Since I encountered new and great equipment in the bakeshop, I thought I’d share.
In this photo, you can see on the left a large Kitchen Aid, which some of you might have at home. We use this to mix cookie batter, small amounts of dough, and other things that need mixing, like cream, frosting, egg whites, etc. It has a paddle attachment, a whisk attachment, and a dough hook attachment. The attachments hang from racks on the ceiling.
The second machine in this photo is a big dough mixer. It has a dough hook inside the big metal bowl which can break your arm in a second. That’s no fun. In this machine, we mix mostly bread doughs, but sometimes large amounts of cookie dough.
This mixer has electronic controls, which Chef Chuck doesn’t particularly like, but they break easily, and then the machine stops working. When you own your own bakeshop, you have to learn how to fix everything! Electronics might be hard. That’s why mechanical tools are the best, especially ones that have already been used! The electronic controls allow you to set common mixing times, so all you have to do is program it, and then press the button.
This large mixer is used for bread dough, and large amounts of cookie dough. It has an enormous dough hook, which you can see below. You used the wheel (seen above) to rise the mixing bowl towards the hook.
The large hook honestly always makes me think of Captain Hook – silly, right?
And, of course, we have enormous mixing bowls that would never fit in your kitchen at home. The funny thing is, I’ve gotten so used to making large batches of things that they no longer seem strange.
The sheeter is a nifty machine used to flatten out doughs. It’s my favorite machine in the whole bakeshop. You can roll out croissant dough, fondant, pasta dough, and anything else that needs to be rolled into a nice smooth, thin sheet. It “laminates” the dough. Basically you put the dough on one side, and it rolls through to the other side. The middle panel has an adjuster for the thinness or thickness of the dough; it goes from 30 down to 1, although I don’t think those units represent inches or centimeters. This is so much fun to use!
The dish pit is where all the dirty dishes go to get washed, rinsed, and sanitized. We generally use bleach water to sanitize all our equipment, but there are also industrial liquids available.
The dish pit is also where we dry and store much of our equipment, such as sheet trays, muffin tin, plastic buckets, scoops, strainers, plastic dough bins, pots, pans, mixing bowls, cutting boards, etc.
Washing dishes is part of the life of a cook, even when there is a professional dishwasher on staff. You never know when the dishwasher will call in sick, or the dish washing machine will break down. Plus, every cook is responsible for washing his or her own knives and other personal tools. Quite frankly, it is a lesson in humility and appreciation to have to wash 50 sheet trays and many other dough-caked mixing bowls and dough hooks.
Unfortunately, I lost a couple days’ worth of photos, so I don’t have many photos of the ovens, but here are some links to companies that make professional baking ovens: convection ovens, deck ovens, and proof boxes. A proof box is a machine that keeps doughs at a certain temperature and humidity while they rise. In the photo above, you can see convection ovens, a rack, and then stacked/deck ovens.
In bakeries, you will see lots of these white bins on rollers. They contain dry goods such as different kinds of flours, oats, grains, cocoa, different kinds of sugars, etc. Anything used in large amounts is filled from large sacks into these bins, which can be rolled around throughout the bakeshop for the baker’s convenience.
This is a typical scale used in our bakeshop. Chef Chuck prefers this over the electronic ones. The large white thing on the left is a container used to measure dry ingredients such as flour and sugar. The plastic container on the right contains dry beans as a counterweight to the container on the left. In the bakeshop, we always measure our ingredients by weight because it is more accurate than measuring things by volume (in cups, tablespoons, etc).
This coned-shaped metal strainer is called a chinois. It has a fine-mesh metal cone for straining stocks and sauces, but can also be used, as shown here, to sift dry ingredients. Above you see someone sifting cinnamon and granulated sugar together to make cinnamon-sugar. A similar item made of a metal cone, but with larger holes in it is called a china cap and is used for similar purposes.
Here you can see baked cookies cooling on a large rack. These racks are used for storing things in coolers and freezers, for cooling baked items, or simply for storage or proofing (letting the dough rise) while finishing a different task. There simply isn’t enough room on the benches (tables) to lay everything out.
The tables you see here are called benches, and this is where we do all of our work, be it mixing, kneading, scaling, or anything else. They have wooden surfaces, which is better for kneading dough because it doesn’t stick or move around as easily. Generally, you wouldn’t cut things on this surface, but rather use a cutting board since the knife would leave marks in the wood, thus creating a space for bacteria to collect.
The alley is where we store pantry ingredients like chocolate, nuts, syrups, spices, baking soda, and baking powder. It is the aisle of yumminess!
So, those were some important items in the bake shop. Hope you enjoyed my tour!