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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO BAKING CHAPTER OBJECTIVES 1. Discuss the importance of accuracy in the bakeshop and how it is achieved. 2. Differentiate between volumetric and weight measurements and specify
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO BAKING CHAPTER OBJECTIVES 1. Discuss the importance of accuracy in the bakeshop and how it is achieved. 2. Differentiate between volumetric and weight measurements and specify when each should be used. 3. Differentiate between metric and U.S. common units. 4. Introduce the concept of baker s percentages. 5. Discuss the importance of controlling ingredient temperatures. INTRODUCTION Those who enter the fields of baking and pastry arts do so for a variety of reasons. For some, it is the joy of working with their hands, of creating edible works of art from a few basic ingredients. For others, it is the rush they get from the fast pace of the bakeshop, or from its satisfying sights and smells. Still others like the challenge of pleasing and surprising customers. No matter the reason, the decision to work in the field is usually grounded in a love of food, and maybe past experience in a bakeshop or a home kitchen. Working in a professional bakeshop is different from baking at home, however. Production in a bakeshop is on a larger scale. It takes place day in and day out, sometimes under severe time pressures, in uncomfortably hot and humid conditions, and over long hours. Despite the discomforts and pressures, product quality must remain consistently high, because that is what the customer expects. It takes specialized knowledge and practiced skills to accomplish these goals successfully. It helps to be attentive to the sights, sounds, and smells of the bakeshop. Experienced bakers and pastry chefs, for example, listen to the sound of cake batter being beaten in a bowl, knowing that changes in sound accompany changes to the batter itself. They push and pummel bread dough to feel how it responds. They use smells from the oven to judge when baking is nearly complete, and they sample their finished products before presenting them to the customer. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL ) 2 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO BAKING HELPFUL HINT Baker s scales and their accessories (scoops and weights) must be cared for if they are to remain in balance. They should be wiped regularly with a damp cloth and mild detergent, and they should not be banged or dropped. These precautions are necessary to keep the scale reading accurately. To determine if a scale is in balance, empty both platforms and move the ounce weight indicator to the far left (i.e., to zero). With the scale at eye level, determine whether the platforms are at the same height. If they are not, adjust the weights located beneath the platforms as needed. Repeat this test with a scoop on the left platform and a counterweight on the right. If balancing is needed, do so by adding or removing weight from the counterweight. Experienced bakers and pastry chefs rely, too, on tools like timers and thermometers, because they know how time and temperature affect product quality. They also rely heavily on accurate scales. THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCURACY IN THE BAKESHOP Most bakery items are made of the same ingredients: flour, water, sugar, eggs, leavening agents, and fat. Sometimes the difference between two products is simply the method of preparation used in assembling the ingredients. Other times the difference is the proportion or amount of each ingredient in a formula. Because small differences in method and in proportion of ingredients can have a large effect on the quality of baked goods, it is crucial that bakers and pastry chefs follow methods of preparation carefully and measure ingredients properly. Otherwise, a product may turn out unexpectedly, or worse, it may turn out unacceptable or inedible. For example, if too much shortening and too few eggs are added to a formula for moist, chewy oatmeal cookies, the cookies will likely turn out crisp and dry. If the same error is made with cake batter, the result will likely be a complete failure, since eggs provide structure and volume. In fact, bakers and pastry chefs require a higher degree of accuracy when measuring ingredients than do culinary chefs in the kitchen. When the kitchen chef prepares a pot of soup, it doesn t really matter if a little less celery is added or an extra onion is included. The chef still has a pot of soup, and if the flavor is off, adjustments can be made along the way. Bakers and pastry chefs cannot make adjustments along the way. If too little salt is added to bread dough, it will do no good to sprinkle salt onto the bread once it is baked. Instead, ingredients must be weighed and measured accurately at the beginning. This means that, more so than kitchen chefs, bakers and pastry chefs are chemists in the kitchen. As with chemists, creativity and skill are important for success, but so is accuracy. If a formula calls for two pounds of flour, it doesn t mean around two pounds, more or less. It means two pounds. BALANCES AND SCALES Formulas used in the bakeshop are in some ways like recipes in the kitchen. Formulas include a list of ingredients and a method of preparation (MOP). Unlike recipes used by the kitchen chef, however, formulas include exact measurements for each ingredient, and these measurements are usually given in weights. The process of weighing ingredients is called scaling because pastry chefs use scales to weigh ingredients. The standard scale used in the bakeshop is a baker s balance scale. It measures ingredients by balancing them against known weights. It is an investment that should be selected for its durability and its precision. A good baker s scale can weigh amounts as large as 8 pounds (4 kilograms) or more and as small as 1/4 ounces (0.25 ounce or 5 grams). This provides the precision needed for most quantity food preparation. Bakers and pastry chefs sometimes use digital electronic scales. While many affordable electronic scales provide the same or better precision than baker s scales, it is not necessarily the case. The precision of a scale either baker s scale or electronic scale depends entirely on the scale s design and construction. UNITS OF MEASURE ) 3 MORE ON SCALE READABILITY The readability of a scale, sometimes represented as d for scale division, is literally the increments in weight that are read off the scale s display panel. As weight is added onto a scale with a readability of 5 grams, for example, the reading on the display panel will change from 0 grams, to 5 grams, to 10, 15, 20, and so on. No matter the weight of the ingredient, the scale displays the weight in increments of 5 grams. If a sample in fact weighs 6 grams, the display will read 5 grams. If it weighs 8.75 grams, the display will read 10 grams. Sometimes a scale fluctuates between readings. Let s say, for example, that the scale in the previous example keeps fluctuating between 5 grams and 10 grams. It is likely that the sample actually weighs about 7.5 grams, which is halfway between 5 grams and 10 grams. Most digital electronic scales provide information about precision also called readability and capacity on their front or back panels. For example, a scale that is marked 4.0 kg 5 g has a capacity of 4 kilograms, meaning it can measure quantities as large as 4 kilograms (about 8.8 pounds). The readability of this scale is 5 grams. Five grams is equivalent to just under 0.2 ounce, which is similar to the 0.25-ounce precision of a good baker s scale. Consider another electronic scale, one marked 100 oz. 0.1 oz. This scale has a capacity of 100 ounces (6.25 pounds or 2.84 kilograms) and a readability of 0.1 ounce (3 grams). The smaller value for readability indicates that this scale provides better precision than a typical baker s scale, making it useful for weighing small quantities of spices or flavorings. Just as baker s scales need to be checked periodically for accuracy, so too must digital scales. Digital scales typically come with a brass weight calibrated for accuracy. If the scale s reading does not match the mass of the brass weight, follow the manufacturer s instructions to adjust the scale. Because a scale is an important piece of equipment in a bakeshop, it is best to check its calibration at two different points (200 grams and 2000 grams, for example). The scale will need adjustment or repair if either of these two readings is off. How an ingredient is added to a digital scale can make a difference in the accuracy of the reading. For example, multiple small additions will sometimes read lower than the identical amount added all at once. This can happen because scales are generally designed so that they don t fluctuate excessively with air movement, and the scale cannot necessarily differentiate a small amount of product from air movement. Vibration, heat currents, cordless and cell phones, and static electricity should all be avoided, since they can affect the ability of a scale to read consistently. HELPFUL HINT To determine if a scale provides enough precision for the task at hand, consider the readability of the scale. A good rule of thumb is that a scale is acceptable for weighing an ingredient as long as the error in measurement does not exceed 10 percent. To ensure that the error does not exceed 10 percent, be sure that the readability of the scale is 10 percent or less than the amount to be weighed. Stated another way as a workable formula: Smallest quantity to be weighed scale readability 10 Consider a scale where the readability is 0.25 ounce (7 grams). This scale could appropriately weigh quantities as small as 2.5 ounces (70 grams) without more than a 10 percent error in measurement. Likewise, a scale with a readability of 0.1 ounce (3 grams) could adequately weigh quantities as small as 1 ounce (30 grams). UNITS OF MEASURE Digital and baker s scales measure in either standard U.S. common units (pounds and ounces; imperial units in Canada) or in metric units (kilograms and grams). Some versatile digital scales switch at the touch of a button from U.S./imperial units to metric units. Most countries throughout the world have adopted the metric ) 4 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO BAKING HOW CAN AN OUNCE SCALE PROVIDE THE PRECISION OF A GRAM SCALE? One gram is a much smaller unit than one ounce (there are grams in an ounce), so how is it possible for an ounce scale to provide the precision of a gram scale? Certainly if the gram scale has a readability of 1 gram and the ounce scale has a readability of 1 ounce, the gram scale will measure more precisely than the ounce scale. But this is rarely the case. Take, for example, the description of the two electronic scales given earlier. The first scale is a gram scale, with a readability of 5 grams, or 0.2 ounce (5 grams divided by grams per ounce). The second scale is an ounce scale with a readability of 0.1 ounce (3 grams). In this particular example, the ounce scale weighs more precisely than the gram scale, because the design and construction of the scale allows it to read smaller amounts. TABLE 1.1 EQUIVALENCIES BETWEEN U.S. COMMON (IMPERIAL) AND METRIC UNITS WEIGHT 1 ounce = 28.4 grams 1 pound = 454 grams VOLUME 1 teaspoon = 4.9 milliliters 1 quart = 0.95 liters system. This provides a means of sharing formulas more easily across national borders. More importantly, the metric system is simpler to use once you become familiar with it. With the metric system, for example, fewer math calculations are needed when converting a formula to a new batch size. Since 1 kilogram in metric equals 1,000 grams, you simply move decimal points to convert from one size unit to another. For example, 1.48 kilograms is equal to 1,480 grams, and 343 grams is equal to kilograms. Try converting as quickly from pounds to ounces, or ounces to pounds! This ease of use is probably the main reason why more bakers and pastry chefs in North America are adopting the metric system for use in the bakeshop. Using the metric system, for the most part, does not require tedious math conversions from ounces to grams or pounds to kilograms. This makes it much easier to use the metric system than most people believe. Table 1.1 lists the metric equivalents of a few U.S. common (imperial) units, for those times when you do need to convert from one system to another. It is a common misconception that metric units provide better precision than U.S./ imperial units. In fact, metric units are not necessarily more precise, although they are simpler to use. Once again, the precision of measurements depends on the design and construction of the scale, not on the units used. WEIGHT AND VOLUME MEASUREMENTS Home cooks in North America use volumetric measurements measuring containers and measuring spoons for all ingredients, including dry ingredients. This is a problem when measuring certain ingredients. For example, flour settles over time. When flour settles, there is less air between particles. Density increases, and more flour is needed to fill a container. On the other hand, if flour is sifted before it is measured, there is more air between particles. Density decreases, and less flour is needed to fill a cup. To avoid these inconsistencies, pastry chefs and bakers do not use volumetric measurements for flour and other dry ingredients. Instead, they weigh dry ingredients and most liquid ingredients for accuracy. Density does not affect weight measurements the way it affects volume measurements. A pound of sifted flour weighs the same as a pound of unsifted flour, regardless of the density. They both weigh 1 pound! THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DENSITY AND THICKNESS ) 5 TABLE 1.2 A COMPARISON OF THE APPROXIMATE WEIGHTS OF 1 PINT AND 1 HALF LITER (500 MILLILITERS) OF VARIOUS INGREDIENTS APPROXIMATE WEIGHT APPROXIMATE WEIGHT PER U.S. PINT PER HALF LITER (500 ML) INGREDIENT (IN WEIGHT OUNCES) (IN GRAMS) Splenda Ginger, ground Flour, sifted Flour, unsifted Sugar, granulated Oil, vegetable Cream, heavy Water Milk, whole Eggs, whole Orange juice Coffee liqueur Simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) Honey, molasses, and glucose corn syrups While some pastry chefs and bakers weigh all ingredients using a scale, others measure some liquids volumetrically. They use measuring containers for water and for liquids that have about the same density as water. While practices vary from bakeshop to bakeshop, ingredients that are often measured volumetrically include milk, cream, and eggs. Table 1.2 indicates why. Notice that the weights per pint (or per half liter) of milk, cream, and eggs are around the same as that of water. Measuring 1 pint of each of these ingredients yields about a pound or so (while these ingredients do not weigh exactly 1 pound per pint, they are approximately so; notice, however, that in the metric system, 1 half liter 500 milliliters of water at room temperature does weigh exactly 500 grams. This is not a coincidence). Many other liquids, including honey, corn syrup, and oil, have densities much different from water. These liquids must be weighed, because 1 pint will not weigh 1 pound. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DENSITY AND THICKNESS Density is a measure of the compactness of particles or molecules in a liquid or solid. If the particles or molecules are loosely packed, the liquid or solid is not dense, and the weight per cup or per liter of that ingredient is low. If the particles or molecules are closely packed, the liquid or solid is dense, and the weight per cup or weight per liter of that ingredient is high. Viscosity or consistency is a measure of how easily a liquid flows. If a liquid s particles or molecules slide past each other easily, the liquid flows easily and is considered thin. If the particles or molecules bump or tangle HELPFUL HINT Do not judge the density of a liquid by its thickness. Unless you know for sure that the density of a liquid is close to that of water, assume that it is not; assume that it must be weighed. 6 ) CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO BAKING TABLE 1.3 VOLUMETRIC CONVERSIONS FOR U.S. COMMON UNITS 1 tablespoon 3 teaspoons 0.5 fluid ounce 1 cup 48 teaspoons 16 tablespoons 8 fluid ounces 1 pint 16 fluid ounces 2 cups 1 quart 32 fluid ounces 4 cups 2 pints 1 gallon 128 fluid ounces 16 cups 8 pints 4 quarts HELPFUL HINT If a formula includes measurements in ounces, be sure to check carefully to determine for each ingredient whether it is to be measured using fluid or weight ounces. Unless you know the density of an ingredient, do not interchange weight measurements with volumetric measurements, or vice versa. with each other, the liquid will not flow easily and is thick. This is the case with fruit purees. Tiny pulp pieces in fruit purees bump and tangle with one another, preventing water and pulp particles from flowing easily past one another. This makes the puree thick. Some common liquids honey and molasses, for example are both dense and thick. The molecules are close together, making these liquids dense, and the molecules do not slide easily past each other, making the liquids thick. But consider vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is thicker than water, yet it is less dense than water (that is why oil floats). Notice how the density of a liquid cannot be judged by looking at its thickness. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WEIGHT OUNCES AND FLUID OUNCES Refer to Table 1.3, which lists conversions between U.S. common volumetric measurements. Notice that there are 16 ounces in a pint (2 cups). Recall that there are 16 ounces in a pound. Why, then, did we see from Table 1.1 that a pint does not weigh 1 pound for all ingredients? Likewise, how can there be 16 tablespoons in a cup and 8 ounces in a cup, but 16 tablespoons does not necessarily weigh 8 ounces? These are the problems that result when one word ounce is used to represent two different concepts. The term ounce represents a unit of weight or mass. It can also represent volume or capacity. That is, there are weight ounces that measure weight, and there are fluid ounces that measure volume. Notice that Table 1.3 specifies fluid ounces, not weight ounces, in each conversion. While 1 fluid ounce sometimes does weigh 1 ounce, it is not necessarily so. Consider feathers and bullets. No one expects 1 cup of feathers to weigh the same as 1 cup of bullets. Likewise, food ingredients vary in how much they weigh per cup. Refer back to Table 1.2, which lists several ingredients arranged from less dense to more dense and their weights per pint (2 cups) and per half liter (500 milliliters). Notice the large range in values. This shows that the expression a pint s a pound the world round is not only false for feathers and bullets, but it is also false for many common bakeshop ingredients. It is approximately true for water and for ingredients with the same density as water. Because 1 fluid ounce of water (and ingredients with the same density as water) weighs about 1 ounce, and 1 milliliter of water weighs 1 gram, for practical purposes it doesn t matter whether water is weighed on a scale or measured volumetrically. PHOTO 1.1 A comparison of volumes of equal weights of maple syrup, water, and flour. Photo by Aaron Seyfarth BAKER S PERCENTAGES ) 7 BAKER S PERCENTAGES Formulas, especially bread formulas, are sometimes expressed in percentages called baker s percentages. With baker s percentages, each ingredient is expressed as a certain ratio or percent of the total amount of flour in the formula. Flour is used as the basis for baker s percentages because it is typically the predominant ingredient in most baked goods. Since the total amount of flour is designated as 100 percent, the percentages of all ingredients add up to more than 100 percent. Table 1.4 provides an example of a bread formula expressed in weight and in baker s percentages. Notice that more than one type of flour is included in this formula, but that together the weight of the flours adds up to 100 percent. For formulas that do not contain flour, each ingredient is expressed as a percentage of the predominant and characteristic ingredient. In the case of a date filling, for example, each ingredient is expressed as a percentage of the amount of dates (Tab
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