We all became Chefs because we arepassionateabout cooking but some excellent Chefs and home cooks alike profess that they are Chefs or Cooks and definitely Not Bakers. Nothing is more pleasingto your clientele and attractive and impressive to your restaurant’s owners than Home Made, Home Style Pastries, Desserts and Fresh Baked Breads. In my career as a Chef I have been fortunate to have had the experience of managing high volume full production bake shops in restaurants and hotels, and as hands on Pastry Chef in fine dinning restaurants, my philosophy has always been the same:
…If you like good food you can cook good food, If you enjoy fresh baked goods, you can bake your own high quality baked goods, pastries and desserts…
The most common reason for Chefs not wanting to bake besides they don’t have the time, waiting for rising and proofing times ect.(Which is just an excuse to cover the real reasons) is that Chefs love to be Artistic and Create “New Dishes” but they don’t like to Measure anything!! Baking seems too Mathematical and Exact maybe even Repetitious.High-End, Fine Dining Restaurants however offer a great opportunity to be creative and personalize your own signature deserts and artisan breads.
This is and attempt to cut through the smoke and mirrors that over complicate the baking procedure in a commercial or home kitchen and spark interest in adding a baking program to all types of Chefs regular production schedule, and add signature pastries, desserts and breads to their personal repertoire of specialties.
There are hundreds of cook books containing thousands of individual recipes you can buy but in reality there are only a handful of standard baking formulas, the type of ingredients used in proportion to one another and procedures, the order and manner in which they are mixed, scaled, panned and baked that result in a complete recipe. When You list these basic formulas side by side on a graph the similarities and ingredients and the progression ofamounts makes it very easy to understand and after a while memorize commonly used GO-TO Baking Recipesthat can be varied to create countless varieties of your own signature desserts.
Another reason to not bake is the training most Chefs receive and major Culinary Institutes are in high volume production bake shop courses where recipe amounts are for huge batches of dough producingdozens of the same item. These recipes are for large mixers are produced with the aid of commercial proffers and dough sheeters, dividers and steam injected ovens. All Basic Breads, pastries(Pies-Tarts), desserts(Cakes-Tortes) can be produced in the average home or commercial kitchen, with a few necessities that are present in most commercial kitchens. A Food Processor 12 or 14 Cup, A Stand mixer, 5 or 6 quart kitchen aid for home and most restaurant kitchens or a 15 or 20 qt. Hobart Mixer available in most hotels(AlthoughI’ve seen small retail baked shops operating successfully with a couple kitchen aids) , a good convection or stack oven and a few essential pans, ½ hotel pans and hotel pans are good, muffin pans are a great Multi-Tasker. Most Cash and Carry wholesale outlets and all Major Commercial Restaurant food purveyors offer a full line of baking products and ingredients to perform any baking needs.
As a Chef (with the unfortunate turnover of kitchen staff), I am constantly training and retraining cooks to cook and bake. I finally took the time to put this togetheras a training tool for cooks who didn’t know how to bake or for “Chefs Who Hate to Bake” I’ve read hundreds of cook books and spent endless hours on the internet as well as breaking down my commercial large batch recipes to come up with this collection of home and restaurant kitchen tested recipes. A lot of the older recipes from my Grand Mothers and recipes in very old Mennonite community cook books list only the ingredients and amounts, they took for granted that every one knew how to cut shortening into flour to make pie dough so they didn’t bother writing it down. They also didn’t have cocoa powder, baking powder of rapid rise yeast like we have to day that make baking a lot easier. No new basic doughs have been invented all modern bakers have done is come up with artificial flavoring, artificial colorings, emulsified shortenings, chemical stabilizers, tenderizers, extenders and imitation dairy products and sweeteners to make a new version of the traditional products(Not necessarily a better version).
“Everything Old is New Again”
Today is an exciting timefor bakers, chefs, farmers, cheese producers, wineries, breweries, ect.The interest for home made additive free artisan type products has created a lucrative market for them and the talent (Employment Opportunities) to produce them. The wide variety of fresh ingredients readily available also provides an endless palate for the Chef of Artisan Baker to Create Signature Recipes. It is popular to deconstruct and reconstruct old time home style desserts commonlyoffered in diners and create upscale versions of these favorites for fine dinning establishments.
The format of this collection of recipes lends itself easily to creating this type of desserts the individual Chef choosing the dough, the shape, the filling type, the flavor, the sauce and the garnish. There are savory as well as sweet applications for these recipes also. Very popular now are savory drop doughnuts or beignets, flaky butter crust pot pies, sausage and vegetable custards and bread puddings used as a starch, savory turnovers and empanadas, as well as endless pasta options.
These recipes also some what reflect the tricks professional Chefs use to simplify a recipeverses the classical rendition and they have found them to be successful and profitable.
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Overcoming The Fear:
“Bakeophobia” (FOB), Fear of Baking,
This presentation will help you to see the similarities that connect everything in the baking process. It really does have it’s own set of rules and you have to have the right mind set for it. This is the cure that will help you overcome “Bakeophobia” (FOB) Fear of Baking.
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