Q: Can you provide a chocolate cookie formula that contains cocoa nibs and nuts?
C.S., Altoona, Pa.
A: The cocoa nibs and toasted pecans in this formula give the cookies a crunch and slightly bitter counterpoint with contrasting flavors and textures.
|Bread flour||8||2.5||3.7 kg||100|
|Baking soda||1.5||40 g||1.08|
|Brown sugar, light||3||12||1.7 kg||45.95|
|Sugar, granulated||3||12||1.7 kg||45.95|
|Eggs, whole||2||3.25||1 L||27.03|
|Cocoa nibs||3||12||1.7 kg||45.95|
|Chocolate chips, dark||3||12||1.7 kg||45.95|
|Pecans, lightly toasted||3||12||1.7 kg||45.95|
|Total appr. wt.||35||0.75||15.89 kg||429.48|
|Method: Cream together the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients, and add followed by the cocoa nibs, nuts and chocolate chips. Scoop 2-oz. cookies on parchment-lined sheet pans. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 10 minutes. The cookies should be soft in the center and brown around the edges.|
Q: What is a docker?
C.C., Fargo, N.D.
A: A docker is a block of wood or a cylinder featuring several blunt spikes that is used to mark or puncture the surface of a sheet of dough. Docking is the action of punching holes in or cutting bread dough before baking to prevent splitting or capping, and to control the expansion of the bread during baking without rupturing the crust.
Q: We are using a soaker in our multigrain bread. How long should we soak the grains?
Twana, via e-mail
A: Coarse grains, such as wheat berries and rye, should be soaked for at least 12 to 18 hours to ensure proper hydration. Using boiling water will help the soaking process as will adding 50 percent of the salt used in the formula.
Q: What is the difference between Dutch-process cocoa and natural cocoa?
A.B., Palm Springs, Calif.
A: Cocoa is a powder made from cocoa butter that has been pressed or extracted. Dutch-process cocoa is a modification of this process in which an alkaline substance is used to modify the flavor and the color of the cocoa. Dutch-process cocoa has a pH range of 6.5 to 8.1 and a red-brown color and produces red-brown bakery foods with a mild flavor. Natural cocoa has a pH of 5.2 to 5.9 and a yellow orange color that produces lighter bakery foods.
Q: Some formulas call for scalded milk. Why and how do we do this?
Athanasios, via e-mail
A: To scald milk, you bring it to a nearl boil (185°F/ 85°C), preferably in a thick-bottomed pan. While heating, stir it continually to keep a protein skin from forming on the surface and to prevent the proteins and sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Scalding serves two purposes: to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the milk, and to destroy enzymes that keep the milk from thickening. Pasteurization, however, accomplishes both of these, and since almost all milk in the United States is pasteurized, scalding is often an unnecessary step.
Q: We sell ice cream in our bakery. How can we make “fake” ice cream displays?
L.R., Cranford, N.J.
A: In the past, I have used margarine tinted with food coloring to create ice cream displays. However, the formula below works even better.
"Fake" ice cream
|Eggs, whites||7||200 ml|
|Confectioners sugar||2||900 g|
|Total appr. wt.||5||1.5||2.3 kg|
|Method: Beat the egg whites at medium speed. Add the sugar gradually; mix until stiff. Warm the glycerin and glucose slightly, and add to the egg white/sugar mixture. Add the starch, and blend until a shortbread-like consistency is achieved. Color the “dough” with food coloring as desired. Use an ice cream scoop to portion dough and display. Candied fruits work well as additional decoration.|
Dr. Klaus Tenbergen is certified as a Master Baker in Germany, South Africa and the United States. He is currently an assistant professor at California State University in Fresno, directing the Culinology® program, which blends culinary arts and the science of food. For more information about Culinology ®, or to submit a question, contact Dr. Tenbergen at email@example.com.