A great baker uses precise measurements to create delicious flavors and enticing aromas. But failing to follow the recipe leads to a crumbly cake. Now that you’ve decided to open your own bakery, use these expert tips to set up your shop with the right bakery supplies and equipment so you can write your own recipe for success.
Know the Rules & Regulations
Whether you’re building out or retrofitting, review your city’s requirements regarding sanitation, fire suppression, venting and other building codes, which may dictate how and where you install certain bakery equipment. “Code issues are critical and you need expertise to navigate what can be a very complicated process,” says Frank Stocco, owner of National Restaurant Design, food service consulting in Forest Lake, MN, and author ofHow to Open a Restaurant: Due Diligence.
Once you know the requirements, determine the layout of major bakery equipment and fixtures. Ovens, mixers and display cases are the big investments for any bakery; your menu drives other choices.
“A bread bakery needs proofers and steam injection ovens whereas a bakery producing cakes and cookies would need a convection oven,” explains Jean Claude Berger, retired pastry chef and an instructor at South Seattle Community College in Seattle, WA. “If you’re producing things like croissants, a sheeter would be important.”
Many first-timers and veterans hire designers and consultants with expertise in navigating regulations. At the very least, check in with other owners and industry trade groups for advice.
Plan for Efficiency
Time is money, and most business owners never have enough of either. Thoughtfully organizing workspaces and developing systems improves efficiency, saving minutes and cash. Here are three quick tips for efficient organization:
- Set up a scaling station so all dry goods are measured at once and then moved to the production area, especially if you’re doing high-volume baking.
- Store frequently used baking tools like parchment liners and baking pans, and ingredients like dry goods and dairy, in the same place every time. That way, you only need a glance to know if baking supplies are low.
- Place baking equipment near where it’s frequently used to avoid having to locate and lug mixers or other bakeware around the kitchen.
Choose the Right Bakeware
With cash at a premium, it pays to carefully select bakeware and baking supplies to maximize your budget. “Smaller, artisan bakeries might be able to afford to invest in stainless [items] because they aren’t used in high volumes — we use mostly aluminum in the bakery,” says Karen Portaleo, sugar artist at Highland Bakery in Atlanta, GA.
Shari Carlson, owner of Dessert Dreams, a wholesale pastry shop in Irving, TX, agrees. “In general, we prefer aluminum for pans and stainless for mixing bowls,” she says. Copper is expensive but can be useful for specific purposes like candy making.
Sheet pans are the workhorses of the kitchen, used for baking, and storing product or smallwares. “The one thing I’ve learned working in high-volume [baking] is to invest in a number of pans — more than you think you will need,” says Portaleo. “Don’t hesitate to buy them in great volumes. Pans are cheap compared to payroll.” This logic applies to other baking pans as well, like cake pans or baking molds.
Stock Critical Supplies & Appliances
No bakery can function without these items:
- Stainless bowls in graduated sizes
- Cooling, or baker’s, racks
- Knives and spatulas in various sizes
- Lidded plastic containers
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Baking utensils like peelers, graters and strainers
Make room in your layout for small appliances, such as stand mixers for doughs and buttercream, and a digital scale for weighing ingredients. “Pastry and baking require precision,” Berger notes. “Choose [a scale] that provides both imperial and metric measurements as it will be more accurate.” Microwaves are handy, too, for melting butter and chocolate.
Also purchase several rolling speed racks, which play multiple roles in the kitchen: cooling, storage and transport, both inside the bakery and for deliveries or catering.
Review your menu to define particular baking tools required for specialty work. For instance, Carlson, a cake and dessert baker, couldn’t function without offset spatulas and a 14” serrated blade slicer. A decorator of high-end cakes and pastries, Portaleo’s list includes a Dresden modeling tool for leaf and flower sculpting. Berger’s favorite implement is a palette knife with one side serrated.
Determining how many of any given item you’ll need is a balancing act between “what’s used most often and how much/many you can afford,” Carlson says.
Starting a bakery from scratch is almost as complicated as making a perfect soufflé. Use this expert advice to properly plan your kitchen and stock the right baking supplies. Soon the air will be filled with the sweet smell of success.
(Originally Posted on Staples.com)
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