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Baking and Pastry

Baking and Pastry

Freshly baked breads and desserts make a good and lasting impression on the guests. Although baking and pastry can be a specialization in itself, every chef must learn basic procedures and be able to produce items such as pie dough, puff pastry and simple, pleasing desserts.

The function of various ingredients and how they will affect the finished product by giving it a tender "crumb", a well-developed crust, or a very light texture are examined. Also there are six basic functions of ingredients and the techniques of measuring (known as scaling), proper pan preparation, sifting, tempering chocolate, and working a pastry bag. The chef should always bear in mind that baking is a science that depends on exact measurements and the proper handling of ingredients and tools in order to ensure the same results consistently.

Although baking is not a difficult process, understanding the role that a given ingredient will play in the finished product is important. Baking ingredients will generally fall into six basic categories of function -

  • Strengtheners, such as flour and eggs

  • Shorteners, such as butters and oil

  • Sweeteners, or liquifiers, including a variety of sugars and syrups

  • Thickerners, such as cornstarch, flour and eggs

  • A number of different flavorings

As this list above demonstrates, one ingredient may fulfill a number of different functions; for example, egg and flour can each be categorized as both a strengthener and a thickener.

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