The world of baking goes far beyond the wooden spoon and the mixing bowl. A professional baker's kitchen is much like a carpenter's workshop: Every tool has a purpose. A bakery will have some familiar equipment, like a mixer, and some pieces of machinery foreign to most households, like a sheeter.
Whether its a standard kitchen style or an industrial model, most mixers have the same basic design: two or more whisks that spin around inside a secured bowl. Any mixer can save a baker hours while making dough or whipping cream. The different settings allow for gentler or more forceful whisking.
A fondant sheeter is essentially a mechanically operated rolling pin. It saves bakers hours of labour by flattening products in seconds. While there are several types of sheeters on the market, such as those used by pizzerias to make their dough, the fondant is ideal for bakeries because it is strong enough for dough, yet delicate enough to handle icing and sugar paste.
Dough scales are an important pieces in a baker's culinary arsenal. When it comes to fragile baked goods like pastries and croissants, getting the right amount of ingredients is crucial. Unlike regular scales, dough scales are designed for sturdiness and for dealing with the messy ingredients that bakers often use.
A piece of equipment specifically designed for bakeries, a proofer is what dough items, from bread to croissants, go into before being baked in the oven. The proofer is similar to an oven, in that there are several racks that rest inside a controlled heat chamber. Along with the heat, however, is controlled humidity, and the combination helps yeast ferment and rise faster and more fully than it would in a regular oven.
Every kitchen has an oven, but in bakeries the oven is where the foods succeed or fail. For this reason, bakers often use a convection oven, which is much more dynamic than the regular kitchen style. These come in several varieties, but they all follow the same basic specifications. Convection ovens have a sophisticated system of fans to evenly distribute the heat, which can be set as high as 287 degrees C. The controls and thermostats are ultra-accurate and can be fine-tuned more easily than those of normal ovens. Also, the items inside a convection oven are much more visible because of the large glass panes and the high wattage light bulbs inside.
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