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Baking By Scratch

Updated on February 28, 2020
lisln profile image

I am a mother of three wonderful adult children, and I'm also a born-again Christian. I love to share my personal experiences.

This Was The Kind Of Work I Was Involved In

I worked for a district that included all schools of that same district. Four ladies were hired on for new changes being made at the schools. This was for healthier eating practices that the students would partake in. We were the main bakers for about thirteen schools of this district. We made all the breads by scratch. We made buns, dinner rolls, and pizza dough all by scratch. Also only using healthy ingredients that I may not at liberty to share. This to me was one of the most important jobs I had had in a long time. Why? Because we were changing many children's and teens eating habits. I loved my job and I loved the ladies I worked with at this period in my life. Our primary objective was to stop the high rate of obesity. We worked together with LiveWell, a non profit organization. I took various classes to learn all about the healthier choices in our industry.

(All pictures are mine except the one taking by the Denver Post News Paper)

You can find that on the link that follows The News Article

Baking by scratch

Do You Bake bread by scratch

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The Denver Post News Paper - Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post (C) 2011

Rosa (on the left) takes a full prepared tray of hamburger bun dough balls from Karen (to the right) to place on a tray for them to rise before baking. In the back are the bakers Lorraine (myself on the left) and Queta (to the right), and we would prepare the dough into hamburger rolls. Adams County school district 14 was noticed for a successful transformation of their school food transitioning into 90% of being made from scratch. At Adams City High School a crew of us four bakers would make fresh rolls, hamburger buns, and pizza crusts for it's 13 schools in the district. We would bake for four hours a day, make over 2,000 buns or rolls, and supply freshly baked bread to about 7,400 students - preschool to 12th grade.

(Last names of the Bakers are not provided)

Menu changes

Prior to the fall of 2010, a typical menu in Adams County School District 14 looked like this:

Chicken Nuggets

French fries

Canned green beans

Canned fruit

Today, a menu in District 14 looks like this:

Whole grain pizza with dough made from scratch, homemade sauce, and fresh mozzarella cheese

Tossed green salad

Fresh fruit

Karen Preparing The Mix

The day starts with Karen preparing the liquid mix to the already prepared dough mix. She adds vegetable oil, honey, and water to the dough.

Karen Pours The Liquid Mix

As you can see the dough mix was already prepared the day prior at the close of the day, usually containing three huge mixer bowls. Karen is pouring the liquid mix into the dry mix.

Ingredients used:

white flour

wheat flour


dry milk


Takes Two

You need two people to carry the bowl or remove the mixing bowl off of the machine because it was really heavy. Karen and Queta work together in removing the bowl.

Dough Is Finished

The dough is finished mixing and ready to prepare for the next step.

Lets Get To Work

The finished dough is placed on the sterilized countertop so that we could mold them into balls. Depending on what we were making, dinner rolls or hamburger buns, we would have to size each ball on a weight machine, before placing them on the tray.

There is a certain way that we would prepare the balls, you just can't make them any ole way. Don't forget we were baking for thirteen schools, with not a whole lot of extra time to complete the task at hand. So you have to move fairly quickly to get the job done right. As with anything, this comes with practice.

Shaping Dough

Here is Rosa, look how nicely she has shaped her dough balls into the right size allowed by our school districts standards. On this day we were making dinner rolls. Look at how well she places them on the tray, having to be evenly numbered in order to be able to send them out to all of the schools. Nearly zero room for error.

That is my tray to the right side of Rosa's tray. However, I am also the one taking the pictures and I can't do both at the same time very well.

Ready For The Warmer

Queta has collected as many trays as she wants to work with per bowl, and now she places them in the warmer for about 20 minutes so that they can rise before she begins to bake them.

Baked and Ready

After removing the trays from the warmer:

Queta takes the trays to our ovens and bakes them for a few minutes until ready, minutes may vary depending on the ovens and the individual that is baking for the week. Queta happily removes the finished rolls out of the oven and is proud of her finished work. Beautiful!

Preparing For The Next Day

Ok that is me, always laughing in the workplace per usual. I had to laugh in order to make the work more fun. At the end of the day we would prepare the dough powder mix into three large commercial bowls for the next day. This way Karen could be ready to mix her liquid at the start of each day. The bags of the ingredients that we used every day were pretty heavy, but that was part of our work and that goes with the job.

Karen takes all the finished buns into the freezers as she separates each schools order in large cart containers that holds several trays.

We were all given a task each week. We would change the responsibility to who is baking, mixing, and on clean up. This way we were never doing the same thing daily.

We were a great team of ladies that worked very hard for all the school districts involved. We also made pizza dough (which is an entirely different way of preparing), though all of us ladies loved making pizza. We were good at what we did and we not only enjoyed our time, we loved it.

Baking by scratch in the schools

How do you feel about all schools returning to baking by scratch?

Baking by Scratch

Does your child's school bake by scratch?

See results

Cook books come in a variety of styles.

Cook books can give you new ideas as well, which can take the boredom out of your everyday cooking life, and to change the routine of things in your kitchen. Your family may just end up loving you more for trying. Here are some useful tools to becoming the best cook around, at least in your own home.

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    • lisln profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Denver Colorado

      Centavo your husband is a very lucky man to have you in his life. You should share about being a teacher in the school that would be a great lens. I think it is cool how you live in a whole different country that had to be a big change for you but you seem to be very happy.

    • PennyHowe profile image


      7 years ago

      Lorlinda, a great lens! I do not have any children, but taught school for years. I am really glad to hear about these changes. I also make bread from scratch for my husband. He is diabetic and so I made some changes in the recipe to reflect this(use water instead of milk and part splenda to cut back on the sugar). Of course, I do not make it in the quantities you do. Thanks for making a difference.

    • lisln profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Denver Colorado

      Thank you for your input Kab and mb...Kab the kids have some very strange habits in eating but what may be strange to us may be good to them and visa versa. Mb I appreciate your advise I will see what I can do I have two poll questions but none of my polls are showing up on this lens, I put two of them up and sent a message to the staff but they are still not showing. Not sure why?

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      A Rocket Squid tip for you...don't forget to change the generic title on all of your modules. Perhaps for the guestbook title you could ask a question to gain interest and interaction. Feel free to delete this comment after reading.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      This is very interesting. Love your photos.

    • kerbev profile image

      Kerri Bee 

      7 years ago from Upstate, NY

      In our area, there are certain options that a kid can pick from any day of the week: "meal of the day", pizza, hot dog, hamburger, chicken nuggets, or nachos. Nachos is a meal (the "cheese" sauce being the protein.) They also have unlimited condiments in pump bottles. I watched a girl mix mayonnaise with BBQ sauce in a section of her tray and then dunk her pizza in it. She told me she does it every day.


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