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.
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.
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.