The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Home oven for baking & selling bread

hazimtug's picture

Home oven for baking & selling bread

Hi Baker Friends,

I am trying to come up with a home operation to bake and sell bread from home.  I'm in Michigan, so it'd be under the Cottage Food Law. My main reason for doing this is to test the waters and see if I can really scale up what I bake on a weekly basis (a few loaves- more like the Tartine style naturally leavened loaves) and see how my breads would sell even if in limited numbers. I am thinking maybe 10 - 15 loaves to be sold one day a week.

Without getting into other details, the home oven we have is a simple Frigidaire brand gas oven. It's been working fine for the type of breads I have been baking. I use two dutch ovens side by side to get two round loaves at a time. I tried baking one loaf on the top shelf and one on the bottom to see if I can bake maybe 4 loaves at a time, but it's too much juggling of heavy and hot dutch ovens plus the baking is not even (burned bottom, or not enough color on the top crust).

Given that, I am thinking I'd just bake 2 loaves at a time, which means using the oven for 5 - 6 hours straight in the 450 - 500 F range. That sounds like quite a bit of fuel consumption and I am also a bit worried about the oven itself whether it can handle that kind of abuse every week (in addition to the regular cooking we have to do). Finally, is there any health risk (i.e., carbon monoxide) associated with running the oven for that long (although I know that becomes an issue when you have incomplete combustion, which should not be the case for me)?

If anyone has any experience with this kind of home baking, I'd very much appreciate any feedback.




Mebake's picture

Hi , Hazim

There is no escape from the shortcomings of conventional gas ovens; you'll have to live with the fact that they bake uneavenly. I had a gas oven, and alternating breads up and down the racks to avoid scorched bottoms and pale surfaces is regrettably unavoidable. If you seriously want to dive in into commercial home baking, you either have to invest in an electric oven/ gas oven ( preferably fan assisted or better ,convection) with enough capacity to hold 6 loaves at a time, or suffer through a laborious routine of shuffling dutch ovens Up and down racks. If you choose option 1, you can bake on two shelves, and don't have to worry much about polltion or electricity/gas bill.

Oh, and try to seek an oven that has a self cleaning ability, as the electric instruments are often shielded. This gives you an additional bonus if adding steam to your oven, if you wish to bake free form loaves with different shapes on stones instead of dutch ovens only.

Best of luck!