Hi y'all! I hope you're all doing well and staying healthy! It's been a while since I sat down to write a post for you guys! I've missed you! In this post I'll be sharing how I prepare/plan for a market and how I stay efficient. Make sure you're following me on instagram for cool photos and updates!
Lets get market ready!
Every week I start out by filling out my planner. I really enjoy The Happy Planner, but any planner or even a notebook will suffice. You can find good sales at Michaels and Hobby Lobby. I love me a discount :)
Because of COVID I've had to adjust how I prep for a market. I've made the decision to operate as pre-order only. I feel this has been convenient and safe for both customers and myself. I get SO many DMs asking how many macs I make or how many macs should you make. The truth is there is no magic number. There's a lot of different things to consider when deciding how many macs to make. This pandemic makes figuring this out even harder. Luckily for me, I have had an AMAZING amount of support from the community. If pre-orders don't sell out I make random "surprise me" dozens of the macs that are left and have flash sales at the market.
Once I narrow down my menu, I plan my bakes throughout the week. I like being able to see my week layed out, it helps me stay organized and on track.
Mondays are usually my prep days. I use this day to scale out my recipes and make fillings. I also try to run any errands that I may need to take care of for the week so I can use the rest of my time to bake and fill.
I store my almond flour, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar in ziploc bags. It saves so much time during baking to have this already scaled out. I only scale the amount of recipes I need for the week, I find that if they sit too long things get clumpy.
After I scale my recipes I move on to fillings. I like storing them in piping bags that way I can just go in and fill. Plus it eliminates washing any containers. I like to make my fillings fresh every week but you can store buttercream in the fridge or freezer, just remember to put the date on your bag/container.
The rest of the week is mostly the same. I bake and fill Tuesday through Friday. I find that I'm most efficient by piping all my batches and then baking once I finish piping the last batch of the day. I bake 3 trays at a time, and I have never had a problem resting my macs too long.
Once I'm done baking, I pair my shells and then take a break to eat and relax for a bit. After I fill my macs I do inventory and store them in the freezer until it's time to prep pre-orders.
Since I post pre-orders on Thursdays I try to take photos of new flavors at least by Wednesday so that I can post them social media and have a photo for my website. I also try to have my website ready to be published by Wednesday night so that I'm not in such a rush on Thursday.
At 5 pm on Friday I close pre-orders, print receipts, and write thank you notes. I pack all orders, then I pack up my car that way Saturday morning all I have to do is pack the orders in my coolers and head out to the market.
Market set up has been completely different lately. For safety and sanitation I have been limiting my display to just a foldable table with no table cloth. I also don't put anything out that people can touch. When the weather was cooler I placed orders out on the table for people to grab on their own but now that the weather is much warmer and by warmer I mean a few degrees hotter than the sun, I keep all orders in the cooler and pull them out as my customers stop by.
Tips to be a more efficient baker.
Plan your week! Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it! I myself struggle with this, but when you finish everything on time it'll be so worth it.
Scale your recipes. I can not stress enough how much of a time saver this is!
Make lists and set goals. On top of my planner, I have daily lists of things I'd like to achieve.
Keep it moving! Always be doing something. Waiting for your meringue to whip up? Get your piping bags ready. Is your sugar syrup heating up? Get your trays lined with your mats or parchment.
Clean as you go. As soon as I'm done with a bowl or spatula that sucker gets washed. By the time I'm done baking all dishes are washed and ready to be put away. Plus have you ever finished doing something and then you see a big pile of dishes? It's the absolute worst!
Don't overwhelm yourself. I find when I'm too ambitious I stress myself out and things turn ugly real fast. Try to make reasonable and achievable goals.
Keep learning! Over the years my baking process has changed so much. There's always room for improvement. Don't be afraid to try new techniques.
Plan for mistakes. Always have a plan B. Things don't always go as planned, and that's okay. If I have a bad batch I take a step back and get myself together. Sometimes a new flavor doesn't work, so I just adjust my menu and brainstorm other ways to make it work at a later time.
Don't over work yourself! If your a baker you're probably super passionate about it. I know things can get stressful and hard sometimes, but at the end of the day you want to still love what you do. Cut yourself some slack.
Recharge! This is the thing I struggle with the most! Be sure to take time for yourself. Get some sleep and take a day off and do things you enjoy!
My weekly routine isn't as complex as people think it is. I just try to make the most of my time and stay focused. Is there anything you struggle with as a baker? Please let me know if you have any questions or need help figuring something out.
Peace, love & macs