The New Bakers Dozen
Store made bread vs. homemade

The The Bakers Dozen: Store made bread vs. homemade
By Cflower on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 09:16 am: Edit

I've been making focaccia bread for years for my catering business and it taste pretty good. This week I purchased some focaccia bread squares frozen from my local store (never tried before) they were cut into squares and just had to be proofed. I did this, dimpled the top, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs and it didn't come close to tasting like mine. For some reason, the bread in grocery stores has no taste and seems so artifical. Why is that. If bread is just flour, yeast, salt etc. why does their bread have no taste. I was really hoping that this frozen focaccia bread would save me some time but the taste is just not there.

By Yankee on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 12:57 pm: Edit

I would have to guess they use a commercial all-in-one mix.

I also think the frozen stuff you bought probably has no where near the amount of love that your bread has in it.

By Cflower on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 01:58 pm: Edit

Your right. I know their's came already cut into squares and all they had to do was proof it. Just can't figure out why the same ingredients (flour, yeast, salt etc) can taste so different. I know mine takes almost two days to make.

By sec on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 02:31 pm: Edit

"I know mine takes almost two days to make."

There's your answer.

By Ltom (Ltom) on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 02:54 am: Edit

It sounds like they don't allow their dough much time to develop flavour while yours uses a sponge/biga method that gives the yeast time to break down the flour and develop the dough. You can make a bigger batch of your focaccia dough, bench for 10-30 minutes and divide, wrap and freeze. Test this on your own dough to see if that will save you some time in the future. The best thing to do when thawing for use is to leave it in the fridge overnight (slow). We've had to go to this method as the company wants small quantities but lots of varieties daily. I don't like to pre-shape the fresh dough as sometimes it bakes with tiny bubbles on the crust (guess we don't add any chemicals to prevent it or are not wrapping shaped product well enough). Hope this helps--Lu

By Quartet (Quartet) on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 03:46 pm: Edit

What's wrong with the bubbles on the crust? I've always felt that they give a good indication that the bread has been sufficiently fermented and proofed over a nice, long period, in other words, not rushed to the oven by adding too much yeast.

By Panini (Panini) on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 06:23 pm: Edit

Cflower. The answer to your first question is very simple.
Gun Powder. This term is used when you are using premixed dry ingredients. Years ago I did qui9te a bit of consulting for upscale instore bakeries around the south. This foccocia is probably a mix that you add water, yeast. 10 times out of 10 you will add a dough conditioner CDC2500,pz44 and some kind of "gun powder" a chemnical additive to increase fermentation. You can cut down your production and bench time 25 to 40 percent. And sometimes cut out almost one lift.The result is a poorer, blander, lifless product.
This was the highest paying job I ever had, but the most unrewarding. Don't get me wrong, the product will have the look and most of the flavor appeal for 6 hr.
Take Ltoms advice, make larger batches and freeze your scaled doughs in small portions in the least amount of time. This will not have a great effect on your final product. I would also suggest dry yeast if you are going to freeze.
Good luck

By Ltom (Ltom) on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 10:09 pm: Edit

Quartet--these are not attractive bubbles but tiny ones that appear on items you would want a smooth crust such as brioche tetes and hot cross buns (Sorry Panini, no ideas on upgrading hot cross buns--can't wrap my head around any major changes that wouldn't turn it into something else totally). The bunch of us that are baking are fairly new to the area (me straight out of school and having trained one person who was from hotel kitchen and the other from hotel pastry). The crust looks almost thicker than it should be & I'm assuming some sort of freezer damage to the surface. Instead of shaping some items, we just store them in a lump size, defrost then shape (although 2nd batch of hot cross buns turned out fine). There isn't anything taught in school about freezing bread doughs and I'm not aware of any books that cover the subject. I like to bench my product to get the yeast going strongly while my coworkers don't like seeing the dough continuing to rise in the freezer. Lu

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