Have you ever thought about selling sourdough bread from home? Maybe you'd just like to recuperate the cost of your flour. Perhaps you need some extra dollars while you stay home with your baby.
Or you're in need of a side hustle to replace a reduction in income over the past year.
Whatever your reasons, selling your sourdough bread from home can be both profitable and enjoyable. More and more people want to enjoy home baked bread rather than store bought.
However, as it is preparing and selling food from your home, there are many regulations that you will need to follow to ensure that you comply with local laws.
Legalities of Selling Sourdough Bread from Home
Depending on where you live in the world, there will be different cottage food laws and food preparation laws that will need to be followed to sell sourdough bread from your home.
If you want to set up a sourdough bakery at home you will need to make sure you research and abide by the laws governing your state and or county. These may be set out by the relevant local government body, health department and/or state government body.
If you live in an apartment building, you may also need permission from the body corporate or owners of the building.
When applying for a food handling licence in your area, the local issuing authority may ask some or all of the following questions. These may be dependent factors on whether you are granted a licence to bake and sell bread from home.
- are you having customers visit your home to collect their bread or are you going to deliver the bread to them?
- If customers are collecting their bread from your home, do you have adequate parking for them?
- Do you have the right insurance to cover you for people visiting your home?
- Do you have the right insurance for baking and selling bread from home?
- what condition your kitchen is in (many shires and counties will conduct an inspection of your home & kitchen before issuing a licence).
- Do you have pets that live inside your home?
There is generally also a fee associated in applying for a cottage food license or licence to prepare food for sale from home.
Questions To Ask Before Selling Sourdough Bread From Home
Before embarking on setting up a home bakery to sell sourdough bread from home there are lots of questions that you will need to ask yourself.
It's ok if you don't have all the answers right now. But if you plan to make baking sourdough into a profitable business, you'll need to make sure you cover all the bases.
You want to make your venture in a sourdough home bakery as stress free as possible, right?
- How many loaves a week could you produce to sell (start out with a number that you can make comfortably, don't stress yourself out trying to do too much at once). You might find this guide to baking multiple sourdough loaves at once helpful here.
- Will you only offer plain sourdough bread? Or will you offer a selection of breads, flavored loaves and specialty bakes like cinnamon buns and English Muffins?
- How will you advertise your business? Or will you rely on word of mouth?
- Will you sell your bread at Farmer's Markets or will you take orders.
- How can people order from you? Will you take orders via text or email, phone calls or online forms.
- How much time do you have available to dedicate to baking bread each week? Will this be a full time enterprise or just a side hustle?
- Will you deliver the bread or will customers have to pick it up from you?
So many questions. However, if you are going to create a business from setting up a micro bakery and selling sourdough bread, you will need to be organised.
Start out on the right food and plan out exactly how you are going to proceed.
Pricing Sourdough Bread to Make a Profit
Pricing sourdough bread to make a profit can be tricky.
Sourdough can be a lot more time consuming and labor intensive compared with commercially leavened breads. This needs to be factored into your pricing schedule.
People would expect to pay more for a hand made, naturally leavened loaf of bread than they would at the grocery store. Look at what other bakeries in your area are selling their loaves for as a rough idea of the going rate.
Some things that you'll need to take into account when pricing sourdough bread to sell are:
- Cost of ingredients (particularly for flavored loaves)
- Time it takes to prepare each loaf
- Equipment like fridges, bannetons, ovens, mixers etc.
- Cost of electricity
- Other business costs like permits, insurance, advertising & marketing
There are many ways that you could work out the pricing on your sourdough bread. You must ensure that you are accounting for all of the ingredients you're using.
Creating a break down like this will be helpful:
$0.50 500g Bread Flour
$0.00 Water (we have rainwater so it costs zero)
$2.00 150g Vintage Cheddar Cheese
$0.50 50g Pickled Jalapeños
$0.20 30g Raw Honey
Total cost of ingredients is $3.30.
Obviously the cost of ingredients - as well as the amount customers will be willing to pay - will vary greatly depending on where you live in the world.
The price you set needs to ensure that you cover your expenses and make a decent profit per loaf. It also needs to a price people are willing to pay.
Purchasing Ingredients In Bulk
One of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of sourdough baking is the buy your ingredients in bulk. This is especially true when you are baking sourdough to sell.
Finding a supplier where you can purchase your flour in bulk will greatly reduce your cost of goods sold - and increase your profit.
Look for reputable suppliers online that can deliver to your door - this makes life much easier as you're not having to drive all over town.
You can find bulk sourdough ingredients on Amazon - this bread flour can be purchased in 50 pound bags (22 kg). You may also find other bulk flour stores that deliver to your area.
What Equipment Do You Need to Sell Sourdough Bread From Home?
If you are already baking sourdough bread at home, chances are you will have some, if not all of the equipment you need.
However, if you need to produce a larger quantities of sourdough bread, you may need to increase the equipment you have.
Equipment that you may need for selling sourdough bread from home include:
- A heavy duty baker's digital scale
- Large bins for mixing bigger batches of dough
- Large bins for bulk fermentation of larger batches of dough
- Commercial quality stand mixer
- Multiple bannetons for shaping (you may need a variety of shapes & sizes).
- Multiple Bread Tins for sandwich breads
- Second fridge for cold proofing
- Larger oven that has a steam function
- Multiple Dutch Ovens
- Larger cooling racks with multiple levels
Logistics of Running a Sourdough Micro Bakery from Home
There are many logistical factors which need to be taken into account if you are setting up a sourdough bakery at home.
Producing large quantities of sourdough bread can be difficult, particularly if you do not have a large kitchen or a commercial sized oven. You may also need to look at a commercial stand mixer for mixing larger quantities of dough.
You will need to decide whether you will bake on demand during the week so you can space out your bakes or whether you might take a bulk amount of sourdough products to a farmer's market on a Saturday, for example.
Baking sourdough to order is probably easier than doing a farmer's market, simply because you can space out the orders and let customers know when you can fill their order. This will be less stressful, particularly if you are just starting out.
If you decide to sell sourdough at a farmer's market, you will need to be able to produce a large quantity of sourdough bread and other products for a particular time and day. You don't want to sell sourdough bread that's been baked too far out or it won't be fresh.
You'll also need to think about how to get it to the Farmer's Market!
Packaging Sourdough Bread To Sell
There are lots of options when it comes to packaging sourdough bread to sell. Depending on what type of sourdough bread you're selling, you will have to chose between paper or plastic or a combination of both.
There are some great options available but you will need to take into account the cost of packaging in your business.
These plastic bags are perfect for packaging sourdough sandwich bread.
These paper bags will have your boules and batards looks professional.
If you would like to personalise your packaging, you could purchase a personalised stamp or have some stickers custom made.
Frozen Sourdough as a Back Up
It's a great idea to keep a number of frozen loaves of sourdough in your freezer for times when your customers want or need bread, but you're unable to bake for them.
You could sell them a frozen loaf with instructions on how to defrost and refresh so that it's just like a fresh baked loaf.
This option won't suit everyone, but it's a great idea to have on hand just in case.
Keeping a few loaves of sourdough in your freezer to sell to customers in case you are sick or unable to bake them fresh bread that week is a good idea.
You do need to disclose that the bread has been frozen though, even if you are defrosting it and refreshing it before selling it.
Recipe Ideas for A Home Bakery
If you're looking for some simple recipe ideas to start your sourdough offerings, here are a selection of sourdough recipes which are easy to bake on a larger scale.
Sourdough Sandwich Bread (soft crust)
Quick Sourdough Hamburger Buns
I hope this helps you to figure out some of the logistics of setting up a micro bakery from home. It could be a brand new business venture full of oppoturnity!
Wishing you all the sourdough success!
Please note this guide to selling sourdough bread at home is a guide only. Before setting up an at home sourdough bakery you should conduct thorough research to ensure that you are abiding by the food handling laws operating in your state, country and/or county.
If you'd like to do some further reading on this topic, you might enjoy these articles:
- Learn about creating baking timelines to ensure you are able to meet customer orders.
- Read more about baking in hotter and colder temperatures so you can easily fill your orders, no matter what the weather.
- This honey and oat sourdough bread might just be your customer's new favorite bread!
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