The Fresh Loaf

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Jump Up To "Bulk" Baking - Advice Please

JamieOF's picture

Jump Up To "Bulk" Baking - Advice Please

Hello folks. The past 2 months have been a whirlwind of activity in my kitchen, to the point where I've started supplying a small new local cafe with sourdough breadbowls and some loaves, and have started selling in small quantities through my step-nephew (a cheesemaker) at a local farmer's market.

So to cut to the chase, I have been approached by people who've tasted my bread to supply 20 loaves for a dinner sitting at a seafood festival at the town I live in. I've also been permitted access to a commercial kitchen with 2 large propane fired ovens that have easy access for manual "water injection" without opening the oven door. Normally I do batches of 2 loaves (1475 gm target weight) but that won't work here obviously.

So my plan:

Tonight before bed, start levain, feed tomorrow morning before work with a target levain wt of 2500 gms @100% using WW flour.

Tomorrow at supper time, hand mix dough in 3 bins with a total target wt (flour, levain and water) of 14,750 that includes 7500 gms WAP unbleached, 4750 gms water @ 84 Deg F and all the above levain. Target hydration is ~67% (including levain).

Leave to rest and hydrate for 30 mins then add a total of 2% sea salt.

Series of 3-4 S&Fs spaced at 30 mins 'till I have good gluten development.

Leave to bulk ferment 2-4 hours depending on kitchen ambient, scale, preshape and shape into tea towel lined cheap plastic strainers. Place these in individual plastic bags and proof in fridge 'till next day @ about 6:00 PM when they'll be baked @ 475 for 15 mins with steam and then ~ 30 mins without steam @ 475.

Now the above quantities are taking what I normally do and multiplying times 10, with times quite similar.

One of my main concerns is hand-mixing this dough @ 67% in tubs that size, also, while I can mix salt in the dough in small batches, what can I expect with batches of close to 5000 g?

I appreciate any advice anyone can send along my way, I know many have had similar experiences and challenges.





tracker914's picture

Hi Jaime, I mix on average 40 - 200 loaves per weekend using the mixing method you described above, 

I use tubes that I got from a restaurant supply(basically the tubs used by busboys) I can mix a max of about 14,000 - 15000 grams of final dough in each tub. I add all ingredients including salt before I start mixing.

I moved away from adding the salt later on as I found no discernible difference in my particular process and found that sometimes the salt wasn't getting evenly dispersed without a lot of work. 




JamieOF's picture

Thank you for your response Angelo.

When I did this dough, prior to your response, I did decide to go ahead and add salt immediately, knowing it "may" affect the final extensibility of the dough. I do need some bigger tubs though, like you mentioned.

I wasn't really pleased with the end result, but apparently it was the hit of the evening, including a personal compliment from one of our province's top pastry chefs, who is also the owner of one of the top restaurants in the city. There was a huge learning curve going from my  humble electric home oven to a huge propane commercial unit. The heat retention from the mass of that thing and the recovery capabilities were amazing.

I started baking another 20 loaves last night (at home this time, and got 11 baked and rest of dough mixed) for the Farmer's Market tomorrow. Looking forward to that.