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Chapter 13 Quick bread mixing methods.

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After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

* Understand the differences between yeast breads and quick breads.

* Understand the three quick bread mixing methods.

* Demonstrate the quick bread mixing methods by preparing the recipes in this chapter.

KEY TERMS

biscuit method

creaming

creaming method

cutting

muffin method

tunneling

In the previous chapter you learned how to define a quick bread. The difference between a good quick bread and a great quick bread lies in the mixing method. Quick breads have their own mixing methods. The general goal behind each mixing method is to reduce gluten formation so the quick bread is tender. Quick bread recipes tend to use low-protein flours like all-purpose, cake, and pastry. There are exceptions for specialty quick breads that may use some higher protein flours. The presence of fat and sugar also add to a tender quality. In most quick bread recipes, the words "mix until just combined" are written over and over again. Overmixing develops gluten and toughness. Toughness is one of the pitfalls of quick bread preparations. Quick breads that are overmixed have a tendency to develop large holes or cavities throughout the inside, which is caused when a thick gluten network has formed and trapped gases (carbon dioxide) in the batter. This is referred as tunneling.

This chapter describes differences between yeast breads and quick breads and the three basic mixing methods for quick breads. They are (1) the biscuit method, (2) the muffin method, and (3) the creaming method. The popover, a specialty quick bread, has its own mixing method.

Differences between Yeast Breads and Quick Breads

Before discussing the different mixing methods for quick breads, you should know the major differences between a yeast bread and a quick bread. One similarity between yeast breads and quick breads is that they both use carbon dioxide gas to leaven baked goods. However, the two breads have more differences than similarities. (See Table 13-1, Differences between Yeast Breads and Quick Breads.)

Yeast Is Alive; Chemical Leaveners Are Not

Yeast breads are leavened with yeast, a living organism, which eats sugar and requires specific living conditions to survive. The yeast undergo fermentation in which the by-products produced are carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.

Chemical leaveners are not alive. They form chemical reactions with specific ingredients within the batter or dough, causing the formation and release of carbon dioxide gas.

Preparation of Yeast Breads Requires Time; Preparation of Quick Breads Does Not

Yeast doughs must ferment, which takes time. Because the yeast are alive, they require time to multiply, eat available sugars, and give off carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. The rate of fermentation depends on the temperature of the dough, which must be sufficient to maintain the yeast in an active state.

Quick breads, on the other hand, are prepared quickly with little time spent on preparation. Quick breads must be baked relatively soon after they are mixed because of the immediate chemical reactions that occur. This ensures valuable carbon dioxide gas bubbles do not escape into the air before leavening has occurred.

Gases Are Formed before Baking in Yeast Breads; Gases Are Mostly Formed in the Oven during Baking in Quick Breads

Carbon dioxide gas produced by yeast in yeast breads is created before baking. The carbon dioxide becomes trapped within gluten sheets during fermentation and continues to form until the yeast are killed in the oven.

Quick breads prepared with chemical leaveners do not develop a strong enough of a network of gluten to trap carbon dioxide gas before baking. Therefore, batters and doughs using chemical leaveners depend upon them to release carbon dioxide gas in the oven. This release of gas should come just as the structure of the baked good forms and sets so that the gases can be retained and expand the product without it collapsing. However, it is normal for a small percentage of gas bubbles to dissipate into the air before baking.

Yeast Breads Tend to Be Chewy; Quick Breads Have a Finer, More Tender Crumb

Yeast breads and quick breads have different textures. In general, yeast breads are mixed for a longer period of time and tend to be prepared with flours containing higher protein levels. Gluten development is encouraged and the finished products are chewier in texture.

Quick breads, with few exceptions, are mixed until the ingredients are just combined. Most quick breads use flours with lower protein levels because little gluten development is desired. The result is a baked good with a finer, more tender crumb.

Different Mixing Methods

There are three mixing methods for quick breads. They include the biscuit method, the muffin method, and the creaming method. Different mixing methods may be used for the same type of quick bread. For example, one recipe for banana bread may use the muffin method and another recipe for banana bread may use the creaming method. Each banana bread will have a slightly different texture because of the different method used. (See Table 13-2, Quick Bread Mixing Methods Using Chemical Leaveners; and Table 13-3, Popovers: A Specialty Quick Bread Mixing Method Using Steam Leavening.)

Three Mixing Methods for Quick Breads

* Biscuit method

* Muffin method

* Creaming method

The Biscuit Method

The biscuit method is used primarily for biscuits, shortcakes, and scones. Biscuits are typically served with a meal, whereas shortcakes tend to be served for dessert. Scones are usually served as a breakfast item. All three tend to be flaky, light, and tender.

The flaky texture of baked goods using the biscuit method of mixing is produced by using a solid fat such as butter or shortening. The fat should be cold. If butter is used, it may be frozen for a short period to make sure it will not melt too quickly in the oven. Depending on the amount of flakiness desired in the finished product, the fat is mixed in with the dry ingredients until the pieces range from pea sized to smaller pieces that are the consistency of oatmeal. A pastry blender or a commercial mixer with a pastry blender attachment can be used. If the fat has been frozen, a food processor can be used by pulsing dry ingredients with the fat until the desired sized pieces are obtained. Do not overprocess the mixture or the fat will soften and blend into the dry ingredients. The technique used to combine fat into the dry ingredients is known as cutting or cutting in the fat. This cutting technique is used so that the fat is not broken down and blended in too thoroughly. Cutting also allows particles of flour to be coated with fat. The fat-coated flour particles are so slippery that as water-based ingredients are added, very little gluten is able to form. The lack of gluten produces a tender product. Depending on what is being made, the ingredients will form either a thick batter or dough.

During the baking process, the pieces of fat melt into the dough leaving air spaces which expand in the oven, forcing the dough to rise. This results in flaky layers. The longer the cold fat pieces can remain intact before melting, the flakier the finished baked good will become. The smaller the fat pieces, the more quickly they will melt into the dough, forming a more tender baked good.

The biscuit method of mixing resembles the method for making a flaky pie crust with the following differences:

* The ice water used in the flaky pie crust method is changed to other, richer liquid ingredients like milk, cream, or buttermilk in the biscuit method for quick breads.

* While there is no leavening used in the flaky pie crust method, chemical leaveners are typically used in the biscuit method for quick breads.

The Biscuit Method

1. Mix the dry ingredients and the chemical leaveners in a mixing bowl.

2. Cut in the cold fat until it becomes the desired size using a pastry blender.

3. Combine all liquid ingredients in a separate bowl.

4. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients only until combined.

RECIPE

Nutty Chocolate Chip Shortcakes (This chapter, page 291)

The Muffin Method

The muffin method is simple and quick. That is why muffins and some loaf breads are called "quick breads." Date nut bread, banana bread, corn bread, and blueberry muffins are just four types of quick breads that may use this method. Many pancake and waffle recipes also use the muffin method of mixing. Most quick breads using the muffin method use liquid fats like oils or melted butter instead of solid fats and achieve a coarser, less cake-like texture. The muffin method uses just two bowls. In one bowl, all the dry ingredients are whisked together; in the other bowl go all the liquid ingredients. The liquid ingredients are then mixed into the dry ingredients only until combined. Overmixing is discouraged to prevent much gluten development, which leads to tough quick breads.

The Muffin Method

1. Mix dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

2. Blend liquid ingredients in another bowl.

3. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.

4. Mix only until combined.

RECIPE

Grandma Etta's Blueberry Muffins (This chapter, page 294)

The Creaming Method

If a cake-like quality is desired in a quick bread such as a muffin or bread, the creaming method is used. The creaming method for a quick bread is the same method that is used for certain cakes. A softened solid fat is blended with sugar until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. This blending of fat and sugar until light and fluffy is referred to as creaming. The granular, sand-like crystals of sugar push the fat against the bowl, helping to incorporate air, which lightens the color and texture. In the oven, the small air bubbles that have been incorporated into the fat enlarge due to the presence of chemical leaveners. This helps the baked good to rise.

Once the fat and sugar have been creamed, eggs are added one at a time to ensure that a proper emulsion forms (see Chapter 14 for more on emulsions). The dry ingredients are then added alternately with the liquid ingredients, mixing only until combined. As a variation to alternating the addition of liquid and dry ingredients, some recipes add all the liquid ingredients at one time and then all the dry ingredients.

The Creaming Method

1. Cream fat and sugar until light and fluffy in an electric mixer using the paddle attachment.

2. Add eggs one at a time.

3. Whisk dry ingredients in one bowl and blending liquid ingredients in another.

4. Alternately add dry ingredients and liquid ingredients, ending with the dry ingredients.

5. Mix only until combined.

RECIPES

Cake-Like Chocolate Chip Muffins (This chapter, page 299)

Nutty Banana Bread (using the creaming method) (This chapter, page 296)

A Specialty Quick Bread

A specialty quick bread discussed in Chapter 12 is the popover. Popovers use steam as their sole leavening agent.

RECIPES

Popovers (This chapter, page 302)

Preparation of Muffin Pans

Muffin pans used for quick breads should be sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or greased to prevent sticking. Lining muffin pans with paper liners can replace greasing; however, the baked muffins will not have the same height or full appearance as the muffin without a liner. Muffins with liners are used in retail bakeries and supermarkets because the liner protects the muffins, aids in their easy removal, and prevents them from becoming dry.

A muffin without a liner looks more substantial because the batter can take up the entire muffin pan and rise up the sides unimpeded by any liner. In general, muffin pans should be filled two-thirds full.
NUTTY
CHOCOLATE
CHIP
SHORTCAKES

Makes 10 to 16 shortcakes

A shortcake is a sweet biscuit that is baked and then split in half
horizontally and filled with fruit, usually berries (e.g.,
strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries) and then dolloped with
whipped cream. Remember that the "short" in shortcake refers to the
shortening of the gluten strands by coating them with fat.

Lessons demonstrated in this recipe:

* How to prepare a quick bread using the biscuit method of mixing.

* Buttermilk is the acid that neutralizes baking soda to form carbon
  dioxide gas.

* The cold butter pieces distributed throughout the dough form a
  tender, flaky shortcake.

              MEASUREMENTS                         INGREDIENTS

             U.S.            METRIC    BAKER'S %

13 ounces    2 3/4 cups      370 g       100%      all-purpose
                                                   flour
             1/2 teaspoon    3 g          1%       salt
1 3/4        1/4 cup         50 g        14%       granulated sugar
ounces
2/3 ounce    1 tablespoon    20 g         5%       baking powder
             2 teaspoons
             1/2 teaspoon    2 g         0.5%      baking soda
4 ounces     1/2 cup         115 g       31%       unsalted butter,
                                                   cold, cut into
                                                   1/2-inch
                                                   (1.25-cm) cubes
4 1/2        3/4 cup         130 g       35%       semisweet
ounces                                             chocolate chips
1 3/4        1/2 cup         50 g        14%       hazelnuts, pecans,
ounces                                             or walnuts
                                                   toasted in a
                                                   400[degrees]F
                                                   (205[degrees]C)
                                                   oven for 5 to
                                                   10 minutes and
                                                   coarsely chopped
8 fluid      1 cup           240 mL      65%       buttermilk, well
ounces                                             shaken
1 each                       47 g        13%       large egg
1 fluid      2 tablespoons   30 mL        8%       buttermilk or
ounce                                              milk for brushing
As needed                    As                    extra granulated
                             needed                sugar for
                                                   sprinkling
                                                   nonstick cooking
                                                   spray
                                        286.3%     Total Nutty
                                                   Chocolate Chip
                                                   Shortcakes
                                                   percentage

1. Preheat oven to 375[degrees]F (190[degrees]C).

2. Using a pastry blender, gently mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking
   powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl (Figure 13-1).

3. Cut in the cold, cubed butter with a pastry blender until it is
   the size of peas (Figure 13-2). The mixture should look like
   coarse oats (Figure 13-3).

4. Add the chocolate chips and nuts into the flour and butter mixture
   and toss together. Blend the buttermilk and the egg together in a
   small bowl. Pour the egg and buttermilk into the flour mixture
   and stir gently using a spoon until the mixture can be gathered into
   a ball (Figure 13-4). Do not overmix!

5. Gather the dough into a disk shape and wrap it in plastic. Chill the
   dough for 1 hour or up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to a 1/2
   inch (1.25 cm) thickness (Figure 13-5). Cut the dough into desired
   shapes about 21/2 to 3 inches (6 to 7.5 cm) in diameter (Figure
   13-6).

Alternatively, the dough can be cut in half and each half rolled into a
7-inch (17 1/2-cm) diameter circle that is 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick.
Using a knife or pizza wheel, cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges.

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7. Cover a large sheet pan with parchment paper and place the
   shortcakes on them, leaving a 1-inch (2.5-cm) space between
   each one. Brush each shortcake with the remaining buttermilk
   and sprinkle generously with sugar (Figure 13-7). Bake the
   shortcakes for 16 to 20 minutes, or until they are light brown.
   Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve split in half with
   a dollop of whipped cream.

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GRANDMA
ETTA'S
BLUEBERRY
MUFFINS

Makes approximately 12 to
14 muffins

Lessons demonstrated in this recipe:

* How to prepare a quick bread using the muffin method of mixing.

* The fat used in the muffin method is typically in liquid form.

* Two bowls are used: one for dry ingredients and one for wet
  ingredients.

* The wet ingredients are added to the dry ingredients.

                        MEASUREMENTS             INGREDIENTS

            U.S.            METRIC   BAKER'S %

9 1/2       2 cups          270 g      100%      all-purpose flour
ounces      1 tablespoon    12 g        5%       baking powder
1 3/4       4 tablespoons   50 g       19%       granulated sugar
ounces      1/2 teaspoon    3 g        1.1%      salt
1 each                      47 g       17%       large egg
8 fluid     1 cup           240 mL     89%       milk
ounces
2 fluid     1/4 cup         60 mL      22%       canola oil
ounces
10 ounces   2 cups          285 g      106%      fresh or frozen
                                                 blueberries
                                                 (thawed), mixed
                                                 with 1 teaspoon
                                                 (2.5 g) all-purpose
                                                 flour
1/2 to      1 to 2          15 to       9%       granulated sugar
1 ounce     tablespoons     30 g                 for sprinkling
                                       368%      Total Grandma
                                                 Etta's Blueberry
                                                 Muffins percentage

1. Preheat the oven to 400[degrees]F (205[degrees]C). Spray a 12-cup
   muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large
   mixing bowl (Figure 13-8).

3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and oil until
   blended.

4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix only
   until combined (Figure 13-9A and B).

[FIGURE 13-8 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 13-9A OMITTED]

[FIGURE 13-9B OMITTED]

5. Toss the blueberries and 1 teaspoon of flour (2.5 g) into a bowl and
   fold them gently into batter (Figure 13-10). Do not overmix!

6. Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. If there is remaining batter,
   spray another pan and fill in the same manner. Sprinkle each muffin
   with granulated sugar (Figure 13-11).

7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and a
   cake tester or sharp knife inserted into the center of a muffin
   comes out clean.

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[FIGURE 13-11 OMITTED]

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NUTTY BANANA
BREAD (USING
THE CREAMING
METHOD)

Makes one 9- by 5- by
3-inch (22.5- by 12.5- by
7.5-cm) loaf

Lessons demonstrated in this recipe:

* How to prepare a quick bread using the creaming method of mixing.

* The creaming method results in a quick bread with a cake-like
  texture.

* Double-acting baking powder reacts with liquid ingredients upon
  mixing and again in the oven to form carbon dioxide gas.

* Baking soda combined with an acidic ingredient like brown sugar
  reacts to form carbon dioxide gas.

                           MEASUREMENTS              INGREDIENTS

               U.S.            METRIC    BAKER'S %

8 1/4 ounces   1 3/4 cups      200 g       87%       all-purpose flour
1 1/4 ounce    1/4 cup          35 g       13%       whole wheat flour
               2 teaspoons       8 g        4%       baking powder
               1/4 teaspoon      1 g        0.4%     baking soda
               1/2 teaspoon      3 g        1%       salt
1 3/4 ounces   1/4 cup          50 g       19%       pecans, coarsely
                                                     chopped
1 3/4 ounces   1/2 cup          50 g       19%       walnuts, coarsely
                                                     chopped
4 ounces       1/2 cup         115 g       43%       unsalted butter,
                                                     softened
2 1/2 ounces   1/3 cup          70 g       26%       granulated sugar
2 1/2 ounces   1/3 cup          70 g       26%       light brown sugar
                                                     (packed, if
                                                     measuring by
                                                     volume)
2 each                          94 g       35%       large eggs
10 ounces      1 cup           285 g      106%       mashed bananas
                                                     (from 2 or 3 very
                                                     ripe bananas)
1 fluid        2 tablespoons    30 mL      11%       rum
ounce
1 1/2                            7.5 g      3%       granulated sugar
teaspoons                                            mixed with 1/4
                                                     teaspoon (0.5
                                                     g) cinnamon
                                          392.5%     Total Nutty Banana
                                                     Bread percentage

1. Preheat the oven to 350[degrees]F (175[degrees]C). Spray a loaf
   pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nuts in
   a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment,
   cream the butter and the sugars on medium speed until light and
   fluffy (Figure 13-12). Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well
   and scraping down the bowl after each addition (Figure 13-13). On
   low speed, add mashed bananas and rum; blend well.

4. On low speed, add the flour and the nut mixture. Blend only until
   the ingredients are incorporated (Figure 13-14).

5. Pour the batter into the greased pan. Sprinkle the top with the
   granulated sugar and cinnamon (Figure 13-15). Bake for 45 to 50
   minutes, or until golden brown and a cake tester or sharp knife or
   toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan.

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[FIGURE 13-13 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 13-14 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 13-15 OMITTED]

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CAKE-LIKE
CHOCOLATE
CHIP MUFFINS

Makes 12 muffins

Lessons demonstrated in this recipe:

* How to prepare a more cake-like muffin using the creaming method of
  mixing.

* Creaming the butter and sugar beats air into the mixture, allowing
  carbon dioxide from the baking powder to enlarge those air bubbles
  and aid the leavening process.

* When double-acting baking powder is mixed with a liquid and then
  heated, it reacts to form carbon dioxide gas, helping the batter to
  rise.

                    MEASUREMENTS                  INGREDIENTS

             U.S.            METRIC   BAKER'S %

4 ounces     8 tablespoons   115 g      43%       unsalted butter,
                                                  softened
3 3/4        1/2 cup         110 g      41%       granulated sugar
ounces
3 ounces     1/2 cup          85 g      32%       light brown sugar
                                                  (packed, if
                                                  measuring by
                                                  volume)
9.5 ounces   2 cups          270 g     100%       all-purpose flour
             1/2 teaspoon      3 g       1.1%     salt
             2 teaspoons       8 g       4%       baking powder
4 fluid      1/2 cup         120 mL     45%       milk
ounces
2 each                        94 g      35%       large eggs
             1 teaspoon        5 mL      2%       vanilla extract
6 ounces     1 cup           170 g      63%       mini semisweet
                                                  chocolate chips
             2 tablespoons    30 g      11%       granulated sugar
                                       376%       Total Cake-Like
                                                  Chocolate Chip
                                                  Muffins percentage

1. Preheat oven to 375[degrees]F (190[degrees]C). Spray a 12-cup muffin
   pan or two 6-cup muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray and set
   aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream
   the butter with the sugars on medium speed until fluffy and lighter
   in color. Allow 2 to 3 minutes to do this.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, salt, and baking
   powder; set aside.

4. Place the milk in a mixing bowl and whisk in the eggs and vanilla.

5. On low speed, gradually add the milk mixture to the creamed mixture
   and mix well (Figure 13-16). Stop the mixer and scrape down the
   sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula (Figure 13-17).

6. On low speed, slowly add dry ingredients and mix only until combined
   (Figure 13-18). Fill the muffin cups about two-thirds full.

7. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and then the sugar over each
   muffin (Figure 13-19).

8. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a cake tester or sharp knife
   inserted into the center of a muffin comes out without any crumbs
   attached and the muffins are brown. Remove from the oven and allow
   to cool.

   The muffins can be placed in a large freezer bag and frozen. When
   ready to serve, place the frozen muffins on a sheet pan in a
   350[degrees]F (175[degrees]C) oven until thawed and warm.

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[FIGURE 13-19 OMITTED]

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POPOVERS

Makes 6 to 8 large popovers
using a popover pan

Lessons demonstrated in this recipe:

* How to prepare a specialty quick bread using steam as a
  leavening agent.

* A high-protein flour is used to help give structure.

* A large portion of water-based liquid ingredients produces
  lots of steam for leavening.

                          MEASUREMENTS                INGREDIENTS

               U.S.             METRIC    BAKER'S %

5 each                          235 g        87%      large eggs
16 fluid       2 cups           480 mL      178%      milk
ounces
1 fluid        2 tablespoons     30 mL       11%      olive oil
ounce
8 1/4 ounces   1 3/4 cups       234 g        87%      bread flour
1 1/4 ounce    1/4 cup           35 g        13%      whole-wheat
                                                      flour
               1 teaspoon         5 g         1.9%    granulated
                                                      sugar
               1 teaspoon         6 g         2%      salt
                                            380.1%    Total Popovers
                                                      percentage

1. Preheat oven to 425[degrees]F (220[degrees]C). Spray a popover pan
   with nonstick cooking spray.

Note: If you don't have a popover
pan, use a regular muffin pan, but
fill alternating muffin cups with
batter to allow room for the
popovers to expand.

2. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil in a mixing bowl (Figure
   13-20). Whisk in the flours, sugar, and salt only until combined
   (Figure 13-21). Do not overmix. A few lumps in the batter are
   fine. Fill a pitcher with batter and pour the batter into each
   popover tin until it is three-fourths full (Figure 13-22).

3. Bake for 35 minutes without opening the oven. (This ensures that
   the oven stays hot so steam will form and the popovers will rise.)

4. Remove the popovers from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes and, using a
   knife to cut around the edge of the tin, lift each warm popover out.
   Fill the tins with the remaining batter and bake in the same way.
   Serve immediately.

Note: Popovers can be placed in a
freezer bag after cooling
completely and frozen for several
weeks in the freezer. Place them
still frozen on a sheet pan in a
350[degrees]F (175[degrees]C) oven for 10 to 15
minutes to thaw and warm up.

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[FIGURE 13-21 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 13-22 OMITTED]

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REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. How do yeast breads differ from quick breads?

2. Name the three mixing methods for quick breads.

3. Which mixing method is similar to the flaky pastry mixing method for pies?

4. Which quick bread mixing method will yield a cake-like texture?

5. How does the type of fat used in the biscuit method differ from the type used in the muffin method?

6. What causes holes and tunneling in a quick bread?

7. Why does a muffin baked without a paper liner have a nicer appearance than one baked with a liner?

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Professional Profile

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Casey Shiller

Director of Baking and Pastry Instruction

Saint Louis Community College--Forest Park

St. Louis, MO

1. Question: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in baking and pastry?

Answer: In looking over college options as a high school junior in the 1990s, I had heard about Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. I discovered they offered a Bachelor of Science degree in Pastry Arts and Baking. I flew up to Providence that summer and took a 3-day "career-exploration" course in baking and pastry. I enjoyed myself so much I decided that I was destined for the bakeshop.

2. Question: Was there a person or event that influenced you to go into this line of work?

Answer: Attending the 3-day mini class at Johnson & Wales University sparked a life-altering realization. I could be responsible for peoples' joy everywhere; after all, who doesn't like dessert? I returned to Missouri eager to begin my newfound passion. I graduated high school 1 year early and was in Providence 32 days after retuning from the trip to "check it out."

3. Question: What did you find most challenging when you first began working in baking and pastry?

Answer: Starting out in this industry it is difficult to realize how important it is to take an extra couple of minutes to ensure your production is flawless. I learned I must get each task complete but can never cut corners or allow my quality to decrease. Someone will be purchasing and consuming my wares. If I can make every product to the best of my ability, I have succeeded, and will reap the rewards personally, professionally, and financially.

4. Question: Where and when was your first experience in a professional baking setting?

Answer: In my sophomore year in college, I had the opportunity to obtain one of the first externships at the Trump Plaza Hotel-Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I became part of the staff under the direction of Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Vaccaro. There was one pastry kitchen responsible for all of the bread and dessert production for the 15 dining venues of the property. Chef Vaccaro set up a schedule that would allow me to rotate into each area of the pastry kitchen so I could gain a better understanding of how such a large operation functioned.

5. Question: How did this first experience affect your later professional development?

Answer: The culinary industry is made up of a very tightly knit group of chefs. If you work hard and strive for perfection, chefs from across the country begin to hear about you. Throughout my education, I remained a member of Chef Tom Vaccaro's team at Trump Plaza. Through Chef Vaccaro I became acquainted with Certified Master Chef Edward Leonard. Chef Leonard invited me to become part of the opening team of Cantare Ristorante in Chicago, Illinois, and I jumped at the opportunity.

6. Question: Who were your mentors when you were starting out?

Answer: Chef Thomas Vaccaro, Executive Pastry Chef of the Trump Plaza Casino-Hotel, shaped me into the chef that I am today. Chef Vaccaro took me under his wing and gave me insight into every aspect of the pastry field. He guided me toward a path of success, and is still a huge support and confidant. Chef Edward Leonard, one of only a few Certified Master Chefs in the nation, has also had an enormous impact on my professional life. Chef Leonard inspired me to push myself beyond the limits I thought were obtainable. He instilled the values of quality, perfection, and organization--traits that I utilize and pass on to my staff. These gentlemen opened my eyes to the wide world of competitions, both serving as coaches to the Culinary Olympic Team USA. Their guidance molded my professional success. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to gain inspiration from two of the best in the business.

7. Question: What would you list as the greatest rewards in your professional life?

Answer: As a college educator I am daily rewarded by seeing my students learn the great elements of the pastry arts. I love to see them applying the skills that I had imparted to them through lectures and hands-on lab projects. Making a direct impact in the life of an aspiring apprentice is an incomparable experience. Competition also plays a key role in my rewarding career. Through the avenues of professional competition, I am afforded the opportunity to hone my skills while being rewarded instantly for excellent performance.

8. Question: What traits do you consider essential for anyone entering the field?

Answer: The most essential trait for anyone entering the culinary industry is passion. Passion is something that cannot be taught, and will allow anyone to succeed. Direct skills may be taught: knife skills, proper cooking techniques, how to decorate, etc. Those aspiring to excel must look beyond the practical skills and see how to make their products better. If they are passionate about food, they will do everything in their power to ensure their product is far superior. If someone is eager to learn, no matter what the sacrifice, that person will have the focused drive to succeed.

9. Question: If there was one message you would impart to all students in this field what would that be?

Answer: Set goals and work vigorously to achieve those goals. Set goals that seem intangible at your current stage of thinking. Set your ambitions high, and push yourself to reach them. Persistent devotion to reach the stars will motivate you to test your limits and drive you to victory.
Table 13-1 Differences between Yeast Breads and Quick Breads

YEAST BREADS                         QUICK BREADS

1. Leavened with carbon dioxide      1. Leavened with carbon dioxide
   gas                                  gas

2. Use yeast that is alive           2. Use chemical leaveners that
                                        are not alive

3. Require time to prepare           3. Require little time to
                                        prepare

4. Most gases formed before baking   4. A small percentage of gases
                                        produced during mixing; most
                                        gases formed during baking

5. In general, gluten development    5. In general, gluten development
   encouraged, resulting in chewy       discouraged, resulting in
   texture                              tender, more crumbly texture

Table 13-2 Quick Bread Mixing Methods Using Chemical Leaveners

BISCUIT METHOD           MUFFIN METHOD           CREAMING METHOD

1. Mix dry ingredients   1. Mix dry              1. Cream fat and
   in a bowl.               ingredients in a        sugar until light
                            medium bowl.            and fluffy.

2. Cut in cold fat       2. Whisk liquid         2. Add eggs one at
   with a pastry            ingredients in          a time.
   blender.                 another bowl.

3. Add liquid            3. Pour liquid          3. Alternate dry and
   ingredients and          ingredients into        wet ingredients
   gather together          dry ingredients.        (beginning and
   until mixture forms                              ending with dry
   a ball.                                          ingredients).

4. Chill to relax        4. Mix until just       4. Mix until just
   gluten.                  combined.               combined.

Table 13-3 Popovers: A Specialty Quick Bread Mixing Method Using
Steam Leavening

POPOVERS

1. Whisk egg, milk, and melted fat or oil.

2. Whisk in dry ingredients.

3. Mix until just combined.
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Article Details
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Author:Sokol, Gail
Publication:About Professional Baking
Article Type:Recipe
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:5397
Previous Article:Chapter 12 Using chemical and steam leaveners.
Next Article:Chapter 14 Cake mixing methods.
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