Ok, so I am in the middle of culinary school and have just been hired to be the bakery person at a local college. Right now they use box mixes because they haven't had the skill level to execute scratch recipes. They are looking to me to be the person with that skill set. =/ Now, I don't have a problem baking from scratch at home or at school but to do large yields I'm afraid it'll be more difficult. Am I correct in this assumption? I can easily convert recipes, learned that a while back. But is it different at all for baking? Will just doubling or tripling a recipe still result in a successful recipe? Are there any books or cookbooks you can recommend that will make this any easier? Thanks for your help!
New bakery job! Help!
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Larger yields are not more difficult. You just have to get used to handling large batches. I've never had any trouble increasing recipes. As long as they are accurate, shouldn't be a problem. I'm not aware of any books that could help you.
I would suggest scaling out the batter. That way all the cake layers are even. Same with any other recipe.
Just keep in mind that large batches need more bowl scraping. I have had trouble with people not really getting to the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed. Finding an unmixed blob of butter and sugar in a cookie or cake batter just messes up the finished product.
Making 20 cake layers instead of two may seem scary, but if you know the basics, it's not any different.
For the most part you can scale recipes up, but as a rule of thumb, any recipe that requires more than quadrupling should be converted into Bakers Percentages and scaled that way.
Also just because the recipe works in small quantity doesn't mean it will work in large quantities. Sometimes the ingredients need adjusting, maybe more liquid? more egg? more leavening? Sometimes, less leavening.
Where I work. Our baking powder is so fresh it sometimes causes our products to explode in the oven. A simple reduction of baking powder almost always solves the problem.
So be prepared to modify recipes.
Also become accustomed to commercial food ingredients. Such as "Icing Fruits" for flavorings or different types of fats like Vreamay, Sweetex, Fluid Flex, Nutex etc...
An emulsified shortening can provide a dramatic increase of shelf life, and product texture/quality.
Most things scale well, except perhaps something like a genoise where you can lose too much volume on a large batch when incorporating the dries and melted butter. As far as books, did you get a decent textbook at school? Several of the culinary school textbooks are good for providing base recipes for larger scale production.
You can still work with natural ingredients and just adjust your prep - if you have a good freezer, cake layers or frosted cakes can freeze well. Biscuits, scones and cookies are best frozen raw, then baked. Muffin batter will hold 3-4 days in the fridge, etc.