As retail bakeries grow their business, so do their needs. That is why it’s so important to recognize the necessary equipment and maintenance tools that are necessary for small and medium-sized retail bakery operations.

“It’s always easy to make a quick SOP (standard operating procedure) for cleaning schedules and checklists for each of your pieces of equipment. These schedules should cover what needs to be done daily, weekly, and monthly,” says Austin Archdeacon, operations, Erika Record Baking Equipment. “This will empower your employees and team members to follow an easy schedule and also accountability for the team to know when and who should be taking care of each piece of equipment.”

The tools needed in your bakery are heavily dictated by what you own, he points out, but generally speaking you should have at least the following:

  • Allen wrench
  • Socket set 3/8 drive
  • Flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Channel locks
  • Open ended combination wrench set

Educational opportunities

In the quest to elevate a bakery to the pinnacle of advancement, the imperative to offer educational opportunities stands as the final frontier, states acclaimed bakery instructor and educator Ciril Hitz. In an industry characterized by constant innovation and evolving trends, staying abreast of the latest developments is not just beneficial – it's essential for maintaining relevance and a competitive edge.

“In this digital age, the avenues for acquiring knowledge and inspiration are abundant, with social media platforms serving as veritable treasure troves of creative ideas and cutting-edge techniques. By immersing oneself in the vibrant online baking community, bakers can glean insights from fellow artisans across the globe, gaining valuable perspectives on emerging trends and innovative practices,” Hitz says.

However, for those seeking a more structured approach to education, esteemed institutions such as the Bread Bakers Guild of America offer invaluable resources for honing skills and expanding horizons. Through a rich tapestry of live classes and online courses, the Guild provides a platform for bakers to delve deep into the art and science of their craft, guided by industry experts and luminaries, he says.

“Moreover, the influence of revered figures such as King Arthur Baking Co. cannot be overstated. With a legacy spanning centuries, King Arthur Baking Co. has long been synonymous with quality, expertise, and a steadfast commitment to education. Their comprehensive array of resources, from books and videos to hands-on workshops, empowers bakers of all levels to embark on a journey of discovery and mastery,” Hitz says.

“In the grand tapestry of advancing a bakery to the tier of excellence, the commitment to education stands as a beacon of enlightenment and progress. By embracing opportunities for learning and growth, bakers can embark on a transformative journey towards mastery, innovation, and unparalleled success in the dynamic world of baking.”

“In the grand tapestry of advancing a bakery to the tier of excellence, the commitment to education stands as a beacon of enlightenment and progress.”

Ciril Hitz. baker, author, and educator with an international reputation and over 20 years of professional baking and pastry experience

Equipment longevity

Attendees of Camp Bread’s “Bakery Equipment Repair and Maintenance” session learned how to best care for your equipment, through preventative maintenance and recognizing common equipment failures, is a critical way for self-advocacy and equipment longevity.

“What happens when this piece of equipment goes down – what is in your budget for that?” questioned workshop presenter Carl Rinaldi, Erika Record’s parts and service manager. “We try to help the customer know, what are the right questions to ask? We can be your 11th team member. We want to make sure you are not left alone in your time of need.”

The session was led by Rinaldi, Austin Archdeacon, Erika Record’s director of operations, and Randy George, co-owner of Red Hen Baking, based in Middlesex, Vermont. “These days, half of our business comes from our cafe which serves pastries, sandwiches, soups, salads, bread, and coffee,” George says.

The sheeter

Htiz emphasizes that In the realm of equipment replacement, the addition of a sheeter to the bakery's repertoire is not just an upgrade – it's a transformational investment in the pursuit of culinary excellence. With its ability to elevate the quality of laminated products while alleviating the physical strain on bakers, the sheeter stands as a testament to the marriage of tradition and innovation, enriching the bakery experience for both artisans and patrons alike.

“Ah, the sheeter—a non-negotiable cornerstone in the arsenal of any discerning baker, myself included. As the popularity of breakfast pastries and viennoiseries continues to soar, there's simply no substitute for the efficiency and precision that a quality sheeter brings to the table,” he says.

In the intricate dance of laminating dough for croissants, danishes, and puff pastries, the sheeter emerges as the unsung hero, effortlessly transforming laborious manual tasks into streamlined processes of culinary finesse. Its availability in various sizes and price ranges makes it accessible to bakeries of all scales, from quaint neighborhood patisseries to bustling artisanal establishments.

The justification for investing in a sheeter becomes abundantly clear when one considers the back-breaking labor involved in hand-rolling and folding dough to achieve the perfect layers and textures characteristic of these delectable treats. With a sheeter at hand, the once daunting task of laminating dough becomes a breeze, freeing up valuable time and energy to focus on perfecting recipes, experimenting with flavors, and delighting customers with an irresistible array of flaky delights, Hitz continues.

Moreover, the efficiency afforded by a sheeter extends beyond mere convenience – it's a strategic asset that enhances productivity, consistency, and ultimately, profitability. By streamlining the production process and minimizing labor-intensive tasks, bakeries can increase output without compromising on quality, ensuring a steady supply of freshly baked viennoiseries that captivate the senses and keep customers coming back for more, he says.

A native of Switzerland, Ciril graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, completed a three-year Swiss apprenticeship as a pastry chef/chocolatier, and earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from Johnson & Wales University.

He is a passionate baker, author, and educator with an international reputation and over 20 years of professional baking and pastry experience. Hitz is a guest instructor/expert at many national and international culinary events and schools and is an active member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America. He has been featured on the NBC Today Show, The Food Network, The Learning Channel, and Ciao Italia. He is the author of two books, Baking Artisan Bread and Baking Artisan Pastries and Bread, as well as numerous magazine articles, and is the producer of two DVD series, Bread Art and Better Bread.

His baking philosophy embraces both the artistic and technical aspects of bread. Ciril is constantly trying to evolve both as an educator as well as an artist.

“I am proud to offer my own educational platform at, where I continue to share my passion for baking through a diverse array of live classes and tutorials. With a focus on both traditional techniques and innovative approaches, my aim is to inspire and empower aspiring bakers to unlock their full potential and create culinary masterpieces that delight the senses.”

Cookie depositors

Tim Levin, marketing manager for Empire Bakery Equipment, points out that for growing bakeries, the biggest obstacle they face is keeping up with demand. Investing in equipment that helps with automation will allow bakeries to speed up their production without necessarily having to increase staff.

“Cookie depositors are a gamechanger for bakeries that are growing,” he says. “The ability to produce 400+ trays of cookies per hour is something these bakeries could never achieve manually. This level of production allows bakeries to sell more product while saving precious time and money on labor costs.”

Other machines like dough dividers, dough rounders and dough sheeters will help automate everyday processes bakers rely on to make their products. Investment in automated production equipment are the best bet for growing bakeries since these machines will help pay for themselves in time as your bakery becomes more efficient and produces more product to keep up with growing demand, Levin says.

Flexibility is another vital asset, points out Nate McDermott, director of technical sales, WP Bakery Group USA

“It is important to look for equipment that provides the most flexibility, ease for product changeover, and ease for maintenance. It is also important to look at equipment that you can evolve with as your market changes and grows.”