What equipment and supplies would you need if you wanted to start a bakery/confections concept, either as a standalone, as a concept to grow or as part of a noncommercial foodservice complex? We’re big fans of checklists, so for the fun of it, we put together a list of equipment we think you might want to look into if you’re ready to get baking. We conferred with Ben Whitlock, President of Mobile Fixture, out of the Nashville office. Mobile has an equipment template it uses with customers of the dealership’s design/build services. Their general restaurant template provided inspiration to our particular checklist.
✓ Oven: So many choices. For baking, you’ll want convection or combi. Combi adds the humidity that gives breads their crusty exteriors. For large quantities, you’ll want roll-in rack style. Watch the fan settings on delicate confections.
✓ Proofer: Yeast-containing goods need to rise. Take care that the water filter connected to the proofer doesn’t remove too many minerals. Sensors in proofers rely on the electrical current carried by minerals in the water to trigger them!
✓ Blast chiller: They come in roll-in, full and half sizes now. If you want to get to frosting quickly and cold-hold baked goods at their peak of moistness for long periods, this is a must have.
✓ Racks: You’ll need a bunch. Make sure if you’re rolling from oven to blast chiller that the racks fit both. You can also buy collapsible racks that nest nicely.
✓ Refrigeration: Lots to think about here. Do you need walk-ins? Coolers and freezers? Can you roll your racks right in and are the walk-ins large enough to accommodate the number of racks you store? How about reach-ins? How much refrigerated and frozen storage will you need for ingredients? Glass door or solid?
✓ Range tops/candy stoves: A traditional choice.
✓ Induction tops: A good alternative to range tops. If heat in the kitchen is an issue (melting your frosting, fondants, chocolate sculptures, sugar work and making dough sticky) opt for induction. It’s on and off instantaneously, has almost infinite settings, is great for melting chocolate and won’t dump residual heat into the kitchen. Plus, you can move induction hobs anywhere.
✓ Mixers: You might want a mix of small countertop units to large 60-qt. floor models so you’re covered for large and small mixing jobs.
✓ Work tables: Not just a pretty surface. Think about height, what material you want on top and what you want to store below. Are you going to roll and store ingredient bins underneath, or do you need it to have a lower shelf to store mixers, scales or utensils? You can customize to have both, with a half shelf and half open. And some tables are height adjustable with a crank. Can you extend power cords overhead or put the table against a wall with outlets?
✓ Ingredient bins: Flour, sugar—you’ll want them nearby, easy to refill and portable.
✓ Scales: Think through what you need to weigh. How large a weighing surface do you need? Can you read the weight with large ingredients on the scale or should you mount the read-out on the wall? Some remote read-out screens are wireless.
✓ Bread slicer: Depends on quantity you plan to sell, but it’s good for customer convenience.
✓ Sinks: Not just hand sinks, but produce/ingredient sinks and three-compartments should be on the list.
✓ Dishmachine: A pot and pan washer with a large opening to fit sheet pans and big mixing bowls is a good spec. How and where will items dry? You’ll need more racks and space to store them.
✓ Supplies: Many to choose from including cake and cookie decorating tools, frosting tools (turntable, bags, spatulas), sheet pans, tins, cake pans—both metal and silicone versions—spatulas, scoops, mitts, measuring utensils, frosting knives, mixing bowls, cookie cutters and cooling racks.
✓ Front-of-house supplies: What will you use to package your confections that will keep them intact during transport? Where will you store that packaging? You’ll need display cases; are they ambient, refrigerated, heated or all three? Commission some good signage, and make room for and install connections for a POS system. Beverages round out the menu. Do you want the coffee and tea to be self-serve? Where will you put condiments, cups and lids (hint: away from the register)? Do you need room for a cold beverage case too? Think it through.
What did we miss? Write us and let us know.
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