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Everything posted by shaloop

  1. Just wanted to say that I 'm really enjoying this thread. I hope all goes well for you!!
  2. Well, the texture of the cheesecakes is off. I've been using this recipe for years. They should be dense and creamy. These (baked yesterday) are somewhat "fluffy"? They aren't "smooth". I sliced them today but the slices broke when trying to remove them. They are too soft. I even had trouble slicing them. I want to cry. I was supposed to deliver samples to a few business today but there's no way I'm delivering these. I guess I"ll be using the regular oven and just doing 4 at a time until I can figure out what to do.
  3. I tried again today. I baked two cheesecakes. Same batter divided into two pans. 250 degrees. Water bath. One cheesecake covered tightly with foil, one not covered. The uncovered one appeared done in 1 hour. The covered one took two hours to seem done. After cooling, the uncovered one looked great. The one that had been covered had developed a crack. I'm thinking I may have overbaked the covered one, leading to the crack. But, it really didn't look done. Also, the crack didn't appear until about a half hour after removing from the oven, while cooling on the counter. Final analysis tomorrow after chilling overnight and cutting.
  4. They also sell light breakfast items (bagels, muffins) and lunch (salads, wraps, sandwiches.) They've always sold "desserts" and my items just add a little diversity (and quality) to the same old stuff they've served for years. Actually, this location is new. The other location (next city over) has sold the same stuff for years. I'm just starting out and so I only do once a week delivery. I want to sell items that will be at their best when consumed by customers. I don't think something like that would keep well for a week. Especially seeing as how they handle their baked goods. I thought about brownies and other bars but until I increase my baking and delivery schedule (which I hope to in the fall if/when business picks up) then I will introduce more items. Also, many of their customers are "eat-in". The items are prepackaged regardless of whether the customer is "eat-in" or "to-go". They do have some muffins and cookies wrapped individually for "grab & go".
  5. Has anyone successfully baked cheesecake in a convection oven with a very strong fan that can't be turned off? Any suggestions? ← could you tent the cakes with foil or a lid or something until they set up? ← Monday was my first time using this oven. I covered the cheesecakes with foil and placed them in a waterbath in the oven at 300 degrees. I had to refill the water twice during a 1 1/2 hour cooking time. At the very end of the cooking time a couple of them ran out of water again and souffled up to stick to the foil and were completely ruined. Out of 12 cheesecakes, only 4 came out usable. I think I caught them at exactly the right moment. Another 4 were underdone in the center, even after chilling overnight.
  6. Well, this is the ONLY coffee shop in this city. They also have another location in the next city. If all goes well at this location, I will get the other location as well. I want this client.
  7. To answer a few questions, I've been a customer of this coffee shop at this and another location for some times. They've always packaged their cheesecake and mousse cakes this way. (I'm guessing for convenience.) However, they serve an Italian Cream cake in a glass dome, whole, one the counter. It's a top seller as customers notice it when they are at the counter ordering. The Italian Cream Cake is the only dessert that they purchase freshly made. (made by a friend of the owner.) Everything else comes from Sysco. There aren't many bakeries in this area and pretty much all of the coffee shops and small cafe's carry the same desserts which are purchased from Sysco or Sams. As for the cheesecake, I do preslice it into 12 slices, but leave it arranged as a whole and deliver in a cake box. Another place I used to sell to would place the entire sliced cake (on a cardboard round) onto a glass plate and place it in the cooler. At time of sale they just pulled out one slice and plated or packaged it for the customer. I would like to suggest this shop do the same. I'm not sure how to suggest this or even if there's some info on display or marketing desserts that I could share with them. I appreciated the suggestions you've already made. BTW, what are "Tent Cards"? (I'm guessing the glossy bifold cards you often see on tables showing the desserts or other specials)
  8. Has anyone successfully baked cheesecake in a convection oven with a very strong fan that can't be turned off? Any suggestions?
  9. I just made my first deliveries to a local coffeeshop yesterday. I delivered coffeecakes and cheesecakes. I returned to collect payment later in the day and found, to my horror, that all of the cakes had been cut, placed in individual plastic serving containers and placed in the display cooler. I suggested that they remove the coffeecakes and keep them at room temperature (and unsliced) to keep them tender and moist. As for the cheesecakes, they won't suffer as they are, but they won't sell well either. A nice, clearly visible display of a whole cheesecake is eye-catching and I believe will lead to more sales. As it is, you have to really study the display to tell what's in the individual boxes. In other words--you have to be specifically looking for dessert. It doesn't catch your eye. I went home and drafted a "Storage and Serving" sheet for proper handling of the desserts that will be included with each order. What can I do to help them market the desserts better?
  10. I think it also depends on where in the US you live. The only chocolate or cocoa I've ever seen in the local grocery stores are Hershey, Nestle and the store brands. In a larger nearby city maybe I could find something else but I usually just wait until I'm going to Atlanta and stock up on the many things I can't get around here.
  11. Actually, I'm not doing chocolates. I'm doing Cakes. Mainly cheesecakes to supply to local businesses (coffee shops, small restaurants, etc.)
  12. The only problem is that in this area my products won't command the prices that they would there. I'd guess that it probably evens out.
  13. I'm preparing to start using a commercial kitchen March 1st. The gentleman makes tamales and only uses it a few days per week. I met him by chance (regarding another matter) and during conversation this idea came up. I will have two full days (Mon and Tues) that it's mine to use. If I need additional time during the week I can use it during evenings/nights or on Sunday. I will pay $300/month plus 1/3 of utilities. (Only electricity which is usually about $100/month total) I will have my own refrigerator (which I purchased) and my own storage and hopefully I can fit in the used half-size convection oven I just bought. Hopefully all will work out.
  14. Would you be willing to share your recipe and techniques?
  15. Well, I've tested many, many cheesecake recipes and techniques and although I can bake a crack-free cheesecake without a waterbath (at a low temp) I prefer the creamier texture of the cheesecake baked in a waterbath.
  16. This is for large quantities. I thought the silicone pan idea was great because it's reusable over and over and should just fit over the metal, loose-bottom pan. I have the regular 9x3 round solid pans which is what I'll mostly use. BUt I have a couple of cheesecakes with a sour cream topping that I don't want to mar by flipping over to unmold. For those I"ll use a loose bottom pan but don't want to have to use 2 sheets of foil for each one, each time. Someone here posted a link to the silicone pan they use which is 9.25" and I can't find that post. I've tried out several different silicone pans and they are either a little too small or too big.
  17. Someone once posted a link to a silicone pan that they use when baking cheesecake. They put a 9x3" round cheesecake pan with removeable bottom inside a 9" round silicone cake pan and place into a waterbath. I've searched and searched but I can't find it. Anyone remember this?
  18. shaloop


    You could try pressing the crust into the pan and using it as is. For my cheesecakes I use 1 c flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 c sugar, 1/4 c butter and one egg yolk, pulsed in the FP. This makes crumbs which I press into the bottom of the pan and bake. It holds together very nicely when baked and cooled. Or, for a tart I use 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup butter and one egg. I add water a tbsp at a time until it can form a ball and then chill and then roll out. I'd say that if you are sure that you added all the ingredients and it's just a little dry, I'd try adding water a tsp at a time just till it will hold together. I'd rather try this first before throwing everything out.
  19. I would agree with this. Most people wouldn't know the difference. I've been with different couples that had eaten cake at an affair. One said, "the cake was so good" and the other chimed in with, "Yeah, but it was from a mix." This has happened on more than one occasion. I can tell a cake made from scratch verses one from a mix. I prefer a scratch made cake, if it is good. I've had nasty scratch cakes too! However, I feel that cake mixes are shortcuts. Even if the end results are good, I feel it is a shortcut. I think that is fine for homebakers. Many people don't know how to make a cake from scratch or have the time to do so. But, I feel that for people that make their living from baking cakes, they should do it from scratch. It's like my husband and I going out to dinner at a nice/pricey restaurant and being served green beans from a can. They were good. But for what I paid for the meal I expected to get fresh green beans! Not shortcut green beans. I also balk at the long list of ingredients in a cake mix. I don't usually cook with shortening or artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and wouldn't REGULARLY use an "ingredient" that contained them. I bake for my friends, family and customers the way I bake for my family. The one exception is Red Velvet Cake. I had requests for it and so I make it. Red food coloring and all. But only one ounce. I think that's red enough.
  20. I just made this cake and I like it. I can't really compare to a box cake as I haven't made one since I was a kid, but this clone was a good, moist cake. The only thing I changed was that I used butter instead of shortening and omitted the butter flavoring.
  21. Can anyone recommend the name of their oven or maybe provide a link?
  22. In the past my clients always paid on delivery. There is no one else waiting to fill my shoes, so I guess I'm good there. There are the casino bakeries that do large volume and some restaurants buy from them, but as far as quality they're basically the same as your Sam's club. No one makes dessert cakes from scratch around here at all. I think that's going to be my blessing and my curse.
  23. Thanks for everyone's advice so far. Just for more information, I'm looking at doing wholesale stricktly for the low-overhead aspect. If business is good I'd consider moving to a location with a storefront for walk in (retail) customers. When I priced my products in the past I considered my food costs, including packaging, down to the teaspoon of vanilla. I considered what I felt others would be willing to pay. I visited my target clients to see what they charged for a slice of cheesecake, say. Then I multiplied that by 12 (# of slices in a 9" cheesecake) and then divided that by two (assuming clients would like to at least double their cost.) I then subtracted my costs to see if that amount of profit seemed worthwhile to me. (I was doing this from home so there weren't many other costs.) I also considered whether their customers would be willing to pay more for a premium product. Although there were clients willing to pay my prices, it was quite a bit more than they were used to paying for their products. However, there is no other wholesale bakery around here. No dessert shops at all. There is nowhere else to get a premium product. Everyone carries the same products from the same food distributors. In fact, when I tried to quit the business in the past one client called me begging me to continue because her customers didn't like the "super-warehouse" desserts that she would have gone back to using. So how do you convince new potential clients that it's worthwhile to pay twice as much for a premium product?
  24. For those of you that do wholesale, how do you determine pricing? Do you figure a percentage off of retail or do you determine cost for wholesale and then mark up for retail? Do you have a minimum order required to get wholesale pricing? I'm looking into starting a wholesale dessert business and I have baked for a couple of restaurants in the past from my home. But now I'm looking into doing it properly (from a commercial kitchen) and want to make sure I do it right. Any tips or pointers would be appreciated.
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