i wouldn't say i am a total genius or expert at baking, but i would say after 3 years of home baking experience (i mean bake for sale, not bake for self consumption) i think whatever i am going to say below is gonna help those who intend to start home baking business this chinese new year a little.... i hope.
1. PLAN LIKE HELL.
seriously take a note pad and plan the shit out of yourself. don't think it's going to be something just a few hours and you can meet your friends for a game or coffee after that. in baking reality, it never happens. you either end up too tired to move or can't be bothered to go anyway after that at all. but most of the time, it is the process and washing that kills.
what i suggest, is to dedicate one day to buy and gather all your ingredients, then the next coming weekend to prepare the dough (especially CNY bakes like Pineapple tarts). prepare the dough earlier and keep them in the freezer. then dedicate one full weekend (thats saturday and sunday) to really sit at home and wrap and bake. time, date and energy is something you really have to keep track.
2. THERE IS NEVER TOO MUCH INGREDIENTS
the past 3 years of CNY bake sale experiences reflected how moronic i am. each year whenever i am out buying ingredients i just keep thinking 'like that should be enough'. but hell no. it never happens. if you predict you are gonna need 2 bags of sugar, it wouldn't kill to buy 4.
for those doing your own pineapple tarts, this is what i experienced. bout 10 good size pineapples yields you enough jam for bout 7 - 8 bottles of pineapple tarts. so 20 pineapple is good for bout 15 bottles. yes the amount really makes you scream but thats reality. wake up.
3. BE FIRM.
this is probably the biggest problem i face. it is a good sign that the orders are increasing but i realise i can never please everyone. i am going solo and doing everything alone and hence if i can't take in your orders, i really really can't. alot of amateur bakers have the same problem too. then you have to balance out : a nice and comfortable bake sale going at your own pace, or rush orders out like hell and compromising with quality?
4. ORGANIZE YOUR SPACE AND TOOLS
it suck like shit when you are squeezing pineapple juice like hell with all fingers sore, and still have to look around for a bowl to put all the juices. so plan out what tools you are going to need, where you want to do it, whether it is convenient to your other family members (unless you are staying alone) coz lets face it you baking is gonna affect the rest of the family. the noise the smell and whatever might piss them off.
having kids around at this period can cause you to set the house on fire too. so i suggest keep the clever ones around to help you out. the cute and pudgy one can get out.
5. FINALLY, DON'T RUSH, DON'T PANIC
its really no point going through all these like a military operation. just think in the Nigella way: its your kitchen, your lifestyle, your food. Of course there are customers to please, but sometimes the more home made the product is, the more convincing it is in terms of taste and looks. we are living in homes, not fully equipped factory kitchen with huge huge dish washers and ovens the size of a wardrobe. if you have that kind of equipment at home then fine i am jealous of you. but still, going at your own pace is very very important. the faster you do doesn't mean something better; the tarts need time in the oven to bake, need time to cool too. and so do you.
anyway. i hope this post will help some of you out there. preparations for me is still ongoing and i think so far everything is going fine. i did not accept as much orders as compared to last year due to the fact that i have a proper job now. but i do hope that next year i can accept more.
Labels: Pineapple Tarts