Q: We want to add madeleines to our assortment. Can you provide a formula?
J.W., Kenosha, Wis.
A: This has been a successful formula.
|Sugar, granulated||2||3.27||1 kg|
|Eggs, whole||1||8.69||700 ml|
|Milk, whole||13.23||375 ml|
|Vanilla extract, to taste|
|Pastry flour||2||12.09||1.25 kg|
|Baking powder||2.29||65 g|
|Honey, raw||1.76||50 ml|
|Butter, melted||1||6.05||625 g|
|Total appr. wt.||8||15.38||4.065 kg|
|Method: Gently melt the butter with the honey and set aside to cool. Whisk the eggs and sugar together, adding the milk gradually. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder, add the cooled butter, and combine until well blended. Rest, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Brush the inside of the madeleine trays with melted butter. Pipe the mixture into the dome-shaped moulds. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 10 minutes.|
Q: Our employees often place hot pots on our wooden workbenches. Now several spots are marred by burn marks. Do you have a good tip we can implement to prevent this from happening?
V.M., Charlotte, N.C.
A: I train employees to set hot pots on either upsidedown pie tins or empty egg crates, preventing my wooden workbenches from being branded.
Q: What is a high-ratio cake?
T.N., Auburn, Maine
A: The term applies to cakes containing unusually high percentages of sugar and liquids. To produce satisfactory cakes from such formulas, specialty flours and specially hydrogenated shortenings are required. Usually, high-ratio describes cakes in which the sugar weight exceeds the flour weight. These cakes generally are made with high-ratio cake flour, which is milled from soft wheat. This is very high-grade wheat, with gluten content between 7 and 9 percent and a pH lowered to 5.2 or less by a chlorine treatment. Additionally, highratio shortening is used. This shortening contains emulsifiers such as polysorbate 60, glyceryl monostereate and monoglycerides.
Q: How much sodium propionate should we use to inhibit mold and rope growth?
W.J., Louisville, Ky.
A: Salt of an organic acid is used in bakery products in small quantities–0.1 to 0.3 percent of flour weight–to inhibit mold and rope growth. The most effective pH range in bakery products is 5.0 to 5.5. This salt is preferred over calcium propionate in chemical-leavened products because of possible interference in the leavening reaction by the calcium ion.
Q: Some of our breads have dark brown blister-like spots when baked. What causes this?
S.H., Charleston, W.V.
A: Over-expansion of a weak spot on the dough surface causes dark brown blister-like spots on baked bread. This spot is then exposed to excess heat, causing burning. On loaves of bread, common causes of such blisters are excess steam during proofing, excessive compression of the dough during final moulding, or chilling the dough during the final proof.
Q: We’re looking for a good croquant for our Frankfurter Kranz. Do you have a formula?
W.K., Cheyenne, Wyo.
A: This formula should work well.
|Sugar, granulated||3||4.91||1.5 kg|
|Almonds, toasted flakes, chopped||3||4.91||1.5 kg|
|Total appr. wt.||6||9.82||3 kg|
|Method: Caramelize the sugar in a saucepan, then stir in the almonds. Remove the saucepan from heat and pour the hot, malleable croquant onto an oiled marble slab or oiled stainless steel worktable. Grease a rolling pin to prevent the croquant from sticking. Roll the hot croquant out to about 1/3 in. (1 cm) thick. Cool. Break the croquant into pieces, and chop or pound into small, coarse pieces. Use as needed around the Frankfurter Kranz.|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.