The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I've Gone Semi-Pro, Update 2

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verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I've Gone Semi-Pro, Update 2

I've been selling bagels at the local Farmer's Market for about 6 months, in another month we'll be closed for the season (darned Kansas winters!) But I though that I'd give a quick update.

I sell about 12 dozen or more bagels every Saturday (which takes me most of Friday to bake), I have a slew of regulars who rave about my bagels, and people love everything bagels over most other flavors.

I just sold my 2000th regular sized bagel on Sept 27th, and so far this year I've used over 450 lbs of flour baking all of the bagels and breads.

Here's a picture of my humble little booth, sporting the FRESH BAGELS banner I scored on eBay for only $20.

Bagel BoothBagel Booth

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I take my hat off to you for sticking it out all summer. I know it's hard work and not without risk.

So, with all you have learned this year, what do you need to do next year to increase your volume and improve efficiency? Can you get a spot at the market that will allow you to plug in a small warming oven? Fresh "Warm" bagels might be a draw.

Thanks for sharing your success. It really is nice to see.

Eric 

 

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I don't know if I can do much more to increase my volume, I'm close to market saturation with my sales.  I've become pretty darned efficient through sheer repetition, unless I get some pro kitchen machines I don't think there's much else I can do.  I have no room in my kitchen for any more stuff, darn it!  With a full sheet pan convection oven and a 20 qt Hobart mixer, I'd probably cut my production time in half.  It would also cost me all the profits for a couple of years to pay off the inventsment. 

There isn't really any way to set up a toaster oven or anything, and doing so would bump me up into a level where I would require licensed equiptment and such.  For just baked goods, I'm fine with my home setup.

rubato456's picture
rubato456

so happy to hear of your success. i can imagine the hard work that must go into that.....and the satisfaction you get from it. great idea about the warm bagel  eric.....i dream of doing this in my 'retirement'  ie the way the economy is going there will be no retirement, but it would be wonderful to do something we love..... 

deborah

suave's picture
suave

When you're done, would you mind telling us what your bottom line for the season is?

Mike

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

Sure, I plan to do a year-end wrapup.  Like I've said, compared to a full blown business it's not big money, but for a hobby business that I really only do on Friday and sell Saturday morning, it's not too bad.

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

its great to see that you've been so successful!

Do you sell pumpernickel bagels by any chance? My husband is a bit fan, and I've been struggling to find a good recipe

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I've been meaning to play around with rye and pumpernickel bagles but never got around to it.  You could probably mash together a version by using a typical bagel recipe and substitute some rye and cocoa powder (American pumpernickel uses cocoa powder or coffee to get the dark color that German pumpernickel gets from an exceptionally long baking method).

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

I thought it must have been some sort of colouring, thank you

holds99's picture
holds99

Nice sign and good "score" on e-bay.  I salute you on your success and your milestone (2,000th regular size bagel).  Even though it's a good deal of hard work baking and getting it to market it has to be great fun at the farmers market meeting all kinds of people and swapping stories.  Is your best selling bagel your "Everything" bagel?  What exactly is it?

Howard

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

My everything bagel is definitely my best seller, i usually only bring a dozen of any flavor to market (and only 6 each of plain, poppy, sesame and salt bagels), but I bring 3 dozen everything bagels and always sell out of them at least a half our before market closes. 

 My everything bagel is a plain bagel dough topped with an egg wash to hold on a mixture of onion flakes, garlic flakes, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pretzel salt and caraway seeds.  It's the garlic flakes that people smell when they come to the booth.

holds99's picture
holds99

Your Everything bagel sounds like a winner.

Howard

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

They are the best thing ever to eat just when it's cooled to room temp, the dough is the softest it will ever be, the crust and toppings are the crispiest they will ever be. 

 I need to write this down myself some place besides the lid of the jar where I mix them, but this is the ratio that I mix the toppings.

3 onion flakes

3 garlic flakes

2 salt

2 sesame seeds

1 poppy seeds

1 caraway seeds

 I use tablespoons, but I'm also making more of them than most people eat in a year.  The bulk of the flavor comes from the onion, garlic and salt, the sesame seeds are mostly for show and texture, the poppy seeds I think are more for contrast, and the caraway does give a hint of flavor that gives it an edge, but too much would make it sour.

holds99's picture
holds99

Appreciate you sharing the toppings formula.  I plan to make a dozen bagels later this week and will do some with your topping mix.  I can't think of any reason not to mix a small batch and use what I need and keep the rest in a jar in the freezer for future bakings.

 Howard

sharsilber's picture
sharsilber

What a great accomplishment!  I am planning to take my word of mouth challah busines to the farmer's market scene next spring, but where I live the FM requires all baked goods to come from a licenced bakery - in order to have a licence I have to work from a commercial kitchen (no home kitchens allowed) so I am not sure how I am going to resolve the legal issues, but your story is a great inspiration to me to figure out how to make it work. 

Sharon

www.thebraidedloaf.com