Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Bakehouse Tour

Here it is! I would like to welcome you into our little commercially zoned house turned baking/ growing/ storing house for the Harvey Family and all their little projects. Now before you begin this tour you need to know that what you see here is not what we see here. We see what will be in ten years, just as we saw what you see now five years ago. We have stretched, sweated, went without, prayed for, cried with and a time or two even shed blood to be able to show you this and more of all that will probably continue as we progress with this Dave & Dori brain child. This is paid for, it is ours, and we thank God for all he has blessed us with... skills, hardware, family, friends, and vision.

The Bakehouse is a place that I have made a variety of whole organic grain vegan baked goods including 6 flavors of high soy protein granola, yeasted wheat breads, cookies, and muffins. We have also assembled dried packaged soups and made organic jellies and mustards. This business started as a homeschool project and has been a very busy place (including all the work we did to it and in it) for the last four years. This summer the bakehouse will be quiet during market season since I will be taking the last of the classes I need before student teaching this fall. My son also "leaves the nest" (home on weekends) this fall as he begins a computer networking and technology program. BUT, stay tuned for what will come next ...

Picture 1: The Bakehouse (left)
The ramp on the south side of the house was built so that my wheel chair bound grandma and a family friend could come and visit.

Picture 2: The Kitchen South (right)
Upon entering the kitchen door you will see the sink/ counter and two BOSCH Universal on the left. Above the mixers I have a strip of wood with 7 clothes pins attached to it. It holds the recipe cards and the summer baking schedule, the little shelf holds some ingredients that are commonly used in a handy location.
Picture 3: The Kitchen North (left)
On the right side of the room we placed a tall table, the right height for standing while working. Under it we have stainless steel storage bins. The "tall" tabletop came from a school auction for $1 (we adjusted the leg height with steel piping) and the bins came from a hardware store that closed near us, we got 24 of them for $5. The red rack was a gift from a neighbor. The household oven you see in the background was purchased for $20 at an auction... we had it tested by a professional and it works good as new.

Picture 4 (right) and 5 (left): The pan rack
The pan rack is wonderful to hold many items on the commercial oven sheets. I can make 12 - 1.5 lb loaves of bread or 2o - 1 lb round loaves using the two BOSCH Univesal mixers and in one baking. I make 30 lb's of granola on 8 pan sheets (2 baking cycles) and 8 dozen cookies on 4 sheets to bake all at one time. There are saloon style swinging doors hiding behind the pan rack that were purchased at an auction several years before we purchased the bakehouse. I always thought a kitchen with those doors would be the ultimate, Dave widened the doorway to make it perfect for the doors so now I have the ultimate!

After buying the house we had to re-pipe for city gas connection, replace water pipes, redo the entire electrical wiring and allow for a much higher voltage ability to allow for the commercial oven (plus be inspected to meet all city codes and regulations) and replace the roof (rebuilding it in some sections after taking off four layers of roofing). This has truly been a family baby!! We have worked together with our children and many friends to see what we have done here happen.

Picture 6 (left) and 7 (right): The oven room
This room is off of the kitchen. It was once used as a kitchen storage pantry. We widened a doorway and had to run a ventilation system in the ceiling above the commerical oven to meet the requirements of the fire marshall. Beside the full size 4 rack commercial convection oven (each rack holds as much as a standard household oven) is a proofer. I set the temperature and humidity of the proofer to create the ideal bread rising environment. I just put the bread on the oven sheets, place them in the proofer, shut the door and on my regular market breads 30 minutes later they are ready to go into the oven. I have six timers on the side of the oven as you see one in the cooling rack picture. Last year during mid summer markets, my cooling racks on baking day are completely full of goods to cool, bag, label and sell. Many weeks our family gets the one loaf that Dave tucks away from my market table, otherwise I sell it all. We do not air condition when I bake, and the use of the fan when placed in the window helps keep the air moving and cooling takes place well. The bread MUST BE completely cool before being placed in a bag. On the cooling rack I also have stackable smaller cooling rack for when I do cookies.

To bring the oven in Dave ripped out two walls and an exterior house door which we had plans to replace anyways. It took six men to get it placed. It was not a small task! I think if we ever want to take it out of the bakehouse it will go out in parts. In the three years I have baked from this I have not had a problem. We bought the oven used. It came out of a senior citizen housing complex and was replaced because government funding required different equipment.
Picture 7 (left) & 8 (right): Canning Closet and Freezer Room
A closet is dedicated to storing cannnig jars and a freezer room holds two large freezers and a refrigerator. In this same room we have a "shipping table" (another find from the hardware store that went out of business). It holds bags that I use for various products, seven sizes ordered in quantities of 1000 bags each time I need to order. I get 10x16 bags for bread, 4x16 bags for 12 oz granola, 4x6 bags for three cookies, 4x10 for soup mixes, 5 lb granola shipping bags, and 15 lg granola bags, etc.

The food storage rack is handy, it is the same racks that are under the tall table in the kitchen (from hardware store going out of business). I have a stack like this in the basement of our house also to store home canned goods on. Our storage racks are unique, but many cheap storage solutions can be made ... when there is a will there is a way! An upright freezer can be seen behind the racks. A large chest freezer is the place I store bulk grains and other products that are perishable for business baking. I have a smaller cehst freezer at my house for personal family storage. All these items were used, the chest freezer came from a grocery store that was remodeling and the refrigerator came from a household auction. I could tell many ways in which our dollars were stretched and we received awesome bargains during the process of getting the bakehouse to this point. We don't believe we are lucky, but we thank God for the many times He has answered our prayers peice by peice.

Picture 9 (right) The "store" room At one time we thought we wanted to open a little store and share the bulked goods that we purchased for our family so we set up the main room with shelves and wooden bins. We realized this was not a good match for us and never changed our name for this room. We now use the room as an office/ study/ sometimes guest room (there is a couch on the other side of the room). One 4 foot wide 7 foot tall shelf now holds a few small kitchen appliances and books on a variety of food subjects and health concerns/ diets. Dave built two of these shelves and two smaller shelves to hold our products at the places they sell locally.

Picture 10 (left) The plant nursery and storage room. The shelf here was built with flourescent grow bulbs to start plants from seed (peppers, broccoli, cauliflour, cabbage) because our growing season is not long enough to plant the seed into the ground. This year I did not start my own seeds, so you see my market canope resting up against the shelf to rest until we are ready again next year. We have a 20'x30' greenhouse frame that we plan to put up next year also (after we solve the issue with how and where to have the water valve). The green house is a part of the future vision that we see. The other side of the room holds a huge storage rack for garden equipment and market tables / containers/ baskets.

Personal afternote on the future: This year the bakehouse will not be emitting it's sweet yeasty smells each week since I am getting my teaching certification and will be in classes this summer. When I complete this I intend to replace our home school support teacher (she is retiring) and carry on with the vision Dave and I have for our investment property. Part of my vision is to help families who want to take a step into the gardening and whole grain, organic cooking to learn how to using my blessings. I have hosted homeschool outings and many friends from our church who desired to learn. I believe the best way to teach is to provide the play area and offer direction. If you consider the cost of 1 lb of fresh or canned organic produce, a quart of organic soymilk (or almond or rice milk), and a loaf of whole grain organic bread... being a do-it yourselfer allows me to get all three items each day to feed a large family of four for less than 30 cents a person. Of course I had initial expenses in equipment and garden preparation... when we got our garden area it was filled with 6 foot tall weeds, we had to hire a tractor to mow it down. When a person has a desire... all things are possible! Stick to it, learn with each new step, but if you never start you can never accomplish anything.


Linda said...

Wow, you are ambitious and busy, Dori :)!

What do you plan for the greenhouse?

I love gardening, but haven't done it in a few years. There is nothing like fresh home-grown, organic produce!

Fun reading about your dreams and how they have come and are coming true :)

Dori said...

Thanks for visiting Linda.The green house will be eventually put up so we can start our own garden plants/ flowers and keep a few things growing in the winter months if we can.

DH just planted 2 nanking cherry bushes in our garden area last week. We'd like to add 2 - 4 dwarf apple and pear trees soon, but we're looking at a cost of $120 for 4 of each fruit... maybe next year.

Vicki said...

Hey, the Bakehouse! I gotta come back for a full tour when I have more than just a second.....

Dori said...

Vicki, glad you found the link. I have it as a permanent link on the sidebar of my main page too.

Midwest Vegan said...

Cool tour of your Bakehouse. It's evident from your commentary that God has truly provided for you and your family. What a great witness to others of what God can do.

Village Mama said...

Love your Bakehouse. Thanks for the fun tour. Will definitely be back to snoop some more. Happy baking!