Friday, October 07, 2005

Baking 1a

I've completed the first of two baking classes that I am required to take while here at NECI. It was all about producing mass quantities of baked goods (cookies, scones, quiche, dinner rolls, sandwich rolls, foccacia, etc.) in a bakery. It was a fun class and I really learned a lot!

I am trying to think of some good tips to pass along to you and think that I will share what I learned about cookie spread. If you've spent much time making cookies, you've probably had a batch that spread more than it should have. I learned 7 causes of cookie spread, here are some of them:
  1. When creaming the fats and sugars, don't over cream. The idea here is just to incorporate these ingredients, not to incorporate air. Over-mixing will incorporate air, which is the leading cause for cookie spread.
  2. Too much leavening. If you add too much baking soda and/or baking powder to your cookies, they will generate too much air and cause cookie spread. (Also, there will be a chemical taste to the cookies.)
  3. Greasing (or over greasing) the baking sheet. The slick surface provides no resistance to spreading of the dough as it heats.
  4. Low oven temperature. Fats melt before starches and proteins get the picture.


Arturo Flores said...

Hey Mary, do you have any tips on focaccia? I took a weekend class on pizza and focaccia and learned some interesting tips on how to make focaccia. Any chance you can post your recipe? I would be curious just to compare with the one I have.

One interesting thing I learned in my class was a different kneading technique. Our instructor would slam the dough as hard as he could on the work surface, then pick it up and slam it again. Seems to work pretty good. It's my favorite kneading technique now :D

mz said...

We make mass quantities of dough, so we use a Doyon spiral mixer for kneading the doughs here.

1 head garlic, chopped
1 bunch rosemary, chopped
2 bunch scallions, chopped
2 each red inions, chopped
1 pint starter
5 Lbs. 12 Oz. water
6 1/2 Oz. Fresh yeast
4 Oz. Corn syrup
12 Oz. Olive oil
11 Lbs. 2.5 Oz. Bread flour
2 1/4 Oz. salt

Use straight dough method to mix (Water and yeast in the mixer first, then add the veg, followed by the dry ingreadients. Mix at speed 1 for 2 minutes. Adjust moisture. Mix at speed 2 for 5-6 minutes, until gluten is developed.)

The yeild is 21 pounds of dough.

Arturo Flores said...


I guess I can't really compare my recipe to yours :|

I'm guessing the garlic, rosemary, scallions, and onions are added as toppings to the focaccia?

mz said...

They actually mix in the garlic, onion, scallions and rosemary instead of using them as toppings (which would be traditional). The focaccia is used for sandwiches at the bakery, that's the reason they are mixed into the dough.

The class you took sounds interesting. Where is/was the class? Did you learn some good recipes for pizza and focaccia? Are you willing to share them?

Arturo Flores said...

The class was at the Culinary Academy in San Francisco, it was one of their weekend classes.

Here's the recipe for focaccia:

21 ounces water
3/4 ounces active dry yeast
1/2 ounce sugar
4 ounces olive oil (plus more for tray)
1 ounce salt
2 pounds bread flour

heat 5 ounces of water to 110 degrees, dissolve yeast in water and allow to sit for 10 minutes (most recipes want you to dissolve the sugar along with the yeast at this point. Our instructor insisted that this was not good.)

add half the flour and stir to combine

add sugar, olive oil, salt. stir

add remaining flour and form dough, knead for 10 minutes or so. (we used the slam the dough on the table method of kneading. The instructor said that since this recipe was a bit wetter than most, this method of kneading would work best).

Form dough into a round ball and place it on a lightly oiled jelly roll pan. Press out the dough slightly, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Press out dough to completely fill the pan, then allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

press out one more time to completely fill the edges, add desired toppings and sprinkle with olive oil and course salt.

Allow dough to rise an additional 15minutes before baking to lighten texture.

Use fingers to dimple surface

bake at 375 for about 25 minutes

I'm not completely sure when you're supposed to dimple the surface. I think maybe you're supposed to dimple the surface before the last 15 minutes of rise time.