How Do Bakeries Do It?

Business By kaybray3 Updated 27 Jun 2016 , 4:56pm by beantownsara88

kaybray3 Posted 23 Jun 2016 , 10:58pm
post #1 of 13

This might be a dumb question but it's something that I've always wondered about. Bakeries almost always have a great display case filled with different goodies, my question is: do they make all of those items on a daily basis?? It seems like it would be very time consuming. I'm not talking about big-time bakeries, I'm talking about the small town ones that have maybe 3 or 4 employees. Also, if they don't sell some items, do they set them back out the next day to try to sell them again? I wonder how long they'll try selling an item before it isn't considered fresh anymore. If any of you great cakers have a bakery, how do you handle this? I've always been curious as to how they operated. Thanks! Signed, a curious and jealous-I-don't-have-a-bakery baker :)

12 replies
Natka81 Posted 23 Jun 2016 , 11:41pm
post #2 of 13

My relative use to work in a bakery and they always had some cakes and dessert displayed in refrigerated display cake.

If something wasn't sold within  three days it was trown out in trash can on fourth day. That was bakery policy. 

It was a small bakery with 4-5 employees.

beantownsara88 Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 1:16am
post #3 of 13

I own a bakery (cupcake shop & cookies). We bake fresh everyday; don't ever sell anything more than 24 hours old. We donate what's left or box it up and take it to area businesses to as a form of marketing. I have about 12 part-time employees; production of 500-2500 cupcakes on any given day depending on orders/events.

hippiecac Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 2:33am
post #4 of 13

Different bakeries I've worked at had different policies. Some were like beantown and baked everything fresh daily. Others had different shelf lives for everything.

One place in particular we'd write the Julian Date on the underside of cakeboards & after 3-4 days they'd get tossed if unsold. For pastries we did the squeeze test - if they felt soft and cream hadn't hardened they stayed in case. In retrospect I'm horrified by that, but I was just following bosses orders! 

It varies so much, though. Things made with mixes have a longer shelf life than scratch baked. So many variables- refrigerated or unrefrigerated cases, humidity and temperature levels, types of products. I think the more products a place offers, the higher the chance they are selling over a few days and not starting from scratch daily  

Natka81 Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 3:21am
post #5 of 13

I  often buy cupcakes from local cupcake shop. They say that they bake and frost them every day fresh.

When they  pack and hand them to customers,  their instructions are:

1. Do not refrigerate  

2. they should be fresh  for two to three days.

I have kept them 3 day long covered and on counter and they tasted fine.

As PP said it all depends refrigerated or not and what kind of cakes/ cupcakes /other desserts.

Dar917 Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 8:08am
post #6 of 13

I've worked in a few bakeries. One was a famous local bakery in Minnesota. There may be 3-4 people who work the counter, and several more employees working in the back that you don't see. My day job right now is bread baker in a sandwich shop/cafe chain; I work in the back and I (almost) never have to deal with customers. We bake our artisan breads from scratch every day, and the pastry crew makes most of their items every day as well. Some items like cheesecakes, tarts and eclairs are kept in a cooler case. Items like donuts, cupcakes and cookies are made fresh every day. Plain cupcakes and uniced cakes can be kept in the freezer. Hope that makes sense!

-K8memphis Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 11:11am
post #7 of 13

I'm thinking of a couple stories -- I interviewed with the owner of a cupcake shop and unbelievabley he told me this story --  he always pooh-poohed the 'fresh daily' policy of a rival cupcake shop to his customers -- one day he gave his spiel to a nice looking couple in his shop and lo and behold it was the owner of the rival shop and her husband who had heard bout his audacity and called him on it to his face -- ouch--

i worked for one or two days for a donut company that did not even sell genuine day old doughnuts -- they had this 'special formula' that they sold for two days as fresh -- then they bagged them up and put them in the back at the end of the line of day olds -- there were several days of older day olds that had to be put out before the real day olds could go out -- so stupid and so stale --

often bakery employees get first dibs on day olds for a low low reduced price or for free as a perk --

but yeah that's why bakers work from the wee wee hours 

kaybray3 Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 12:51pm
post #8 of 13

Wow, 500-2500 cupcakes per day!?! That's amazing! Do you make all of the frostings fresh each day or do you make a bunch, store it and then use it when it's needed? I saw that once, a bakery would make a ton of frosting one day, for example: on a Monday. Then they would store it and use it over the next few days as needed. Your bakery sounds amazing and I wish you all the best for your business. I started my love of baking with cupcakes so they will always have a place in my heart <3

Apti Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 2:12am
post #9 of 13

kaybray3 -- Fascinating thread with very interesting answers!

beantownsara88 Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 2:19am
post #10 of 13

kaybray3 - We try to make the right amount for what we're baking, but usually have 10 or so flavors which can sometimes mean 10 frostings. We will keep what's leftover frosting-wise, and rewhip it up the next day or 2 days later when we need the same flavor. Typically we are also making more of that frosting, so we just mix the old in with the new batch.

TheItalianBaker Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 2:58pm
post #11 of 13

All the shortbread bases (cookies, tart shells..) can be baked and left on the shelf for a week, ready to fill.

balls of cookie dough can be ready in the freezer, you just need to pop them in the oven and bake for 1 minute longer; pies are good for 4 days.. Cupcakes.. Baked fresh daily but with the batch of batter ready in the fridge, so you just need to scoop it in the pan.

eclairs are usually frozen;

cakes in the trash after 3 days. 

Thats is how it was when I was employed in other bakeries! 

kakeladi Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 4:20pm
post #12 of 13

.........Typically we are also making more of that frosting, so we just mix the old in with the new batch............

That's really NOT a good idea.  Pretty soon the whole thing is going to spoil.  It might not hurt ONCE but doing it over & over is really bad :(  How do you remember if you have mixed old into what is now old and going to be added to new?    

beantownsara88 Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 4:56pm
post #13 of 13

kakeladi- it's usually only that one time it gets mixed in. What's left is usually a minuscule amount (less than 2 cups). Or else if we have extra vanilla buttercream we use it to frost our sugar cookies.

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