[ October 8–11, 2019    McCormick Place    Chicago, IL USA ]

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New to the baking industry?

Have you ever wondered why bakers seem to talk a different language than everyone else? Take “Baker’s Percent” for example. This calculation is especially difficult to grasp for the engineering mind. Why do bakers use a special percent?

Historically, baker’s percent has been used because of the functionality of wheat flour and gluten. Since gluten is the main portion of wheat flour that contributes to its final physical attributes, its performance for volume or crumb grain is affected by the addition of other ingredients like water. Therefore when other ingredients are added, it is easier to gage the performance of the dough by the effect the ingredient has on the wheat flour/gluten portion. For example, water is the next largest ingredient in any bread or cake formula. Its effect on dough properties is usually called water absorption, and is mainly calculated using Baker’s %. In addition, how much SSL to add to dough can be easily calculated by using Baker’s percent.

Although Baker’s percent is handy, there are certain instances where it cannot be used in bakery formulas. In all gluten-free, high fiber and non-wheat multigrain bread, Baker’s percent do not work because the functional gluten portion of the wheat is no longer there, or is reduced. Using Baker’s percent in such formulas would be ineffective in calculating water absorption and the addition of other minor ingredients, especially emulsifiers and enzymes that are supposed to work on gluten proteins.

I have limited time to learn. Where can I start?

As manufacturing professionals, we have limited time to do an in-depth study on ingredients and processes. Here are the top 10 things you need to know when speaking with bakers:

  1. What type of flour does the baker use? Spring or Winter wheat? What is its moisture, ash and protein specs?
  2. Leavening process – is the product yeast or sourdough leavened, or is it chemically leavened?
  3. What is water absorption?
  4. What are the types of yeast?
  5. What are the types of chemical leavening? What is a neutralizing value?
  6. What are dough conditioners?
  7. What sweeteners do they use?
  8. What dough system do they use?
  9. What other processes do they use
  10. Do they deliver fresh or frozen?

Can’t remember it all? BAKERpedia.com is here to help.

Are you not a trained baker? Or are you new to the baking industry? Well, then you have to download our free Dummies’ Guide to Baking ingredients.