I was wondering if we could get a discussion going on any tips/techniques you all use in your bakeries to save time/reduce labor costs. I would also be interested in knowing if there are things you do to break up baking into smaller tasks instead of doing everything at one time.
I worled on my own making cupcakes for the farmers market and man they took forever! I made 16doz in two days but I want to work on streamlining the process and doing a bit at a time each day instead of all in two days. I am a scratch baker and baking from a mix isnt an option for me at the moment.
I was also wondering if it is possible to make my scratch mixes ahead of time. Like just measure out all dry ingredients and put them in zip loc bags and then just resift them right before I use them or will that damage the ingredients?
All tips would be appreciated!
Like just measure out all dry ingredients and put them in zip loc bags and then just resift them right before I use them or will that damage the ingredients?
The less you touch something, the more time you save. Either sift before putting in the bags, or sift when you empty the bag out. Also, instead of sifting, I have started to just stir everything with the whisk attachment for a minute or two. Works great for me (not for powdered sugar though.) If you are doing the sale very week, I don't see any problem with measuring out all of your dry ingredients for a month or two at a time.
For assembling your cupcakes faster, line up a batch of your packing containers on the table, set the undecorated cupcakes in the container (or the cup lid if you are using that type), pipe on your icing, add decorations, then close the containers. If you have to handle the cupcakes to decorate them, place them down on a tray/table, then gather the packaging, then pick up cupcake again to place into the containers, you are wasting time. Think about how an assembly line works and try to mimic that with as many steps as possible.
Basically, I would write out all of the steps I need to do to make and pack the cupcakes, then group those steps by order of when you can do them. When I do party planning, I do something like that. I save it in a word processing document, then I can reprint it for each event, making changes when necessary. For instance, my document might look something like this:
First, I brainstorm and just write out every single step.
gather packaging supplies
pack cupcake for freezer
make fondant/gumpaste decorations
Next, I break it down based on time.
7 days before:
gather packaging supplies
6 days before:
make fondant decorations (if needed)
5 days before:
measure & bag dry ingredients for cakes
measure & bag dry ingredients for frosting
4 days before:
bake cupcakes & freeze
2 days before:
1 day before:
I'm sure others will have better methods, but this is how I do it. I don't have a business, but I donate a lot to charity bake sales and make large quantities of things when I do so. Someone who does this daily, or even weekly, wouldn't need to bother with lists like mine.