Bakery Workbench with Klaus Tenbergen, October 2012
Q: I am confused as to the purpose and use of bread emulsifiers. Can you clear this up?
M.G., New London, Conn.
A: Bread emulsifiers are generally divided into two categories: dough strengtheners and dough softeners. Dough strengthening emulsifiers are especially important for industrial bread production by helping form and maintain the crumb structure, which results in bread with the desired volume and texture. Dough softening emulsifiers are added to soften crumb structure and improve bread freshness. The most common emulsifiers used are mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E471), mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E472e), and sodium and calcium stearoyl-2-lactylates (E481 and E482).
Q: What is the best method to use to make brownies?
T.O., Middlebury, Vt.
A: Adding a well mixed blend of slightly warm butter and melted chocolate to a whisked egg and sugar mixture creates a fudgy texture. Whisk whole eggs and granulated sugar together quickly but completely before adding melted butter and chocolate. Sift the dry ingredients twice–once to aerate the mixture and a second time directly over the wet ingredients to build a lush crumb. Stir the sifted ingredients into the brownie batter base until all the flour particles have disappeared; be careful to not over-mix. Allow the entire block of uncut brownies to cool to room temperature before cutting to allow the texture to set.
Q: My bakery is located in a tropical environment with humidity of 50 percent or higher, and even when I purchase prepared rolled fondant, it wilts. How do I avoid this?
L.J., Kapolei, Hawaii
A: If you need a stiffer fondant, knead in some confectioners’ sugar. Adding a few drops of glycerin to the fondant will soften it during colder weather.
Q: What is the best method to use to make chocolate mousse?
Robert, via email
A: When melting chocolate and adding whipped cream for chocolate mousse, using the correct procedure is very important. Melt the chocolate, whip the cream, then add a third of the cream to the chocolate and whisk together. Add another third of the cream and whisk. Fold in the last third with a spatula to obtain a smooth consistency.
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.