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Dear Readers, Please help preserve my sanity….
Posted: 26 November 2008 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello everyone….
I just started baking… baked my first ever cake in March of this year and…. it was pretty good and suddenly i had all these orders….
anyway….

everything has been pretty easy going ....  i’m getting orders pretty regularly and i don’t seem to be lacking in the skill department…. so you might be wondering why my sanity is slowly slipping through my fingers like fine grained sugar through a colander….

basically, it’s the mess….. the cleaning…. the sorting…. the mess…the missing cup measures…. the egg shells that fall on the floor…. the cleaning… the measuring… the AWOL icing tips…. the conversions to metric… the cleaning…. the running out of tupperwares…. the mess…. the measuring…. URGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i really love the finished products but i just can’t seem to get my self organised so that things flow… and so that i’m not measuring stuff a zillion times a day and cleaning spoons and nozzles and spatulas while i’m hurrying to do something else…..


so i am here looking for advice….

does anyone have any tips/advice/worksheets on:
1-  workspace organisation
2-  how to organise equipment/ingredients
3- (and MOST importantly) how to minimise the mess?

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Posted: 26 November 2008 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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i quit at least once a month for the very reasons you describe. my biggest problem is that people want to eat my supplies.

my tips:

get separate smallwears for your business and keep it separate. that way you won’t have to look for the one DH used to make soup (or whatever)  create an entirely separate space to keep your baking gear and threaten everyone to keep out!

get an electronic scale that measures metric and whatever it is americans use and cover it with saran wrap and use it instead of converting. amazon sells a nice postal scale for about $25.

Keep a bowl of hot sudsy water in the sink to throw your stuff into as you use it. Then all you have to do is grab and rinse what you need.

Keep a trash can right by your side so that you can toss stuff right into the can.

Make large batches of frosting in off hours and defrost what you need when you need it.

i rely on large baggies to toss tips into so that i can see thru the bag without unpacking it all.

jen

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Posted: 27 November 2008 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Four words - Clean As You Go!!!  smile

Great tips from Jen!!!  I also keep a sink full of clean soapy water at all times so I can quickly wash spatulas, bowls, tips, etc.  Freezing buttercream in bulk is a great way to be one step ahead for the next cake - thankfully Rose’s buttercreams freeze very well. 

Other ideas - I gave up cloth/vinyl pastry bags and only use disposables or parchment bags now - how lovely they make life!  I store all my cake stuff together… the cake utensils are all in one drawer, the cake pans are all in one cabinet, cake decorating stuff is stored in a decorator caddy, and any overflow stuff that doesn’t fit conveniently in my kitchen is in one of those stacked rolling carts that I can tuck into a closet when not in use.  Oh, I almost always do my baking in the middle of the night when the usual interruptions of family life won’t get in my way (yes, this is why I’m posting at 3:45am - I can blame it on Rose’s chocolate fudge cake and mousseline buttercream).  Another thing… I use lots of paper towels, wash cloths, and kitchen towels while decorating… lots!!!

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Posted: 28 November 2008 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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thanks guys….
the bowl/dish of hot soapy water is such a great idea!
i can’t believe i never thought of it!

i haven’t actually tried pre making icing but i think i should ....

i do have a caddy but one of those roll away ones is another brilliant idea.

looks like i’m going shopping this week end smile

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Posted: 01 December 2008 09:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Love all those suggestions!  Also wanted to check, you are setting up a mis en place first, right?  That makes everything go effortlessly once you start the mixing, etc.

Sounds like you’re turning out wonderful stuff!

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Posted: 01 December 2008 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Julie - 02 December 2008 01:19 AM

Love all those suggestions!  Also wanted to check, you are setting up a mis en place first, right?  That makes everything go effortlessly once you start the mixing, etc.

Sounds like you’re turning out wonderful stuff!

mis en place? erm….. being an ex film student… i’m thinking mise en scene….. smile

what’s a mis en place ?

 

 

 

.....and where can i buy one ? =)

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Posted: 01 December 2008 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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sugarboutique, check out the definition of mis en place here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mise_en_place

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Posted: 02 December 2008 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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i use the disposables too! and you know what? i still clean and reuse a few times before i throw away. they are actually easier to clean than the cloth/vinyl ones and best of all the icing doesn’t squeeze out of the seams like my martha stewart bags do.

a few drops of sudsy HOT water, rub between my palms and rinse thoroughly. place it over a soda bottle to dry.

jen

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Posted: 03 December 2008 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I highly recommend setting up a mis en place!  As the Wikipedia article explains, it means getting everything set up before you start mixing. 

In my kitchen, it usually goes something like this:
-set out butter/eggs, etc to warm to room temp (or rolling pins/bowls to chill)
-separate and weigh eggs while still cold
-preheat oven and prepare pans
-heat anything that needs to be cooled (such as chocolate/boiling water)
-measure dry ingredients
-measure any other ingredients

The thing is, it not only makes the mixing go smoothly, it helps you think through how the recipe will be crafted- which bowls should be used, beaters, etc.  I can’t tell you how many times setting up a mis en place has helped me avoid problems (like running out of Vanilla, cake flour, sugar or cupcake liners when I thought I had enough).

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Posted: 03 December 2008 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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sugarboutique - 02 December 2008 01:48 AM
Julie - 02 December 2008 01:19 AM

Love all those suggestions!  Also wanted to check, you are setting up a mis en place first, right?  That makes everything go effortlessly once you start the mixing, etc.

Sounds like you’re turning out wonderful stuff!

mis en place? erm….. being an ex film student… i’m thinking mise en scene….. smile

what’s a mis en place ?

 

 

 

.....and where can i buy one ? =)

Hahaha!!!

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Posted: 03 December 2008 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Julie - 03 December 2008 12:50 PM

I highly recommend setting up a mis en place!  As the Wikipedia article explains, it means getting everything set up before you start mixing. 

In my kitchen, it usually goes something like this:
-set out butter/eggs, etc to warm to room temp (or rolling pins/bowls to chill)
-separate and weigh eggs while still cold
-preheat oven and prepare pans
-heat anything that needs to be cooled (such as chocolate/boiling water)
-measure dry ingredients
-measure any other ingredients

The thing is, it not only makes the mixing go smoothly, it helps you think through how the recipe will be crafted- which bowls should be used, beaters, etc.  I can’t tell you how many times setting up a mis en place has helped me avoid problems (like running out of Vanilla, cake flour, sugar or cupcake liners when I thought I had enough).

Helps prevent missing a vital ingredient as well.  My daughter wished she had prepared better when she forgot to add the baking soda/powder to her cookies (ended up like hockey pucks instead).

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Posted: 03 December 2008 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I agree, mis en place is vital specially in baking and as Patricia said “clean as you go”. My mother made me do this everytime I helped her in the kitchen when I was growing up and I am eternally thankful to her for this. I makes life sooooo much easier and less stressful.

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Posted: 07 December 2008 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Go get yourself one of those giant, tall tool boxes w/drawers on wheels (you find them at home improvement stores). I organize and store all of my baking equipment and small wares in this, and label all the drawers so I know where to find stuff in a pinch. This saves me a ton of time during a project. I also try to keep my pantry organized and labeled. I have all of my flours in labeled, airtight containers (instead of messing around with multiple bags of flour). I keep nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate in their own labeled bins.

I also keep my mixers and food processor on a rolling caddy (so I can tuck it away into a corner and the machines are not hording counter space—after all, I live in a 750 sq.ft. condo!), with drawers underneath it. I store my baking pans in the drawers.

Also, may I say…GARBAGE BOWL. I’m not kidding, you may think it silly that Rachael Ray uses one, but they save you so much time running to the garbage can.

It also doesn’t hurt to have extra sets of measuring cups and spoons (so you’re not washing every 5 seconds). I also have a small army of spatulas, wooden spoons, pairing knifes, pastry tips, pipping bags, and other assorted tools that I find I use most often.

Also, it really pays off to take 10 minutes and really organize your project in your head. If you have to, write out a list of everything you need to do in the order it needs to be done (from measuring out butter, eggs, and liquid first to warm them up to turning on the oven and prepping pans). If you do this at least twice (writing the entire process down), then you’ll eventually find yourself doing it in your head automatically.


Hope this helps smile.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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The first thing I would suggest is to get a digital scale. The next time you make a recipe, have your bowl on the scale, and note how much everything weighs as you add each ingredient. Write it down! This will make your future baking go sooo much faster. Also, going by weight will make your recipes more accurate.

Also, note how your kitchen is laid out. Try to make things easier on yourself by having all of your baking implements stored in the same place. Make sure it’s near where you do your baking. You’ll waste a lot of time and energy if your bowls are stashed in one corner of the kitchen, your plastic wrap and parchement paper in another, your pans some place else, etc.

Unfortunatly, I can’t make the big bad dishes go away.
That’s the part of baking that they don’t teach in culinary schools or cookbooks. At the end of the day, the dishes need to be done, and the garbage has to be taken out.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’ve just learned to embrace the mess.  And I make a big one…every time.  No matter how hard I try…I just can’t clean as I go…so the kitchen is a disaster zone when I’m done.  I’ve done a lot of complaining on the blog and forum about the size of my kitchen…and it is small…really really small.  So…stuff ends up everywhere…and icing ends up everywhere…and the mess is, well, everywhere.  If all these suggestions (which are all wonderful) work for you…Great!...but I think some of us are just doomed to deal with the mess.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Along those same lines, I clean as I go and still somehow manage to make quite a mess wink.

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