Bread Bench: Forming Dinner Rolls
Today I’d like to describe what happens at the bread bench station in my baking class. This is the position I started on, and stayed for four days (2 x 2 days). At this station, you get to form and knead and shape doughs, which is actually kind of fun.
You get the dough from the mixer, after it’s been allowed to rise for a certain amount of time. The soft dough is a basic dough we use for dinner rolls. In the photo above, you can see the big pile of it on the bench, and the tub used to let it rise.
We take the bulk of dough, and form it into large “rounds”. A round is basically a large ball of dough that you let rest/rise before shaping it into its final form. After it’s resting long enough, you take the round and use the Duchess to separate it into 36 little pieces of exactly the same weight. So basically, when you form the large rounds, you have to scale out how many pounds it should be, and then later on it will be divided into 36 parts. Let’s say you shape a large round of 9 lbs. 9 lbs equals 144 ounces, and this divided by 36 gives you 36 4-oz balls of dough in the end. In other words, each dinner roll weighs 4 ounces before baking.
Then, you separate all 36 pieces and start forming simple dinner rolls. Using one hand, you make sure one side of the ball sticks out while tucking under the rough parts. This will create one smooth surface area and will bake nicely.
Chef Chuck, of course, can do this with two hands at once, and in about 4 seconds. For us, it takes longer. It took a while to understand how it works, and then to actually physically do it. Since I was at the station 4 days in a row, I eventually got the hang of it.
ps: Chef Chuck recommends never buying any equipment new! The new stuff sucks. And never buy anything with electronics. It will break. That’s why we love our old-fashioned Duchess. She’s an all-mechanical beauty.