Home and commercial bakers use similar recipes and techniques, but commercial bakers work with much larger quantities. Labor cost is a major consideration and can justify the cost of powerful bakery equipment such as dough sheeters. With a sheeter, the baker simply drops a portion of dough into the top and gets a perfectly rolled sheet of dough at the bottom. The cost is prohibitive for a home baker, but anyone operating a small bakery should consider the potential savings and increased productivity a dough sheeter can provide. A sheeter can speed the production of many common bakery items.
Laminated doughs are a special class of pastries. A basic dough is filled with butter or shortening, and then folded and rolled to create hundreds of light, flaky layers. Some doughs, like puff pastry, use no leavening. Others, like Danish or croissant dough, add yeast as well. Small batches of laminated dough are time consuming, but not difficult. Larger batches quickly become unwieldy, and the labour cost involved can make them impractical for a small bakery. With a sheeter, large batches of laminated dough can be made in only minutes per day.
Pies are the quintessential home-baked item, but even accomplished home bakers often prefer to save time by picking one up at a bakery. Even small neighbourhood bakeries can easily sell through several dozen of pies in a day, which results in a lot of time and labour spent rolling the dough. Even a small dough sheeter can roll hundreds of pie crusts in any given hour, freeing up a great deal of time and staff hours for the proprietor.
Cinnamon rolls are another popular bakery item that is easily made in small batches, but quickly becomes unwieldy in large quantities. Rolling a sheet of dough as large as the work counter is tedious and difficult with a rolling pin, but takes only moments with a dough sheeter. Just as important, the thickness of the dough will be perfectly consistent from edge to edge. This is difficult to achieve when rolling by hand, and often requires hiring expensive, highly skilled staff.
Pizza dough is another fine example of a bulk preparation that can be sped up with a dough sheeter. A popular pizza restaurant can use hundreds or even thousands of crusts on a busy Saturday, and the cost of hand rolling quickly mounts up. Sheeters for pizza dough do not need to be as sophisticated as those for general bakery use, and may be purchased at a somewhat lower cost. For high volume pizzerias or smaller restaurants with limited staffing, a sheeter is often a worthwhile investment.
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