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Sourdough Crackers

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This would be a tasty form of cracker that would be totally new to the baking space: crackers made with sourdough discard. I use it all the time because I have a sourdough starter used to make bread, and this is my favorite way to get rid of discard. The only other ingredients are herbs, butter, and flour, so this is a really efficient way to get rid of product. All my friends find it extremely tasty.

I am now thinking of selling these crackers and have heard from friends that they would buy these. Here are the pros and cons of starting this business as I see it:

Pros: 

  • First to market
  • Consumer appeal
  • Efficient and sustainable
  • Cheap ingredients

Cons:

  • Lots of work and labor involved
  • Hard hours as a baker
  • Seems like a lot of work from a marketing/sales perspective
  • It would be hard to maintain a consistent recipe if I’m making in larger batches

I am looking for advice on:

  • Financial viability, especially from home baking to more commercial baking
  • What would be a reasonable timeline to scale baking?
  • Advice with renting commercial kitchen space

5 Comments

  1. Great idea! I find regular cookies and crackers way too sweet, so something like a sourdough cracker would really appeal to me. Additionally, I could see you branding this as more of an artisanal good, which could help with margins. I’m a home baker as well and a realtor by day, so I can speak a bit to financial viability and rental spaces.

    In general, you’ll find the cost of renting as a sole person in a commercial space to be an expensive endeavor as well as a lengthy one. That being said, I’d encourage you to think of rental space more like a WeWork situation and less of a sole proprietorship. You mentioned you have friends who like your sourdough crackers… any of them bakers? Would you be able to partner with a few of them and rent out a ghost kitchen part-time and split the costs? The more friends you can include, the lower your kitchen rental costs will be proportionately, though so will be your individual profits.

    I would recommend looking more into part-time and shared kitchen space rentals, as well as learning from how smaller kitchens and even home food delivery services operate. This could be a great way to start small and scale over time. Good luck!

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    • Nice perspective. I echo the above and just wanted to add a bit on the financial viability piece: this doesn’t need to be the next Chipotle or Starbucks. Scaling can take place in multiple steps and doesn’t necessarily need to reach the trajectory or level of a massive chain or restaurant brand.

      I’d want to ask what your goals are with scaling your sourdough crackers. Is it to help them reach more people? Is it to make money? Is it to build a brand or audience?

      Depending on your goals, scaling might look different. I’d encourage you to pivot your timeline and scaling scope accordingly. For example: operating on a smaller scale might mean your timeline looks more like

      Months 0-3: Perfect recipe
      Months 3-6: Prepare larger batch sizes
      Months 6-9: Test and learn: sell batches at farmer’s markets, local events, etc
      Months 9-12: Adjust from lessons learned and continue finding events for sales
      Months 12+: Continue

      Whereas, operating at a larger scale may mean after Month 12, you start to partner with local restaurants, selling and cross-promoting your crackers there, opening up an online store, getting onto Uber Eats and delivery services, etc.

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  2. Sounds delicious! I have a few friends who have opened small catering businesses who specialize in a limited amount of special dishes with fresh and new ingredients, and they’ve had success with this model. Good luck to you on this journey <3

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  3. This answer was edited.

    Hello everybody,
    I really appreciate all the detailed feedback and business knowledge from you folks! Thanks to all of you, I’ve decided what I’ll be doing.
    In reflecting on my goals, I don’t want to build a huge business. I’m retired, and baking is my passion. I don’t want to stray so far from that. However, it would be nice to have some money to supplement my income.
    Because of these goals, I will start small, perfecting my recipe, preparing larger batches, and starting to sell my products at small local events. I will ask my daughter to help publicize on social media, and hopefully restaurants and other small local businesses will be open to working with me then. I see this as a way to bring my passion to more people and make some extra money, but I don’t expect this to take over my whole life the way a business would.
    Thank you all again. I’m looking forward to getting started.
    Sincerely,
    Weston

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