BreaDmaking Procedures

WEIGHING- Each ingredient is weighed starting from the flour or all of the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients such as water, eggs, flavorings and fats. Some bakeries mix the wet ingredients separately and then dumped into the mixer with the dry ingredients.


MAKE-UP- the dough is divided and scaled by cutting(either by hand or machine) into its final pieces.


MIXING- Mixing is done either by mixers or manually (kneading), both having the same goal of developing the gluten. Some old bakeries use dough brakes (pasada) to smoothen the dough.


RESTING- After the mixing process the dough is given a rest period prior to make-up procedures. This allows the dough to condition and mellow. Beginning bakers sometimes overlook this stage but it is crucial that the baker does not slack while working at this point. If you have other help in the huse, this would be a good time to call them. Getting the dough pieces moved as fast as you can at this stage saves the dough from souring/overfermenting  especially during summer.


PROOFING- The dough is given a final proof until they are almost triple in size. The baker judges the degree of final proof not only by the volume of the dough piece inthe pan, but also by pressing the dough surface gently withthe tip of the fingers. Next to mixing, this is probably the second most difficult area in breadmaking. How to judge when a dough is ready is not easy especially to someone who has not handled a dough before. Underproofing will result in a hard and dry bread. Overproofing will give you a bread with large holes that collapses in front of you.


BAKING- Another difficult task if you do not know how your oven works. The final stage where you eagerly wait the end result of all your efforts. Smaller pieces are usually baked at 350 F-375 F for as low as 10-15 minutes depending on the load of the oven. Large loaves are given a higher temperature at first ( 400 F-425 F ) to kill the yeast during the initial baking period and then lowered to finish the baking. 


COOLING - The finished products are cooled on racks to allow the steam to escape. Local panaderos simply turn their bread upside down straight into the baking pans and then placed in  steel or wooden shelves with slots to cool.


The standard procedure for a No Time Dough process is weighing, mixing, resting, proofing and baking. There is only one proofing period which makes it popular to local bakers.


All in all, there are three major steps involved, steps a baker has to master to achieve his/her goal. Mixing, Proofing and Baking. If you fail to develop the gluten, the dough will not proof well and will result in a hard roughly textured bread. On the other hand, not knowing how to troubleshoot your oven and overbaking the bread will be a disaster.


Starting with the simplest of recipes such as pandesal, soft buns and dinner rolls or even baguettes will keep you in tune with how the oven works. There are several activities that you can devise to enable you to learn all these. Do not start with a very ambitious project such as panettone or brioche.


I am constantly reminded of this student of mine who had been to two popular baking classess and so she thought that what she had was enough. She bought a large 8 sheeter oven and a commercial mixer. Off she went and started her project, but failed. When i talked to her, to my amazement, after 3 years of us trying to make a deal into how she can make me teach her at home and me begging her to come here instead.....still have no idea what to do with her oven. Okay so we finally agreed that i would teach her the full course at her house, me bringing all my stuff although my whole  3 trillion DNA cells were protesting at this point. I will tell more abut this on another thread but to make it short, and my point is, be 100% sure that the person who teaches you speaks to you. It is one thing to just listen and be told of how a bread is made, but a whole different spectrum to UNDERSTAND and LEARN why the bread turns out to be a bread. Learning how and why can only happen if you and the one teaching you are speaking the same language. Otherwise, you might as well have just spent all your money paying for a book that talks and walks, minus the pictures.


Looking at the page, you may think that the steps are all simple, yes they are and they will be the skeleton of your breadmaking endeavors. No skips, no shortcuts. There was this very handsome actor who took my classes last year and when we were rouding the dough pieces, he was dismayed and told the whole class he wasn't going to do this, ah ah never... To my recollection, he was the only student i had who didn't fall to the appeal of this very routine step. Rounding is crucial to breadmaking, and almost all of the students i had loved this procedure. It challenges them, makes them compete with one another as to who has the perfectly sealed dough, who has the roundest and stickiest finger etc.,


You may, when you progress develop your own style of mixing, proofing and scheduling but the basic steps still has to be followed. This is what made breadmaking such a time honored tradition and profession. Who knows, you may  develop your own classic style version of Poilane's loaf and pass it down to your grandchildren as a treasured gift in the end. Like Poilane, his bread is being sold right now by his granddaughter around the world through the internet for  a whopping $27 for a mere 1 piece of loaf.