Tips for Equipping home-based baking business?
Posted: 16 March 2009 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m an amateur home baker who would like to turn my baking passion into a baking business. Baking with The Cake Bible has perfected many of my techniques and given me the confidence to even think of making this idea a reality!

My plan is to initially cater to the cafeterias of private schools; this way I have steady customers. However, it means that I will be starting out by baking in larger volumes than I am normally accustomed to. I plan to convert a free-standing garage space into a custom kitchen. What sort of equipment/ methods would you suggest? Could you point me in the direction of helpful resources like books, other forums?

Thank you,
Apricot
Dubai, UAE

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Posted: 16 March 2009 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Apricot, I am new to this form but not new to pastry or the idea of a home baking business. I have researched baking equipment when I was planning a business with friends that ended unfortunately Therefore I did a business plan and researched the whole nine yards. I recently began a small cookie business out of my home kitchen and a rented church kitchen that is lisenced. First I want to say that it is better to set up a completely separate kitchen from your home kitchen as you seem to be planning. Mainly that is because most states have laws that prevent you from selling product that is made out of an unlisenced kitchen. Most laws center around the prevention of any food born illness and are heavy on sanitizing and cleanliness. A lisenced kitchen has certain requirements that vary from state to state but often include a deep double sink with proper drainage, a dish washer, professional ovens, proper refrigeration and most of all an exhaust system (which can be very expensive). Proper air conditioning is also important in a pastry kitchen. It would be good to go to your local Chamber of Commerce and get a list of their requirements that are usually available in a printed form. If you are going to do large quantities you will most likely need a convection oven (double is best), a professional deep refrigerator, a freezer (blast freezer is best), a large mixer (20 qt and up Hobart etc), an oven with cook-top burners or electric burners, a food processor (RoboCoup), and stainless steel tables, drying racks, and shelving. Dough proof boxes, sheeters and deck ovens are fantastic if you can afford them or feel that you need them. Then you will need multiple bowls, baking sheets, pans, cutting boards, measuring cups, spoons, spatulas, thermometers, and so on and so on. You can often find larger equipment on eBay at affordable prices that are mush better than retail. There are also discounters as well as many many places that sell used kitchen equipment that is in great or good condition at great prices. These places usually exist in every major city. You will also need a local purveyor for wholesale food prices. That is a bit of a bare bones of it but if you have any other questions I would be happy to help in any way. I also have tons of resources for spices, nuts, extracts etc. 

Brave baking,
AndyNYCK

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Posted: 17 March 2009 05:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Andy NYCK,

Thanks for such an informative reply! I have 2 quick questions: what is a dough sheeter? what is a Robo Coup? what are they used for?

You guessed the intent behind my first post, I am currently drawing up a business plan grin

Thanks,
Apricot

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Posted: 17 March 2009 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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A sheeter will roll large sheets of dough.  A robo coup is a food processor.

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Posted: 17 March 2009 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi, I had answered the question that Apricot emiled me earlier today but the reply was direct and did not appear here. In that I do not want to appear rude I will repaet my reply to Apricot on the form and yes Patricia is right. A sheeter is a machine that rolls out larger quantities of dough. They come in several sizes from a tabletop model that handles smaller production to large free standing ones. They are ideal for bakeries that make large qauntities of pie and tart dough as well as puff pastry and rolled cookie doughs. They help remove the some of the grunt work and definately save time. A Robo Coup is a food processor with a more powerful motor than the usual kitchen model. They are able to handle larger quantities and grind more difficult nuts, seeds, doughs etc. They do not however, grind down any finer than a kitchen model.

Best, Andy

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Posted: 18 March 2009 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks Andy and Patrincia for your replies. I have a lot to learn! I’ve started looking on eBay to get an idea of what the oven, etc looks like to prepare myself for those first calls to restaurant suppliers.

Thanks again, Apricot

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Posted: 18 March 2009 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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AndyNYCK - 17 March 2009 11:47 PM

A Robo Coup is a food processor with a more powerful motor than the usual kitchen model. They are able to handle larger quantities and grind more difficult nuts, seeds, doughs etc. They do not however, grind down any finer than a kitchen model.

They are very expensive - prices range in the thousands.

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Posted: 19 March 2009 09:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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How much and what kind of equipment is going to be determined by your menu (the sheeter is great for rolling dough - cookie dough, tart dough, etc. but if you are only making cake, you wouldn’t need that).

Your local board of health can help you; your state dept of health can give you food code requirements as well.  You would also want to check with local zoning requirements; in some places you cannot run a certain business from home without a variance.  You would need the variance first and in some cases, you must be operational within a year of getting the variance or it can be revoked.  Someone who handles real estate law in your town could probably help you; find someone who knows the ropes of zoning board policies to help you navigate that mindfield.

You will also need to take the Certified Food Handler/Manager course - your local BOH can give you a list of places that offer the one-day course, or maybe divided between two sessions.  You’ll have a lot more credibility with the BOH if you have that certificate first smile

In many places, the BOH won’t make a distinction between a kitchen in a private residence versus a kitchen located elsewhere - you will have to follow the same requirements for sanitation and storage (a separate hand wash sink, multi-bay wash/rinse/sanitize sink that can handle the largest item you have be it a sheet pan or a 20 qt mixer bowl, and a mop sink - you also have to use copper piping, no PVC.  Your local BOH may require a grease trap, which requires cleaning on a regular basis.)  Buying used refrigeration is usually a problem so that’s definitely one thing I’d buy new; just about everything else can be found at auctions or from a used equipment dealer.  Find someone who can offer you some sort of warranty on the bigger items if you by from a dealer.  Otherwise you’re buying as is, and with used equipment you never know. 

Perhaps you can tour some businesses or kitchens in your town to get a feel for what and how they are set up.

I’m sorry; I didn’t read your initial post carefully enough to realize you are in a foreign country where the rules are most likely dramatically different from here in the US!  Much of this information may not apply to your situation.

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Posted: 23 March 2009 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hi Jeanne,

Thanks for your detailed advice! I understand most of the concern about food safety and so forth, esp since I do plan to supply to schools. Luckily, I travel to the States a lot to visit family so now I will look out for the Certified Food Handler/Manager course when planning my next trip.

I plan to start off by offering nut-free muffins, brownies, sheet cakes, and drop cookies. When the market in Dubai can appreciate decorated refrigerator cookies, I hope to invest in a dough sheeter! The cupcake craze has finally reached Dubai.

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Posted: 04 April 2009 03:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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you live in Dubai?

First, you need to find out what your local government authorities require before making any other moves. If they won’t allow a home-based bakery business (the county that I live in Denver, Colorado USA does not allow this type of establishment), you’ll have to scrap that idea. You will also have to fill out endless amounts of paperwork, apply for permits, and pay fees. All of which can take several months to be granted approval. You will need to get on this first before you start doing anything else. What goes on in the States, may not apply for Dubai. You may not be able to run a sole-proprietorship type business if you are not Naturalized; I know this is true for Denver County. Anyone residing here on just a work visa cannot own businesses unless they are financially backed by a citizen.

Roxanne

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Posted: 07 June 2010 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It is amazing the home-based baking laws in the United States are changing rapidly, possibly due to the down economy. There are roughly 25 states that have some sort of cottage law that allows home-based baking or low risk food processing. This is the case in a number of countries, not too sure about the Dubai. What bakers must know is that there may be more than one regulating authority in your state so along with contact your local health department you may also want to contact the state Dept. of Agriculture who often will governing the sale of baked goods at Farmers Markets, state sponsored food cooperatives and farm stands. This is a great way for a baker to get their feet wet without a lot of investment. Plus don’t forget to contact your state extension offices often associated with a state university. Hope this is helpful.

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Posted: 28 February 2011 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Hi Apricot,

Good to read about ur plans to start ur home based baking bizness. I too am residing in the UAE and am interested to know the updates and what r the procedures and regulations involved in setting up such a business.

Regards,

Naila

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