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need some ideas for mixing lg batch cake batter

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Been a while since I've posted cause I'm working my butt off! Anyway, my shop is small, largest mixer is 20qt and my electric won't support any larger equipment...yeah I know I should have checked that out when I first started, suffice it to say I've learned a lot in the past 6 years! Anyway, my newer line got picked up by a distributor so they are ordering larger quantities than we're used to and do a million small batches in the 20 qt isn't working well. I can't afford to move so have to make do but I've been toying around with the idea of using an immersion mixer to mix cake batter in large buckets. Has anyone ever done this, will it even work? I've never used an immersion mixer so really, I'd love any guidance anyone can offer or if anyone has any other ideas I'm all ears. We're offering a few different cakes including a cheesecake and cookie dough so as you can imagine it's nuts trying to do this...and if you want something else to giggle over...we're doing this with 5 people in 400 sq ft of space...200 cases of product, 100's of cakes...yes, I'm nuts! One of my helpers suggested a cement mixing stick attached to a drill gun...again, no experience with that...can you tell I'm desperate!
post #2 of 11
Oy. A stick blender for cake batter sounds kinda small.
Is renting space in a commerical kitchen and buy/lease a 60qt Hobart mixer or two possible?
Wish you luck :bounce:
post #3 of 11
If you are making cakes that require creaming to add air to the batter like a sponge, a stick blender won't be good, since they don't add air. They just blend and break up solids. But if you are making some butter cake or oil cake recipes it might work. I have a couple of cake recipes that I just mix with a large French whisk because they don't require air to be beaten in and these are recipes that make about 10 - 10" cakes. I also make my brownies with a whisk and it makes 2 & 1/2 sheets.

At my job I have a 30 qt mixer that just plugs into a regular outlet, maybe you could get one or two of them or even a couple more 20 quarts, if your electrical isn't all on one fuse you could plug them in at different places in your shop.

I looked at your websites and your cakes are beautiful. Wish you the best.
check out my books at the pastrymama1 shop at www.half.ebay.com
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check out my books at the pastrymama1 shop at www.half.ebay.com
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post #4 of 11
I've run into this kind of problem at small hotels especially around Christmas time....


Immersion blenders work best for emulsionsions and purees. That being said, there are beater attachments for immersion blenders. (look like beaters on a hand-held mixer from the '70's) And with thatbeing said, the cost for a decent immersion blender that would substitute for a 40 or 60 qt mixer would be about 1/2 the price of a decent mixer in the first place. Back to the drawing board....


Say you're making sponge, you need to beat the eggs fluffy. You can't make a large batch of the whole recipiein a 20 qt bowl, but you can whip a larger batch of eggs and sugar in the mixer, then transfer this mixture to a larger bowl and fold in your flour by hand. Same with cheesecake, most of the grunt work is beating the cream cheese soft, once this is done, the mix can be transfered to a larger bowl and the eggs, sour cream, etc beat in by hand.

This is by no means an ideal situation, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul--that is you're paying higher labour costs to substitute for inadequate machinery, but it does work for small periods of time.

Hope this helps
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info...I'm considering adding another 20qt, supposed to check out one for cheap on Tuesday. I wish moving was an option but especially in this economic climate, I'm hesitant to take on anything larger plus I still have a few years left on my current lease...and really, I love my space, it has a great feel even if I've outgrown it.
post #6 of 11
No, no, no, no. You don't want another 20 qt, this is how you got into the trouble in the fist place, right?

Look, when making a recipie, a lot of time is consumed by scaling out ingredients, scraping down the bowl, and mixing. The same amount of time needed for a batch that will fit in a 20 qt is needed for almost double that for a 40 qt, right? Labour is cash, money. If you have the business to support bigger and better machinery, then get it, or you will eventually loose that business.

Say you got a used 40 or 60 qt Hobart. There are attachment rings that fit onto the bowl lift that allow a 40, 60, or even an 80 qt machine accept a 20 qt bowl or a 30 qt bowl. Get the larger machine, when times are slow you can use smaller bowls, but when you need the capacity to accomodate larger batches you have it.

Also be aware no manufacturer--and this includes Hobart-- will honour a warranty to repair a 20 qt machine if it has been used for bread, pizza, or bagel dough.

Get the larger machine
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 11

Re

i agree get yourself a larger machine.. if your looking on ebay you could find a used one for less $.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
lol, ok, ok...I hear you!!! You and ChefRaz are right and I do understand but the only 30, 40 qt mixers I've found that run on a regular outlet are 6-8000.00!!! Ouch, I just don't have it. We're also putting out crazy $$ for ingredients/packaging because our stuff got into whole foods and picked up for local distribution so any money saved goes right out again for supplies. I'm running in circles! Still haven't decided if all this is a blessing or a curse:) Yes, way too much time is being spent on these small batches and it's all taking a physical toll...either my arms will fall off or I can enter a ms universe competition.
post #9 of 11

Try auctions

Have you looked on craigslist? or tried restaurant auctions?
I picked up a couple of great mixers for a fraction of their cost at auction.
Yes, I am in Oregon and I am sure there is a major difference in cost, however it might be worth checking into.
Also another option might be to get a loan based on your new contract with whole foods. I find my food vendors generally know if someone is selling equipment I am interested in and they will let me know.
Another possible option is to hire a night baker to pick up the slack while you work days or vice versa.

Just a few idea's, hope it helps!

Joan
post #10 of 11
You have to get a larger capacity unit.
Bite the bullet, why put all of this work and worry into something so nessisary only to get an inadequate mixer and loose it all because you can't keep up with production.
Start looking on craigslist, auctions on the back of the business section of the sunday nytimes. Ask around, someone might want to unload a mixer for cheep.
You have to do this, it will work out and you will succeed!!!!!
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #11 of 11
MB, Just hoping things are moving along for you!
I have to say I am really excited for you and your future.
After my last post, I felt like I was being pushy.

Just want you to succeed in this new endevor.

Have you gone to the SBA or bank with your business plan and agreement from the store that wants to sell your product?
I know it's tough to get funding, but it sounds like you have a plan and buyer, so, the risk would be low for a bank.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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