The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking for about 50 people this Saturday

Stringbean42's picture
Stringbean42

Baking for about 50 people this Saturday

Okay, here's the deal: I'll be baking for about 50-75 people on Saturday, and I wanted to know if anyone had some ideas as to what I should make. I want something that's going to stretch my flour supply, something that won't require much proofing or fancy shaping (I'll have somewhat limited access time-wise in the kitchen), and I'd prefer some type of yeast bread.

I'll be baking for a party that my dear old Grandmother is hosting and for which she (bless her heart) still hasn't given me a head count. I'm making it for about 50, and if there isn't enough, we can just do a first-come first-serve kinda thing. She's having a friend of hers (a professional chef, by the way) cook, so I really want to impress. Also, most of the food served is going to be finger-food (albeit very up-scale finger food), as some people will have to stand up, so an appetizer bread would be the best choice.

 I was thinking of making some breadsticks or some kind of flatbread, since those will require the least amount of proofing time (if any) at my house, bringing the dough up there, then baking it in her larger, somewhat more professional (though not steam-injected or anything) ovens. That way, the guests will have fresh bread to munch on.

 I appreciate any help anyone has to offer, and I apologize for the looooong post. (-3

P.S.: I am by no means a novice; I have a wild yeast 100% whole-wheat starter bubbling away in the fridge at the moment. I'd just like some ideas!

P.P.S.: And a quick bread (a really snooty, fancy quick bread, of course ;) is not out of the question)

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

what kind of mixer do you have and how much flout on hand?

the first idea would be a simple sour or not piza or other italian dough. make small ballr of dough about twice the size of a marble bake them light and wen done coat then with a mizture of garlic herbs and olive oil. these can be warmed before serving.

 maybe a sweet bread like monky bread small balls coted with cinnamon suger and paked in a pan so the bread is broken apart by the guests.

for a quock fancy bread boston brone bread is baked in forms like coffee cans and stemed in the oven sliced and served no proof at all

date nut and cheese bread are also possable

mcs's picture
mcs

You could make the same dough recipe for all of them and just vary the toppings.  Then you could just slice them up and people could have them for finger food.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

Eli's picture
Eli

and the foccacia. Many variations and eaasssy!

Eli

leucadian's picture
leucadian

Fougasse is much more unusual than foccaccia, and (I think) much better tasting, with all the crust and different seeds. I like the visual appeal of the pierced shape.

You can vary the appearance and taste with different toppings (seeds, garlic, peppers), and then tear them apart and have baskets with several types in each one 

It doesn't have to proof much, but it will take some scheduling to get 10 pounds of dough baked (my estimate for 70 people). The advantage is that, as a flatbread, it can cook pretty well in a very hot oven, minimizing oven time.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

How about a straight French dough with a 12 hour poolish shaped for baguettes and cut into Epi's Then you can dust some with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic salt and such. It's a nice size like a small roll and would be a nice display. Everyone breaks what they want. Epi looks fancy but isn't really any trouble at all if you have scissors. Savory Epi.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27


I do love epi's for a crowd, however they are a handling nightmare getting them to the party.

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Next Saturday I am providing one of my greatest bread fans about 30 loaves of
BBA's Ciabatta (it's my weekly loaf)  I'll probably swell it to 36 loaves, as that is how my batching works.  I'll be baking it , cooling it , freezing it for the next 4 days or so.  I have a full time job elsewhere, but I do have 2 ovens.  I will then warm the loaves, en masse, on Sat. and bring along about 2 pints of Italian dipping oil.  This has never failed me in the past when I have done other such events of this size.  Oh, I always supply my own bread board and bread knife, too many times the hosts do not have an adequate knife on hand and it results in a lot of mashing.

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I've never tried that on a large scale but it sure would make sense. It would be so much easier to warm the bread on site and so much cleaner. How do you freeze them? And do you thaw before warming in foil? 

Eric 

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

I let the loaves cool "Completely", but not so long as they start to lose a great deal of moisture from the crumb.  I then double wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer, leaxing space between them until frozen, then they can be packed in a little tighter.  To warm , I unwrap them from the plastic and stack them like cordwood in a warm oven 200-250 degrees .   It is quite comical to see my oven crammed full with 10-12 loaves at a time.

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

Stringbean42's picture
Stringbean42

Thanks a lot! I've learned earlier today that I won't have to transport those pounds upon pounds of living, breathing bread dough (aaaargh!!!), but I'll be arriving a day early to prepare.

I think I'm going to go with some basic rustic dough, probably the pain a l'ancienne in BBA, making it into focaccia w/toppings, baguettes, and definitely Epi, or perhaps little mini-Epi's (is my frugality showing? :-P), although I'm not sure if that would translate with a wet dough like ancienne. I've made it before, but has anyone had any experience with Epi a l'ancienne? Fougasse does sound good, though maybe not as user-friendly? A sweet bread is out of the question, though, as many sweets will be served there already.

mkelly: you are officially my hero of the day (though having just gotten back from work at 1 a.m., I'm making you my hero of the next day ;) ). 36 loaves! That makes my pretty petty party look dwarf-ish in comparison. About the dipping oil though; what a great idea! Can't believe I didn't think of it. Do you use store-bought or home-made? I'd love a good recipe.

Once again everyone, thank you so much for the overwhelmingly quick responses! I'm not much of an internet-ing kind of guy, but since finding this site, I've found so much useful info and have improved my baking skills many times over.

Thankya! :) 

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

A quick google search will give you a multitude of oil recipes.  My advice? warm the oil when mixing, then let it steep to meld the flavors for a day or so.  Also, keep the ingredients simple, too many spices will conflict on another. Garlic is king!

Pain l'ancienne is an excellent choice for your party, very easy, and versatile.

 

Mike.  no hero, just a guy who bakes in his basement.

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

Stringbean42's picture
Stringbean42

Well thanks for the tip on the oil, Mike; we have loads of garden garlic still lying around, so that won't be an issue. We have a KitchenAid mixer too, so I think I'm all set! I'll try to get some pictures when it's all said and done; I've nothing but a crappy camera phone here, but Gram's quite the photophile, so I'll try desperately before the rush starts and they're all eaten.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

In reference to my above post, and being as how is it a weekend.  My daily total for today was 18 Ciabatta from BBA, 2 Rye from RLB , and 4 super secret double probation loaves from PR.  Giving a daily total of 24, and I only have 18 more loaves to make before Sat. to fufil my party obligation.  This is really a lot of fun!!

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

leucadian's picture
leucadian

How long does it take you to bake all that bread? I'm curious about the logistics of volume baking in a home kitchen, even if it has two ovens.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

I didn't have to fire up the second oven till the last hr.  It took approx. 4 1/2 hrs, the best part was the timing.  I was mixing the dough for the last 6 loaves as I was putting the first loaves in the oven.  I bake 2 loaves at a time per oven for 1/2 hour, was a continuous process there for a while.

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Just checking in to see how your preparations are going.  I hope all is well, I am just starting my mixing on the last 18 loaves tonite.  

 

Mike

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

Stringbean42's picture
Stringbean42

Yep, things are going well, thanks! I've 3 quantities a l'ancienne in the fridge at the mo, going to bake them soon. Hope I have enough. Good luck!

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Sorry I am nor better at posting large volumes of pics, I am just coming off from dial-up to this broadband stuff, anyway.

 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9421/fruits-my-labor

 

 

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

Stringbean42's picture
Stringbean42

O lordy! Mike, those look beautiful and delicious! God, I wish I could bake like that.

Under the circumstances, the party went over well; all in all, there ended up being about a hundred people, but there was enough bread to go around. I ended up not making Epi (couldn't get sufficient surface tension while shaping, and mangled it :( ), but made instead french baguettes (made into bruschetta and devoured promptly), fendu, what I thought was going to be ciabatta but behaved rather like pita (not in a good way; there was a huge gaping hole in the top (cia-pita?)), and NO pizza. Incidentally, pesto will smoke and burn in a hot oven ;), but it didn't seem to be missed given the many ungodly amounts of food already there.

I made an italian dipping oil using fresh herbs and garlic from the garden, and all was delicious. I'm afraid I don't have pictures at the moment; right now they're in transit; and I didn't get many, but will post when I get the chance. Once again, thanks for the ideas, guys! (Even if I didn't end up following most of them ;))

Incidentally, the name of the man arranged to do catering for the party? His name was Mike. Small world, huh?