 25 % whole wheat. It was a convinient recipe using five pounds of AP white and about 27 ounces of ww. So a bag and a third to make 8 loaves. The flour was the only real cost at about 2.50 a batch, using house brand flour on sale. The people knowing the reason for willingly paid 5 dollars a loaf. I didn't always sell out.

Emelye's picture
Emelye

I've been scouring the NY Dept of Agriculture's website regarding home based food processing.  One question that I have, I left a voice message with their Buffalo office, is how a consignment store would be defined.  Would it be considered retail or may we call it an indoor Farmer's Market?  I haven't received a reply yet and pretty much everything is on hold until they answer.


I've developed a basic white bread formula that uses a poolish and I'm working on a sourdough whole wheat bread with honey and oatmeal.  I thought I'd make some banana or pumpkin bread loaves or muffins, I have some good recipes for those.  I also have some cookie recipes that I've developed.  Those kinds of things will allow me to maximize my oven capacity.  Focaccia is another bread that I could bake a lot of in a fairly short time, using quarter sheet pans.


My first and biggest investment will be for a stand mixer.  I've been considering one from the Kitchen Aid 600 series but that too will have to wait until I'm certain I can actually sell the stuff I'm baking.

wholegrain's picture
wholegrain

My Name is Tamara and I am also new here. What I have found to be very easy and fun is to give bread making classes. I mill whole grain flour, sell flour, and mixes like whole grain cookie mixes. I do this at the Farmer's Market in the spring and summer. What has really worked well for me is bread making classes. The classes I do at my home we start at around 9AM and end around 1PM. I have no more than 4 per class, I provide snacks and lunch, it's a great way to make extra money.  I also speak to groups on whole grains, and do large classes when requested. You could open your kitchen up to classes, most people have no idea how to make bread and would love to learn a new skill.


Tamara