Microbakery Courses

Just finished running the first of my new style two-day, individual courses for people who want to set up a microbakery at home. New style because now I’m “retired”. “Retired” means that instead of having 9 varieties of bread in a number of different weights and knocking out around 90 loaves, I select one dough of my choice and bake around 25 x 800g loaves for a select group of reliable customers + maybe five for a local restaurant.

I thought this would restrict what I could offer students but in fact it gives more time to be flexible and to allow for additional dough work with the student.

So, for instance, with Chris, the first student under the new regime: On day 1 I had a box of fermented dough ready mixed to practice scaling, shaping, slashing, baking. We started with the prepping for the evening’s commercial mix – mixed the starters, prepared the soakers, made a tomato sauce for the week’s bread (tomato bread with sundried tomatoes), then we looked in detail at my systems for storing recipes, calculating ingredient weights, producing a work schedule, etc.  and related this back to Chris’s plans. Spent some time with the prepared dough making boules, batards, baguettes – getting the doughs in baskets. Had a good lunch. Got the doughs in the oven and baked – by then it was time for the evening mix and by about 6.30 p.m. the doughs were in the fridge for overnight fermentation and the kitchen cleaned.

We turned out 24 large tomato breads for customers. To give Chris practice of shaping we produced 20 baguettes which we gave to customers as freebees. Chris hand-mixed five of my regular loaves plus three different flatbreads and one pure rye to take home. He definitely got a lot out of the opportunity to repeat moulding the same shapes until he felt he was really getting the hang of it in a way you can’t do in an amateur home bake.

Fougassettes, Courgettes & Parmesan Flatbreads, Apricot & Almond Fougasse + a heap of baguettes

So day 2, starting at 6.00 a.m. was taken up with the bake routine of scaling, shaping, proving, baking, cooling, wrapping and packaging, and finally receiving customers until 7.00 p.m.

(Mainly) Tomato Bread with Sundried Tomatoes

During the two days there was plenty of time to look at Chris’s plans, equipment possibilities, food hygiene and other issues.

He seemed pretty pleased with the way it went – I know I certainly am.

You too can bake in a kitchen like this

4 thoughts on “Microbakery Courses

  1. Hi Mick, glad to hear you are enjoying yourself. I have been retired for several years now, but find that I am busier now than before. When I was “running a bakery” I felt under pressure to meet customers wants. Now I bake when and what I want and have more customers. Anyway new subject. I came across this little gem the other day and wondered if it would be useful for some of your students who do not want to build a brick oven. apparently they are about 1,700 Euro, http://www.fornosaf.it/


  2. Hello Martin
    You’re right, retirement is a strange animal. That’s a very interesting oven – I’m trying to think of anyone I know who speaks good Italian.

  3. Hi Mick,
    The course was brilliant, really helped to develop my baking skills and has given me more confidence and plenty of ideas for setting up the microbakery. Now busy researching ovens as that’s the first major item to sort.

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