The last four days have passed by in a blur. My partner and I were on the enriched doughs station for two days, then yesterday and today we moved to a new station.
At this new station, we were in charge of three doughs, which is a lot for a group of two people (others have three). It is just go-go-go the whole day!
Right when we came in, we ripped through three doughs, getting the water scaled out and at the correct temperature, then dumping everything into the mixers. Then we had to simultaneously mix those and do all of our sticky dishes. The time just flies by, and even though we both worked very hard and very fast, Chef K still said we were behind schedule. I couldn't believe it!
The three doughs we made we very very tasty though: Sourdough, Challah, and Cheddar Onion Rye rolls yesterday and Caraway Rye rolls today! The rolls are easy, because the dough doesn't have to rest/bulk ferment for too long, and we have a lovely dough dividing press that cuts out 36 rolls at a time AND rolls them for us! It is amazing.
For the Challah, yesterday we learned how to braid it using six strands, and today we did it with four - so cool! Whoever figured that out is genius.
Working with the sourdough is definitely very interesting. We have to make a "sour" 18 hours ahead of time. This is basically a ratio of water and flour (to a sticky consistency) which we let sit and ferment. The natural yeast in the air gives it the sour acidic flavor as it ferments at room temperature overnight. We then add this to our dough when we mix it. After letting it ferment further for two hours after mixing, we shape the dough, then let it retard (slowly ferment) overnight in the refrigerator. This further develops the sour flavors. So cool!
Today in our lecture, we talked a little bit about the "desired dough temperature". This is basically the temperature we want the dough to be at when it comes off the mixer in order to have it ferment correctly. There are a lot of things to take into consideration: temperatures of the flour, water, ambient room temperature, pre-ferments, and even mixer friction. We learned how to calculate mixer friction (very cool) and will have to do this every day for the rest of the block. The mixer will add heat to the dough based on the dough hydration, mixing time, and even the number of RPMs of a certain type of mixer. The one thing that we do have control over is the temperature of the water, so that's always figured out last.
I had experience with this when working at a bread bakery. Every morning when I came in (at 4am!), I took the air temperature and the flour temperature and put it into a formula provided by the franchise. This way, I was able to find out what temperature of water I would need to make the dough. This helped to ensure a consistent product and always allowed us to let the dough proof for pretty much the same amount of time.
The last four days, my partner and I have been coming in at 6am. Tomorrow we switch to a new station, and we have to be there at 5am! I'm not looking forward to that at all, because it means I have to go to bed even earlier. Thankfully, the weekend is in sight and I can take some naps!