The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Scaling Up A Bagel Shop

  • Pin It
BagelGuy's picture
BagelGuy

Scaling Up A Bagel Shop

Hi everyone,

I launched an artisanal bagel shop a year and a half ago. The results have been very positive. We've got a loyal customer base and business has been steady since the start.

We mix our doughs in a small spiral mixer (12 dozen dough max), retard over night in a fridge, boil in honey water and bake in an ancient but reliable Middleby Marshall gas conveyor oven.

We do 30 dozen a day during the week and 40 dozen on weekends. However, I'd like to be able to do 100-200 dozen a day to shore up our wholesale side.

As much as I like handrolling, it does not seem sustainable in the long term and it's killing my body. Does anybody have experience with bagel formers? What are the pitfalls/benefits? Also, what are the best ovens for bagels. I've tried a Garland regular old deck oven and was very happy with the results, but I'm open to suggestions.

Any other bagel suggestions would be most welcome. I'm the only person in our region doing boil and bake bagels, so I don't have anybody else to talk to.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

A wood-fired oven is best for bagels, at least here in Montreal.  I've watched them make bagels in shops here, and they always form them by hand so I couldn't say if there's a bagel-forming machine.  There probably is for mass-produced bagels.

BagelGuy's picture
BagelGuy

I learned to make bagels in Montreal. The serious shops roll by hand, but one of the big guys now uses a natural gas fired oven for their wholesale production, and to be honest, I couldn't taste the difference.

 

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP-ryvz_bRM

This guy is a machine!!!

http://www.budgetfilms.com/clip/16421/

I believe that is an AM   RK2100

BagelGuy's picture
BagelGuy

I'm fast, but not that fast! Impressive.

baybakin's picture
baybakin

I worked in a bagel shop that was only a little larger than yours, which supplied mostly to wholesale accounts, small cafes, making between 800-1,000 bagels a night with two people running the night bake. For scaling up I would suggest getting a larger hobart mixer, ours had a capacity of bagels made with about 80 pounds of flour.  We did have a single-track bagel forming machine from AM manufacturing. http://www.bakeryproduction.net/product%20pics/tortilla/650/Bagel%20Machine1.jpg  This one if I'm not mistaken.  And it was finicky, but once you got the hang of it two people working together could get out about 40-50 bagels a minute or so (one to make sure the machine was feeding/cutting at the correct weight, one to get the shaped bagels on a sheet tray).  If you have any other questions message me and I'll see what information I can help with.

varda's picture
varda

Wondering if you can tell the difference between the taste of a hand rolled and a machine rolled bagel .   Do you have to use a lower gluten flour to prevent overdevelopment from the machine?   Do any of the quality bagel places in NY (like Ess-a Bagel) roll by hand or is it all automated?  

baybakin's picture
baybakin

I haven't found much difference in taste, however the shape is not as pleasing, you don't get that handrolled "seam" where the machine puts more pressure on the rope to form the final shape.

You don't need to use any lower gluten flour (we used all-trumps), and the machine actually does a pretty good job at duplicating how we hand-roll bagels. a portion is cut, feeds into a moving belt that rolls the dough into a rope, then rolls the rope around a metal tube, pressing the seam against itself.

The machine's pretty picky though, and can operating it is very much a learning process, as every little variation and knob can change the end product pretty drastically, and it needs constant adjustment.

BagelGuy's picture
BagelGuy

Thanks baybakin. Most helpful. I'd love to try out a machine like that with our dough to see if it would work. And yes, I can see why it makes sense to have a bigger mixer if you're going to run a bagel forming machine. Did the machine ever break down on you? Are they easy to fix?

baybakin's picture
baybakin

The roller part didn't break down as often as the portioner stopped working correctly.  the portioner would get clogged if you weren't careful, and the dough could get stick in the back of the machine, build up here could cause inconsistancies (it could of course be taken apart and scraped, but this was a pain and put a dent in production).  The roller portion itself was very consistant, and if the portioner wasn't working right, you could still hand-portion and have the second person run the dough through the machine.

Most doughs should work fine, unless you run a pretty wet bagel dough.  Ours was around 54% hydration and worked like a dream.

BagelGuy's picture
BagelGuy

Thanks baybakin. Most helpful. I'd love to try out a machine like that with our dough to see if it would work. And yes, I can see why it makes sense to have a bigger mixer if you're going to run a bagel forming machine. Did the machine ever break down on you? Are they easy to fix?

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

The best bagels I've ever had in Montreal came from a store in NDG called D.A.D.S, or Dad's if you forget the language police.  The place is run by an Indian family and the bagels are made fresh daily right in the store; you can see them loading them into the wood-fired oven.  Absolutely the best!  I do see how the big outfits would use machines, though.