In this industry, you hear a lot about consistency. Not only in producing the exact same item numerous times so the item appears identical but also, it is important that the product has the same consistent taste each time the recipe is produced. This is precision baking.
When I started out in baking, I was not professionally trained, nor had I started school. I did not understand the importance of precision baking. I got a job in a kitchen preparing desserts. I was lucky that my job allowed me the opportunity to explore my creativity when preparing desserts. It was here that I fell in love with baking and decided to go to school. Through my training, I have learned a lot about baking and even more about the science and chemistry behind baking. One of the most important things I learned through school is how essential precision baking is to your business even without a storefront.
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Through my coursework, my professors kept coming back to the importance of precision baking, and as I progressed as a pastry chef, I have come to understand how important precision baking is for our industry. Let's take a look at the top 3 reasons precision baking is important for your baking business even without a storefront.
What Is Precision Baking
Precision baking is the act of measuring out each of the ingredients to ensure that you can create standardized recipes, consistently bake the same great products, improve your bookkeeping and expense tracking, and improve overall cost control.
Precision baking requires the chef to convert a recipe from the standard measurements of cups and spoons to a more precision measurement based on the weight of an ingredient. To do this, a chef must start with a recipe and meticulously measure each ingredient amount to convert the recipe. For example, if you have a recipe that calls for 3 cups of flour, as the chef, you will take your 3 cups of flour and weight that out on a scale. Then you will make note on the recipe the weight for the 3 cups of flour. Then when it comes time to reproduce this recipe, you will know precisely how much flour you used in your first recipe. This process will allow you to reproduce your original product.
Precision baking is required when creating your standardized recipes because weight is a more accurate measurement than cups, spoons, and other measuring devices. Why? Many factors can change the measurement of ingredients when the measurement is not controlled through weight. For example, humidity and air can make a cup of flour different each time you scoop. Don’t believe me then try this experiment to test the difference.*
Standardized recipes are a key part of a bakers supply toolbelt. The recipe has four key elements to make production run smoothly. The recipe must list supplies, list instructions, provide expected yield, and it must include the prep, cook, and overall time. These four elements are how you, the baker, will plan your menu and schedule your time for production. Because measurements such as cups and liters cannot accurately measure the same amount of ingredients every time, it will be important that weight is used to calculate the amount of ingredients to use in a recipe.
Have you ever made a recipe and it turns out great about 4 out of the 5 times you make the recipe and the sixth time it flops? The reason you cannot make the recipe great consistently has nothing to do with your skills and everything to do with precision baking. If you use a different measuring cup on the 6th batch, it could be the difference.
If you do not accurately measuring your ingredients for a recipe, then you cannot guarantee that you are using the exact amount of ingredients each time you prepare that recipe. Without accuracy, you cannot bake consistent product. This means that a customer may order a product one week and ask for it again the following week. Without consistency, you cannot provide your customer with the same product twice. This consistency is important if you decide to open up multiple locations or hire additional bakers.
Improved Bookkeeping and Cost Control
Precision baking allows for improved bookkeeping. Breaking the ingredients down by weight will give you a more accurate account for supply purchasing cost and costs per product. Knowing this specific information will allow you to better manage pricing and cost by giving you a precise reading. All products you purchase for baking are broken down by weight. Knowing the weights of each recipe item ensures you are allocating the exact amount of expense (or cost of goods sold) to each line item of a recipe.
Take three different measuring cups (2 made of different types of plastic and 1 glass). Fill them with 1 cup of flour. Take out a scale and then weigh each of the cups. The amounts will all be different.
I know that the process for precision baking can seem tedious, but once you take the time to weight out the ingredients, you will then have them for future production. A few extra minutes, in the beginning, can save you time and money in your baking business. It is better to spend more time upfront creating a recipe that has the precise measurements for the ingredients, than having to refund a customer later or provide a customer with a discount because they are unhappy with the product the second time you made it for them.
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Learn more about Chef Chris Phillips and Perfectly Pastry
Chef Chris Phillips spent 25+ years in the corporate world. She hated everything about it and wanted more in life. After coming to a crossroads in her life, Chef Chris Phillips discovered her passion for baking. She loves the creativity in developing flavor profiles. She enjoys the smiles and praises that come from a perfectly executed dessert, and she loves to share her knowledge and passion with others.
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