Hobby to Business
I have baked more or less daily for the last year and started to have consistent results at this level.
I am now considering to push this to the next level and start an artisan bakery.
I am fully aware that jumping from a few loaves a day to a few hundred loaves a day or more is not a walk in the park, but I am trying to figure out as much as I can from what is actually involved.
I am planning on volunteering to an artisan bakery in a town nearby to get first hand experience.
I know that there were other similar threads (for instance this one ), but most of them seem to have run out of steam, so I thought of opening a new one, trying to accumulate the information I need and maybe help others that are having similar thoughts go through the process quicker.
I want to start small, by building a separate kitchen in my basement. (I am aware that I need to check with my local Health Department if I can do that)
I am thinking of starting with some specialty breads (whole wheat, rye and sour dough) and maybe some baguettes first and use the local Farmer's Market, that runs a couple days a week, to "get a feel of the market".
I am thinking of a 100-200 loaves/day capacity for starters.
Given the description of the problem above, I have a few questions that I would appreciate your input on at this time (I'll continue to post them as I am going through the process).
1. What would be the minimum size of the mixer I would need?
2. What would be the minimum size of the oven I would need?
3. Do I need a proofer or can I do without one in the beginning?
4. What would you say the minimum space requirements are for the kitchen? (I need to figure out if my basement is big enough)
5. How do you store your flour? Do you keep it in bags?
6. What is better? An electrical or a gas convection oven? (the local restaurant supplier suggested a Blodgett  - any suggestions/feedback here are welcome).
7. How would I calculate the power consumption and/or gas consumption of the oven? (need it for the business plan)
8. Is there any reliable formula to calculate the actual cost of one loaf?
9. Is there any reliable formula to calculate the potential loaves/hour output of one's process?
10. What do you do for water? Where do you get it from?