There’s a bit to tell you so over the next six posts. I’m going to let you in on my secrets of How to run a Bake Club. Hopefully, our success will rub off on you.
When I started my cooking school, I fully intended to run a free class once a month for people that didn’t know how to cook. For some reason, I couldn’t get it off the ground. I wanted to encourage people to be cooking from scratch, but there were no takers. One day I decided to offer a chance to join a Bake Club where the cost of my time would be free, I was inundated with “pick me, pick me’s”. And Bake Club was born. We had so many takers that my once a month idea changed to 3 sessions a fortnight.
After seeing our beautiful pictures on Facebook and the like, I get heaps of comments like
- I wish I didn’t live so far away.
- I wish there were a group near me.
- I’d love to join bake club but the times don’t suit.
- My work prevents me from making it to bake club once a fortnight, is there anything else you do that’s similar?
Because there are so many of you out there, I thought I’d write down what I do over a series of posts so you can run your very own Bake Club. You might choose to do it weekly or maybe once a month. I hope that sharing this knowledge will help you to avoid the enormous learning curve I had to deal with at the start. Let’s get on with it and start at the beginning.
First of all, you have to think about the logistics.
Start by thinking about how many you could invite. What are your limitations?
- Oven size is essential even over kitchen space if you have limited time, and we all do seem to these days. You don’t want to be waiting to pop a cake in the oven because there’s no room. Your cakes will not turn out well if you leave them on a bench waiting for oven space. More on this later.
- The size of your kitchen. You need a small work area for each person. The size of that work area will depend on what they’re making. You can always take turns as well.
- Equipment and tools. You will either need these or have to ask other members to bring theirs along. There are ways around this. More on this later.
Ok so let’s go back to oven size. The majority of our time at Bake Club is when the goodies are in the oven. If you can fit four cakes in your oven at once then, in reality, you can have four people in your Bake Club. We have two 90 cm conventional ovens in our cook school. Which means we can fit 12 x 9” cakes comfortably across the two ovens. Although we cap our classes to 8 people because it’s more comfortable working in the space we have.
Of course, I have a whole cooking school, but even if your kitchen is small, you can take turns with bench space and oven use. You need a few different spots.
- A place for a weigh scale (with some space at the side. About the size of a tray)
- A place for a stand mixer or similar
- At least a spot for every second person to work at. You can take turns.
Give each person a tray; we use plastic trays at Bake Club. The attendees pop their chosen recipe on them and go off to collect all their weighed ingredients. I got mine from a chef supply shop, but I’ve even seen them in some discount stores. They’re very handy and a cheap solution to help save space.
Here’s a photo of one.
What do you do if your kitchen is just too small? Did you know a lot of community houses have large kitchens just waiting to be used? I’ve used them in the past to run classes; prices can vary hugely so ring around and don’t be put off by the first call. Split the cost amongst the group. Or, if all else fails you could cook in your own kitchens, meet at someone’s home each month, and share your bakes and recipes over morning tea. Or something like that. That would also be fun, and you’d still be learning from each other.
Stay tuned for the next instalment where I’ll talk about equipment and tools and how you won’t have to buy multiples of everything.
If you want more now why not check out some recipes we’ve made over the years.