BAKING PROCEDURES
 

ALTHOUGH MAKING BREAD MAY TAKE MORE TIME THAN BAKING A CAKE OR A PAN OF BROWNIES, THE STEPS ARE EASY TO FOLLOW ONCE YOU GET THE HANG OF IT.

THE PROCEDURES IN BAKING BREAD ARE AS FOLLOWS;

WEIGHING - FOR COMMERCIAL AND MASS PRODUCTION OF BAKERY GOODS, INGREDIENTS ARE WEIGHED IN GRAMS AND KILOGRAMS INSTEAD OF USING THE USUAL CUPS AND TEASPOONS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF GOOD QUALITY DIGITAL SCALES IN THE MARKET WHICH WILL FIT YOUR BUDGET, SO IF YOU ARE REALLY SERIOUS IN PERFECTING THIS CRAFT, BUY ONE.

NO TIME DOUGH

MIXING- WE USE THE ALL IN METHOD WHERE ALL INGREDIENTS ARE DUMPED IN THE MIXER. SOME BAKERS PREFER TO MIX ALL WET AND DRY INGREDIENTS SEPARATELY, OTHERS SIMPLY MIX THEM ALL TOGETHER. THE GOAL IN MIXING A DOUGH IS TO DEVELOP THE GLUTEN. KNEADING BY HAND WILL ALSO ACHIEVE THIS BUT IT WILL TAKE TIME.

RELAXING - AFTER THE DOUGH IS MIXED, IT IS TAKEN OUT OF THE MIXER AND ROUNDED OR PLACED IN A BOWL TO RELAX, GIVING IT TIME TO RECOVER FROM THE VIGOROUS MIXING.

MAKE-UP - THE DOUGH IS FED INTO A MOULDER OR IF NONE, SCALED INTO THE DESIRED PIECES AND PANNED, READY FOR PROOFING.

PROOFING - DOUGH IS GIVEN THE NECESSARY PROOFING IT REQUIRES, USUALLY DONE IN A PROOFING CABINET OR ANY IMPROVISED ENCLOSED SPACE AS LONG AS THERE IS NO DRAFT PRESENT. PROOFING IS DICTATED BY THE BAKER,  SOME BREADS SUCH AS  BAGUETTES HAVE EXTENDED PROOFING TIMES AND HARD MONAYS HAVE ONLY 70% PROOFING.

THERE ARE RULES FOLLOWED IN PROOFING A DOUGH AND IT DEPENDS ON QUITE A NUMBER OF FACTORS . YOU WILL LEARN ALL THESE WHEN YOU TAKE YOUR RECIPE TO THE TEST. BAKING BOOKS SUGGEST THAT YOU PROOF YOUR DOUGH FOR 1  1/2 HOURS OR UNTIL DOUBLE IN SIZE. NOT. WHY?

FIRST OF ALL, MOST BOOKS YOU READ ARE FROM THE U.S. OR FROM ANYWHERE COLDER THAN OUR CLIMATE. NOT IN THE EQUATOR. DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE LIKE I DID, OF PUTTING A STEAM BATH UNDER YOUR DOUGH WHEN YOU PROOF THEM. THAT IS SO ANCIENT. THEY DO THAT BECAUSE THEIR KITCHENS ARE COLDER THAN OURS. WHY PUNISH THE DOUGH? WHEN I WAS JUST STARTING TO MAKE BREAD, THIS IS THE SECOND MOST CHALLENGING TASK FOR ME AND I HAD MY SHARE OF FLOPS TOO. NO BOOK CAN TEACH YOU HOW TO PROOF PERFECTLY. YOU HAVE TO SEE IT FOR YOURSELF. ONCE YOU LEARN HOW TO PROOF, YOU WILL BE UNSTOPPABLE. YOU WILL ASK EVERYBODY TO EAT THE BREAD FAST SO YOU CAN BAKE AGAIN.

BAKING - THERE ARE ALSO RULES IN BAKING BREADS SUCH AS THE SIZE OF THE DOUGH, THE LOAD OF THE OVEN, THE KIND OF OVEN YOU HAVE, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WHAT KIND OF RECIPE YOU HAVE.

SMALL ROLLS ARE BAKED IN 12-15 MINUTES AT 350-375 f DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF RECIPE. SMALLER LEAN DOUGHS ARE BAKED AT A MUCH HIGHER TEMPERATURE, VERY RICH DOUGHS AT 300-325 f.  REMEMBER, YOU HAVE LABORED SO HARD TRYING TO PUT THESE PIECES TOGETHER SO OBSERVING THE RULES IN BAKING IS VERY CRUCIAL. I ALWAYS TELL MY STUDENT TO FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS FIRST, PERFECT THE RECIPES WE DID BEFORE DOING SOMETHING ELSE.  ONE STUDENT CALLED ME AND ASKED WHY HER DINNER ROLLS ARE SO HARD AND PALE. WHEN I ASKED HER HOW LONG SHE BAKED IT AND WHAT TEMPERATURE SHE USED, SHE COULDN'T EXACTLY TELL ME. I CANTELL FROM OUR CONVERSTION THAT SHE WAS SKIRTING AROUND THE ISSUE, BLAH BLAH....WHEN I EXPLAINED TO HER THE REASONS WHY HER ROLLS ARE PROBABLY LIKE THAT, SHE FINALLY REMEMBERED WHAT SHE DID.

THE REASON WHY SMALLER PIECES ARE BAKED AT A HIGHER TEMPERATURE IS FOR THE BREAD TO BAKE FAST. IF YOU BAKE A 25 GRAM ROLL FOR 25-30 MINUTES AT 250 F, NOT ONLY WILL THE DOUGH COME OUT PALE ( not enough heat to brown it) BUT WILL BE HARD AS A ROCK BECAUSE YOU SIMPLY DEHYDRATED THE DOUGH INSIDE, YOU DID NOT BAKE IT AT ALL. what is it a merengue ? YOUR BEST TEACHER AT THIS POINT WILL BE YOUR OVEN AND YOU. BAKE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. RECORD EVERYTHING YOU DO. MY 4 SHEETER OVEN CAN BAKE 100 PIECES OF PANDESAL FOR ONLY 12 MINUTES AT 350 F. IF I REDUCE THE LOAD OF THE OVEN, I MAY HAVE TO REDUCE THE BAKING TEMPERATURE A BIT. THIS CHANGES WHEN I ALTER THE RECIPE OF MY PANDESAL. IF I ADD AN EGG, YES,  JUST 1 EGG TO THE DOUGH, I WOULD NEED TO REDUCE THE BAKING TEMPERATURE AGAIN AND SO ON.......

THE STEPS MENTIONED ABOVE ARE FOR A NO TIME DOUGH METHOD ONLY. THERE IS NO INTERMEDIATE PROOFING/FERMENTATION DONE, NO SECOND FERMENTATION.

THIS IS THE REASON WHY ARTISANAL BREADS ARE EXPENSIVE IN THE U.S. THE METHOD USED IS SPONGE AND DOUGH, TAKES MUCH LONGER BUT NOT TO MEAN HARDER. COMMERCIALLY IT IS LABOR INTENSIVE, YOU NEED SOMEONE TO MIX THE DOUGH TWICE, TAKE THE DOUGH OUT OF THE PROOFER, CHECK THE TEMPERATURE BUT THE RESULTING PRODUCT IS PRICELESS.