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Weighing ingredients

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

     I happen to own a commercial bakers balance scale. As I won't be using it, I have tried to get it in the hands of a couple of local professional bakers who own their own successful shops.  The two who responded so far told me they don't need them because they don't weigh anything. I am still waiting to hear from the third one. 

     I expected to be told that they used a modern digital scale so an old fashioned balance scale would be out of date but to be told they don't weigh any ingredients really surprised me. Is this common?  Are they pulling my leg? 

post #2 of 23

OMGoodness I would LOVE that scale!! 

 

It is a sad reality that most commercial bakeries do not weigh anything as they no longer do anything from scratch. If they are baking from scratch then they have been poorly trained and that is a shame. The odds of their products not being consistent is a huge one. So I think they might be pulling your chain?? :D

post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post
 

OMGoodness I would LOVE that scale!! 

 

It is a sad reality that most commercial bakeries do not weigh anything

How is that even possible?

post #4 of 23

It is because they buy the manufactured frozen par-baked stuff so all they need is some baking trays, parchment and an oven or even dumbed down to a Merry Chef oven. No measurements required. It breaks my heart to see this.

post #5 of 23
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post
 

It is because they buy the manufactured frozen par-baked stuff so all they need is some baking trays, parchment and an oven or even dumbed down to a Merry Chef oven. No measurements required. It breaks my heart to see this.

Can that even be considered baking???  My 10 year old nephew can warm things up too?

WTF?

post #6 of 23

Yup  the exact same words right outta me mouth when I first learned of this.. That is why when they start talking about cost cutting and buying in desserts from frozen or manufactured baking companies I tend to bite my tongue until it bleeds. I despise that type of thinking in the food industry period. This is one of the main reasons why we struggle so hard in the industry the way we do to make it is because of this behaviour........however, it is understood as to why people do it so we can't really ask them not to. ;)

post #7 of 23

Look no farther than your local grocery store.

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

      Actually, both places/owners I've talked to thus far actually do baking from scratch. I've had their products and watched them work.

I was busy chatting so never thought to observe the measuring. I just assumed they were. Never asked until today when I let them know I had the balance scale. 

      The third one I haven't heard from yet specializes, near as I can tell, in fancy cakes and I got a look around the kitchen today while offering the scale. There were ovens, a big floor mixer, table, and all the rest but no scale I could see. 

     So from what I've learned so far, at least for the first two, it's from scratch baking but simply tossing a bit of this and a bit of that together. They were quite serious about not measuring. I posted this experience to see how wide spread it is because that's not the way I was taught baking was supposed to happen in a professional setting, not even for cookies. 

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post
 

      Actually, both places/owners I've talked to thus far actually do baking from scratch. I've had their products and watched them work.

I was busy chatting so never thought to observe the measuring. I just assumed they were. Never asked until today when I let them know I had the balance scale. 

      The third one I haven't heard from yet specializes, near as I can tell, in fancy cakes and I got a look around the kitchen today while offering the scale. There were ovens, a big floor mixer, table, and all the rest but no scale I could see. 

     So from what I've learned so far, at least for the first two, it's from scratch baking but simply tossing a bit of this and a bit of that together. They were quite serious about not measuring. I posted this experience to see how wide spread it is because that's not the way I was taught baking was supposed to happen in a professional setting, not even for cookies. 


So how do they keep track of consistency.  I get it their pros at what they do and its probably all in their head, but even for my little restaurant, we measure spices to put in the rice to stay consistent.  Same with the garlic sauce, same with the Humus dip......

post #10 of 23

Yea, I would definitely have to see what it is that they are doing because if it is truly by scratch then they HAVE to measure. So they might have a scale on the mixer or somewhere they place out of the way for measuring ingredients. I would ask them to see the whole process from start to finish with what they are baking. :D

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

I'll have to see if i can get a second look. 

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post
 

Yea, I would definitely have to see what it is that they are doing because if it is truly by scratch then they HAVE to measure. So they might have a scale on the mixer or somewhere they place out of the way for measuring ingredients. I would ask them to see the whole process from start to finish with what they are baking. :D


I'd Love to be a fly on the wall during that conversation.  Get booted out like Jazz on Fresh Prince :D 

post #13 of 23

Lol, yea.....I am one of those people that will call a person out on their bulls#*t if they try to sell me on it. It smells pretty ripe if these guys are doing everything by scratch and not weighing their ingredients. They might be measuring it by volume instead of weight which, unless it is liquid, is not a good thing and creates inconsistencies in product. I am curious tho.....it has piqued my interest....however @chefwriter don't go and get yourself in trouble with the bakers....lol!!

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post
 

Lol, yea.....I am one of those people that will call a person out on their bulls#*t if they try to sell me on it. It smells pretty ripe if these guys are doing everything by scratch and not weighing their ingredients. They might be measuring it by volume instead of weight which, unless it is liquid, is not a good thing and creates inconsistencies in product. I am curious tho.....it has piqued my interest....however @chefwriter don't go and get yourself in trouble with the bakers....lol!!


Can't help but think of that scene in Fargo with the woodchipper, but in this case it would be a meat grinder or a mixer........DON'T GET THE BAKER ANGRY:eek:

post #15 of 23

Most bakeries basically offer the same products. The only difference is that the successful ones practice customer service and consistency. My scaler has been with me for 18 yrs. I still make him use the sheet protector over the formula and check it off with erasable markers he goes.

You can't stay in business with a little of this and a little of that. That's absurd!   After 20 yrs. our customers can tell someone, Oh I'm bringing this great cake. If it is not exactly like it was 20 yrs. ago

you won't see them again. Consistency in a bakery is when the customer tells you," please make sure you put your label on the box so they know where it's coming from".

If a bakery is doing just cakes and cookies, it's possible they might use a digital or table top scale. If they are baking bread and don't have a balance scale, I promiss you, their freezer is larger than all refrigeration put together.

We use our freezer as a tool for production. Not for storage.

 

Only some, usually larger food establishments, can survive on consistency alone. Mickey D's. Although the cashiers and order takers have sort of a robotic consistency.

I have walked into small bakeries to spend a week consulting. If I see someone measuring with a gallon container or cups, I will usually express that when they convert all

of their formulas to weight I'll be back. Still leave the 600. invoice for the day. They bitch, I tell them the charge is very inexpensive compared to the quality and increased sales.

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post #16 of 23

No one has mentioned this as yet, I think, but not weighing ingredients could simply mean that the bakers already know from many years experience that 1 bag of mix to so much yeast and water will produce the dough they need.

Even taking this a bit further in that this same experience can leave you with the ability to throw ingredients together scratch-wise and have the product come out fine.

post #17 of 23
Not in my experience. Eggs, for instance weigh anywhere from 50 gr ea. to almost 75gr, multiply this by 10or15 and your recipie is waaaay out of whack. Butter NEEDS to be scaled out, especially when you buy it in bulk 25kg cubes, you can't eyeball a hunkk and say it weighs 680gr.

For bread, yeah, you may be right, a sack of flour, this much yeast, that much salt, and liquid measure of water.

How on earth do you do inventory without a scale?

A confession though. I hate beam/balance scales. Complicated with all those loose weights and it takes forever to scale out compared to an electronic one, keep them in museums or at home, but I have no time for those things
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #18 of 23

@Chefross , that's true, especially for bread, but a balance is necessary to scale the dough. Both for consistency and uniformity but also for cooking times. 1# 2oz loaf is not going to be

done if the majority are 1#

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post #19 of 23

@foodpump ,

Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

A confession though. I hate beam/balance scales. Complicated with all those loose weights and it takes forever to scale out compared to an electronic one, keep them in museums or at home, but I have no time for those things

I agree with that, and we now use a platform scale more than before. But for scaling bread, there's nothing equivalent to the balance. We don't own a beam scale.

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post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by panini View Post
 

@Chefross , that's true, especially for bread, but a balance is necessary to scale the dough. Both for consistency and uniformity but also for cooking times. 1# 2oz loaf is not going to be

done if the majority are 1#

True dat.....I forgot about scaling the dough....Me bad.

post #21 of 23

I could allllmost get there with the idea of not weighing for breads and maybe even some cookies. I still weigh but I also know at this point you can ask me to take a 45g ball of dough for a bun or a 20g bit of cookie dough and I can eyeball it and either be right on the money or within a gram and I'm certainly not any sort of freakish weights and measures savant.

 

But for cakes, or fine baked goods? I could not imagine not measuring. I could probably do it pretty accurately without a scale, but for my own peace of mind I need to know the numbers are right. I have literally had nightmares where my scales didn't work, or I couldn't read the numbers. BRB, breathing into a paper bag.

post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well, you've all convinced me. I'm keeping the balance scale. I may not bake enough to really use it but I do enjoy owning it. Perhaps it will come in handy someday. 

post #23 of 23

@chefwriter ,

If it ever does become bothersome, give it some paint and display it with a few pots of plants. I have two in the house. I also have a candy stove from the 1900's. I removed some rings and placed a large copper bowl on top, and my better half planted some terrarium type plants. It gets compliments all the time. It's certainly not portable even with legs. Must weigh 300 lbs. Very convenient though, just toss a few ice cubes in once in a while. No holes

 

@Queequeg,

   I can almost agree with you.But when I'm scaling bread doughs, I cut by sight, the dough does not enough time in my hand to calculate any type of weight. If you're doing it by hand weight,

doesn't that take longer. Say baguettes, depending on the amount of proof and the density of the dough, you must display some sort of savant skills.

 

BTW I have an extra one of those candy stoves in my garage. Little surface rust. If anyone want it just PM. I can post a pic. Be prepared, even though you can disassemble it, it will probably

cost the same amount of a good used car to ship it. With the weight. Old enough not to have any regulators. 4 handles, straight through gas.

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