Basics of Cake Making


Bakers generally talk about formulas rather than recipes. If this sounds to you more like a chemistry lab than a food production facility, it is with good reason. The bakeshop is very much like a chemistry laboratory, both in the scientific accuracy of the procedures and in the complex reactions that take place during mixing and baking.

Ingredients are almost always weighed in the bakeshop, rather than measured by volume, because measurement by weight is more accurate. Accuracy of measurement, as we have said, is essential in the bakeshop. Unlike home baking recipes, a professional baker’s formula will not call for 6 cups flour, for example.

To demonstrate to yourself the importance of weighing rather than measuring by volume, measure a cup of flour in two ways:
(a) Sift some flour and lightly spoon it into a dry measure. Level the top and weigh the flour.
(b) Scoop some unsifted flour into the same measure and pack it lightly. Level the
top and weigh the flour. Note the difference.No wonder home recipes can be so inconsistent!

The baker’s term for weighing ingredients is scaling.
The following ingredients, and only these ingredients, may sometimes be measured by volume, at the ratio of 1 pint per pound or 1 liter per kilogram:
o Water o Milk o Eggs
Volume measure is often used when scaling water for small or mediumsized batches of bread. Results are generally good. However, whenever accuracy is critical, it is better to weigh.This is because a pint of water actually weighs slightly more than a pound, or approximately 16.7 oz. (This figure varies with the temperature of the water.)
For convenience, volume measures of liquids are frequently used when products other than baked flour goods-such as sauces, syrups, puddings, and custards-are being made.

Units of Measure
The system of measurement used in the United States is very complicated. Even those who have used the system all their lives sometimes have trouble remembering things like how many fluid ounces are in a quart and how many feet are in a mile.

The Metric System
The United States is the only major country that uses the complex system of measurement we have just described. Other countries use a much simpler system called the metric system.

Abbreviations of U.S. Units of Measure Used
ounce (oz)
gallon (gal)
quart (qt)
pint (pt)
fluid ounce( fl oz)
tablespoon (tbsp)
teaspoon (tsp)
inch (in)

In the metric system, there is one basic unit for each type of measurement:
The gram is the basic unit of weight.
The liter is the basic unit of volume.
The meter is the basic unit of length.
The degree Celsius is the basic unit of temperature.
Larger or smaller units are simply made by multiplying or dividing by 10, 100,
1000, and so on.These divisions are expressed by prefixes. The ones you need
to know are:
kilo- = 1000
deci- = 1D10 or 0.1
centi- = 1D100 or 0.01
milli- = 1D1000 or 0.001

Formulas and Measurement
Metric Units
Basic units
Quantity Unit Abbreviation
weight gram g
volume liter L
length meter m
temperature degree Celsius


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