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baking breads 1

whenever i get calls regarding breadmaking, i feel like recording everything i say by the time i hang up the phone. seriously, because almost everyone i get to talk to has the same woes, the same ambition and goal, the same dilemma. it is as if i talk to the same person only that the name changes everytime the phone rings. i remember, well, i used to be at the end of the phone a long time ago and i didn't get the answers i wanted, neither did i ever get to call someone who knows baking that much.

now that i offer teaching breads at home, i get to listen to so many stories of mostly women who want to bake good breads as a business base. this page is not enough to enumerate their sob stories so i will try to recall the most common ones. the number one common denominator is the problems they encounter with the bakers. one student of mine who owns two bakeries came to me to study cakes. when i asked her why she close her two bakeries she said she went bankcrupt, had to sell the delivery vans and most of the equipments and simply settle for a career in selling cakes. i felt sorry for her, and later on i found out that she didn't know anything about baking breads at all. i asked how she was able to manage the business for about 3 months, she said, she merely visited the place and that's it. her bakers and the other staff are the ones responsible for everything, she had no inventory, her bakers sleep inthe bakery, not knowing that her bakers could be using her sugar for their morning coffee and the eggs for their breakfast.

then we got to talk about pizza doughs. ahh. she said her pizza dough is tough, and when we have already exhausted all the possibilities, what she had done wrong, what she didn't do, i jokingly asked her, "baka walang yeast", of which she replied, "bakit, nilalagyan ba ng yeast yun?" ha, ha, ha! i couldn't stop laughing, pardon my manners, but it was so funny i didn't know that she didn't have any idea at all regarding baking breads. of course, it has yeast. even if a pizza dough is flat, it needs the yeast to leaven it slightly, just like my favorite sky flakes. the leavening creates pockets of air, creating the crispy crust or texture. if it was a tortilla, then there is no need to aerate it because you want a flat and soft surface for your fillings.

this is the reason why i advise would be bakery owners to know everything about the science and technology of baking. you don't know if you can trust your bakers to be 100% loyal. another student who became a good friend of mine, is ding mercado of the new minstrels. we met with him showing me a batch of his pandesal which is wrinkly at the top. when he asked me what is wrong with his bread, i flatly told him that it was overproofed and was bothered by the fact that his bakers were supposed to be very good, yet couldn't control their proofing. why? if they were so good, they should know how a bread looks like when it is done. definitely not like that. i assumed that maybe these bakers are not the learned type, maybe just bakers who rose to the ranks, helping a baker and learning from him. in this business, selfishness sometimes comes in the name of trade secret. if you are a master baker who learned your craft for 15 years, you will be silly to part with your hard earned skills to a helper who just came in. not happening. it doesn't work that way. but i have met bakers who boast about their recipe of this and that and fall short in the end.

what ding did was laudable. i have never met a guy who was so dedicated as he was, really. he constantly asked questions, never bothered kneading by hand and was even grateful that he shed a few pounds doing just that! he was able to get rid of his stubborn bakers who couldn't listen to him, now that he had the upperhand. he had the choice of his own bakers and know exactly what to look for, was able to save a good lot of money by hiring beginning bakers and training them himself. amazing.

i have also had a few run ins with students who have gone to other schools, will not mention the name of the schools because i know that maybe the reason why these students didn't learn too well is that the size of the class is too big, or that the method used in teaching is different from mine. my basis for creating exactly how i teach is to simply follow exaclty how i learned baking breads from scratch and then teach the same steps to my students. the same questions i asked, the same problems i encountered, how i dealt with them, etc., even how i understood the most basic facts about yeast and sugar, how they relate to each other, what i didn't do and so on. i tell my students that the most important thing they need is first the will to learn. second, is time. baking bread is not something that you can rush. i had students who will tell me that they have no time to wait for the bread to rise. if that is the case, then you do not really want and need to learn breadmaking. you need to have the patience to go through all the steps. at first it will seem like an eternity, but wait till you get that first succesful batch, i am telling you right now, the satisfaction is priceless. the pride you get for getting it right this time, wow, it is incredible especially when you start sharing the bread with people you love. you're an instant celebrity!!

i am always excited and willing to talk to would be students even if i know that almost 75% of them do not enroll. hey, that's life. to listen to them and get to know how each of them have this desire to someday learn what i know is enough of a complement to me even if they don't really say thank you. okay lang. talking to tem reaffirms my lifelong love for this craft, takes me back to my journey as a novice breadmaker, quite amusing really.

gotta go, if you have any comments or inquiries, call me at 9383639. more on my next postings. ciao!!

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