Pandesal Story

So i got an email from a friend. … who asked me if i could help out with her baker, and just to make the conversation short, it is basically to critique their Pandesal and how to improve it sort of ish.

I agreed, what is one day right? So i asked her baker to show up at one of our sessions, i already had something in my mind on what to make him do, and also asked her to make him bring samples of their Pandesal.

So he showed up. Young fellow, very thin and well, not to be too blunt, and i do not know him from Adam so i cannot tell much about his character and so forth and so on. I think he is a decent baker, able to probably produce breads and pastries like he said he does. I asked for the Pandesal, i asked the usual questions, what’s wrong with it, what is the formula etc., etc., etc.,

Now, i did not discuss this with my friend, not yet… because i doubt if she would understand me. Teaching breads in one day just don’t cut it. But since i have no more time to teach this guy, and judging from the way he kneaded the dough, he knows how to bake. Yes, so he just needs to re train the whole thing and maybe read a baking science book.

I noted a lot of inconsistencies and missteps in his production, but these guys, ooooh. Believe you me, they are hard to train. Bakers who already have  previous work experience and have been doing this for years will not take it from a petite girl like me. Period. The way he talks, the way he BLAMES the sugar (his competition uses a lot of sugar), the way he cops out of almost anything i throw at him, i told myself this guy is something.

When i asked him to autolyse, when i told him how important a sponge is, when i showed him the importance of water (he uses a scant 50% water), and even had the gall to tell me that my salt is way too high???? nah. Forget it. Go back to your bake and hopefully, hopefully, what i told and showed you, you have the humility to follow. Which most of them do not have.

Back to the Pandesal, he told me his fat is half shortening and half margarine at a total of 10%. He does not know the baker’s percent so i just asked the grams and computed it myself right there. We are doing this very early at around 8 :30 ish before my students arrived so i have to talk fast. When i tasted the bread, he told me it was at 25%, yeah sure, it was sweet alright and the water is at 50%, 500 grams for every 1000 grams of flour which they buy at P700.00 per sack.

Now, my problem is first the water. He uses a mixer. Why the hell not increase the water? He does not know that he can. And blames the flour. Next, the fat does not feel and taste like it was at 10%. We use 8 % in class and our Pandesal was wayyyyyy softer than his. When my students arrived, i asked them to taste his Pandesal and they did not like it. Kinda like tells you why he needed help badly.

When i asked him to knead, i would constantly ask him if the dough was as sticky as his dough, just to give me an idea how much water his FLOUR can take. I mean, the 50% he told me could be it, because his flour just won’t take it beyond 50% although he told me his dough was not as sticky as what he was kneading. Meaning? Meaning, he could have added more water, he just didn’t know he could and how????

End of the story is that technique is as much as important as the formula. You have an absolutely divine and tested formula but if the technique is way off the line, you got a headache, not a Pandesal.

When my student said his Pandesal had may lasang “ango”, i felt bad for him. To tell you the truth and i am speaking from experience. If i open my bakery, i will not and never hire a real baker. I will train someone who has very little experience, someone who knows what an oven is and maybe have baked a few but cannot turn a decent bread yet. Not someone who pretends to know it all but doesn’t. It’s not just him, it’s almost any baker i come across with. About 90% of them, all with a huge load of ego strapped in their foreheads, like a Post It saying “I am a master baker, dare not cross me”.

When i asked him to add more water to the dough, he said it would flatten out. I told him no it won’t.

Below are photos of the Pandesal he kneaded and we baked in our day 4 session, same Pandesal recipe i have been teaching for years.

After the bake, one of my students took one piece and ate it. I wish i can draw what her face looked like when she was eating it. Then he, this baker had the …. to tell me yeah, about the salt thing and that the bread was like that because of so and so. Yeah, right. Our Pandesal stays soft for days and much tastier than the crap you brought. Our maid does not want to eat them so i have to throw them away.

If you take a loot at the Pandesal, they did not flatten out. The bread flour i am using is only P740.00 per sack, and we used 60% water. You use this much water, it’s supposed to flatten out the dough and bread during the bake, but it did not as you can see on the photos.

The dough was manually kneaded first 15 minutes, then finished off for 5 minutes in the mixer. The bread stayed soft for 5 days, and at 60% hydration, you should get at least 75 pieces at 25 grams each. That is P150.00 for 1 kilogram of flour if you sell them at P2.00 each, and with a food cost of less than P50.00.

Not bad if you can sell 1 sack of Pandesal or even half a sack. P1,200.00 for a half sack of Pandesal a day is good money you won’t get staring at the sky.

Schedule for June to August 2017 is now posted online at http://www.breadmakinglessons.com or text me at 09495705091 for inquiries.

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