Baking has become essential, and the demand for great bakers is rapidly increasing. Bakery products are among the world’s most popular consumed food, and to become a master in this field, there are some basics to pay attention to in this skilful career path. This article will provide some crucial tips for a great baking career.
A good baker must decide on their area of specialisation because it requires a good, original idea. They must research everything related to it, including production processes, emerging market trends, and the necessary equipment. They have to figure out and contrast the prices of the various goods. With the possible return, they can determine whether or not the profit margin is realistic and whether they can successfully manage the costs of their project or restaurant.
To ascertain whether there will be sufficient demand for the things you intend to sell now is the ideal moment to conduct market research and learn more about it. You should also observe the competitors already operating in the market and note their advertising strategies and the products they may offer that could compete with yours.
If the baker is the business owner, it is a must to consider the best advertising and promotion strategies for their company, what strategies will be best for the new products they want to introduce and how to implement them.
You must select a name or logo for your new brand that fits your company’s personality and products. To ensure that your brand’s name stick in customers’ minds for as long as possible, it is recommended to choose something unusual.
Here are the factors that can distinguish you in this highly competitive field:
Mixing the ingredients is one of the critical steps in the bakery industry. The methods used to combine the ingredients affect the final products in terms of appearance, size and texture. Therefore, extra care must be taken to mix the ingredients efficiently to achieve the desired results.
The goal of the mixing process is to distribute the ingredients evenly and introduce air to the mixture, which helps to complete the lifting and swelling process to ensure getting a light and crisp textured final product, in addition to activating the proteins present in the wheat flour, which form the gluten network required for the preparation of a flexible dough.
Therefore, you must understand and learn the differences between each mixing method to learn what is the best way for the product you’re working on and what is the best method for the components that you intend to use, in addition to knowing the best equipment and tools that can be used to achieve the desired result through the mixing method used; let’s will learn more about each of them and what equipment is appropriate to use with it:
Beating: It is a method of stirring all the ingredients to introduce air and create a glutenous network. It is possible to use a spoon, fork, or electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Blending: It is mixing two or more ingredients using a rubber spatula or the electric kneader with the paddle compass to distribute the components of the mixture evenly, and this method is used to mix the dry ingredients in the dough and follow this method when you want to make a dough that contains a small percentage of liquids.
Creaming: It is a method that combines the fatty element, whether it is creamy butter or cream, with sugar first by using the electric kneader with the paddle compass at high speed to introduce air into them.
Cutting: It is about mixing the cold fat with the flour using the hand or the electric kneader with the compass of the paddle until you get lumps of the required size; then, you complete the process of incorporating the rest of the ingredients.
Folding: In this method, you use a rubber spatula to gently and slowly incorporate whipped cream or beaten eggs into the dry ingredients.
Kneading: It happens by folding and stirring the ingredients by hand or using the electric kneading machine with the paddle attachment until a glutenous network is formed.
Sifting: This method requires using a sieve to pass the dry ingredients through to remove clumps and introduce air into the dough.
Stirring: This method is the most common, as it relies on mixing the ingredients manually with a wooden or rubber spoon by stirring the ingredients together while moving the entire bowl in a circular motion until it is evenly distributed in the mixture. It is possible to stir the dry ingredients together or stir the liquids altogether, or both.
Whipping: It is a method of vigorously whipping the ingredients with the help of a manual beater or an electric kneader equipped with a beater attachment to introduce air into the mixture, and it relies on whisking the liquid ingredients first and then adding the dry ingredients.
As explained earlier, the dough consists of flour, which contains molecules of proteins. When water or milk is added to it, mixed well together, these molecules turn into a long and stretchy gluten network, so when raising agents are added, a retention process occurs by that gluten network of air bubbles. Resulting from gases mixing the raising agent with the previous mixture, and thus the process of raising or swelling the dough takes place. The three raising factors known in the bakery kitchen are yeast, baking powder, and baking soda, so let’s get to know each element of them and their most important characteristics:
Baking Soda: The basis of the process of adding sodium bicarbonate is that it is an alkaline substance, which makes it carry out chemical reactions when mixed with acidic substances, so carbon dioxide gas is produced from that process, which helps baked goods rise and swell when baking, and most of the materials that are from Lemon juice, yoghurt, sour cream, and honey can cause the baking soda to react.
Baking Powder: Baking powder contains soda bicarbonate, in addition to some acidic elements in the form of powder, but it remains inactive until it is moistened with the liquids present in the dough mixture when added to it, but despite the convergence of baking powder and baking soda, one should not be used instead of the other.
Yeast: Yeast depends on being responsible for the fermentation process of the dough, as it feeds on sugar and then produces carbon dioxide gas, and the amount of that gas is what determines the texture and final shape of the pastry, besides that yeast has a feature that the other two types of raising materials lack, which is added a particularly strong flavour to baked goods that can be felt most strongly in bread.
Types of Yeast
Active Dry Yeast: It is the most widely used type, and it is a packaged powder, but you must activate it before using it by dissolving it in warm water, and it is used, for example, in pizza dough, sandwich bread and bagels.
Instant Dry Yeast: The only difference between it and the previous yeast is that it does not need an activation process before using it. It can be mixed with flour immediately without dissolving it in water. When using this type of yeast, use about 1/3- or 1/2-part active yeast, used in dough that does not need a long time to ferment, such as dough for doughnuts and cinnamon rolls.
Fresh yeast: It is fresh yeast and is usually available to bakers and sold in cubes by weight. It can be added directly to flour or dissolved in water first to facilitate mixing later. It is suitable for types of bread that need a long fermentation time and doughs that contain a high percentage of sugar.
Various flavours can be added to baked goods to give them character. For instance, adding herbs, spices, or extracts to baked goods can give them a unique flavour. However, these elements must be carefully chosen, and high-quality ingredients must be utilised to ensure a satisfying end product. Here are some of the most important flavours you can use in baking.
Essential Oils: They are pure oils extracted from plant peels and are used to give aroma and flavour to baked goods and desserts.
Extracts: It is a mixture of essential oils mixed with ethyl alcohol, and it evaporates quickly and must be kept in sealed containers. The most popular flavours of extracts are vanilla, almond and lemon.
Emulsions: Emulsions consist of flavouring oils, which are mixed in water with the help of emulsifying agents. Because emulsions are stronger than extracts, extra care must be taken when using them and adding them in small amounts. The most popular types of emulsifiers are lemon and orange.
Vanilla: The role of vanilla for baked goods is the same as that of salt for salty foods, as it enhances the flavour of recipes and other ingredients in the mixture and reduces the unwanted taste associated with eggs.
Chocolate: Chocolate is one of the most used flavourings in the field of baked goods and sweets.
Fat is a major factor in the taste, smell, and texture of the final product for baked goods due to the percentage of moisture and fat that it adds to the mixture. Therefore, the appropriate type of fat must be chosen according to its taste and the temperature it needs to melt. Here is some information about the most important types of fats used in baked goods.
Natural butter: Natural butter is the best fat used in bakery dough because it adds a rich and distinctive flavour and aroma. However, one of its drawbacks is that it melts at a relatively low temperature, about 31 degrees Celsius.
Margarine: Industrial butter needs a higher temperature than natural butter to melt, which makes it suitable for use in some wrapped baked goods such as croissants, puff pastry or leafy dough, but it may leave a greasy taste on the tongue.
Shortening: This type of fat is made from vegetable oils frozen through hydrogenation. This type of fat is suitable for grease baking trays, commercial production of cakes, and recipes that require large amounts of sugar, such as frosting cream.
Oil: The oil mixes very effectively when mixed with other components, forming an enveloping layer for the existing proteins molecules, which leads to a better result in terms of texture, but it is always recommended to use oil without a strong flavour so that it does not affect the taste of baked goods except if it is used as an additional bait, but remember not to use the oil as a substitute for margarine in recipes.
Now that you know the different mixing methods, raising agents, flavours and fats, you’re ready to be a master baker. Happy baking!